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Help! Militant Organic Roomy!!!!

j
jayhawk Apr 7, 2008 05:30 PM

I moved in with a wonderful roomy earlier this year. We are both single ladies in our "middle" years. I'm a single parent, she has no children....which I'm not sure is really apropos.....BUT

When my son and I moved in, we were in some dire economic straits due to health problems that I had been having. She is a hard-core organic eater.....to the extent that she is even opposed to cooking foods except when absolutely essential. She suggessted that my health problems could be solved by eating organic, and stated that while I am at her house my son and I should eat organic...."because if you get sick, then it affects me too".

We then embarked on several weeks where discussions were held regularly about why certain foods that I had purchased were "bad". This included many organic foods that I had purchased in an attempt to comply with her request. Organic bread was only acceptable if it had no "enriched" flour. Organic cereal was still not good because it had too much sugar. Organic eggs were only good if they were fertilized. I could go on and on!

This woman has been very kind in many ways! I would really love to keep peace with her as well as respect her household. But I am not really interested in becoming an "organic" right now.....if that's even what it's called. Problem is, she's now insisting that we eat organic. She says that since we've discussed this, I now know better and I shouldn't use the excuse that it's difficult to change a lifetime of habits........just DO IT! The implication is, of course, OR ELSE!

Help! How does one deal with this kind of eating "religion"? How do you tell someone you really care for that she's crossed the line? Or am I crazy? --This is a trick question! ;)--

I'd be interested in hearing stories, suggestions, or even lectures (short please) on the subject.

Organicaly distressed

  1. Paul Weller Apr 7, 2008 05:47 PM

    My former roommates were militant vegans. They just sort of turned vegatarian and then vegan over a period of about 6 months. They used to soapbox to me all the time about their diets being so much better than mine, me being a bloodthirsty cruel person for eating animal products, etc. etc. etc. I often laughed at them as they claimed to use no animal products but were always drinking cheap wines, which are often clarified with animal products. We went round and round about this for quite a while. The issue was only solved by them moving out and getting their own place. We are still the best of friends, but there is no way we could live together again.

    1. Miss Needle Apr 7, 2008 05:56 PM

      Ha ha. I respect people's fanaticisms as long as they don't impose it on me. I'm an adult and can make my own decisions and don't like to be told what to do. I'm sure a lot of people on this board could be viewed as crazy by outsiders searching for the perfect taco, driving 80 miles out of your way for the best pizza, etc.

      Sounds like she's dabbling in raw food territory, which is an extreme way of eating. I noticed a lot of extreme people generally don't have tolerance for people who don't view things their way. Not everybody is like that, of course. I really respect people who can stick by their guns (no matter how outlandish they may be) and not shove their views down people's throats. It takes a lot of tolerance and self-control to do that. I'm still working on that every time I see DH drink way too much wine.

      I lived for a few years with roommates who kept Kosher. We were all really respectful of each other and got along well. Luckily there were two sinks (one was mine, and the other was kept Kosher that changed from meat to dairy). The oven was kept Kosher. I always covered it when I cooked my non-Kosher items. We had two sets of dishes. So with some compromises, it was a non-issue. I learned some fascinating things about Judaism and food during those years. While I don't keep Kosher, it was really interesting to learn a different culture than what I was brought up with -- taking part in Shabbat dinners, celebrating Passover, learning how much I dislike derma, etc.

      Seriously, I would have a talk with your roommate -- because she sounds like there a very nice woman aside from her militant eating habits. Good roommates are hard to find. And if she can't ease up I would suggest to start looking for a new place -- because you'll probably blow up soon and taint her organic kitchen with your enriched flour bits and pieces.

      btw, I eat organic most of the time -- so I have nothing against those organic people : )

      1. g
        gryphonskeeper Apr 7, 2008 06:35 PM

        I am a huge organic nut myself at home, HOWEVER, I do not expect others to see things my way.

        Personally she is stepping over the line. I would buy a box of twinkees and eat the whole damn thing in front of her just to make a statement.

        There is NO excuse for this food nazi attitude of hers, Tell her thank you for your advice but you will choose what to put into YOUR body, and not her. If she cannot accept it, Tell her to tolerate it or lose a friend.

        1. n
          nosh Apr 7, 2008 06:41 PM

          I had to go back up to the top of the post to get the crucial element -- You moved into her space some time ago and she is great in most respects but this is getting on your nerves bigtime.

          It sounds like she has the final say and power -- you don't have a signed lease with conditions explicitly outlined, do you? If you have a lease or are renting in a rent-controlled jurisdiction you may have some rights against arbitrary eviction. If you don't, then you need to adjust, negotiate, or simply leave.

          I'm not saying what is right or wrong, correct or false -- that is barely relevant. A guy in a bulk food outlet line chastised me for asking for plastic bags, and then he drove off alone in a huge SUV. Our surge towards ethanol has disrupted food supplies as corn prices have shot through historical ceilings causing unintended consequences.

          As with all decisions, there are benefits and costs to weigh. Great friend who was a lifesaver but now demands to be your guide and prophet as well... Yes, you have the right to your food and dietary choices. Yes, she seems to have the power to reclaim her habitat.

          1. stellamystar Apr 7, 2008 07:33 PM

            You say this woman has been kind in many ways, which I can only assume in some financial way. She's now collecting on what she feels is due.
            It starts with conceding to her demands and then what? I really don't think you can assume this is the end of her wacky demands.
            How old is your son? I don;t think he should see his mom being pushed around by some roommate that feels she knows best. You know what's best for you and your son - I doubt you are eating frosted flakes for dinner with a coca cola chaser. And, if you are, it's your decision - and YOUR MONEY - which you've already said, is not so plentiful.

