Well, if you can’t already tell by my last blog, I’m on a mission. I wanted to provide more insight to my readers as to why eating Organic food, over highly processed/chemically altered, “Frankenfood” is so important! We do not know what the long term affects Genetically Modified foods will have on our heath, but there is studies to support claims that our over-processed diet is the reason for all the mainstream health complications that American people are facing today. One thing we know for sure, is that when you try to replicate the biological composition of elements found only in nature, it cannot be replicated without side-affects. Pharmaceutical Industries have proved this to be true OVER and OVER again:
Example: Health/Mental Problem? Doctor prescribes you a + Pill = side affect (resulting in problem #2) + Pill #2 = side affect (problem #3) = Pill #.. and its a vicious cycle that goes on, and on, and cost hundreds, and hundreds of dollars each year. BUT- I digress. It’s time to go back to nature – for the sake of our health!
Most of the time, we have no idea what is in the food that we are consuming. They are not even labeled “G.M.O” in the supermarkets. Plus, who could blame you when virtually every isle in supermarkets across the nation are filled with genetically altered foods that we are unknowingly feeding our families. We think were providing them with nutrition, when in fact, we may be increasing chances for health complications in the future.
Now, Let’s take a look at the top 15 reasons why eating organic food is very important, and becoming increasingly more important now when mega bio-engineering companies, such as Monsonto, are trying to take control of our food supply:
1. In study after study, research from independent organizations consistently shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods. Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium.
2. They’re free of neurotoxins– toxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells. A commonly-used class of pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. When there was no longer a need for them in warfare, industry adapted them to kill pests on foods. Many pesticides are still considered neuro toxins.
3. They’re supportive of growing children’s brains and bodies. Children’s growing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to toxins than adults. Choosing organic helps feed their bodies without the exposure to pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, both of which have a relatively short history of use (and therefore safety).
4. They are real food, not pesticide factories. Eighteen percent of all genetically-modified seeds (and therefore foods that grow from them) are engineered to produce their own pesticides. Research shows that these seeds may continue producing pesticides inside your body once you’ve eaten the food grown from them! Foods that are actually pesticide factories…no thanks.
5. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that pesticides pollute the primary drinking source for half the American population. Organic farming is the best solution to the problem. Buying organic helps reduce pollution in our drinking water.
6. Organic food is earth-supportive (when big business keeps their hands out of it). Organic food production has been around for thousands of years and is the sustainable choice for the future. Compare that to modern agricultural practices that are destructive of the environment through widespread use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers and have resulted in drastic environmental damage in many parts of the world.
7. Organic food choices grown on small-scale organic farms help ensure independent family farmers can create a livelihood. Consider it the domestic version of fair trade.
9. Organic food is not exposed to gas-ripening like some non-organic fruits and vegetables (like bananas).
10. Organic farms are safer for farm workers. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 70 percent increase in Parkinson’s disease among people exposed to pesticides. Choosing organic foods means that more people will be able to work on farms without incurring the higher potential health risk of Parkinson’s or other illnesses.
11. Organic food supports wildlife habitats. Even with commonly used amounts of pesticides, wildlife is being harmed by exposure to pesticides.
12. Eating organic may reduce your cancer risk. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides potentially cancer-causing. It is reasonable to think that the rapidly increasing rates of cancer are at least partly linked to the use of these carcinogenic pesticides.
13. Choosing organic meat lessens your exposure to antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and drugs that find their way into the animals and ultimately into you.
14. Organic food is tried and tested. By some estimates genetically-modified food makes up 80% of the average person’s food consumption. Genetic modification of food is still experimental. Avoid being part of this wide scale and uncontrolled experiment.
15. Organic food supports greater biodiversity. Diversity is fundamental to life on this planet. Genetically-modified and non-organic food is focused on high yield monoculture and is destroying biodiversity.
Nutritious, Whole, Organic food can cost a pretty penny, especially if you’re not committed to investing time and energy into becoming a savvy shopper and proactive consumer. I’ve encountered every excuse and complaint in the book and believe me – I hear ya! Family, work and exhaustion are tough demons to tame when you’re staring at an empty dinner table, but let’s face it … Would you rather cut corners and save some money in the short term or spend more time planning, eating consciously, and shopping smart to ward off future hospital bills, prescription costs and long-term health issues? We all slip sometimes and that’s okay! But if you put forth the effort 80 to 90 percent of the time, you’re setting yourself up for increased energy, self-esteem, and happiness for you and your family on a daily basis.
Eating Healthy Takes Commitment!
I’m not saying you should run to the nearest health food store and spend your whole paycheck. But before I dive into a bevy of cash saving tips, I’ve got a news flash. This diet and lifestyle wasn’t created for sissies. We’re warriors! That means that you’re not going to see savings unless you stick with the program. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and join this burning hot revolution. Easy-peasy food that you can scarf down in two seconds flat usually equals cheap and unhealthy. Like most things in life, the good stuff takes a little more TLC. I’m not saying that you have to give up your social life, you just might have to cut back on half an hour of Facebook stalking or the latest episode of Big Brother. A little planning and effort goes a long way.
Top Tips for Saving on Organic Food
Now for the dirt. Over the past decade, I’ve been collecting my own tricks of the thrift (I’ve always loved a good haggling), and I’ve picked up loads of cost cutting strategies from my peeps at Crazysexylife.com and my online community posse at my.crazysexylife.com. Please, for the love of unicorns everywhere, add your own killer advice in the comments section. If we keep swapping knowledge, nothing can stop us. Not even 15-dollar raw organic almond butter!
