These days, it seems as if you can hardly turn on the TV or your computer without hearing about the benefits of organic foods. And the truth is that there’s a lot to be said for eating organic. From a health standpoint, you’re ingesting fewer pesticides and unnatural chemicals. From an environmental perspective, you’re helping prevent toxic chemicals and greenhouse gasses from entering the ecosystem. But when you look at it from your wallet’s point of view, you might feel as if these benefits are out of reach. After all, you’re probably already stretched from the rising cost of petrol or other random bills, such as life insurance.
Fear not! It is possible to eat healthy organic food on a budget. Let’s look at a few ways to get the best bang for your organic buck:
Prioritize Your Organic Spending
Although eating entirely organic is an admirable goal, it isn’t always a possibility – whether because you don’t have ready access to organic foods or because you simply don’t have the budget to shop at Whole Foods every week. Don’t let this stress you out – you can still reap the benefits of eating organic even if you aren’t able to do it 100% of the time.
For example, which product do you think has a higher probability of being contaminated with pesticides – an apple or a box of wheat crackers? Clearly, the more likely candidate is the apple, which has probably been sprayed with a variety of chemicals throughout its life.
Following this example, you’ll get the most value for your money if you focus your organic spending on items that are likely to carry the highest concentration of pesticides and other chemicals. In most cases, this means stocking up on organic produce and meats before most boxed goods, although you’ll want to tailor your spending plan to your family’s priorities. For example, if you go through gallons and gallons of milk each week, upgrade this one item to organic status. Or, if there’s a particular cereal you consume frequently, try to find an organic equivalent for this item before worrying about other products.
Check Out Local Farmers’ Markets
If you have a farmers’ market in your area, check it out – you’ll likely find an amazing selection of organic produce available for a fraction of what it costs in all-organic shops. But this isn’t the only benefit – in addition, you’ll have the chance to interact with the farmers themselves and learn more about where your food comes from. You’ll also help to cut back on fuel usage and emissions, as most chain organic foods stores actually ship their produce in from farms around the country, depending on which items are in season in your area.
Join a CSA Farm
A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm is a farm-share program that enables you to “buy in” to an organic farm. For an upfront payment, you’ll own a “share” in the farm – once the farm starts producing during the summer, you’ll receive a heaping box full of farm-fresh goodies every week. Although the upfront cost may seem high, divide the cost over the number of weeks you’ll receive produce throughout the summer. You’ll likely see a significant cost savings over purchasing each item individually in an organic store.
There are only two ways to fill your dinner table: organic and non-organic. You are either feeding your family with the goodness of nature or a chemically injected, genetically altered version of nature’s best. Although it can be cheaper and quicker to accept the latter, the saying “you get what you pay for” is the truest statement ever used in this context. It is true that organic versions of most foods are slightly more expensive; this is because the farmers and producers of these foods are using more expensive methods to give you the best quality. It does cost almost twice as much to grow a crop of organic produce but the health effects are well worth the price. The non-organic version of most produce is either riddled with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or genetically altered to be disease-free and pest-free.
Tomatoes, potatoes, corn, soy, yellow squash, papaya, and certain oils are more than likely genetically engineered. Most unlabelled, non-organic produce is guaranteed to be altered genetically. The problems do not lie in the farmer’s fields alone. Most non-organic meats are tainted with chemical residues.
The differences are like night and day. With the conventional farmer the growth of their plants are promoted with strong chemical fertilizers, most of which poison and deplete the surrounding soil. The organic farmer uses a wide array of natural fertilizers, to not only promote the health of the plants, but also the health of the soil; compost or natural manure are the most commonly used natural fertilizers. A conventional farmer will readily use dangerous chemical insecticides to reduce pest infestation and disease. The organic farmer will use unconventional methods such as specific insects and birds, mating disruption methods, or general traps in order to reduce pest infestation and disease. These methods can be more costly, but the benefits are noted not only in the surrounding environment, but also in the quality and safety of the plants. Conventional farmers also use chemical herbicides to keep weeds at bay. The organic farmer will rotate crops, till the land, hand weed, or even lay mulch to manage weeds. The harmful chemicals used by conventional farmers remain on the plants even as they reach the stores from which they are purchased by consumers; most chemicals are created in such a way that wind and rainfall do not remove the chemical from the skin of the fruit/plant.
