Before I had my baby I always tried to eat healthy but I rarely purchased organic foods. I bought some here and there but usually organic produce was more expensive and I wasn’t sure if I really should invest in it.
After having my daughter, eating as clean and healthy as possible became a priority, even more so after I watched this video on how babies are now born with chemicals they inherit from their mother. Also, I breastfeed my babies so everything I eat, they eat. I don’t want their diet to be full of pesticides so I knew from the day my first was born that we would eat organic. If you think eating organic isn’t worth it read this great article: So, Is Organic a Scam?
In my search for a healthier lifestyle I also learned about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and decided this is something I want to eliminate from our eating habits too. If you’re unfamiliar with GMO’s here is a great Q & A summary and more info. You can find non-GMO products labeled thanks to the Non GMO Project.
I live in DC so buying organic food meant going to the farmer’s market or buying at Whole Foods, but we never make it in time to the farmer’s market and Whole Foods is pricey. I knew I needed to find a solution and that’s when I discovered CSA’s.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You basically buy a “share” from your local farmer of vegetables and if you want, fruits; some also include eggs, cheese and meat. You pay a fee for the entire season (this varies according to where you live) and they deliver the produce to your house or neighborhood on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Why my family joined a CSA?
- Produce is cheaper. Yes I paid up front but once I did the math, it’s cheaper to get our food through our local farmer than at the supermarket. Our CSA only offers organic produce so the savings are even bigger.
- We eat what’s in season. This also means we had to step out of your comfort zone and cook vegetables we’ve never cooked before but I love this because we’ve discovered lots of delicious vegetables.
- We get the produce that’s locally grown, which means it doesn’t have to travel a long distance.
- We support our local farmers.
- Our food gets picked a day or two before it arrives to our house. Talk about freshness!
If you live in the DC, MD or VA area I recommend you joining the CSA we belong to: Earth Spring Farm. We’ve had a great experience with them and their produce is always fresh and delicious.
Eating organic on a budget…Is it possible?
Yes it is. I recommend getting your organic produce directly from a CSA but if you can’t then there are other options.
The first thing you should know is how produced it’s classified. You can find conventional produce – which is grown using pesticides, organic produce – which is grown without chemicals and GMO which is genetically engineered food. You can easily recognize how each food was grown by checking the code on the produce sticker:
Your goal should be to buy all produce organic. However if you can’t then get familiar with the fruits and vegetables known as the “Dirty Dozen”. This produce is consider high in pesticides and you should buy these organic, at least for your child. You can buy the rest of your veggies and fruits in the regular produce section and save money that way. Learn more about the “Dirty Dozen” (food with the most pesticides that you should definitively buy organic) and “Clean Fifteen” (food with the least amount of pesticides that you can buy conventionally grown) here.
Another great resource is Good Food on a Budget.
I’ve also found that Costco now carries a great selection of organic foods. I usually do my shopping there first and what I can’t find organic I end up buying in our local supermarket.
Our local supermarket is a co-op that only carries organic foods so check if there’s one in your area by doing a quick google search or asking around in your neighborhood. If there isn’t, don’t worry – most major supermarkets now have an organic produce section.
Remember, eating vegetables and fruits is very important so if you can’t afford organic that’s ok – it’s better to eat conventionally grown produce then not to eat any at all.
As far as our family goes, we can’t always eat organic or non-GMO foods, especially because we eat out at least once a week and I don’t have much control over the foods then. However, I do my best to buy everything we prepare at home organic, natural and non-GMO.
How do you keep your family eating healthy?
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