1. Buy bulk. Sure, those bins aren’t as sexy as the pretty packaging on the shelves, but they’re a hell of a lot cheaper! While you’re scooping your millet, get chummy with the grocer and clerks. Your new buddies may be willing to order certain other items in bulk for you. Costco or BJ’s is also a prime destination for large quantity, low cost items.
2. Join your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group. Some may be intimidated by this option because of the commitment and quantity. You’ll usually have a variety of veggies to choose from each week and if a half share is still too much to handle, see if a friend or family member wants to go in on it with you. There’s always the trusty freezer for preserving what you can’t consume that week. Hello strawberries in December! Here are some handy websites: Local Harvest Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Rodale Institute Farm Locator, Eat Well Guide, National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, Just Food (NYC Region).
3. Shop your local farmers markets. Take advantage of the local bounty by perusing veggie stands with a critical eye. There are usually a variety of farmers offering an array of prices, so compare prices, bargain and make friends with your favorite farmer. Be open-minded about your weekly menu, too. Take advantage of the lower priced veggies and fruits by designing your meals around their deliciousness (they taste even better when they’re a bargain). Find a market near you: Farmers Market, USDA Farmers Market Directory, Farmer’s Market Online, Local Harvest.
4. Budget and plan. Before we even get to the heart of this tip, make sure you aren’t famished when you walk through the entrance of the grocery store or farmers market. That’s the quickest way to derail your well-laid plans to be a smart, healthy shopping minx. Set a comfortable budget for your weekly or bi-weekly shopping excursions and then get to whipping up a list. First, examine your fridge and cupboards. What can you build on? You might start saving right away if you get into this mindset and stop building meals from scratch every time you touch a shopping cart. If planning a whole week’s worth of meals is overwhelming, bite off few days at a time. Need inspiration? Dust off your cookbooks and get creative. You’ll find a list of my go-to recipe books in this Love List.
5. Clean and organize your fridge and cupboards, then stock up on the essentials. The kitchen is no longer a prison. It’s your playground and your personal pharmacy. Would you let a carton of almond milk get moldy in your blessed new sanctuary? In order to know what you really need, your kitchen should stay relatively clean and organized. Then, get the good stuff in there and keep the fresh and perishable items at eye level. It’s easy to forget about that poor bunch of kale when it’s sitting in the back of your crisper. Once you’ve stocked your pantry with non-perishables, you’ll have the building blocks for countless meals and going to the grocery store is less likely to break the bank.
6. Learn the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen: Organic can be pricey! Check out the Environmental Working Group’s lists to determine your priorities for organic purchases. They even created an iPhone app!
7. Grow indoor greens. It is exponentially more economical to grow your own food. Whether you live in a tiny Brooklyn apartment or a McMansion, there’s room for a few pots of greens. Your choices are infinite and the how-to is at your fingertips! Start greening your thumb today by reading “Urban Gardening for the Everyday Person.” You Grow Girl is also a fantastic resource. And don’t forget to join the Crazy Sexy Gardening group at my.crazysexylife.com! Want more? Check out Garden Girl TV, Urban Homestead, and Four Season Farm.
8. Be flexible. I know it sounds like I’m giving you mixed messages, but if you arrive at the supermarket and there’s a big sale on bananas, snag those babies! They may not have been on your list, but you can cut them up, freeze, and pop them in your smoothies or soft serve ice cream later. This goes for most fruits and veggies and we all know that staples like quinoa or brown rice aren’t going to go bad in your pantry, so stock up when the prices are low!
9. Skip restaurants. This gets a lot easier when you’re planning meals at least a day or two ahead of time and your fridge/pantry is stocked. Let’s get real. Those restaurant bills pile up and there’s something about the low lighting and aromas coming from the kitchen that makes you forget that you don’t need a bottle of wine plus a five-course meal. I’m not saying that you should never step foot in your beloved establishment again, just try to limit your visits to a couple times a month rather than twice a week. It’s more special that way and meals at home will become a delight rather than a drag once you get into the swing of things.
10. Make your food last. When you arrive home from the market or grocery, wash and store your fruits and veggies so that they’re organized and super accessible (Debbie Meyer Green Bags extend life expectancy!). If you’re a juicing king or queen, divide your produce into individual packs that you can pull from the fridge at a moment’s notice. Smoothie lover? Pop your packs in the freezer. Finally, if you’ve slipped a little and your goodies are going south, rescue them in a delicious soup or smoothie. Your leftovers are not second-class citizens. It’s easy to shrug them off the next day for lunch or dinner, but with a little TLC, you can whip yesterday’s meal into today’s treasure. Your fridge is not a graveyard!
11. Buy used or barter. Buying a new juicer or blender may not be in your budget right now, but what about a used one? Craigslist, eBay, not to mention your friends and family, might have an affordable gently used model. Heck, your pal might be willing to barter if you’ve got something in the house that they’ve been eyeing. In the meantime, you can still juice with any old blender and strainer (cheese cloth or nut milk bags work great!). Just blend your veggies and send them through the strainer for a tall glass of green goodness.
12. Skip the bells and whistles. Do you really need that bag of raw organic cashew butter? Once in a while, go ahead and splurge, but if you are looking for somewhere to cut corners, the specialty foods are a good place to start. You could probably satisfy that craving with something reasonably priced, you might just have to use some elbow grease to make it from scratch.
Love & Light to you and your families!
May all of your days be filled with organic health and happiness
We strive to shine light on the darkness through educating ourselves & others!
Kris Carr is a New York Times best-selling author, motivational speaker and wellness activist. Back in 2003, she directed and starred in Crazy Sexy Cancer, an inspirational documentary for TLC that chronicled her journey from cancer diagnosis to juicy healthy living.