I've been doing some reading and research this summer on eating more organics. It started while reading "Master Your Metabolism" by Jillian Michaels. While there are definitely some extremes in this book, and it does get awfully scientific at times, it was a well-researched book that got me thinking. I also watched the documentary "Food, Inc." and I'm currently reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma".
The thing that has stuck with me the most from Jillian's book is one eating rule: If it didn't have a mother or grow from the ground, don't eat it. This works well with what you've probably heard before: when grocery shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store. That's where you'll find the foods that grow from the ground (fresh fruits and veggies) and had a mother (meats and dairy). The only things I venture to the inside aisles of the grocery store for are pasta, coffee, canned goods (beans, tomatoes, etc), paper products, and cat stuff.
I know eating more organically is expensive. So, here are some tips I've picked up to make going organic a little easier on the wallet.
1. Check out lists like "The Dirty Dozen", which shares the top 12 most pesticide covered items. These tend to be items where you eat the whole fruit/veggie even the skin.
2. Buy frozen. Some fresh organic produce is just way too pricey for me. So, I buy frozen for some things like raspberries and blueberries that I use in smoothies.
3. Visit a farmer's market. You can often ask the folks running the stand how their produce is grown. Many small farms do follow organic standards, but can't afford the USDA certification. Check out Local Harvest to find markets in your area. If you find food like organic raspberries for a good price, buy a bunch, put them on cookie sheets and freeze them!
4. Join a CSA. I love getting my fresh veggies every Friday from Goldfinch Farms. My friend Michelle and I split a share this year since it was our first year. We each paid $205 and get to pick up fresh stuff every Friday from June-October. The folks at Goldfinch grow everything organically, and it's fun figuring out how to use all the veggies!
5. If you choose to go organic with your beauty products, check out stores like TJ Maxx. I actually found a great organic body lotion for $4 and an organic body wash for $3 at TJ Maxx this week!
6. Plan ahead. Sit down on Sundays and plan your food for the week. If you go to the store armed with a specific list, you'll buy less and actually use it all.
7. Consider your grocery cart a cart full of votes! Ok, this doesn't actually lower your price. However, it makes it a little easier for me to pay more for organics. It's all about supply and demand. If we demand quality food, we'll get quality food. Everytime you pick the organically grown tomato instead of the pesticide sprayed, chemically ripened tomato, you are telling your supermarket you want organic food!
I haven't gone radically organic. I didn't throw out every item of non-organic stuff in my house. I'm instead choosing to slowly replace everything. When I run out of ketchup, I'll buy organic. When I bought pasta for a dinner this week, I bought organic. And sometimes, I just decide I can't spend the money on organic. I just can't spend almost $5 on a bag of organic shredded cheese yet, so I buy regular. But, since I drink milk every day, I do buy organic milk.
Just some thoughts I've been thinking about. Do with it what you will!