Simply stated, there are chemicals in your food source, you can’t see, you can’t taste and you are not told they are there. From a clinician stand point, this is a difficult and hot topic. Its important to weigh the risk verses the benefit. With a central focus on autoimmunity and allergies in our household, choosing organic foods is a priority. It is also concerning that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and its affiliates suggest that the risk of ingestion of pesticides for children exceed that of an adult and can have an impact on the childs’ brain development, specifically IQ, perceptual reasoning, and non-verbal problem solving skills. More information can be found at Pesticide Exposure in Children. Being from New Hampshire our childhood cancer statistics are DOUBLE that of the national average!
As a family of 4 the cost of groceries is, “do-able”. We spend and average of $100.00 to $150.00 per week giver or take. For our family and for many clients I work with, COST is a HUGE factor when it come to the choice and the ability to purchase organic food. I often here, is it really worth the price tag?
While some days I like to live by the notion that at least there is food in the house, most days that doesn’t work very well, for me or for anyone else. I’m a planner and in the world of mom-hood my well intended plans don’t always manifest.
There a few things I can control however, when it comes to choosing the food in the house and staying on a budge.
- Choose wisely who you go shopping with… I personally find the smallest amount of time when I don’t have the kids. This means that I squeeze in time after work, a doctors appointment or hope they want to stay with dad, or the grandparents for an extra hour or two. I’m smiling as I write this with a mild chuckle because this is a rarity, but brings such pleasure — a coffee, a cart and some peace and quite = Bliss. The reality is, if I do have the kids with me, or anyone else for that matter, I get distracted, add snacks to the cart and before you know it, I have a whole cart of food, I never intended to buy and have spent far more then I have budgeted for.
- If the above can’t happen, I’m purchasing my groceries on-line. This isn’t my favorite means but time with my children is one of my precious assets. Truthfully I have had great experiences with the items I receive, without concerns related to fresh produce, meats or replacement items as needed. Shopping online also allows me to stick strictly to my budget within the chaos of my own home.
- Regardless of how we get our groceries – I ALWAYS use a list. I plan meals for each day of the week and do my best to stick to them. I account for meetings, sporting events and dance and always plan for one night to order out or enjoy a rare moment as a family. I encourage you to do the same if you are not already. Having a list keeps me on the straight and narrow. I only buy what we need and it prevents a trip to the local market that always comes with a higher price tag.
- Take the time each week to look at the sales flyer. I know this takes time, approximately 5-10 minutes to be exact and its right on-line. I’m sorry to state the obvious but you just took longer then that to read this post — you could have saved yourself enough to buy your specialty coffee you’d love to be sipping at the moment. From there I plan my meals around what is on sale. Its not always perfect, but there is no perfect in our home.
- I alternate between our local grocery store and our specialty health store, every other week. I always have to have gluten-free alternatives in the house and have found that most of these products are less expense at the specialty stores. Here I also purchase our grass fed meats and any “special” items I get for the kids, I’ve done the price comparison and it truly is worth it.
You can opt to purchase your organic products at the regular grocery store, but use caution. In my experience doing so actually ends up costing me more. Of course, if the season allows, it might be worth your while to stroll your local farmers market and spread some love to the locals. These foods will be more nutritionally dense and ultimately cost less.
NOT EVERYTHING you eat has to be organic.
Its important to understand that organic food does not mean without chemicals. Simply stated. What organic means is there is a specialized list of approximately 25 chemicals that are allowed to be used in the soil and/or on the crop that is being produced.
In general non-organic crops are exposed to upward of 700 pesticides from ground to table.
Now this might not seem important and in fact may seem very distant as we purchase our foods from the market. Sadly what looks safe and healthy likely holds hidden dangers.
How do you choose.
Purchase “ Regular” for The Clean Fifteen
The Clean 15 are a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that have been proven to have limited presence of pesticide inside, NEVER greater then 4 pesticides when the fruit and/or vegetables when NOT grown in an organic environment.
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet peas
Purchase Organic for “The Dirty Dozen”
These 12 items — have tested to have the highest amount of pesticides when not grown organically. As a matter of fact 98% of these items had at least one pesticide present during this years study. Our home favorite, strawberries topped the list for another year in a row containing greater then 20 Pesticides in a single strawberry– ouch. Spinach tested to have 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop. (California added hot peppers for a total of 13)
RECAP — Budgeting Tips
Shop sales – this is hugely important; while I know it takes time to get used to it will save you in the long run.
Eat what is in season – you can be assured you will pay less due to availability and it will be the freshest choices you have available.
Seek out the local farmers market for organic growers – the less time a product has in transport the more nutrients it retains and the less it cost. (consider it free shipping).
In a pinch – Look for the organic canned and/or frozen options (in its own juices). While not as nutritionally dense as the fresh alternative, the cost saving and usability is sure to please.
For times when your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase organic simply do your best. Remember to always rinse your fruits and vegetables prior to cooking, serving or consuming. Diluted Basic H is great money saving tool to take the place of special fruit or vegetable rinses that are on the market today. Simply spray, rinse and your ready to go.
Have more questions? Need support. Nutrition guidance. Please feel free to reach out.