            1. m
              MakingSense Apr 7, 2008 09:05 PM

              You are in an awkward situation. You say that she "stated that while [you were] at HER house..." and you also want to "respect HER household."
              Whoa! I thought you said "ROOMY"? Is this HER house? Or yours too? Who made her Queen? Where is your poor son in all this?

              I don't know what your financial arrangement is but it sounds like you've gotten yourself into something of a mess here that isn't really about food.
              She's calling the shots and telling you how to live your life. Now you're jumping through hoops to please her. She even said that if you get sick, it will "affect her" - like you're going to do that on purpose?
              Her behavior is getting controlling, even threatening, and verging on abuse. You need to get OUT of there.

              Eating Twinkies and swilling Mountain Dew is healthier than this. Run for your life!!!

              6 Replies
              1. re: MakingSense
                d
                dolores Apr 8, 2008 03:33 AM

                A sign in the newspaper?

                Roommate Wanted.

                1. re: MakingSense
                  Davwud Apr 8, 2008 04:21 AM

                  I think MakingSense is making sense here. This isn't about food. It's about control. While there still maybe room to negotiate and to compromise but ultimately I think you're in for more but in different ways.
                  You really have to look at options on how to get out. It sounds like your financial situation isn't the greatest but you'll have to do something because you can't live like this.

                  On a side note, I love the "If you get sick it will affect me too" line. So what, is she gonna catch diabetes from you?? Is she gonna get obesity from you?? Heart disease??

                  I personally would take up smoking and drinking. But that's just me. I'm like that.

                  DT

                  1. re: Davwud
                    psb Apr 8, 2008 05:24 AM

                    >I personally would take up smoking and drinking.
                    >But that's just me. I'm like that.
                    >
                    And Bacon and Coke.

                    1. re: psb
                      a
                      asiansensation007 Apr 12, 2008 01:28 AM

                      i think davwud an psb have the best idea yet. :)

                      1. re: psb
                        KenWritez Apr 21, 2008 11:41 AM

                        The best alternative is to sit down with her and explain what her food naziism is doing to you. Ask her for some room to please live your life without her insisting you do so her way.

                        If she won't hear you and things continue or worsen, then time to look for other digs. Past kindness does not equate to you making yourself a doormat for someone who refuses to respect your boundaries.

                        Also, what jfood said.

                      2. re: Davwud
                        marmite Apr 8, 2008 10:04 AM

                        >

                        She's probably thinking more about lowered immune resistance (better, MakingSense?) due to eating poorly, and colds, flu, etc etc. That is a huge issue when sharing space with someone, so I don't fault her for that. I do think it's time for Jayhawk to start a new apartment search...

                    2. n
                      NE_Elaine Apr 8, 2008 04:16 AM

                      It sounds like it is time for you to start looking for alternative accomodations. While you do that, you should sit your roomy down and try to work out a compromise until you can move out. I don't really have a lot of hope for that approach as people like this tend to lack the ability to compromise.

                      1. jfood Apr 8, 2008 04:51 AM

                        Jfood thinks that the way you phrased the OP, this woman was very kind to you and helped you through what you described as difficult times. Unlike others who have stated a scorched earth approach, jfood thinks you owe her a bit of gratitude for her kindness during your, and your son's, time of need.

                        But the living situation wrt the food is not working for you so you need to sit with her and explain from one adult to another. You should start the discussion with thanking her for helping you when you needed her and that you appreciate her guidance and mentoring on her belief in organic foods and their health benefits. Then jfood would suggest telling her that other than the cuisine you really like living with her (if that's true). But after trying the new health regimen for some time, it is not really for you. And hopefully this is not a reason to move apart, but if she can not handle the differing eating regimen then it may be a good solution that you live apart.

                        See where that approach goes. If she takes the "I know better" then you do as well, if she says, "OK, let's give it a try" then you can too.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: jfood
                          alkapal Apr 8, 2008 05:48 AM

                          bravo, jfood. a wise response.

                          1. re: alkapal
                            Cheflambo Apr 8, 2008 10:19 AM

                            Jfood is indeed (as always) the voice of reason. I agree that a frank discussion is in order here, but I doubt seriously that Ms. Organic-only is going to be at all flexible. The OP should be looking to find her own place as soon as she can afford to, and considering the prices I see on organic food these days, that could take a while. Im sure she and her (probably hungry) son will be happier if the food pressure is off. I think those above who mentioned control issues have nailed it too. Those who subscribe to extreme lifestyle or diet requirements seldom bend for the needs or consideration of the mainstream. I fear that this will be a "my way or the highway" situation.

                          2. re: jfood
                            Davwud Apr 9, 2008 04:29 AM

                            I always love jfood's opinion and think that it is spot on most of the time. I think under ideal circumstances what you propose is best. However, since the OP states that they've had "several weeks where discussions were held regularly" I'm not sure that will produce and breakthrough.

                            To me the "Scorched earth policy" is merely cutting your losses. It sounds very much like the landlady is being unreasonable and it's very hard to reason with an unreasonable person. Therefore, to save what's left of the friendship it may be best to let a sleeping dog lie. To begin a new dialogue on the same matter may worsen the situation not help it.

                            DT

                            1. re: Davwud
                              jfood Apr 9, 2008 07:48 AM

                              D

                              Love the new avatar, very becoming.

                              The several weeks of discussions, though, were during the conversion phase and jfood would guess this was the mentor-mentee sorta arrangement. Then came the "I got her phase" as evidence by "she's now insisting that we eat organic" so something has kicked it to a whole 'nother level. So now the militant thinks she has a convert and the OP has a different opinion.

