Tag: eating organic on a budget

How to Eat Healthy Without Going Broke

In my last post, I shared what it means for a food to be considered “organic” and why it’s important to eat organic food as often as possible. Be sure to check it out if you missed it!

Maybe you’re thinking, “Ok, so I get that it’s better for my health to eat organic, but it’s too expensive! I can’t afford it.

My mission today is to show you how eating organic, nourishing foods is not only doable but affordable, too! Visiting Community Organics would be well worth your time if you are serious about making the switch to organic produce.

1) Plan Your Meals

I know, I know.

I realize this isn’t the most glamorous recommendation, but it will save you a LOT of money. I actually wrote a whole post about how to plan your meals and keep them exciting. The post includes some of my favorite tools and services to use to make it easier, AND my top tips for stocking your pantry, so you will always be prepared to make a nourishing meal at a moment’s notice. To learn more about my six tips for meal planning made easy, click here.

2) Get savvy and buy selectively organic

Download the Dirty Dozen app for your phone

Download the Dirty Dozen app for your phone

Certain fruits and veggies, known as the “Dirty Dozen,” are the most contaminated with pesticides. Other fruits and veggies are less likely to have pesticide/chemical residues, so they’re called the “Clean 15.” Download this app on your phone for a FREE guide that shows each list! If we don’t have the option to buy something organic or are just looking to save a buck, we buy the Dirty Dozen organic and save money by buying the Clean 15 conventional (non-organic).

3) Support a farmer & buy local

Bill and I have used a service called Hometown Harvest that delivers a customized bag of locally sourced fruit, veggies, and eggs to our doorstep every Friday morning for about $45. About 95% of everything they offer is organic (some items aren’t possible to find locally and certified organic in certain seasons), and is all produced and harvested with the help of good quality equipment (such as that found on fastline) and hard work from the local farmers. They also sell organic animal products.

Another local service that does something similar and has been featured on Shark Tank is called Hungry Harvest. I love what they’re about:

1 in 5 fruits and veggies go to waste because of aesthetic imperfections or logistical inefficiencies.

We believe that no fresh produce should go to waste. That’s why we save this delicious produce and deliver it to your door.

If you don’t live in the Baltimore Metro/DC/Frederick area and can’t access these services, you can find a farmer’s market or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share near you by visiting LocalHarvest.org.

One of our weekly deliveries from Hometown Harvest

One of our weekly deliveries from Hometown Harvest

4) Focus on frozen

9 times out of 10 the organic frozen produce at the store is cheaper than fresh, especially if the fruit or vegetable is out of season. Stock up on frozen produce, especially when it’s on sale! This includes everything from frozen fruit and veggies to frozen grains like rice and quinoa. Which brings me to my next tip…

5) Stock up and save at wholesale clubs

We have a membership to BJs Wholesale Club and stock up on 3-pound bags of organic frozen berries and tropical fruit for only $10 per bag! We also get a big bag of frozen spinach there, too, and use the fruit and veggies in our morning smoothies. It’s so much cheaper than buying individual organic frozen bags at the grocery store. Memberships to places like BJs, Sam’s Club and Costco are around $45-60/year, and the savings we get on frozen fruit alone makes it worth it. They are selling a lot more organic products these days, so you can save big time by stocking up!

6) Shop online

When I’m buying things like smoothie add-ins (maca powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.), I shop at Amazon because I get free 2-day shipping with my Amazon Prime Membership OR I shop at Vitacost – another great site for saving money on healthy and organic foods your grocery store may not carry (or charge too much for!). A few other websites to check out are LuckyVitamin and Thrive Market.

7) Hit up a home furnishings store

Organic coconut oil at Home Goods?

Yup! It might sound crazy, but you can get great deals on foods like chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa, coconut oil, Way Better chips, and other healthy foods at your local Home Goods home furnishings store. They will always be sold at a discounted price. I’ve snagged some great deals there!

Coconut oil at Home Goods for much less than retail!

Coconut oil at Home Goods for much less than retail!

8) Use coupons

Simply Organic, which makes spices, seasoning mixes and baking mixes always has coupons on their website here – sometimes more than a dollar off! Whole Foods has coupons here every week for various products throughout the store. MOMs and Roots Market have seasonal coupon books in their stores that we use to save money each time we shop.

Trader Joe’s doesn’t have coupons but they have great prices and a decent organic selection. I’ve found that I get better deals on organic products at those stores, probably because they buy a greater volume of organic products than standard grocery stores and can charge less.

9) Last but not least…Grow your own!

Unfortunately, I was not blessed with a green thumb, so I haven’t made this leap yet, but I plan to start by growing my own herbs this spring. It’s so much cheaper to grow herbs, veggies, and fruit yourself than to buy them each week. If you grow them yourself, you can do so without harmful chemicals. If you do decide to, it might be smart to stock up on tools and a space to keep them. Some people have found great deals when looking for repo sheds for sale. So keep your eyes out on a nice shed so you can get the right tools together to grow all the food you love!

