Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Organic on a budget?

eating healthy on a budget can sometimes be a challenge. it is often the biggest excuse people make not to eat healthy, "i don't have the money", "i can't afford organic". and i'll be honest, i have made that argument many times especially when it comes to buying organic. a lot of people think it's overrated or a waste of money. and when you don't really think about what you are really eating, it's easy to turn the other cheek and eat whatever is the cheapest. and we have been guilty of that for a long time.

with our new lifestyle we are eating lots of fresh fruit and veggies which has been taking a toll on our budget. we avoided buying organic by planting a small vegetable garden and have been washing our non-organic produce really well(which reduces but doesn't eliminate pesticides) but our small garden hasn't produced much crop yet and it probably isn't big enough to sustain us through the summer. so we have skirted around buying organic, trying to hold on to as much of our money as possible. we shop at our local farmer's market whenever possible, but we have found it so hard to spend extra on local and organic produce sold in stores and pass up non-organic strawberries for 99 cents in the grocery store. i am slowly realizing that strawberries for 99 cents might be easy on our pockets now, but in the long run we are only hurting ourselves. the pesticides that soak into the produce we eat on a regular basis is so harmful.

Dr. Axe has a great article i just read which has helped convince me to grow more of our own food, buy organic for certain foods, and eat more local produce. Dr. Axe has included a list in this article provided by the Environmental Working Group of the "Dirty Dozen" & "Clean 15". this is a condensed list of the top foods that you NEED to buy organic and 15 foods that are "okay" to consume non-organic in order to save money. therefore you can still stay on a budget while eating healthy. you can read Dr. Axe's article HERE, and check out more info on the dangers of pesticides and why you should avoid them HERE for more in depth info, but here is the list:

WORST(buy these organic): celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes(imported)
BEST (lowest in pesticides): onions, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mangos, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potato, honeydew melon

another option for eating healthy on a budget is becoming a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). basically you pay a membership amount generally $400 - $700 for the growing season and in turn you will receive fresh produce from a local farm once a week. some CSA's offer weekly programs so you don't have to pay the whole fee upfront. we have looked into them before, but in the past they seemed too expensive. this of course is before we realized the dangers of what we were eating. when it comes down to it $400 for a weekly supply of fresh and in most cases organic produce over a 6 month period is a great deal. you can find out more info about CSA's and how to join one in your area HERE. we are considering doing a weekly payment option and getting produce, meat, and eggs. this in combination with our little garden should help us get through the growing season more healthfully.

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