Organics, organics, organics - FamilyEducation

Organics, organics, organics

January 09,2009

My 9 for '09:  "Using more organics without breaking the bank"

What *isn’t* organic these days?  I recently was shopping for some bird food to fill our feeder and found “organic bird food.” There is organic clothing, organic pet items, organic shampoo, and yes, organic food.

My interest in organics began when R was starting to eat solid foods. At the time I remember looking at my precious baby and thinking that I didn’t want anything artificial or the least bit contaminated in his little body. So I made my own baby food, using only organic ingredients. But as time went on, and he was eating table food, it became increasingly difficult to use only organics. 

Now I rely on lists such as the Daily Green’s lists on organic foods, the New York Times' "Five Easy Ways to Go Organic" article and lists of the most and least pesticide contaminated produce. These lists continue to help guide me in our food purchases each month. 

While I am not as dogmatic with the organic foods as I was when R was a baby, I continue to look for ways to expand our reach of obtaining inexpensive organic foods. Here are some of my tips on how to buy organic on a budget:

1.    Trader Joe’s. Their prices on organic foods, especially produce, are second to none. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, Walmart can also have good prices on organics.

2.    Buy frozen. Frozen organic vegetables are much more affordable than fresh, and have just as many nutrients are their fresh counterparts. 

3.    United Buying Clubs. This one I have yet to try, but a friend uses it to get her organics for a much better price. Basically the idea is to band together with other buyers in your area to get a wholesale price.

4. This is a natural and organic coupon and food information site. They have both printable e-coupons, and coupon mailers. Their coupons are amazing, and are a real money saver!

5.    Sales. Buy in bulk when items go on sale, especially meats that can be frozen.

If you aren’t quite ready to dive into the world of organics, consider trying the next item on my list:

Natural/No processed foods

Quite simply, natural foods are foods with ingredients from a farm instead of a factory.  They’re foods that have ingredients you can pronounce or have held in your hand…foods that don’t have any of what I deem “Ultra-funky ingredients” or UFIs.

It does crack me up, though, how certain foods are trying to tout their “natural-ness.”  I saw on a national brand nut container label last week, “Natural Almonds.” As opposed to those artificially made almonds, I suppose. Regardless, if you aren’t ready to dive into the world of organics, natural foods are a great place to begin.

Oh, and I haven’t skipped #3 “More Beans and Legumes as Proteins” on my list. I just am developing a recipe that needs a little weekend tweaking. 

Speaking of weekends, I hope you have a good one!