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Making the switch to Organic in 2015

Eating Organic in the new year.

It’s that time of the year again. The time of making resolutions and planning drastic changes that not even mother Theresa herself can keep.  If you’re one of the rare few with enough time to frequent the gym, the month of January will always brings back fond memories of forty-five minute waits for treadmills and weight machines drenched in the sweat of what seems like the entire Trojan army.  Alas, it won’t last forever and come February you’ll be able to return to a less chaotic gym and have free reign over the Pilates room.

The truth is, many of us are guilty of keeping our resolution for only a few days and feel guilty for breaking them for the rest of year. Whether it’s buying a gym membership that you’ll never have time to use or this years’ fad diet of detox drinks and seaweed milk shakes.  We don’t always choose the best method of jumping on the health bandwagon and eventually, time management will rear it’s ugly head and take a hold of us. We are all guilty of breaking our resolutions, whether we admit to it or not.

Finding the right method of bringing a healthy lifestyle into your routine can be easy if done properly and I’ll show you how. Making the switch to organic ingredients is much easier than you think. If you’re lucky enough to live here in the Pacific Northwest, you’re given some amazing options like Boistfort Valley Farm, for instance. *wink wink nudge nudge*

Now’s the time when you shake your head and scream, “BUT EATING ORGANIC IS TOO EXPENSIVE!”

The above can sometimes be true but there are ways to make the change regardless of your income.  Here’s a few tips on how to make the switch and start eating healthy and adjusting your budget to make it more affordable for you and your family:

GO DIRECTLY TO THE SOURCE
Start by getting your produce from local farms and taking a trip to the farmer’s market. Signing up for our Community Supported Agriculture program at Boistfort Valley Farm is a great way to start and we deliver year round. For as little as $19 a week during the summer months, you can have fresh organic produce delivered to one of our many drop-sites around Washington State. For those of you on an even tighter budget, you can visit your local farmer’s markets and buy only what you need. Many of these locations accept WIC and you can also use your SNAP benefits to buy delicious organic produce for your family. Farmer’s market prices are generally less expensive that what local supermarket charges and can be a great way to save a little money.

MAKE A WEEKLY MENU
Plan your meals week by week and shop only around that meal plan. Remember the old saying, KISS (Keep it simple stupid). Buy only the items you need or if the price is right, items that can be stored for an extended period of time. Stick to recipes that use FRESH, low priced ingredients that are easy to prepare and feed to your family. You can make healthy, delicious meals without buying over-priced specialty items. Unless you’re cooking for chef Gordan Ramsey, keep it simple.

START SMALL
Swapping your diet to an all-organic, pasture raised, non-processed diet right away can be a little overwhelming for many people.  Start off small by buying organic produce.  As time goes by and you become more confident at the market you can start removing processed packaged meals, GMO ingredients and factory farmed meat. The most helpful tool for families on a tight budget is to learn the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen.  If you can’t afford to buy 100% organic produce or live in an area where it’s difficult to find, this list can help you eat healthier.

THE DIRTY DOZEN
Produce that should be purchased organically:
1. apples
2. celery
3. cherry tomatoes
4. cucumber
5. grapes
6. hot peppers
7. nectarines (imported)
8. peaches
9. potatoes
10. spinach
11. strawberries
12. sweet bell peppers
THE CLEAN FIFTEEN
Produce that is safe to purchase conventionally:
1. asparagus
2. avocado
3. cabbage
4. cantaloupe
5. corn
6. eggplant
7. grapefruit
8. kiwi
9. mangoes
10. mushrooms
11. onions
12. papayas
13. pineapples
14. sweet peas (frozen)
15. sweet potatoes

 

EAT LESS MEAT
Americans are obsessed with meat and the thought of thought of removing your beloved Frisbee sized porterhouse from your family’s dinner plate may send them off in protest. This may be one of the most daunting and difficult tasks to implement.  The industrial meat system may have driven prices down, but eating this on a regular basis isn’t exactly the healthiest option. Swapping to organic and grass raised meat can be very expensive and will take up the majority of your shopping budget.

The first step easiest step I took when I started buying organic on an extremely tight budget was cutting out the fat. Literally. Instead of following the “Meatless Mondays” fad, I started my own system of “Meaty Mondays”. Buying meat once a week will save you ton of money. Finding a local butcher or ranch is a great place to start.  Implementing step one of going directly to the source will certainly save you some dough versus buying from your local supermarket. Reducing portion sizes can also help save some cash (get ready for another family protest). During the rest of the week, try cheaper options and introduce organic protein rich foods such as beans, nuts, seeds and eggs.

SEPARATE YOUR NEEDS FROM YOUR WANTS
But I neeeeeeed a grande double half-caff soy latte with extra whipped cream and sprinkles! Do you want to know how to make an extra $1,800 a year? Cut that $5 a day coffee habit from your favorite local chain coffee shop. Before buying anything, whether it’s a box of cookies, maple bacon flavored beer, an 80″ flat screen or the latest copy of Call of Duty, ask yourself one question.  Do I really need this?  You’ll be surprised how much money you have left over at the end of the month buy cutting out the unnecessary fluff.  Health first, party later.

 

Hopefully these tips can get you started on the right track for the new year. Depending on your budget, we can all make small or great changes to our eating and shopping habits. And yes, stick with them for more than a month. Find the best path that works for YOU and you’ll always succeed.

and remember… Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.  ~Hippocrates

 

 

 

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