It is hard for me to believe that almost a year ago I bought almost NO FOOD that was Organic. A great deal of my first few years of being a mom (especially a stay at home one), was focused on saving money, since I was no longer contributing a paycheck each month, and grocery shopping was just one area where I found I could control costs…Our family did not eat awful back in those days but I would venture to say we weren’t eating really healthy, either. Fast Forward to 2010 and a little baby girl who could tolerate very few foods, and my outlook on food has really done a 180! I have always (in the back of my mind) known that fruits and veggies are sprayed with chemicals, but I guess until last year I chose to ignore it and believe that such a small amount surely couldn’t do much harm. That was then, this is now… when
REPORT are coming out stating that Pesticides and CONVENTIONAL foods can be harmful to our health, AND OUR CHILDREN’S.
Now ,unfortunately, our food budget has not changed…so my new PRIORITY of buying ORGANIC produce has had to be creatively implemented! I started with the DATA (cause remember I am a science geek in mommy clothes!). I just love the folks at Environmental Working Group, they put the science to the test and came up with this handy list- the DIRTY DOZEN and the CLEAN 15. Basically if you ALWAYS buy ORGANIC of the Dirty Dozen and buy conventional (non-organic) for the clean 15, they estimate you will only ingest about 2 pesticides per day versus TEN (if you eat non-organic dirty dozen produce)! YUCK YUCK YUCK! But I am so thankful for their LIST and iPhone App that helps me prioritize at the Grocery store! This article has some other great $ saving tips for Organic grocery shopping.
Speaking of the Grocery shopping… here is another HANDY tip when buying produce…organic and otherwise! LOOK AT THE STICKER!
The PLU # can tell you alot about what type of produce you are buying: This site has alot of great info like this- Although it is a bit upsetting to me that Genetically modified foods are not REQUIRED to be labeled as such…it is optional! So there is really NO way to know if what you are eating is GM origin or not, but you can almost bet if it is SOY, CORN or COTTONSEED derived then it is GM in the USA…. sad but true.
- Organic produce has a five-digit number beginning with a 9. Organic bananas, for example, would be given the designation of 94011.
- Conventional produce has a four-digit number beginning with a 3 or 4. Therefore, the number on conventionally grown bananas would be 4011.
- Genetically engineered produce also has a five-digit number on the label and begins with an 8. Again, the number on genetically altered bananas would be 84011.
Another money saving tip that has allowed us to buy organically on a budget: A DEEP FREEZE! This has been a life saver! Especially last week when Whole Foods ran a sale on Organic Whole Chickens for $1.69/lb a true value …so we took advantage of the 10 per person limit (thanks to Donna for the heads up on the Sale!) and stocked up! Our deep freeze is now full of CHICKEN to last us til summer time! It averaged out to about $6 a Chicken and considering the meat alone feeds our family of 4 for at least 2 meals…that is only $3/meal for the meat…not too bad!
If you are interested in educating yourself more about that little green ORGANIC lable…I found this website helpful. And though organic is not a perfect solution, it is a babystep in the right direction. LOCAL is best…but only if YOU KNOW THE SOURCE (aka the FARMER who picked it, watered it, planted it or fed it!)but that is just another BabyStep we are working on…slowly but surely!