I started eating organic food almost one year ago. I had no idea how great I was going to feel after making the change. It is pretty amazing how a simple food change has made such a huge difference in my energy levels and overall health. The reason I made the change was I started studying Holistic Nutrition at the Energetic Health Institute. Learning how our bodies react to chemicals and pesticides was a big eye opener for me.
I thought I was eating healthy when I started eating mostly vegetables and whole grains and cutting back on meat consumption. I wasn't eating processed foods but I wasn't eating organic either. There are studies that show conventionally grown food that contains pesticides impacts our health. The Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health found that pesticides used on fruit, vegetables, wheat and rice can lead to respiratory problems, memory disorders, skin conditions, depression, cancer and neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
The good news is when you make the move to eating organic, you can eliminate pesticides in your body very quickly. One study showed that in only 6 days of eating organic foods, people reduced the amount of pesticides in their body by 40%. This is incredibly encouraging! It means we can remove pesticides from our bodies very quickly, allowing our bodies to get healthy fast.
Most people tell me that they can't afford organic food and that it is very expensive. But that is no longer true! Organic products are becoming more mainstream which means prices are dropping, retailers reduce prices on organic food and manufacturer coupons are plentiful. Like any grocery shopping, knowing prices are key. I often see organic products at the local Costco that are on sale, which means the price is even better compared to regular grocery stores. Even websites like Amazon and Vitacost will have organic products on sale or at a discount.
Some retailers offer organic products such as nuts, grains and rice in loose bulk sections. This allows you to save money because you only scoop as much as you need. I use this option if I know I won't be using a lot of an item for a specific recipe. Then I don't have to buy a whole bag of something like organic wild rice and have it sit in the pantry for a couple of months.
Don't forget to shop for organic products in the canned and frozen aisles. I buy a 12 oz bag of broccoli, cauliflower or chopped spinach for $1.99 - $2.29. This can be much cheaper than buying fresh broccoli or cauliflower. Also, canned vegetables such as green beans or corn can be very inexpensive. What I love about canned and frozen veggies is the convenience. The veggies are already chopped so all I have to do is add them to a recipe. Another aspect of using frozen veggies is how easily they adapt to sauces or casseroles. Since frozen vegetables have a low flavor profile, they are great to use with marinades and sauces.
A benefit of eating organic that translates into savings is the nutrient density. Organic food has higher nutrients than conventional foods. This means you get fuller faster. When you get fuller faster, you don't have to buy as many vegetables or as much meat. A smaller portion size also means you will lose weight. This is a great side-effect of going organic! All you have to do is to eat 80% organic at every meal. You'll notice that you don't need to eat as much to be full. Following the rule of 80% organic also means you will save money. It gives you the opportunity to combine non-organic food that may be on sale with organic food.
As I mentioned, organic products are so mainstream you can find generic brands offering organic products. This is another easy way to save money. After all, buying a generic brand of broccoli that is going to be cooked with other vegetables or in a sauce doesn't need to be from a fancy name brand. Usually the generic brand is right next to the national brand. Compare the prices to take advantage of the best deal. Buying produce in season is a great way to save money when buying organic. This is more than likely a strategy you use when buying conventionally grown products. Use the same strategy to save money on organics.
Another way to save when eating organic is to only eat meat for dinner, if at all. Eating more vegetables than meat improves your health significantly. The Mayo Clinic reports that people who eat red meat are at an increased risk of death from heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Organic meat, which is higher in Omega-3's than non-conventional meat, still contains fat and is high in calories. If breakfast and lunch are plant-based, you can save more money because meat is only served at dinner.
I know you may be thinking you can't get enough protein from vegetables. This is just not true. There are plenty of vegetables that can be paired with grains and beans for a lunch that is high in protein. For breakfast, think about making smoothies with a protein powder or overnight oats with frozen organic blueberries in them or making muffins. One of my favorite quick cooking organic mixes is Foodstirs. They have muffins, cookies, brownies and oat bar mixes. It allows you to make a quick healthy organic breakfast or snack.
I hope this article makes you think differently about organic foods being too expensive to eat. Organic food can be inexpensive when you know your prices, use coupons and think differently about how much and when to eat meat. Once you make start eating organic, I know you will feel so good that you won't go back to conventionally grown food. As with any lifestyle change, take it slow. I do not advocate throwing out all of the food in your pantry. Start with the next grocery trip. Buy organic produce and pair it with the grains already in the pantry. Buy less meat and eat it only for dinner.
It only takes 21 days to make a new habit. Starting slow gives you time to adjust and look for deals while shopping. Pretty soon you'll be organic and you won't even realize it!
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