Thursday, May 2, 2013

Going Organic..How to Do It

Well, it is now May and my budget app just reset itself... with $2.00 left to spare from April!  Once again, I broke down my spending and over 66% of it was spent on groceries (just over $550), which is much better than the $700 I was spending!  What really helped me was planning out our menu every week and only buying what we needed.  Before, I was just going up and down isles and picking up things that we typically use and coming up with meals as I shopped.  This clearly was not not working; I ended up buying way more than I ever needed and it began to pile up in my pantry.  As I stated in a previous post, I go to Whole Foods once a month to stock up on organic/non-GMO items I cannot get at Giant Eagle.  Even though I just went to Whole Foods the middle of April, I decided to go again today to get my monthly trip there and to Target back to the first of the month.  This time, I only spent $267.00 (as compared to almost $400 last trip!).  I took a look at last month's receipt and figured out where I could cut back.  My most expensive purchase last month was Spectrum Organic Mayonnaise at $11.99 a jar!  Today, I picked up their non-organic mayonnaise and read that it was third party certified GMO free, so that was a savings right there (still $6.99 a jar, but worth it to me).  By reading labels closely you can sometimes find non-organic items that are still non-GMO certified.

I was having a discussion with my uncle about organic living, and he stated that it's good for those who have the wealth to afford it.  I got to thinking about this, and I believe it is not so much about wealth, but rather on smart spending.  My husband and I are both teachers, so by no means are we "wealthy."  So how do we do it?   I have decided to dedicate some of my upcoming blog posts to giving tips on how to  shift to a more organic lifestyle in baby steps, without breaking the bank.   First, before I give my first bit of advise, I should explain that one of the primary reasons we can afford a 90% organic diet is the fact that we do not spend money on sodas, snack cakes, cookies, sugary cereals, chips, and other unhealthy snack options.  90% of my cart is filled with foods from the stores perimeter (think fresh, raw foods). Neither one of us drinks, smokes or partakes in any other unhealthy habit that sucks money from our budgets.  I highly recommend looking at your pantry and taking note of what is filling your cabinets, (and eventually your family's bellies).  Where can you cut back?  The sugary soda filled with high-fructose corn syrup or artificial chemical sweeteners?  The greasy or sugary snacks that zap our children's energy?  If you permanently cross those things off your list, you have extra money to put towards healthy organic fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat.

Which brings me to my main point for today.  If I were to only be able to afford to switch to one organic food category, I would definitely go with meats, dairy and eggs.  These days animals are fed horrible combinations of food that aren't part of their natural diet and are often filed with GMO corn.  Cows are injected with growth hormones and antibiotics which then turn up in milk and muscle tissue.  Look for beef that comes from pasture-raised cows that have not been treated with rBGH (read more about this here in a previous post) and hormones. If you have to drink milk, I would highly recommend one that is not ultra-pasteurized nor homogenized.  The more treatments milk goes through the more unhealthy it becomes. We love Snowville Creamery--it's as close to raw as you can get here in Ohio, and even better the creamery is located here in Ohio along the Ohio River ($3.39 for a half gallon).  Another common brand here in Ohio is Hartzler Family Dairy (located in Wooster, Ohio).  This dairy bottles their milk in glass jars, which you can return for cash back or credit towards your next bottle. This milk tastes so fresh and natural! Another milk tip: go for the whole milk.  Skimming milk is another process that destroys more nutrients.  As for eggs, have you even been to a chicken/egg farm?  Talk about gross!  I was appalled by the living conditions these hens were facing...not to mention the filth!  Always look for free-range, vegetarian-fed, organic eggs.  They really do taste better and you will be amazed at the orange, not yellow, yolks! Yes, I know you can get a whole gallon of milk for less than $3.39 and a pound of cheap ground beef for $1.99 per pound, but if you give up that 12 pack of soda, those 3 boxes of snack cakes or a bag of Oreos, switching to organic can be manageable!

Anyone up for this challenge?  Make this change for your health and the health of your family, while standing up to unhealthy practices the FDA has allowed to enter the food industry.

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth, just wanted to say I'm loving reading your blog! As a new mom, my thoughts (or lack of thoughts) about the food I was consuming are changing now that I breast feed and am introducing foods to my little one. We've made the switch (mostly) to organic produce (*always* the dirty dozen, but most others, too) and am going to be making the switch to organic dairy and meats. I'm so happy you mentioned milk brands to look in to.