01/04/2012 01:49 EST | Updated 03/06/2012 05:12 EST

How to Eat Cleaner, Healthier and Ethically

Flickr: swanksalot

In today's busy world we are all working many hours in order to pay bills, feed the kids and sustain our lives. We keep a constant tab on what we watch, what we wear and what we do, but how many of us actually take the time to think about what we eat, where it is from and how it got to out table?

Now, more than ever, we must be mindful of what we eat. Big business is gaining a stronger hold of our food supply, we are losing our battles to ailments such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Yet, companies that sell fried chicken are suddenly donating some of their profit to cancer research?

It is our duty as smart, informed shoppers to choose wisely and not be fooled. There are many simple things we can do to take back our health and make sure to not be duped into marketing propaganda from large corporations wanting to take our money. Remember, we vote with our dollars, so make every vote count.

The topic of food can be as much about politics (sadly) as an election these days, so here a few tips to keep your mind at ease the next time you are heading out for grocery shopping:

1. Research

Take the time to read up on where the food you are buying comes from, how it was produced and who is profiting from your transaction. You will be surprised how many times you purchase an item that is labelled with one brand name when actually it is owned by some mega conglomerate based out of mainland China. We live in the information age, don be afraid to use it!

2. Support Mom and Pops

By supporting local health food stores or locally owned businesses, you are sending a message directly to big corporations that they aren't welcome to your hard-earned dollars. The world didn't start off with mega chain stores selling white bread for a dollar and it shouldn't be that way today. Support your local businesses and say no to grocery store shelves stocked with produce from every corner of the globe.

3. Buy Local

Sure, our country cannot grow citrus or avocados, but we do produce some great product year round. The key is to eat what is close to home, grown by loving hands with the intent of nutrition. The idea is to make logical food choices year round. If local strawberries will be out in two months time, forgo them until we know exactly what farm they came from, the name(s) of the farmer(s) that grew them and how far they had to come to get to your plate.

4. Buy Organic

Organic food should actually be called "FOOD." All food used to be organic then came a bunch of suits wanting to "save us money." Guess what, we may be spending less up front, but at what price? A penny now is a fortune later in medication bills, doctors visits and a whole host of other problems. Eating pesticide and chemical-laden foods is nothing but a burden on the world's food supply and will inevitably cost us more in the long run.

5. Spend

Good food isn't cheap and cheap food isn't good. We all must look at our lives and see what is of most importance to us. Is it our $7 mocha frappucino at the coffee shop or is it organic green vegetables? We all have choices to make in life and good food is an investment in yourself. When you fuel your body properly, anything is possible, including making a better living.

We are at time now where it is up to us to change the way we look at food and how we treat the world. It doesn't mean changing your food habits all at once; what it does mean is doing your best each and every day to try and create a more sustainable future for us, our children and their kids. Please choose wisely when you choose your food and always make sure to thank your local farmers.