                              So unless jfood is reading wrong the militant has placed another notch on her asparagus stalk and the OP needs to have a "come to BK" discussion with her.

                              If their previous discussions did not give the impression of conversion, then jfood agrees that the horse has left the barn and the OP should follow, after an explanation.

                          3. s
                            smartie Apr 8, 2008 05:33 AM

                            sounds like she could be having second thoughts about having a roomie that is not organic with a different outlook on an area of life that she finds extremely important and is being passive aggressive about it because she doesn't know how to broach the subject in a more adult way. I think I would sit with her one evening without your son and ask if she would prefer a different roommate and throw it back to her. If she says no then you talk about the food issue and tell her firmly and politely that you will eat what you want and you would be grateful for no comment from her otherwise you will look elsewhere and tender your notice to quit.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: smartie
                              d
                              dolores Apr 8, 2008 05:39 AM

                              >>otherwise you will look elsewhere and tender your notice to quit.

                              Oh, I didn't realize it was her house.

                              Forget trying to reason with her. Move out.

                            2. psb Apr 8, 2008 05:51 AM

                              Agree this is not really a food issue but food is just the field the deeper
                              issues are played out on.

                              I think you need to determine if this is a case of "i want to help you"
                              or really is a "religion" as you say. If the latter, i think you are probably
                              going to be stuck ... and it probably falls under "coming to a nuisance".

                              1. g
                                gloriousfood Apr 8, 2008 12:37 PM

                                Ask her if she breathes organic air, and if so, how can we get some?

                                That's harder to come by than organic food.

                                1. g
                                  gourmanda Apr 8, 2008 12:56 PM

                                  This woman isn't just militant organic, she's (organic) nuts. Sounds like she is on her own health-food kick and is just picking random facts from random diets--i.e. cooking a food has nothing to do with it being organic or not.

                                  I agree that this has become a total power issue for her. Perhaps you can have a chat with her and ask her what is really bothering her--maybe she is having a struggle at work and needs to assert herself at home, something like that. In the end, though, I think you will realistically be needing new accommodations. . .it's hard to turn a zealot into a compromiser.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gourmanda
                                    l
                                    lgss Apr 8, 2008 03:34 PM

                                    She needs to make her demands specific when advertising for the next roommate, or if you rent from her in her house, it needs to be in the lease (which in some places is considered discrimination. I'm vegan and gluten-free but I don't impose it on others though we do not allow meat in our house.

                                  2. m
                                    MikeG Apr 9, 2008 03:43 AM

                                    Another vote for this having little if anything - seriously speaking - to do with food, it certainly sounds like it's all about control and perhaps and little mis-directed "parenting" from someone who doesn't have their own kid to think about. She's your landlady, not your Mommy. (Now, given your situation you may have formed a prematurely close emotional relationship with her, but that's not going to be resolved around this issue per se.)

                                    Far from being a "roomy", she sounds like she's been trying to pull the "while you live in my house, young lady" routine which is - if you'll pardon a little hyperbole - both outrageous and unacceptable unless she made it clear "them's the rules" when she rented you your space. Trying to instill "guilt" about "affecting her" with your illness from something as absurd (yes, absurd) as not eating organic food is, well, just utterly beyond the pale from someone who isn't a "loved one" and IMNSHO, such a loved one would deserve a well-placed kick in the head. (But I digress. :) )

                                    The real issue is what you're in a position to do or deal with. If you're in a financial/emotional position to seek new housing, I'd start doing that ASAP. If nothing else, it'll make you feel a little less vulnerable. Control freaks tend to be worst when they perceive their "target" as having few options. If you don't think you have any, she probably won't either. Even if that's not the case. Since you've raised the whole issue, I'll go so far as to suggest maybe a little counselling for you (free? reduced rate?) might be in line - feeling vulnerable in your position is as natural as breathing air, but getting caught up in this sort of cycle is really bad news, especially with a comparatively "superficial" relationship like a roommate one between stranger-adults. If you can't afford to move, you certainly can't afford to "go organic" and a gently-smiled comment to that effect might have a certain impact. I'm guessing she's not so altruistic as to give you a break on your rent so as to keep you healthy enough to avoid "impacting" her health. (And how does she mean, your aura depresses her or something? I'd add a "LOL" but some people are actually that bizarre.)

                                    As for her diet and the supposed beneifts all I can say, and I hope it won't get this post pulled: BULLSHIT. For so many reasons I'm not even going to list any. Nice idea, OK, whatever. Any actualy evidence that it supports health? None at all. Raw foodists are simply insane IMO but if they want to try to turn their digestive systems back a few geological eons, they are of course free to do so...

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: MikeG
                                      Davwud Apr 9, 2008 04:21 AM

                                      **Note** MikeG against raw food diet.
                                      Got it.

                                      I suppose one thing we really need to know is, what was the relationship with these "Room mates" before the OP moved in. If they were close friends, there could be room for comprimise. If it was merely two people who worked together, one helping out the other, then maybe it's time to move on.
                                      As Ned would say, jayhawk is in a "Dilly of a pickle".

                                      Congrats on the win on Monday night Jayhawk.

