Integrating Organic Foods Into Your Diet



By Kyla Miller, R.H.N.;

Do you enjoy the taste and health benefits of organic food, but are concerned over the price? Unless you live in a warmer climate where food is easily grown year round, you will be paying more for organic food. However, if you are willing to substitute some food items and do some creative shopping, you can enjoy the freshness and goodness of organic foods without breaking your budget.


Why is organic more expensive?

The main reason that conventional foods are cheaper to buy is that you are paying for them in your taxes. Agrochemical agriculture is heavily subsidized by the taxpayer through the government, whereas organic farming receives very little or no subsidies at all.

Another crucial reason why organic food is more expensive is because there are more regulations for organic food. Organic food companies have to pay for the “organic” label, in order to sell their product as organic in stores. Therefore, it costs more money for companies to sell organic food than conventional food.

Organic food is more expensive right from the start. Organic crops yield fewer bushels per acre because they are grown without harsh herbicides or insecticides. This means that some of the product can be choked out by weeds or insects. It also costs organic farmers the same amount of fuel and machinery to till, plant, cultivate and harvest their crop as it does regular farmers, but as we know the yield is much lower. This also means there is a higher risk of losing all or part of a year’s crop.

Chemicals are a lot cheaper than human labor. A limit on pesticides, for instance, means more hand-weeding and tending.

Finally, while conventional farmers can use every acre to grow the crops that fetch the highest prices, organic farmers use crop rotation to keep their soil healthy. Instead of planting a crop on every acre every year, they rotate fields and plant cover crops that are ploughed to improve the soil’s nutrients for the long term. This is a vital process in order to sustain our environment.

Some tips on how to incorporate organic food into your diet

Rethink your food budget

If you want to make the transition to eating organic, but are on a tight budget, you are going to have to be ready to give up something in its place. One way of doing this is by adding up all the dollars you spend every month on food. This includes fast food meals, cups of coffee, bagels and even trips to vending machines. This small change could free up the money you need to buy the organic foods that you really want. Also, take a look at your other expenses to see if you can free up any other additional funds. Do you really need those extra 100 channels of TV?

Rethink your diet

Organic food is full of nutrients and is therefore often times more filling and satisfying then conventional foods. This means that while organic food is slightly more expensive, you will most likely be buying less of it. Meat is also very expensive. Would you consider eating less of it, or giving it up all together? This will free up quite a bit of grocery money.

Do some research

One of the most important things you will need to do is give up your dependence on conventional supermarkets. We are so fortunate to have the internet these days. By doing a simple internet search within your community and its surrounding areas, you may have a lot more choices for organic food than you realize. Once you’ve found one source of organic food, it will often lead to another. The organic community is largely run by word of mouth because everyone is excited to share what they’ve found. Ask your favorite organic restaurant or juice bar where they get their food. They may direct you to their distributor or let you purchase goods through some of their orders.


Shop at farmers’ markets
 
Farmers’ markets are great sources of fresh local produce. You will be purchasing items that are cheaper and fresher. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will soon realize that these farmers are friendly and excited to share their passion with you.



Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture program

When you buy a share in a community-supported agriculture program, you pay a portion of a local farm’s operating expenses. In return, you receive weekly, bi-weekly or monthly boxes of fresh fruits and vegetable according to the season. You are getting it straight from the farm, sometimes picked that morning. It is a great feeling to support local farms.

Join a buying club

A buying club is a great way to get the organic food you want at a cheaper price. In a buying club, you may be able to get 30 to 40 percent off the retail price. The members of a buying club purchase food and other organic products in bulk and then split the goods.

Buy big in-season

The best time to buy organic fruits or vegetables is at the peak of its growing season. Buying bulk at this time will be well worth your money. You can either share your bounty with friends and family or keep it all and freeze your leftovers.


Buy or make preserved foods in the off-season

In the winter, at least in cold climates, organic produce can increase in price. Organic preserved foods have been made using the organic bounty from the in season and are ready for you to enjoy through the winter. Including them into your meals will lesson the amount of fresh produce you will need.


Grow your own

Do you want to know the cheapest way to enjoy organic foods? Growing your own! You could have a lot or a little amount of space. It doesn’t matter. We can all grow something of our own. Organic seeds are readily available through local farmers, gardening centers, or online.

Shop online

Even though it is best to support local, sometime we can not find a local source for the organic food that we want. More than likely, you will be able to find it online. 

Be flexible

You may not always find what you’re looking for. Be ready to substitute different products for what is available and/or what is on sale. Sometimes, out of nowhere, a certain food product can increase dramatically in price. If you can afford it, go for it. If not, be prepared to walk away and choose an alternative.

Ease into organic

Begin the transition to organic eating with some of your favorite foods. Perhaps there are certain foods that you can really taste the difference when it is organic. If you are concerned about pesticides, you may want to substitute organic foods for conventional foods with the highest levels of pesticide residues. These include apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, apricots, pears, strawberries, spinach, peppers, celery and potatoes (for more info on pesticide levels on food click here). Starting slowly will set you on the path to improving your overall intake of nutrients.

Is there hope for lower prices?

More and more people are going organic and prices have been falling over the last few years. The more people buy, the more support and demand there is for it. However, we want to be careful about asking for prices which are unreasonably low for the organic farming community. This could potentially damage the quality of our organic foods and their wonderful nutrition. After all, the old saying stands true – You get what you pay for!

Your questions: Do you eat organic? Why or why not? (post your comments below)

Sources:
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About the Author : Kyla Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. She has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is currently studying to become a Reiki Master.

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

    Cold Food Displys

    ReplyDelete

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