I have studied purchasing organics through information I researched from dozens of top nutritionists, Slow food advisors, physicians that I work with, Whole foods tours & seminars, and practical, hands on experience. What I have discovered is that with a little work you can feed your family at least 75%-80% healthier by June in 2010 and yes, on a budget. Here are my top 5 ways to eat better and save more.
1. Know the difference between all-natural and organic. In my opinion, all natural is a complete farce. As long as the ingredient came from planet earth it can be considered “natural”. DON’T believe the hype. “Organic” however is regulated heavily by the USDA. To be labeled “organic” the food item was grown or raised in a completely chemical free environment. This means no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or artificial ingredients are in the food. THIS IS THE WAY TO GO and a great money saver versus some “all natural” items.
2. Study the “dirty dozen” and make these items the place you start buying organic items as they will have the most impact. The dirty 12 are worst food items that carry the highest rating of pesticides. BUY THESE ITEMS ORGANIC: (listed most harmful 1st) Peaches, Apples, Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Kale, Lettuce, Grapes, Carrots & Pears. You can find out more about this on www.foodnews.org
3. Consider Generics. Meijers has a Meijers Organics brand. Even Whole Foods has “365” which features organic items as well.
4. Sales and Coupons. Most shoppers have gotten away from shopping with wisdom, but if in 2010 another one of your goals is to be a better steward with finances, you may need to go back ‘to the ole time way”. Clipping coupons and stocking up on sale items has saved me up to 50%-60% on my regular grocery bill. My biggest savings has been regular price $178.54 ~total purchase price: $54.30. I will never forget that moment of triumph. Even organics go on sale.
5. MEAT: Beef is one of the biggest culprit of hormones & antibiotics and can be the most expensive organically speaking. One way to cut cost is to serve a few meals without meat (ex. veggie lasagna, add extra 2% cheese & extra sauce they won’t know the difference). Buy other organic meats like chicken, fish or lean pork. Or look for beef that is listed as antibiotic or hormone free. Although the animals may have eaten regular feed, the meat would still partially qualify with the other organic requirements.