                                      DT

                                      1. re: Davwud
                                        m
                                        MikeG Apr 9, 2008 05:12 AM

                                        You noticed? (g,d&r) Actually, I didn't say I was "against" it, I just think it has less than no basis in fact, scientific or otherwise, making it an article of faith, at best. Insisting that other people accept your faith as a matter of "fact" certainly fits my definition of insane. And heavy prosletyzing is simply obnoxious under any circumstances let alone these. Not to mention that it's rarely effective unless you're also brandishing a big stick. But man, do I digress. ;)

                                        Yes, certainly the prior relationship between these two people is important as is a reasonably "objective" analysis of the overall situation. This thread is - as it should be - just about the food aspect of the relationship but it may well be that the LL is feeling put upon in other ways but is uncomfortable saying so (maybe because of the kid?) and is using this as a way of "standing up for herself" in a way she's comfortable with under the circumstances. In any event, whatever the basic problem is about, it's not about "the food"...

                                        1. re: MikeG
                                          Davwud Apr 9, 2008 07:02 AM

                                          It's also possible that the LL is jealous because she doesn't have a kid.
                                          I also suspect that in all aspects of her life, she's a "Know it all." Thus, she feels the child isn't being raised correctly and feels obligated to intecede.
                                          Of course, she could be like Tom Cruise and is "Ruthlessly installing morals" into the OP.

                                          DT

                                          1. re: Davwud
                                            m
                                            MikeG Apr 9, 2008 11:56 AM

                                            Well, the one thing pop psychology can readily do is cause a merry-go-round of finger pointing and we know so little about what's actually going on and/or where either person is coming from. If the two have, for example, been sharing cooking duty for all 3 and the LL really just wants what she's become accustomed to but feels like she's been "accomodating" the OP to her detriment, that's a very different story from shared kitchen use situation with abstract arguments about the other person's health. Insisting that she be OK with eating food she's not comfortable with is, under the circumstances where there's no "prior" emotional connection and they're not stuck on an island together, no more "OK" than trying to insist the OP eat "organo-vego-raw" "for her sake" of course...

                                            An important thing to keep in mind is that sometimes people in stressful situations form premature bonds that don't outlast the stress to paraphrase something another poster wrote. If that's what's going on here, the simple answer has nothing to do with food, diet, health, etc.

                                            1. re: MikeG
                                              stellamystar Apr 9, 2008 02:16 PM

                                              MikeG makes a good point - how many times have any of you made fast friends with someone in a new job/school/social group and are hiding from them 3 months later? I know I have...

                                    2. Sam Fujisaka Apr 9, 2008 08:09 AM

                                      Its finances vs. living with a fruitcake. Sit down and carefully assess your financial health. Try to make adjustments so that if at all possible you can move out in order to save your mental health.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                        m
                                        moh Apr 9, 2008 09:27 AM

                                        "Its finances vs. living with a fruitcake."

                                        Hee hee! Ironically, it is very likely that fruitcake would not be up to snuff. It is unlikely to be organic enough for the person in question.

                                        Sam's assessment is very sensible. I think it is a good idea to figure out what your financial options are. Discreetly scope out other places to live. But at the same time, I understand your need to keep the peace. As you say, she has been kind in a time of need, and you are grateful for her help.

                                        I think you need to stand your ground, but this can be done in a non-aggressive way. Express your gratitude for her help, and let her know that you appreciate that she has been sharing important information with you re: organic eating. But then you have to get down to it, and discuss the disconnect between you and her. My only recommendations: don't get upset by anything that's said, and don't let it get personal. That is your best bet to try to keep a relationship with this person, if you choose to do so. Of course, if she takes it badly, you may not have the choice to maintain am amiable relationship.

                                        One thing I didn't quite get: Is she also paying for all the food? Or is she just upset that there are non-acceptable food items in the house? If she is also paying or significantly subsidizing the food, well, difficult situation. Even if she is significantly subsidizing your rent, very difficult. If you are paying for all your food and rent yourself, then you will have to stand your ground. Good luck. Sometimes, one can be better friends than room- mates. Not everyone can live together.

                                      2. danhole Apr 9, 2008 08:17 AM

                                        "Help! How does one deal with this kind of eating "religion"? How do you tell someone you really care for that she's crossed the line? Or am I crazy? --This is a trick question! ;)--"

                                        You are not crazy, but I agree with the other posters that are telling you that you are being abused. It sounds like your "discussions" about certain foods being bad, were actually sessions to berate you and make you less confident. If you look up an abusive relationship and the signs of it, you will be surprised. My DD was in one as a teen, and it happens gradually, one step at a time, until a tragedy happens. Now I am not suggesting that this person is going to beat you, or anything like that, but she is certainly trying to break you. When someone is that dogmatic about a subject, there is no compromise. My DH has some very dogmatic views about certain religious doctrines, that are untrue and unfair. I have tried everything to convince him to shut up about it, but he persists, and we have been arguing about these things for about 25 years. Otherwise he is okay, but I have to avoid a couple topics to live in peace. Sounds like you have to avoid a LOT of things to live in peace, and that isn't good for you or your child. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts, and hope things can change for the better.

                                        1. s
                                          swsidejim Apr 9, 2008 09:38 AM

                                          It sounds like this person has a captive audience in you and your son, allowing her to get up on her soap box regularly, and preach her nonsense & try to influence your lifestyle & eating habits.

                                          It is her house, but she is being an ingracious host, and what she is doing is unacceptable. Imagine the uproar if I invited a vegetarian to live in my house and all I would allow them to eat was red meat, and bbq pork. All the time preaching to them that being a vegetarian makes them unhealthy.

                                          I would find a way, any way to move out.

                                          1. Caroline1 Apr 9, 2008 12:56 PM

                                            My guess is that you're coming out of a divorce, which is the most common contributor to women's financial difficulties today. It also sounds as if you have been extremely tolerant of your "roommate," aka landlady.

