Can You Afford Organic?

In our last blog we discussed the importance of buying organic food even though the recent Stanford study said otherwise.  Let's address  another issue raised in the study....the cost of organic food.  Yes, it is more expensive.  It has to be.  It costs the farmer or rancher more to use protocols more labor intensive and higher priced than bulk chemicals and hormones. So, if it is more expensive, can you afford to eat healthy organic food and still stay within your budget?  Let's examine some ways to do just that.

Plan Meals, Then Do Your Shopping

The first and most important step is to plan your meals.  You know you eat every day so if you plan ahead you will have on hand what you need and use what you have bought rather than impulse buy or eat.  This is critically important when you realize how much waste Americans have with perishable food.  According to one study Americans throw out approximately 1400 calories of food per person per day that have purchased. If your budget is tight and you have to choose which foods to buy organic always start with animal products.  Animal products; meat, dairy and eggs tend to concentrate the chemicals and hormones more than fruits and vegetables.   Then if you feel you still need to pick and choose with fruits and vegetables let the dirty dozen list be your guide.

Keep Produce Fresh and Usable

Now that you have prepared and purchased let's review a few ideas to help keep things fresh and usable.

  • Fresh herbs: wash and store in an air tight container in the freezer. They will stay fresh for a month and defrost immediately when you take them out to use them.
  • Celery, carrots and radishes:  If they go limp let them set in ice water with a slice of potato added to it and they will freshen right up.
  • Hard cheeses:  After opening them and cutting into them, smear a small amount of organic butter on the cut edge before putting refrigerating it to keep it from drying out.
  • Butter:  Put any butter you won't be using immediately in the freezer.  It will keep fresh up to 6 months.
  • Beets:  be sure to cut the tops off the beets and store separately in plastic bags.
  • Corn:  store with husks on, they stay fresher twice as long.
  • Berries:  leave the stems on and leave them unwashed until just before using.
  • Garlic and onions:  These will stay fresh up to four months if you have them in a cool, dry, dark cupboard.
  • Green leafy vegetables:  These will stay fresh approximately three days longer if you don't wash them or cut them until just before using them.
  • Asparagus:  store in a bunch standing upright in the refrigerator with the bottoms in a small amount of water or with a damp cloth wrapped around the bottom.

Squeezing the air (oxygen) out of a bag before storing it helps keep produce fresher too.  Using a zip lock bag you can squeeze the air out and zip closed. One other suggestion that is worth mentioning is the state of your refrigerator.  Throw out old food.  The cool air needs to be able to circulate freely to keep the food fresh.  If your refrigerator is jammed full the food will spoil sooner.  Besides, keeping your refrigerator clean and organized will help you find and use the products you have purchased.

Take Advantage of Nutrition Counseling

Hopefully these suggestions will help you eat better for less. You may require additional support to improve your nutrition. Natural Horizons offers lifestyle and nutrition counseling -- it's a powerful step you can take to improve your wellness, decrease your risk of illness, and reduce your healthcare costs. Visit our Nutrition Counseling page to schedule a FREE evaluation.

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