So by now you are probably cross eyed with my GMO talk. I promise this one will be the last…. For a little while!
I’ve said it before- we are an 80/20 family. I try my best to follow Weston A. Price and balance our home with nutritious grass fed, organic, WHOLE meals, being aware of what each ingredient can do for our bodies. The goal is for it to fuel us. But being realistic- organic is expensive. It’s like that shiny, new toy and everyone wants it but it’s only available in limited quantities.
The truth is- that is kind of how it works. Conventional markets have diluted the organic market so much. They make it so easy to mass produce using pesticides and plant strains of resistant seed that the quality food IS expensive and more labor intensive. In turn, making it harder for the organic farmer to survive. But, not without a good fight. Real farmers are stubborn and have thick skin! They are determined and relentless and I am thankful for that.
The difference in “investing” in organic, though, is life changing and so delicious.
Step 1: Knowing what to buy organic and what is not necessary can impact that grocery bill BIG time!
Down here in South Florida we have our seasonal foods. Much like other states, each harshness zone specializes in different varieties of fruits and veggies.
Locally we can get tomatoes, avocado, mango, cucumber, citrus and bananas year round if we choose. While seasonally we get our strawberries, blueberries and artichokes. Affordability in our family is HUGE.
We are a new family of five. Luckily C3 is coming of age into her choice of food, but hasn’t made a grand debut. Thank God for that because C2 can put away some groceries. So in order for us to afford to eat organic I did some research (Google needs a cape at this point).
The dirty dozen are the twelve top GMO foods produced. These are foods I always buy organic: apples, strawberry, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines (imported), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas, potatoes, hot peppers and kale or collard greens. These produce selections have the highest risk of pesticide exposure.
There are items, known as the “Clean Fifteen” that have the lowest pesticide exposure and can be affordable to purchase conventionally. They include: avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, cabbage, sweet peas-frozen, onion, asparagus, mangoes, papaya, kiwi, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
I also have made myself aware of what the best places are to shop for the right foods. Costco, Publix and Whole Foods have lots to offer, it can be costly when you blindly purchase it all from one store.
We purchase our meats (grass fed, when possible) from Whole Foods or Costco. Rice and Quinoa from Costco and most of our organic produce are from Whole Foods, Publix or a local organic farmers market I swear by. We buy organic milk when we can, and snacks by non-GMO companies like Annies, Happy Baby, Plum or Earths Best for the kids.
For me it is totally worth the drive (with a game plan, of course) to all three stores. It’s also the most cost efficient. But find what works for you. That will be the best.
Step 2 would be to (as I have said before) READ YOUR LABELS.
If you cannot understand it in context of what is labeled “ingredients”- chances are it was intended for you to lose interest and throw it in your basket anyway.
Cooking from scratch seems like such a huge undertaking. Honestly, it is awesome. It takes the same amount of time for you to cook rice from scratch than it does to cook it out of bag.
My most recent discovery- sweet potato fries. Not only is it less expensive than the freezer section, but I can do it the same amount of time and they taste so much better.
Step 3 would be to buy in bulk when possible.
Obviously, don’t run out and purchase ridiculous amounts of perishable foods that you can’t consume in a timely fashion. However, I am a really big fan of freezing. I freeze everything. Vegetables, fruits, butter, bread, meat, homemade tomato sauce, leftovers, delicious sauces and I even prepare freezer meals in advance to cut down on when I don’t want to do anything. And I will hopefully one day learn how to can, but Rome wasn’t built in one day.
Lastly, step 4- THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP…. Find YOUR reason.
Find your reason to move in the direction of healthy eating and education. Knowledge is power and when you understand what we are being sold on you’ll understand that we perpetuate disease like cancer, auto immune disorders, ADD, ADHD, digestive and skin disorders.
We have the power to change our health and finding a reason will be the only way you will make a change. For me, it was my kids and the cancer surrounding us, killing off and disabling family members and friends. My kids was reason enough, at first. And then I educated myself on cancer and the links to food (hint, hint start googling) and I couldn’t stop the research. Sure, I may be curvy and thicker by eating whole nutritious foods and fat. But damn it I won’t be pencil thin in the long run from foods filled with chemicals I can’t even pronounce, metastasizing cells in my body faster than I can fathom like the Incredible Hulk.
WHATEVER IT IS… Find your reason. Change your lifestyle and let’s put the bad days of chemical foods behind us! LET US PUT DISEASE BEHIND US!!!!!!
So as I step down off my soap box, remember:
Little changes every month make for huge strides in the long run.
Good Luck on your healthy, new adventure!
Jenn – The Naturalist Mom
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