                                            You know, it doesn't matter if someone is wholy and immovably committed to a religion, a philosophy, a cult, a way of eating, or colonic irrigation, they are so blinded to everything else that there is simply no getting through to them that moderation is even a choice. I think you have been more than tolerant. I doubt very much there will be anything to gain (except hurt feelings) by trying to talk this situation through with her because she obviously has a "with me or against me" mindset. Why put yourself (or her) through that?.

                                            I admire you for caring and appreciating this person, and if you can find a way to part living with her while retaining the friendship, seem to me things will be a lot better for you and for your son. If you are still having financial difficulties, there are often helping agencies that can assist you in relocating and getting settled. If you are a divorcee, don't think of these things as "charity." Think of them as part of the alimony you've paid taxes for all these years! '-)

                                            I think the thing you have to consider first and formost is the negative impact that this brainwashing effort is having on your son. Better to share a room in a boarding house than a mansion with a tyrant!

                                            I hope you find a happy solution to your situation very soon. It sounds very uncomfortable. Good luck!

                                            1. g
                                              grant.cook Apr 10, 2008 02:07 PM

                                              1) She's a control freak.. find some way to draw a hard line or get out. "I respect your opinion, but I am not going to follow it..." ought to be enough. If not, tell her to shove it. Soon she'll be having you not using any hygiene products and wearing a hemp robe. If she wants to evict you, consider it a good thing.. this sounds like deal breaker as a roommate situation. And don't try to make excuses.. controlling people are great at debate.. a simple "No" followed by a simpler "I said No.. is there a problem here??"

                                              2) Read Omnivore's Dilemma - interesting take that organic is in as many ways getting as a bad as industrial farming.. but to be honest, you'll never win a debate with a zealot.

                                              3) Respond with humor... "Do you know what they do those those calves to make veal?!?" - "No, but its delicioussssss "

                                              If she's going to threaten you with eviction on this, then get out on your own terms.. you signed up as a roommate, not a dependant.

                                              There are some benefits to a healthier diet - some of those come from organic, some from buying local, some from just having a proper diet - I'd rather someone eat just eat a bit more fruit and veggies than worry about locally-grown organic chard salads. But you have to make it clear that either you do this at your own pace and using your own decision making, or should she find another roomate?

                                              And if she evicts you, you've got 30 days in that house to cook up a ton of fried chicken, and bacon!

                                              1. a
                                                anzu Apr 10, 2008 04:30 PM

                                                I'm not going to contribute anything new, but people like this drive me nuts. I don't like extraneous chemicals, etc. in my foods, either, but for example, there are a lot of foods that they sell at my farmer's market that aren't "organic", but they don't have pesticides, sprays, etc.
                                                1. I'd sooner buy something that is pesticide-free and not necessarily organic, than organic cherries from say China or Turkey. (I guess people who are pedantically organic don't care about the fact that there might be lots of fuel wasted by hauling organic cherries from Turkey?)

                                                2. As one farmer told me, the pesticide laws in California are so stringent, that the detected levels allowed are minimal. So if I see conventional pears that are on sale and significantly cheaper than their organic (from Peru) counterpart? I buy the CA pears.

                                                3. I don't drink a lot of dairy, so I buy milk in 1-liter entities and often end up not using half of it. The price difference between the organic and "no chemicals but not organic" version is 2:1. Considering that I only use 1/2 80% of the time, $3 for 2 cups of milk ends up adding up. Also, I emailed Clover, and they told me that the only difference between their organic and regular milk is that if a cow was ever sick and they had antibiotics (like 3-years ago), then they cannot ever produce "organic" milk. Incidentally, if their regular cows have antibiotics when they are sick, they told me that they keep them off the milk-producing cycle till they test clear of antibiotics.

                                                4. The only difference between the organic and nonorganic eggs where I get eggs is that the organic ones get fed "organic" feed. Neither are injected with chemical stuff. So I'm perfectly happy with the regular ones. The idea that a chicken gets a "100 percent" organic diet, when I don't just seems absurd to me.

                                                5. I read somewhere that If the world were to go all-organic, there would be significantly less food produced, and we'd have more famine problems. It's kindof selfish of us to be foisting organic this and that, when thousands and millions of people around the world barely have enough to eat.

                                                6. Finally, "organic" doesn't nec. mean "chemical" free. Organic cherries, for example, are sprayed w/ sulfur, since that is one of the "approved" chemicals.

                                                Ok, I didn't meant to go off on a diatribe and not answer your question, but the point is that there might be many reasons why someone might not choose to go "all out organic", some of which are financial, and others might just be a personal weighing of pros and cons. This area that I live in is rife with food-nazis of the sort.

                                                I'm ok if other people want to eat organic chickens that were only fed organic feed, but I wish some (not all people do this, btw) people like your roommate would stop acting like this is akin to walking on water. B/c it's not.

                                                Seriously, though. Talk to her.

                                                11 Replies
                                                1. re: anzu
                                                  Davwud Apr 10, 2008 05:48 PM

                                                  Keep in mind, there is such a thing as "Organic high fructose corn syrup".

                                                  I've never really bought into the organic movement. I always thought it was more scam than breakthrough.

                                                  DT

                                                  1. re: Davwud
                                                    a
                                                    anzu Apr 10, 2008 06:38 PM

                                                    And "organic" salt, which is absurd. I laugh at people who buy organic salt, because they clearly don't understand chemistry. Chemicals (which NaCl is) cannot be "organic". Ditto sugar. Yeah, yeah, I know. It's grown w/o pesticides and fed only organic feed, but actually, sugar is a chemical, too. (C12H22O11)

                                                    I knew someone once who was all-out-organic everything (I can understand the produce to an extent, but organic chips made with all-organic artificial highly-processed stuff? Come on.), but then said that they wouldn't mind trying ecstasy.

