First of all, we need to clarify what exactly it means to eat organic. The term organic refers to the way products are grown and produced. Each country has its own regulation involving organic foods, but most of them agree that for crops, involving vegetables and fruits, to be considered 100% organic the must be raised without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Meat, eggs and dairy products can also be raised organically by following the rules of not giving them any antibiotics, growth hormones or any animal by products, they should also have access to the outdoors and be given an organic feed only.
Eating organic has a lot of benefits for example the products grown in this particular way have fewer pesticides, the food is fresher, and products are GMO-free. On the other hand, must people think that eating organic will be a pain for your wallet, but it doesn’t really have to be that way. If you want to start eating organic but don’t want to spend double of what you already spend on food don’t worry, we got you cover!
1. Know Your Products
A thing we should start doing when we want to change our lifestyle to create an organic eating habit is knowing which products labeled as organic matter the most. Studies have shown that there are products that contain a higher level of pesticides which are better to start buying organic. The list of this products includes apples, peaches, spinach, hot peppers, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, grapes, potatoes, nectarines, kale and cucumbers to mention a few.
On the other side, there is a list of products known as the “Clean 15” that are conventionally grown with the lowest amount of pesticides. The list includes avocados, asparagus, mushrooms, cabbage, sweet corn, kiwi, onion, papaya, pineapple, eggplant, mango, frozen sweet peas, grapefruit, cantaloupe and sweet potatoes.
2. Buy In Season
On the contrary of what happens with clothes when a product is in season it becomes cheaper. Especially because is an overproduction of the product that makes it more affordable for everybody. This will help you develop an organic way of eating since you can plan recipes based on those products that are on season saving money instead of just planning with products that you might not find or if you do they will be really expensive to shop and maybe not even that high of a quality.
If you don’t really know which products are available each season be sure to go online and check web pages such as www.seasonalfoodguide.org where you can find which products are on season according to the state you live in and for how long you can find those items.
3. Shop At The Farmer’s Market
From big cities to small towns most of them host a weekly farmers market where local farmers sell products they produce or from their families’ business. The farmer’s market usually takes place as an open-air street market which also makes it a nice trip to take if you have some free time and want to implement an organic eating habit.
Farmer’s markets are also a great choice since the products people sell are fresher than the ones at the supermarket, you will find seasonal products, cheaper products and a lot more variety that might make you become more interested in tasting different fruits and vegetables discovering new meals ideas! Plus, if you buy at the farmer’s market you will support family farmers support their small business and the family of their own.
4. Grow Your Own
A great tip to follow when you want to start an eating organic is to start growing your own stuff. You don’t have to have a big garden area or a lot of space since plants grow almost anywhere such as a windowsill or a porch as long as they are taken well care off. Herbs like basil, parsley, mint, lemongrass or oregano are easy to grow, expensive to buy and will take little room in your house. But you can also grow a variety of vegetables including lettuces, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and spinach that will save you money on a trip to the grocery store. Be sure to avoid using pesticide will growing your home crops and giving them the best treatment you can to avoid losing them.
Growing your own crops will be a really rewarding experience that you can share with your family, friends or neighbors and encourage them to start their own mini agricultural project. Imagine you have a few friends that have start their own home growing crops and you have one of your own you can create an exchanging community for sharing fresh and organic products that will save money to you all! If you have a bigger garden you can even buy a couple of chickens to have fresh and organically produced eggs to add to the list of things you won’t be buying at the supermarket anymore.
5. Shopping And Comparing
Don’t shop at the first place that is labeled as organic because it might result on you spending more money than it really was worth it. If you want to change you way of living to a more organic one take a day to do a comparison sketch of your regular supermarkets or the ones that are available at your city and the products you consume the most. For example if you tend to consume a lot of organic meat search the places that sell this product and make a comparison on which ones cost more and the ones with the lower prices so your shopping budget isn’t affected by higher prices.
Even though you need to remember that buying a lower price item doesn’t always means is going to be a super high quality one, the same happens with high price items, that’s why a good beforehand research is always a good way to start in this organic way of living. Some stores even have coupons and deals you can take advantage of to reduce your expenses more!