Why I Prefer Wild Salmon Over Star Wars or Prada!
A little over a year ago, my partner and I decided to pay more attention to what we ate. We both have food allergies, and after seeing documentaries about the food industry, we wanted to eat healthy while, at the same time, sticking to our budget.
You may think that eating well and staying in budget don’t go together, but I disagree!
Today, we’re all about eating healthy food. Prior to our wedding, we both did a modified Whole 30 Challenge, which cut out sugars and grains. We switched to organic, which includes no genetically-modified foods.
The results were nothing short of dramatic. Earlier, when I ate a piece of cake, I would get a sugar high and then a sugar low. I would get headaches and feel terrible. Without the sweets (for which I have a particular affection), I began to feel better emotionally.
I USED TO EAT CHOCOLATE TO COPE WITH STRESS. NOW I TAKE A LONG WALK.
Of course, it came with a cost – it hit us in our pockets. In our first month of eating organic, we went way over budget.
By the next month, I figured out a meal plan routine, which helped, and I also learned a few tips to cut costs while eating organic:
I shop around. I found Whole Foods is less expensive and has more selection of organic foods than the Sprouts in my area. Going to Kroger/King Soopers is a better choice, but not always.
Prioritize. Sometimes, I can’t justify buying organic avocados or cabbage. I learned that the Environmental Working Group put out a list of the Clean 15, those fruits and vegetables that are least likely to retain pesticides, and the Dirty Dozen, those that you should avoid buying when they are conventionally grown.
Buy in bulk. The Whole Foods near me has a great bulk foods section where you can buy organic lentils, oatmeal, and more at cheaper prices. Spices, too! We often buy just the little bits of organic spices we need, and it only costs cents. Depending on your location, Costco also sells a variety of organic produce and other foods.
Buy only what you need. We end up going to the grocery store about twice weekly because our vegetables and fruits go bad quickly, even in the fridge. Produce is not meant to sit around. It’s meant to be eaten soon after picking, so we only buy what we need for a few days. Costco has a huge bag of organic frozen veggies that help when we can’t make it to the grocery store and need vegetables.
We don’t have access to a farmer’s market or our own garden, but those are both great options for cutting costs on organic food.
Small farmers may not have the organic certification from the USDA due to cost of receiving the certification, but it’s still a healthier, cheaper option.
Consumer Reports recently reported that organic produce is 47 percent more expensive than conventionally grown food, but it really depends on which variety of produce and where you’re buying. In the chart given here, I only compared prices at Kroger, but Trader Joe’s tends to have cheaper items overall.
Yes, side by side, they do seem a bit rich, especially the chicken strips! But what’s a few extra dollars, I would argue, in the long term when you can live each day feeling much better and perhaps avoiding some minor and major illnesses on the way?
Also, unless you want to or can afford to, I am not asking you to buy only organic.
We strive to do our best, but I can’t always justify buying organic avocados, when I know the conventionally grown are just as good.
Even so, I personally would give up the option to go to the movies or buy brand name clothes in favor of a wild salmon.