                                                    Once I heard that, I decided to never buy into this whole organic movement. :-P

                                                    1. re: anzu
                                                      Miss Needle Apr 10, 2008 06:57 PM

                                                      You've got to understand that there are a lot of different types of people involved in the organic movement -- just like there are different types of Chowhounds. Sure, there are those organic people who'll think they're saving the world because they're eating organic highly processed cereal bars. But there are those who are concerned about high pesticide residues, sustainable farming practices, etc. It's not really fair to dismiss a whole movement based on the actions of a few.

                                                      And I also took organic chemistry -- organic in this context doesn't mean that there's a carbon element involved.

                                                      1. re: Miss Needle
                                                        m
                                                        MakingSense Apr 10, 2008 08:56 PM

                                                        Unfortunately, it's not "the actions of a few" that are leading more and more people to "dismiss a whole movement."

                                                        As anzu's thoughtful examples showed, many of the tenets of the organic food movement don't hold up to logical investigation.
                                                        The self-appointed spokesmen for the organics special interests set definitions for "pesticide residues" and decided which were and were not acceptable, using charts that they promulgated to the popular media that led many to believe that supermarket produce was close to poisonous and increased their chances of cancer or other diseases.
                                                        They defined "sustainable farming practices" which often eliminated century-old family farms or farms which simply lacked the economic means or interest to convert successful practices to their required methods.
                                                        When the public became aware of the "carbon footprint" of organic foods shipped long distances, trade-offs for local foods raised well became highly acceptable and a little easily rinsed-off spray didn't seem so bad, especially considering the price difference. Local food is the new thing.
                                                        The Emperor has fewer clothes. It happened because the organics special interests made claims that could not stand up to logic or science.
                                                        How many more of the claims are misleading?

                                                        The OP is being badgered by her roommate who has bought into the entire package without question and is expecting her to as well. The roommate is not getting a lot of support from CHs.
                                                        Most of us are done with the hard line stuff.

                                                        1. re: MakingSense
                                                          Miss Needle Apr 10, 2008 09:26 PM

                                                          Sigh. I didn't intend on this getting into a discussion about the whole organic movement. There are too many of these bitter discussions already going on on CH. I actually didn't see anzu's long post about her reasonings about not going organic. I only saw this:

                                                          I knew someone once who was all-out-organic everything (I can understand the produce to an extent, but organic chips made with all-organic artificial highly-processed stuff? Come on.), but then said that they wouldn't mind trying ecstasy.

                                                          Once I heard that, I decided to never buy into this whole organic movement. :-P

                                                          So I previously thought she was dismissing the whole organic movement based on one thing. Obviously she has given this a lot of thought. It's great that she's actually given some thought to it as opposed to people who have knee-jerk reactions and make generalizations based on one thing. My bad.

                                                          And I think everybody agrees that her roommate is a little off.

                                                          1. re: Miss Needle
                                                            a
                                                            anzu Apr 11, 2008 12:26 AM

                                                            Ok, sorry for my incensed tone earlier. I don't have anything against people who make a conscious decision to go all-out organic. It's just a choice, just as mine to be a bit more lax is a choice. If people respect my neurotic food choices (e.g. not eating meat, unless I'm in Hungary, China, etc, or if the meat is prosciutto), I will respect theirs, even if I don't agree with it.

                                                            But this roommate that the original poster posted is probably an extreme case (I hope); she epitomizes a sentiment that I see in some (but I stress not all) "all organic buying" types that really bugs me, as you may have been able to tell from the tone of my earlier posts.

                                                            And for the record, organics (and people who buy organics) don't generally bug me; it's just when people act like it's the moral high ground they are taking, and they haven't considered other repercussions that I mentioned earlier. It's more the non-thinking and cognitive dissonance part that bugs me. (e.g. the ecstasy example was to show that here's this person who is neurotically anti-chemical, but then she goes off and wants to do load her brain with mind-altering chemicals. This makes no sense to me. At all.)

                                                            1. re: anzu
                                                              Davwud Apr 11, 2008 04:30 AM

                                                              That's pretty good discussion you two have going on there.
                                                              I'll chip in a few observations of my own.
                                                              First of all, I think the LL in the OP is actually part of the problem and not part of the solution. She's bought it hook, line and sinker. Now big business will step in and start importing cherries from Turkey and what not because they see they can exploit this part of the population. So now it's not local farmers trying to produce things in a more natural setting. It's industrialized organic farms with lobbyists who'll set the rules that favour big business, not the consumer or the local farmer. They'll slap an organic tag on something and people fall prey to it without even asking a question like, "Where did this come from" or "What's in it"??
                                                              Secondly, like anzu said, it's the "Holier than thou" attitude some of these hard core organicists most often have.
                                                              For others, it's a status thing.

                                                              Also, this notion that organic food tastes better is nonsense. I've bought organic and non organic foods. You know what?? Some things do taste better, some don't. The bottom line is, was and always will be, a better head of lettuce will taste better than a lousier one. Organic or not. I bought some organic chopped tomatoes once because they came with air miles. They were terrible. On a different shopping expedition a different brand of organic chopped tomatoes had air miles. I gave them a try. They were fantastic. I still won't pay twice as much for them than my old stand by (which are just fine) unless I get an added value.
                                                              I'll buy organic if I see a value in it. I'm not paying twice as much for celery simply because it says organic on it.

