I’ve been talking a lot about the importance of organic food for long-term health so I thought I would share some tips to help you incorporate more into your daily life. Most people are aware that conventionally grown fruit and vegetables have pesticides and other chemicals sprayed on them and that this might be somewhat toxic. But there is more to eating organic food than simply eliminating toxins (not to take away from that because eliminating toxins is VERY important for any health outcome). Most of the food you see in supermarkets has been stored in dark containers, and artificially ripened, sometimes a year after it was picked. Imagine what impact this might have on its nutrient profile. If food is designed to deliver nutrients, I would argue that eating conventional food is like eating processed food!
So when I start to explain this to people, the most common objection I get is “organic food is just too expensive”. It’s true that organic food can cost more, but I think that it is an investment in long-term health and vitality. Having said that, I know it is a genuine concern, so I thought I would share some ways to eat more organic food without breaking the bank.
Eating Organic on a Budget
Shop at Farmer’s Markets. Farmer’s Markets are by far the cheapest and easiest way to get local organic and biodynamic food into your life. They are a great way to interact directly with the grower and find out exactly how they are farming their produce. Most Farmer’s Markets have organic vendors that are there not only for commercial reasons but also for the love of their produce and the philosophy behind it, this means it’s significantly cheaper than the organic supermarkets.
Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen. If getting 100% organic food on the table is a challenge, then why not focus on ensuring you buy the dirty dozen organic. You can buy “conventionally grown” produce, focusing on the clean fifteen.
Grab the Bargains. Most organic supermarkets have aging stock that they need to clear, this is a great opportunity to buy expensive produce at a fraction of the price. This applies particularly to fresh fruit and vegetables but also to some pantry products. If you’re buying this way, ensure you are ready to eat or prepare the food as it doesn’t have the shelf-life of the rest of the fresh food in the store.
Plan Ahead. So much of our food is wasted because we don’t consume it before it expires and most of my clients tell me they shop on a daily basis for the produce they need. Planning out our meals and preparing them in advance is a great way to save money and avoid food wastage. You can also use discounted expiring produce in slow-cooked meals, and for meals you are planning to freeze and consume later.
Grow your Own. If you have a patch of land, the cheapest (and some would argue most rewarding) way to increase your consumption of pure organic foods is to grow it yourself. Even if you have limited space you can now purchase raised garden beds to fit in tight spaces. Growing your own vegetables allows you to eat seasonally and to ensure the produce is 100% organic all the time.
I hope this helps you increase the amount of organic or biodynamic produce you bring into your household. Eating seasonally and organically is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to improve your health.