How to Eat Organic on a Budget

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-11-55-22-amI hear it all the time, eating whole, not genetically modified, organic foods is so expensive, and yes, it can be if you’re not an educated and savvy shopper. I choose to eat organic and sometimes pay a little more for that option for health reasons. I don’t want the chemicals and hormones that are put in our foods to preserve them from bugs, elements, or make them larger and sweeter because I don’t know the long term effects of these substances. They are labeled “safe” but I always question who’s doing the ranking for the “safe” standard and what are their criteria.

There are several foods in the U.S. that are banned in other countries. Why? Different people are setting the standards. I personally, don’t take anyone on their word, but want evidence and proof for how the conclusion is drawn. The reality of the situation is the guidelines used by the FDA are highly suspect. We don’t have any long term research as to how these substances are effecting us. That being said, we then become the research subject. I am not willing to take that gamble with my health.

So, I make my vote for clean unadulterated food at the checkout. Does that mean sometimes I pay a little more? Yes. Does that mean that sometimes I can’t buy the watermelon because it’s not actually supposed to be in season? You bet. It also means that sometimes I can’t buy fresh oranges because the crop was destroyed by an insect. I do, however, have other options (and plan for other options) should this happen. That being said, I am also on a strict budget and need to make sure that my grocery bill is not burning a hole in my pocket, so I shop savvy and use 98% of everything I purchase. That means stems, seeds, pits, bones and all.

Pre-Plan. Set-up a meal plan. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary, but have your staples covered for the week. This will give you an idea of what you actually need when you go shopping. Look ahead and behind. Are you having company on a certain day. What do you already have in your refrigerator or cupboard? Use it or freeze it.

Eat in season. What fruits and vegetables are in season in your area? These are types of foods will be cheaper and easier to come by.

Check for local.
 Do you have a farm in the area that you can get goods from? Not only are you boosting your local economy, you are decreasing the amount of fossil fuel it takes to get food to your table.

Look for sales. Be flexible with your meal plan. Can you substitute kale for spinach because it’s on sale this week? Talk to your grocer about when they get shipments in and buy when they are trying to get rid of items in preparation for another shipment.

Buy in bulk. Can you buy more at one time and save? Freeze it or go in halves with your neighbor, sister, brother, grandmothers third-cousin, anyone that’s looking to do the same thing as you are will be more than happy to do this.

Shop online. I purchase A LOT of my dry goods and meat online. Things such as turkey, beans, grains, herbs and spices can be purchased in bulk online at a much lower price than in most grocers.

ice-1487180-640x480Preserve it. Freeze it, dry it, or can it. FREEZE IT. FREEZE IT! Don’t waste it freeze it. If there’s a sale on a vegetable that will freeze well, I purchase a lot of it and freeze what I’m not going to use. I also make large batches when I make stews or other things and freeze a portion for later meals. If there’s a sale on basil, I’ll purchase a lot of it and dry it.

Use everything. Almost 100% of what you purchase can be eaten if you know what to do with it. This takes some knowledge, but it’s easy to educate yourself now with the internet. I grind my avocado seeds and sprinkle in smoothies and salads. I make bone stew out of turkey bones (yes, eat the bones, it’s good calcium). I dry my papaya seeds and use them in place of pepper. Lemon peels, if not used right away, get preserved in sea salt to flavor meat. WASTE NOTHING! Not only are getting the benefit of the nutrients in these foods, but you’re also using everything you purchased. Would you throw your money in the garbage? I didn’t think so.

Eating non-GMO and organic is a lifestyle and takes practice and change. You’ll have huge successes and some failures along the way, but the journey is worth it


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