Managing Your Eating Organic Budget
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Most of us know that eating organic food is better than eating conventionally grown foods. But how do we eat organically on a budget? Organic foods can be 20-100% more expensive than the conventional versions of the same produce.

Let's explore some strategies in order to create an "eating organic budget" for you and your family, that will provide you with the best foods and won't break the bank. I'll also share some ways to buy organic and natural that are less expensive than the conventional choices!

Why Organic Isn't Always Better

Organic foods are produced using methods of organic farming that either eliminates or limits the synthetic chemicals used in its production. Organic foods are not irradiated (unless brought in from overseas), and don't use industrial solvents or chemical food additives, as is the case with most packaged food.

In every case, organic is at least as good as the conventional counterpart, and usually better for you nutritionally. However, organic isn't perfect. There are organic farms that neighbor conventional farms. Pesticides sprayed from low flying farm planes and water runoff patterns from conventional farms may, and often do, affect organic farms.

Shipment distribution trucks and grocery store produce preparation back rooms often expose organic produce to conventional, pesticide-laden foods. As most of the pesticides are on the outside of the fruits or vegetables, close contact regularly contaminates organic foods with many of these residues.

When purchasing and preparing your organic fruits and vegetables, always assume that they've brushed up against some conventional food; in fact, they probably have. Wash that organic produce as well as you would conventional. I use a bath of 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water and soak them for a few minutes, then rinse them well under running water. Where the skins are hard, I also use a natural bristle vegetable brush to get the produce even cleaner.

What You Must Buy Organic

There are certain foods, however, that are grown with large amounts of pesticides conventionally that must be purchased organically for optimum health and nutrition. Nutritionists refer to these as the Dirty Dozen. Some of your favorites may be here, and if so, avoid buying these crops conventionally:

Apples (more than 40 different pesticides are used)

Celery (up to 60 different pesticides are used)

Cherry Tomatoes (choose local farmers markets instead)

Cucumbers (up to 35 different pesticides used)

Grapes (more than 30 pesticides)

Hot Peppers

Nectarines (especially imported ones)

Peaches

Potatoes

Strawberries

Spinach

Sweet Bell Peppers

You will spend more, but it's worth it to protect you and your family from sickness and diseases from pesticides and other farm chemicals. If the organic versions are too expensive for your budget, then simply avoid that crop. Substitute with a different fruit or vegetable, but avoid buying these conventionally. For example, choose to make a cherry pie instead of an apple pie if you can't source organic apples at a fair price.

What Can You Buy Conventionally

On the other end of the scale, there are several foods that you can buy conventionally. These particular crops use very little chemicals and pesticides when grown using conventional farming methods. Apparently, bugs and diseases aren't as drawn to these crops, so the farmers can keep their use to a minimum.

Sometimes called the Clean 16, these crops represent the cleanest of the conventionally grown produce and can be purchased conventionally to save money in your budget. As for me, if the price different is very small, I still opt for organic. But if price is paramount, then choose to purchase these conventionally-grown crops:

Onions

Sweet Corn

Pineapples

Avocados

Asparagus

Sweet Peas

Mangos

Papayas

Eggplants

Cantaloupes (US domestic)

Kiwis

Cabbages

Watermelons

Sweet Potatoes

Grapefruits

Mushrooms

Organic Around the House

Organic doesn't stop with food choices. Choosing organic around the house can actually save you hundreds of dollars a year. Yes, you can save money by buying organic and other natural products.

At my home, I have given up every commercial cleaning product, for sinks, bathrooms, toilets, floors, etc. It's amazing how many specialized products there are, and how toxic many of these are. But I also like a clean house, so what are the options?

Almost everything I clean in my house is washed with a very simple ingredient, pure white vinegar. I usually mix it with water for cleaning veggies (about 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water) and for cleaning counters, tubs, toilets, and more (at about 1 to 1, creating a stronger vinegar cleaning product). I filled a spray bottle with the 1 to 1 solution, and spray it instead of harsh cleaners wherever I need to clean up.

The vinegar is all natural, made from vegetables, and is quite powerful. It's only about $2.50-3.50 per gallon, and it lasts for a month or longer. Compare that to all the toxic chemicals I used to have, and the $20-40 dollars I would spend each month.

Organic Health Care

How about organic moisturizers and cleansers? Yes, and I only have two that I need:

Organic coconut oil (anywhere from $6 to $15 per jar)

Baking soda (about 75 cents per box)

Coconut oil, although solid at room temperatures below 76 degrees, is an amazing all around health and beauty aid. Although up to $15 may sound expensive, it's uses are many. And if the oil solidifies in your bath, just run the container under a little warm water and it melts quickly from a white solid into a clear liquid.

First, use it on your skin after showering instead of toxic skin creams on your body. It absorbs quickly so your skin won't fee oily after just a few minutes. And if it's still oily on your hands or face, just blot off the excess gently.

I cook with it, eat a spoon raw everyday for its health benefits, and use it in the winter to smooth the rough skin patches that occur on my elbows and heels. If you don't like the smell of coconut, don't worry. There are formulations of coconut oil that have almost no smell. Check with your natural food store clerk to learn more.

And what about baking soda? Give up your toxic, fluoridated toothpastes for water and a little baking soda. Just put a little baking soda in your palm, and in the other hand, wet your toothbrush and scoop up a little soda and start brushing! For added brightening, you can put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into the baking soda in your hand before picking it up with your toothbrush.

And in the shower, I have some baking soda in a small unbreakable jar. I sprinkle some in my hands, add a little water from the shower, and gentle massage my face every morning. It's a gentle facial scrubber and costs only pennies per use. It's so gentle you can use it throughout your body, including your face. I gentle rub this baking soda and water paste on my forehead, around my eyes, over my nose, and around my mouth, gently rubbing it and cleansing away dead skin cells. Then a simple rinse with shower water and you're done.

For men, using making soda on your beard before you shave will create a closer and less irritated shaving experience. Make sure you gently rub the baking soda and water paste on your neck, around you mouth, and under your nose, and then shave. You'll be surprised by how much smoother your shaving experience will be.

Making the Organic Choice

With all the savings and healthy choices I've proposed, you'll probably save hundreds of dollars a year, enough money to include more organic foods in your monthly budget. I encourage you to make that healthy choice for you and your family. Organic is the way we used to farm and is the way we best take care of our health and our environment today, as it was back when.

To learn more about organic living, visit Try Organic Living.


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