With all of the turmoil of daily life taking its toll on your sanity (from bosses piling on the work to kids that need to be ushered to school and soccer practice to a house that needs cleaning), the last thing you want to worry about is the harmful effect that trace amounts of pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones in your food could be having on you and your family. And yet, there is nothing more basic to your survival than ingesting a diet that will promote a long, healthy, and happy life. But even aside from investing time and effort into changing your diet to include organic products, you may balk at the assumed price that such a switch would entail. However, by following a few simple steps, you can feed your family the organic foods that will keep them toxin-free without ratcheting up your food budget (in fact, you may end up saving some money in the long run).
1. Cut the meat. There is not a lot you can do to change the price of organic meats, and there’s no denying that it is more expensive than animal products that come from a feedlot. However, stores have to move it off the shelves just like any other product, so ask about shipment dates so that you can capitalize on sales to make space for new inventory. You may also want to consider common nutrition advice that advocates largely vegetarian diets (only a couple servings of meat per week) supplemented by alternate forms of protein as a way to regulate digestion and enjoy better overall health.
2. Visit the farmer’s market. One word sums up the appeal of purchasing fresh produce from the farmer’s market: haggling. While the grocery store must mark up the cost of goods to compensate for transportation and operations, people who sell their wares have no such overhead. This means that they can offer drastically lower prices. In addition, your willingness to buy an armload of fruits and veggies could put you in a good position to negotiate with vendors who would rather not reload their wares and take them home.
3. Go local. Support local growers and co-ops by visiting their farms on a regular basis to take home fresh, organic produce. If they’re too far away, you may want to buy in bulk and freeze or can items (also a good way to stock up for the winter months) or see if they offer a delivery service.
4. Grow your own. It doesn’t get any more convenient (or inexpensive) than plucking your salad out of the garden in your backyard. While it will definitely require a time commitment on your part (and probably a fairly green thumb), you stand to save a lot on your grocery bill and still provide the organic goodies that will keep your family healthy.
5. Join a community garden. If you find that managing your own garden is beyond your means, bores you to tears, or conversely, that you want to share the wealth, either join a community garden or petition the city to start one. That way you don’t have to do it alone and you can provide a valuable service to neighbors who feel the same way.
Kyle Simpson is a writer for Medical Coding where you can browse medical coding schools and industry jobs.