                                                              DT

                                                              1. re: anzu
                                                                Miss Needle Apr 11, 2008 08:54 AM

                                                                "And for the record, organics (and people who buy organics) don't generally bug me; it's just when people act like it's the moral high ground they are taking, and they haven't considered other repercussions that I mentioned earlier. It's more the non-thinking and cognitive dissonance part that bugs me. (e.g. the ecstasy example was to show that here's this person who is neurotically anti-chemical, but then she goes off and wants to do load her brain with mind-altering chemicals. This makes no sense to me. At all.)"

                                                                Amen!

                                                        2. re: anzu
                                                          Davwud Apr 11, 2008 04:31 AM

                                                          Was it organic ecstasy??

                                                          DT

                                                          1. re: Davwud
                                                            a
                                                            anzu Apr 11, 2008 08:57 AM

                                                            Heh heh. Probably. Like the organic salt they use. Btw, I don't mean to be totally dense, but wth is LL and OP? Is OP organic produce? I also see DH a lot, and I finally finally figured out that (I think) that stands for dear husband or somesuch thing.

                                                            1. re: anzu
                                                              MMRuth Apr 11, 2008 08:58 AM

                                                              OP = Original Post or Poster

                                                              LL = in this case, I think "landlady"

                                                    2. s
                                                      Sharuf Apr 10, 2008 11:04 PM

                                                      I have been feeding my own face ever since I became an adult. If anyone presumed to monitor how I did it, I would be hugely offended. People who trespass on one's autonomy need to slapped with an ultimatum.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Sharuf
                                                        d
                                                        dolores Apr 11, 2008 06:16 AM

                                                        In this case, unfortunately, the OP was dependent on the fanatic. The only recourse is to move out, if the OP can afford to do so.

                                                        Not a happy situation.

                                                      2. flourgirl Apr 11, 2008 06:42 AM

                                                        I don't really have anything to add to all the other suggestions regarding dealing with your roomie. But if you have reached the point where you are considering looking for other housing options, have you checked to see whether your area offers a house sharing program? It's basically a program that helps match up homeowners that need roommates with people looking for housing. I believe the point of it is to avoid just such a situation as the one you are currently experiencing.

                                                        1. b
                                                          Beau711 Apr 11, 2008 12:27 PM

                                                          Yes, you're living with a controlling woman and until you move out of her space, you're going to hear her food lectures. Since you state you moved in for 'health problems' she's probably also concerned about your current health. You did say she was wonderful earlier this year.

                                                          I would suggest you try this experiment: tell her to buy all the food for a week and see what happens. She will feel a sense of 'control' for that week. I know it sounds crazy but just see what happens. Meanwhile, start looking for another roommate if you can.

                                                          1. viperlush Apr 11, 2008 02:07 PM

                                                            Just some thoughts:

                                                            I'm sorry if I missed it, but why aren't you interested in becoming "organic"? If for economic reasons I would hope that she would understand (since your reason for moving in was for economic reasons) and a reminder of that might be enough to get her off your back. Is it because of the taste? If you don't like something, you don't like it. As an adult you have every right to. Is it because you just don't care to learn and to shop as carefully as she would like? Then maybe you could tell her that you will eat organic if she does the shopping and food prep.

                                                            Without knowing the parties involved, I don't want to label it as a controlling/ abusive relationship, but if she starts to lecture you/your son about other aspects of your life...

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: viperlush
                                                              m
                                                              MakingSense Apr 12, 2008 10:08 AM

                                                              I'm afraid you did MISS something, viperlush. It wasn't about "organic." Even when poor dear jayhawk tried to be accommodating, the control freak reset the bar: she had problems with "enriched" organic flour, too much sugar in the organic cereal, and demanded that the organic eggs be fertilized. The roommate in this case had even moved into the "raw food" sect and was becoming militant.

                                                              If you read through many of the postings above, most people are grateful for much of the good that the organics movement has done but simply have problems with those who have taken this to the mindless level. It's possible to eat a healthy, economical diet without slavish adherence to an all-organics regimen. Many have done reasonable research and found that they can make a lot of trade offs with no loss of quality while saving a lot of money.
                                                              Intelligent people can disagree without being disagreeable.

                                                              Mealtime should be an opportunity for pleasure and renewal not a battle zone. That's not possible when food becomes a religion and it's used to control and possibly abuse another person when they're down on their luck.

                                                              1. re: MakingSense
                                                                flourgirl Apr 12, 2008 10:46 AM

                                                                Very well put. I think this very accurately portrays the situation the OP is in with her roommate. (And pretty much sums up my family's approach to the whole organic thing.)

                                                                1. re: MakingSense
                                                                  viperlush Apr 14, 2008 01:33 PM

                                                                  I guess the way I read it was possible the OP is overreacting and needs to take a step back and think why she is so bothered and is her roommate being controlling or just really annoying. I know that when I have reached the end I tend to overreact and not think clearly. After reading all the other posts I wanted to give the OP something more/different to think about.

                                                              2. a
                                                                Al_Pal Apr 12, 2008 09:03 PM

                                                                Although this woman has been very kind to you in many ways, the bottom line is that she is asking more from you than she herself is willing to give. She expects YOU to "respect" her household, but it seems that she does not feel as though she needs to respect her guests. For example, if you were a Christian and had opened your home to some Jewish friends, would you force them to go to your church as a stipulation? I think not, and no one would disagree that that would be considered blatantly disrespectful.

                                                                It sounds as though you have been living with her for some time, and if I were in your position, I would re-evaluate my finances as soon as possible and begin making other living arrangements. Her requirements are obviously a source of considerable consternation for you, and you're right - she has definitely crossed the line with her intrusive behavior.

                                                                Furthermore, shopping organic can get VERY expensive. I'm assuming that the primary objective of your living with her is so that you can recover financially, and I'm also assuming that she knows this. If that's the case, it is even more unfair of her to expect you to be willing to shop for the most expensive groceries during a time when you ought to be most concerned with SAVING money.

