What we eat has a direct effect on our health. With the knowledge that high sugar and processed foods increase systemic inflammation and disease, there has been much excitement over the internet about organic foods and eating healthy the past few years, and there should be. However, when talking to patients and friends it seems like the biggest obstacle to adapting this lifestyle is cost.
Here are a few tips to help adapt an organic lifestyle without breaking the bank:
- Turn yogurt, sour cream, almond butter, and cottage cheese containers upside down when stored in the fridge. This creates a vacuum seal, keeping them fresh longer.
- Ferment your own veggies – It is easy to do and lasts forever.
- DIY - Make your own kale chips, smoothies, and vegetable juices. Grocery stores have a huge markup on pre-made items.
- Buy local produce when in season and freeze to save for out of season.
- Double recipes and freeze leftovers; this works great with soups and stews.
- Reduce meat and dairy consumption if you cannot afford organic.
- Use the "Clean 15" and "Dirty Dozen" lists available on ewg.org to help you navigate which products to buy organic. Don't waste money buying everything organic if it is not necessary.
- Do not buy pre-washed and ready to eat fruits and veggies, as they can cost twice as much.
- Buy unpackaged foods from bulk dispensers.
- Choose more inexpensive grocery store brand products - Regardless of the brand, they are all required to follow the same guidelines set forth by the USDA organic certification program if they contain the USDA organic seal and chances are that you won't be able to tell the difference between a brand name and store brand. Kroger and even Aldi carry organic produce. (Get that quarter ready)
- Find a farmers market near you through LocalHarvest.org or the USDA - get to know your local farmers, create a personal relationship, and negotiate prices.
- Plant an herb pot in your kitchen or somewhere convenient so you can always have fresh herbs on hand. Organic herbs are one of the most overpriced items at the grocery store.
- Placed limp celery, baby carrots, and radishes in water with a slice of potato to make them crunchy again.
- Keep all organic citrus fruits in the fridge – they will last up to 1-2 weeks longer.
Adapting organic foods into your lifestyle doesn't require breaking the bank. Try using one or two of these tips per week and start to see the savings add up!