Check out this link for some basic herb gardening tips and this one for organic gardening 101 tips.

What “Eating Organic” Means & Why It Matters

A faithful blog reader recently made this comment,

There are so many conflicting “facts” out there it is often hard to know what is right. Maybe you could do something about organic foods sometime. That label seems to be everywhere.”

organicLook no further than today’s post (and the following one) for what you need to know about organic food.

The idea of switching to buying and eating organic food really intimidated me at first and wasn’t something I thought I could do or needed to do. But who knew that if you looked hard enough you could find pretty much eveything you’d want, in organic format, like organic drinking chocolate australia!

Did it really matter if something was organic or not? What did it mean if something was labeled “organic”? How could I afford it?

Trying to overhaul everything at once was overwhelming, so I made changes when I was ready over a period of time. A great place to start is getting your own chickens, take a look at these backyard chicken coops if this is something you’re considering.

In today’s post, I’ll be clearing up what “organic” means and why eating organic matters. I’ll also share some helpful tips and guidelines that I wish I had known years ago! Check out this video for the scoop or scroll down for a written summary.


In addition to what I learned through my health coaching training, one of the key drivers for why I started embracing organic eating was the documentary Food, Inc. It’s powerful and eye-opening. You won’t look at food the same way again after watching it!

Order it on Amazon or check it out on Netflix or Amazon Prime!

Order it on Amazon or check it out on Netflix or Amazon Prime!

Before I delve into what organic means, I want to make one point super clear. Don’t let lack of access to organic fruits and vegetables deter you from eating them. Dr. Micheal Greger, found of NutritionFacts.org and author of the book How Not to Die drives this point home time and time again. He advocates for doing whatever it takes to “stuff your face” with as many veggies as possible, even if they are not organic. His research highlights the lack of evidence showing a significant difference between the vitamin and mineral content of organic vs. conventional produce but does reveal higher antioxidant activity in organic vegetables.

The main reason consumers purchase organic food is due to concerns about the health and safety of their family. Much of our food supply (especially produce) has been raised and grown with the help of man-made pesticides, herbicides and insecticides that kill off creatures, critters and other environmental threats that would otherwise harm our crops. Companies can use proper storage means (like those from Storemasta) to help with this, but even so many people want to do more.

People who live or work in areas with high pesticide exposure tend to have higher rates of a variety of chronic health conditions, including brain anomalies, with children being the most susceptible. Unfortunately, long-term clinical studies about the effects of pesticides and genetically modified foods on humans are lacking, so we are a little in the dark at this point.

Because these synthetic chemicals haven’t been around that long and we haven’t studied their long-term health effects on humans, I choose to eat organic as often as possible as a precautionary measure.

Despite the mounting evidence to do so, even thinking about “going organic” can be overwhelming and confusing. Want to see what organic foods are available? Wholesome Hub are an organic food store you should definitely check out if you’re going organic. Here are a few tidbits of information that should help!

  • Look at the PLU code number listed on the sticker on fruits and vegetables. Any 5-digit sequence that starts with the number “9” is organic. Organic bananas will read “94011.” If the sticker has 4 digits, it was grown “traditionally” with the use of pesticides (i.e., conventional bananas will read “4011”).
  • Organic foods cannot be made with genetically engineered ingredients (AKA GMOs). This is a huge plus because we haven’t been eating genetically engineered food long enough to know the long term health risks, so it’s best to steer clear of GMOs. Click here to learn more about GMOs and how you can benefit from eating GMO-free foods.
  • Animal products (like chicken, eggs, butter, milk) are the most important to buy organic because of the combined risk of pesticide, antibiotic and cancer-causing growth hormone exposure. Whatever you do, do not skimp here. Bill and I eat fewer animal products than we used to, so it evens out – pay more for better quality and spend about the same as you would eating more of the non-organic animal products.
  • When it comes to fruits and veggies, refer to the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen. The “Dirty Dozen” are the fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated with pesticides, and the Clean 15 are least likely. So, if you have to make a choice, buy the Dirty Dozen organic and the Clean 15 conventional (non-organic). Download this free app on your phone to learn more or check out this website for the full lists.
  • Keep in mind that “organic” doesn’t always mean healthy. The key thing to remember about processed organic food is this – it’s still processed. One of the most important changes we can make to have more energy, lose weight, and prevent illness is to reduce our intake of processed foods – organic or not!
  • Want to learn more about eating organic? Check out the infographic below or visit the helpful FAQ on this website.

In my next post, I’ll share my top tips for eating organic without going broke!

What Does Organic Really Mean?

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