6 Ways to Save Money on Organic Food By Dora Vandekamp
As new trends continue to emerge in the wellness industry, choosing to eat organic might still be the most important trend of all when it comes to protecting your health and wellbeing. Not only do pesticides and insecticides cause harm to your gut bacteria, they also age your skin, create hormone imbalances, and compromise your longevity. In 2017 the World Health Organization found glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, to be “probably carcinogenic to humans” and linked to growing tumors in rats and in mice. Not only does consistent ingestion of foods containing pesticides and herbicides potentially cause cancer, such exposure creates long-term changes to our gut and skin microbiome. When our microbiome health is compromised, skin conditions such as psoriasis, rapid aging, dry skin, and eczema occur. Psychological disorders and chronic diseases including anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s Disease, and autoimmune disease are also related to gut microbiome imbalances.
As a nutritionist, the most common reasoning I hear against eating organic is that it is too expensive. While it is certainly true that organic foods are often more pricey than non-organic foods, there are many ways around overspending on groceries.
Shop at the Farmer’s Market
Shopping locally is one the best ways to save money. In-season produce is usually more affordable, better tasting, and contains more nutrients compared to produce that is not in season and is shipped from a faraway location. In addition, over half of farmers markets are in low income neighborhoods, often offering better prices on produce than local supermarkets.
Go animal-product free a few days a week
The most important thing when buying meat and dairy is to choose products that are pastured and organic. You may already buy rBST-free animal products, but this does nott mean that they are organic. Although these animals are not treated with pesticides, the food they consume most definitely is. The solution? Go meatless a few days a week. Substitute with other forms of protein such as beans, lentils, and high protein grains. When purchasing meats, choose only organic pastured meat from a butcher you trust. Don’t be afraid to ask the butcher questions about the products you’re buying, such as what farm it came from. Most butchers actually enjoy talking about their sources. Another way to save is to substitute nut milk for some of your dairy needs. Almond milk and coconut milk make great alternatives as a base for smoothies, baking, and cereal. Organic nut milks tend to be less pricey than organic cow’s milk.
Freeze your food
Since buying in season is often the less expensive choice, freezing your food to use on a later date is the perfect way to stock up on seasonal veggies, fruit, seafood, nuts and seeds. Many foods can be kept for three months up to a full year.
Eat healthy organic carbs
Organic foods such as brown rice, oatmeal, lentils and quinoa are fairly inexpensive. At $2 to $4 per pound, these essentials are highly nutritious, and versatile, making them perfect to go with most meal plans and a variety of dishes.
Plan your meals and grocery list for the week.
Planning ahead is really important when it comes to saving money on groceries. It may seem like extra work at first but creating a meal plan for the coming week pays off big time. Taking some time to do this each week helps you get only what you need, instead of grabbing whatever looks good in the moment.
Join a co-op
A food co-op, or buying club, is essentially a grocery store that is owned by the people who shop there. Co-ops carry local, organic, high quality foods, including pastured, grass-fed meat and dairy. Memberships include special benefits such as discounts, deals, and educational classes. If there isn’t one in your area, consider creating your own with members of your community .
Make the change. It’s true that choosing organic foods takes a bit more planning, especially in the beginning as you adjust to a new way of shopping. Find support online, and on social media. Get to know your local farmers and butchers. Connect with your community. There are so many benefits to eating organic. And with the negative impact that pesticides and herbicides have on your health and wellbeing, you simply can’t afford not to.
Dora Vandekamp is the host of the Biohack Your Beauty Podcast. You can find her at biohackyourbeauty.com and on Instagram at @doravandekamp. She attended the Institute of Integrative Nutrition for Holistic Coaching and Nutrition. she is a self-taught Yoga Teacher and an accredited Pilates Instructor. Dora also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, which has given her a greater understanding of international health practices and traditions.