How to Afford Organic

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Dear Reader;

In 2014, We have finally taken the plunge and have gone almost 100% organic.  Spending my time learning about fitness and nutrition has its down side.  You cannot unlearn something.  The things I know about food and our food supply, in particular (American food), is really hard to ignore.

I made huge lifestyle changes many years ago to healthy, but have continued to eat mostly conventionally grown food (with the exception of the dirty dozen), mostly because of expense, lack of selection and laziness.  BUT the more I read and learn, the more I think it’s contradictory that I will skimp on my family’s food supply because of the reasons listed above and simultaneously, shop for clothes or spend money on concert tickets, etc…  You probably get what I’m saying.

Priorities.

A while ago, I stopped buying meats for us and fish for us, mostly going vegetarian.  This was because of the information I had about our sick cattle, chicken, pigs, and the disgusting environment of fish farming.  If we couldn’t afford to eat 100% natural, grass-fed, wild caught, hormone and antibiotic free, we weren’t going to eat it at all.  It seemed much easier to make this shift.  Maybe it was because of the animal treatment effecting my moral compass or maybe it was because the regular grocery store meats didn’t taste good or agree with my system.  Either way, the switch was not painful for my family.  We simply ate more of other things, instead of meat.

I’m now ready to take the 100% clean food to the level it should be.   And I’ve learned to manage the expense somewhat.  That’s why I’m blogging today.  I hope to inspire you into thinking about living a clean food life, if possible.  This includes not eating GMO, but that’s another blog post.

I hate the statement “I can’t afford to eat healthy”.

Now I’ve moved on to remove the excuse “I can’t afford to eat organic” out of my life for good.

Try these tips that I use to keep my food budget affordable.  Let me know how it goes.  Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them!

Buy Bulk

When I visit my Costco, I zone in on their selections of organic produce, dairy and meats.  I admit, it’s limited, but you can find savings from the typical prices found at Whole Foods Market or other grocers.  I can usually save a few dollars on each of these items (usually a net savings of well over $20 per week):

boxes of organic baby spinach

large bags of organic baby carrots

per pound on grass-fed organic ground beef

cage free and organic brown eggs

organic milk, if you don’t mind it being 1% or whole

organic whole chickens and chicken breast

organic frozen fruits

organic greek yogurt

Of course, these are bulk items, so I only buy what I know we will use.  The meats can be frozen.  I plan my meals around whatever I’ve picked up at Costco.

Order Online

EVERYTHING can be found online.  Price shop online for those items you use a lot.  Organic: coconut oils, agave nectar, argan oil, bars, protein powders, etc… can all be purchased online for a big savings.

Check out this website:

Netrition  who has an A+ rating with the BBB, offers a flat rate shipping charge of $4.95 and only charges tax for residents in NY.

Google is your friend here.  Especially products you’ve tried from places like Whole Foods that zap your budget, but you like and eat frequently.

Choose In-Season

This is the gold standard savings advice for anyone, not just organic buyers.  Fruits that are in season are the most economic choices, sometimes saving you $1-$2 per pound on produce.  Tweaking your menu to use mostly in season fruits and vegetable is really the biggest savings tactic there is.  The growing season is different around the country.

Epicurious provides a this fantastic interactive guide to see what’s fresh near you, by the months.

Buy Frozen

Frozen food has been villianized somewhere along the line.  Fresh is not always best, according to scientists at the University of Georgia who conducted this study.  Plus the savings of several dollars on most items is great.  I buy an entire 4-lb bag of frozen cherries at Costco for around $12.  I have NEVER seen a pound of fresh cherries cost less than $4 at the store and that cost is for conventional.

Some of my favorite organic frozen foods are: cherries, blueberries, whole green baby spinach, pineapples, peaches, peas, lima beans, corn, edamame, green peas.

Another reason to buy frozen is because of its lack of availability in the fresh produce aisle.  When was the last time you saw organic edamame in your produce section?

The place I use the frozen produce the most is in my green smoothie. Take it straight from the freezer and put it in the blender.  It will lend ice like consistency with all the same nutrient and vitamin content as your fresh stuff.  Save the fresh stuff for eating.

Don’t Waste / Shop More Often

How many veggies and fruits do you throw away?  Let’s be honest?

Start shopping more often and buying less.  Use up what you have before shopping again.  I come up with some strange meals, sometimes.  My family is used to eating dinner consisting of strange combinations like spinach salads with everything from grapes to onions in them and grilled cheese with olives and eggplant as sides.  Use up what you have and stop throwing away.  HUGE savings. Plus, organic produce does cost more, so you should be less likely to toss it.

Find the Right Store

Sometimes, driving to the next town once a month is a better option than accepting your grocery supply.  If you do not have a good quality organic grocer, I suggest googling nearby towns.  Whole Foods is hands down, my favorite, but there are lots to choose from now, not like just a few short years ago.  Trader Joe’s also offers a variety of healthy, organic options.  I have also heard of Sprout and Natural Grocer.  My preference is Whole Foods, but I’d certainly look into other options if that were not available to me.

Here is an online option if you live in central Texas:

Greenling

Google for your area!

Shop the Local Farmer’s Market

Or even the next town over’s farmers market.

Our small town farmer’s market in little Ole Cedar Park, TX has a wonderful selection of grass-fed meats, organically farmed produce, yogurt popsicles, beauty products, household items, fresh-baked breads, gluten-free products… The list is endless.

Lots of times, you are saving money as well as the environment.  Let’s support our local economy and our family’s health, all at the same time.

STOP Buying the Processed Foods

Decide to go fresh, organic and non GMO.  Processed foods are bad for you.

They also don’t help your organic budget.  Stop buying the things that are bad for you so you can funnel that money into your healthy grocery store budget instead.  That is the place where you will find the stash of cash.  STOP buying what you don’t need so you can afford what you DO NEED.

It all comes down to: Priorities.

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