Friday Tips: Buying Organic

Delicious Vegan Dish of the Day:

For lunch the G-man made me a hummus and avocado sandwich on his homemade no-knead whole-wheat bread.  Yum!

Money Matters:

Today we spent the following:

  • $25.00 on a babysitter
  • $35.00 on take-out dinner (we took it to a friend’s house and enjoyed some grown-up time!)

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Buying Organic

For many people eating organic food and eating healthfully go hand in hand.  While I agree that organic food is often a better choice, sometimes organic food can be really cost-prohibitive.  Here are some tips that have helped us buy healthy and safe foods on a budget.

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen: The Environmental Working Group has published a list of the produce items that have the most pesticide residue on them.  This list is the “Dirty Dozen” and it is guides how and when we buy organic produce.  For example, we only buy organic apples and greens.  But the “Clean Fifteen” list helps us know which types of produce are considered more safe, even if you buy conventional.  Based on this list we buy conventional avocados and cabbage.  These lists are a great tool.  It is worth having a small print out with you at the grocery store to refer to as you shop for produce.

Shop in Bulk: We usually don’t bother to buy organic versions of grains, cereal, pasta, etc.  However, sometimes in the bulk section of the supermarket we find that it is a better deal to get organic!  We always have organic polenta because the bulk version of it is significantly cheaper than the conventional polenta in a package.  We get organic steel cut oats for the same reason.  While we don’t need these foods to be organic, it is a nice bonus when the bulk section is such a good deal.

Buy Local: The point of buying organic foods is to get food that doesn’t have pesticides on it.  A lot of times this can be accomplished without going on a mad hunt for an “organic” label.  When we shop at the farmers markets, I will often stop and talk to the sellers about how they grow their food.  Many farms near us use “Integrated Pest Management” but don’t have the funds to apply to be certified organic (it is an intensive process to become certified).  This means that you can buy local foods that are pretty much pesticide-free, even if they don’t have the official “organic” label.  We love getting most of our summer and fall produce this way!

I want to keep pesticides out of my kids diet as much as possible, and being vegan helps with that since so many of the chemicals (and other crap) we are trying to avoid is in meat and dairy.  Buying organic makes sense sometimes, but not always with everything.  Sometimes, the organic lable is more about the marketing than about the safety of the product itself.  So, be a smart shopper when it comes to going organic!

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