The vast majority of American food and beverage products have nasty little secrets. You may be surprised to find out that even large, unsuspected, corporation such as Coca-Cola used genetically engineered additives in their products. The words ‘genetically engineered’ can raise thoughts of laboratories, test tubes, mutations and gene splicing. This is not too far from the truth. By altering the genetic make-up of specific organisms a bio-engineer can actually create a patentable creation from a non-patentable thing, such as potatoes. Since items that come from nature are vulnerable to illness, and susceptible depending on weather conditions, genetic engineering can create organisms that can survive intolerable conditions and live disease-free.
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One of the most important organic products to purchase is meat. No matter what type, cut, or variation of meat you prefer the importance of buying organic meat is obvious. The inescapable truth behind non-organic meat is a hard truth to accept. The average American has a vision of what a farm looks like. When we think about a cattle farm we envision fields with cattle running free, troughs of clean water, green grass for grazing as far as the eye can see. [Read more →]
Why Is Organic So Expensive?
This editorial was contributed by Kelsey Allen, who writes about organic food coupons.
Organic food has always been a little more on the pricey side within the grocery industry, but many people find it worthwhile to invest in a product that they believe will benefit their health in the long run, regardless of price. However, with the economy taking a downturn, many consumers of organic products have begun to rethink their spending habits on organic food that maybe hasn’t truly proven itself yet to be healthier in the long run. [Read more →]
Tags: costs behind organic foods·organic food·organic food prices rising·organic prices
Making the Switch to Organic Wine
We are all aware of the organic revolution that has overtaken most of the country, involving organically-grown food and body products. This has begun to transfer over into many different realms, including the wine market — a product that some may have assumed difficult to make organically. However, the new health boom that is taking place has led to different theories as to what constitutes “healthy” living.
According to the National Organic Program, organic wine is a “wine made from organically grown grapes without any added sulfites.” Before this specific definition, many organic wines were made from organic grapes, although they also contained [Read more →]
Tags: organic wine·organic wines·sulfite free wine·what is organic wine·why is organic wine organic
What Are Flax Seeds and How Do They Help My Diet?
Flax seeds come in two basic varieties, brown and yellow/golden, with most types having both similar nutritional values and equal amounts of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax called Linola or solin, which engages an entirely different oil profile while also being very low in omega-3.
Although brown flax can be consumed as readily as yellow (and has been for 1000s of years), it is better known as an ingredient in fiber, paints and cattle feed. Flax seeds produce a vegetable oil known as flaxseed oil (or linseed oil); Flaxseed oil is one of the oldest commercial oils; this solvent-processed flax seed oil has been used for centuries as a drying oil in both varnishing and painting. [Read more →]
Tags: brown flax seeds·flax·flax seeds·flax seeds healthy·flax seeds nutrition·organic flax seeds·yellow flax seeds
Earth Hour 2009
On March 28, at 8:30 pm local time, one billion people will go dark for Earth Hour. World Wildlife Fund is asking individuals, businesses, governments and organizations around the world to turn off their lights to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions.
Sign up to turn your lights off for Earth Hour 2009 and join groups associated with and representing major cultural landmarks and institutions around the globe including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sydney Opera House, Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens among others.
And all you foodies, cooks, gourmets and general lovers of all things in the kitchen or at the table — why not go the extra mile and turn off the oven, the toaster, the coffee pot and whatever else you might have appliance-wise in the kitchen. C’mon. It’s only an hour and we’ve only got one planet.
Copyright 2009 Matty Byloos & Easy Ways to Go Green
Tags: earth hour·earth hour 2009·lights out for earth hour·march 28 2009·world wildlife fund
Food Nutrients Made Easy With Calorifica
In case you haven’t noticed, search-engine based and directory-based web destinations are popular, mostly because they are useful tools the rest of us find handy, and things we can’t easily make but maybe always wish they existed. Calorifica, the Food Nutrient Search Engine, is another such project.
Search engine based and brought to us by the same creators of Blackle, the Energy-Saving search engine powered by Google Custom Search, Calorifica is really a handy, neat tool to have at your disposal. [Read more →]
Tags: assessing food nutrients·calorifica·food calorie counter·food calories·food nutrient search engine
How Do I Know the Proper Temperature for Cooking Meat?
When you cook meat, roast chicken, fry up a porkchop or barbecue a steak, it’s always tough to know when you’re done. You don’t want to undercook a chicken. Similarly, you do not want to burn your barbecued tri tip. So how do you know when you’ve hit the perfect spot?
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Tags: free range chicken·meat roasting temperature·organic meats·proper temperature for cooking meat·roasting meat·temperature for cooked chicken