                                                                If she truly had your best interest at heart, she would understand that you already have a lot to deal with and that now is not the time for you to have to make another major (not to mention EXPENSIVE) lifestyle change.

                                                                1. h
                                                                  Hue Apr 21, 2008 06:16 AM

                                                                  "There is nothing in the world that needs more reforming than other peoples habits!"

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Hue
                                                                    Cheflambo Apr 21, 2008 12:43 PM

                                                                    Touche, Hue!

                                                                  2. n
                                                                    newJJD Apr 23, 2008 05:00 AM

                                                                    I think your term "religion" is precisely the proper way to discuss this. In a way, your roomy is trying to convert you from "agnostic" to "religious". If she was acting the same way regarding your spirituality, you would likely be more inclined to get defensive and resist "conversion"

                                                                    Saying that organic food will better your health is akin to saying prayer will better your health, they are both beliefs, but not proven facts. Sure it probably wouldn't harm you to try an organic diet, nor would it harm you to pray. But it is your decision to make, not hers.

                                                                    A comment along the lines of "I'm glad that you have embraced a true organic diet and given me some good advice. I plan to read labels more carefully and make smarter choices but I still plan to include non-organic foods in my diet" could go along way.

                                                                    What you want to avoid is a Michael Moore vs. Bill O'Reilly style debate.
                                                                    Roomy: Don't you know how bad all those additives are for you?
                                                                    You: Don't you realize we would have to find a way to plant the entire Sahara and Antarctica to meet demand if the planet went totally organic?

                                                                    This type of debate is bad for 2 reasons
                                                                    1) It does nothing to resolve the issue

                                                                    2) Arguing with a militant pro-vegan / pro-organic / global warming supporter is like wrestling with a pig in the mud. After a while, you realize the pig is enjoying itself.

                                                                    1. j
                                                                      julesrules Apr 23, 2008 07:11 AM

                                                                      I do not have time to read all the replices, but I once had a somewhat similar situation where a roommate who was vegan, etc, objected to certain purchases I made. Although we did have discussions about the details, eventually I had to just firmly and simple say, every time it came up, "I never promised to maintain a veg household when I moved in. I have tried to make some accomodations for you, but I simply cannot accomodate X request." In your case I would add, "As an adult and a parent, I decide what is best for myself and my son".
                                                                      I think it's important to let her know her (arbitrary) "requirements" are simply requests that you do not have to honour, and that as a parent, you have responsibilites and jurisdiction.

                                                                      1. d
                                                                        dolores Apr 23, 2008 05:30 PM

                                                                        jayhawk, what did you end up doing?

                                                                        1. The Engineer May 6, 2008 02:14 PM

                                                                          Jayhawk,

                                                                          I agree with your roommate that organic is the way to go, but she's way out of line in forcing her choices on others. If she can only live with people who share her organic ways, she should be upfront about it before moving in together. If she wasn't, then she should keep her ideas to herself for now, and go about it more openly next time.

                                                                          She's not the boss of you.

                                                                          1. b
                                                                            Bite Me May 6, 2008 09:22 PM

                                                                            You can't be bossed around or mothered unless you gave her permission to do so, and I suspect that you already did, She cannot cross the line unless you let her or keep moving the line. (You have already admitted as much by saying you seek "even lectures.") That makes it harder to take back your control or set the boundaries. I personally would love to be in a healthy house and I would so appreciate the effort she's made, but everyone is different. If she's gone overboard, vis a vie you, you have to first determine if it's because you led her to think that you were on board, as I suspect that you did. If you want to stay, just tell her that you so appreciate her knowledge, and concern, but that you are not where she is at, yet, and may never be, but tell her what you can or can't do, or what you want or do not want to do, etc., and be honest. Be realistic and true to yourself. And then do not discuss it with her again. Do not seek her approval or permission. Just do what you need to do. We are all too pressured by the expectations of others. If you cannot be yourself in the place where you live, then that is an uncomfortable and unnecessary situation. You have two choices: either work it out and make your own boundaries or find another place. Regardless of what you decide to do, please don't blame a well-meaning woman or suggest she's mothering because she has no children. This is all about YOU. Good luck.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Bite Me
                                                                              flourgirl May 7, 2008 04:37 AM

                                                                              I don't see this person as being well-meaning at all. This isn't about being healthy. It's about the woman's need to exert control over others.

                                                                              And any argument that could be made that this was in any way, shape or form a reasonable person goes out the window for me with "She is a hard-core organic eater.....to the extent that she is even opposed to cooking foods except when absolutely essential." Come on. And being organic does not necessarily equate with being healthy. It's nonsense to suggest that everyone who doesn't eat a 100% organic diet is unhealthy.

                                                                            2. NYJewboy May 8, 2008 05:40 AM

                                                                              I think you should get a new roomate, and don't let the door hit her in the ass on the way out, out of 'compassion'.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: NYJewboy
                                                                                Davwud May 12, 2008 05:48 AM

                                                                                It's not the OP's place. That's the problem. There are also some other mitigating factors as well.

                                                                                DT

                                                                              2. Kajikit May 12, 2008 08:43 PM

                                                                                I'd find some place else to live... there's no need to live on 'raw' food in order to be healthy. If she wants to do it, good for her, but there's no need to subject you to brainwashing 24/7!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Kajikit
                                                                                  t
                                                                                  TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis May 13, 2008 06:50 PM

                                                                                  I agree ... and as soon as possible ... granted this can be *very* difficult.
                                                                                  Get away, quickly.

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