View Full Version : Going Organic - feeling overwhelmed

Cinnamon Girl
January 1st, 2006, 05:45 PM
This post is part vent, part plea for advice. :awilly:

As part of my recent commitment to live healthier and more conscious of my effect on the world around me, I have opted to eat organic foods.

The area I live in is not the most progressive city in the world, so I can't shop at my usual grocery store, since they don't carry organic. OK fine, that's not a problem. However, today I went to a 'natural' foods store, and was completely overwhelmed. I felt totally lost, and didn't know what to buy and really what to look for. I don't know which brands are better, what things to watch out for, etc.

I'm coming from eating a lot of takeout and fastfood. Cooking has never been high on my list of priorities. And I also have a husband who is really just coming along for the ride on this, and any change will have to be either unnoticeable or decidedly for the better. While I don't want to go completely vegetarian, I do want to reduce the amount of meat we eat - and what we do eat I want to be organic and ethically raised/killed as well.

Is anyone else eating organically? Is this feeling of being overwhelmed to be expected? I typically do something 'all or nothing' and when it comes to eating this way, feel like if I'm only going to do it partway, then what's the point?

Also, the prices amazed me - I knew it would be more expensive to eat this way, but it seems like everything is at least twice the cost of regular food. So that part is frustrating me as well, and I know hubby won't look too kindly on our food budget suddenly skyrocketing.

*sigh* OK, I think I'm mainly feeling frustrated and just needed to vent, but if anyone has been or is in the same boat as me and has any words of advice, I'd love to hear them. :fpraise:

January 1st, 2006, 10:27 PM
baby steps!

ok- organic meat is much more expensive than regular meat. the rate is less so for veggies, i have found. so, cutting back on meat will help lessen your expenses.

fruits grown outside the US are more likely to have been exposed to contaminant than fruit grown in the US, because of different standards between countries. this means that if you have to pick between buying organic mangoes and buying organic spinach (which is probably grown in the US), buy the organic mango.

visit smaller stores. they are more likely to be locally owned and have a more intimate acquaintance with local producers. you might notice at these stores that there is a smaller selection, but that is because the food is not shipped as far, so it corresponds to the season in your area. root veggies in fall and winter, other things earlier.

ask the manager or somebody who might know if there are any local produceres of meat. i live in the middle of the ghetto, and low and behold- there is a farmer's market down the street visited by a local organic producer/butcher. pick up the brochures at the door and check out the bulletin board for people advertising their stuff.

i'm not organic by a long shot, but i do my best.

-frozen is better than canned, in my experience. taste and nutrition wise.
-if you can't get good, red tomatoes (i never can), buy the canned ones. at least they are ripe!

again, baby steps. anything is better than fast food. you're doing a great job just starting.

and finally- a tiny garden, well tended, will produce WAY more than you might expect. 2-3 tomato plants, a few lettuce plants and some peppers will keep you in free organic salad all summer and fall.

Cinnamon Girl
January 2nd, 2006, 02:52 PM
Thanks for all the tips and advice, spooky. :)

I'm probably going to join an organic CSA farm in my area come spring, and also am planning to start a garden this year growing vegetables.

January 2nd, 2006, 03:00 PM
-frozen is better than canned, in my experience. taste and nutrition wise.
-if you can't get good, red tomatoes (i never can), buy the canned ones. at least they are ripe!

I agree

January 2nd, 2006, 05:53 PM
Generally the chemicals you are trying to avoid are fat soluble so you may want to put a higher priority on organic oils, dairy and grains. Sure organic meats are expensive so you may want to consider eating less meat and more vegitarian recipies.

If food dollars need to be monitored than it is good to know what's more important to buy organic.

Good luck and happy eating!

January 2nd, 2006, 06:00 PM
thats excellent about the CSA and your own garden, those are just about the two best steps you can take toward going truly organic.

you mentioned confusion over good brands. while i dont know the ins and outs of all the brands, i do know that Organic Valley is a co-op of small farmers, so when i want organic dairy i tend to go through them.

if you can find bulk grains and nuts and seeds, youll find that the prices arent really even noticably more expensive... usually no more than $.20 more per lb or something.

good luck :)

January 3rd, 2006, 12:16 AM
Also, if you can find a good source of *all natural* foods, they can be just as good as organic. All natural meat means that it has never been given antibiotics or hormones, led a free-range life and is only fed vegetarian grain. Organic meat means all those same things, but that it was only fed purely organic grain. To me, that is not a big difference and certainly worth the price comparison. Just because something isn't necessarily "organic" doesn't mean that it's chock full of chemicals. It is a rigorous process which can last many years, to be able to have something be USDA certified Organic. In regards to price shopping, the more raw something is the less it will be. I work at Whole Foods and while it can be ridiculously expensive, there are ways to get around it. As long as you're buying things that are in-season and things like grains, flours, rices, then the most expensive things are going to be the animal products, such as dairy and meats. Whole Foods has a pretty strict set of standards for what we are allowed to sell, but you'd be surprised at what you can get there. We now sell Goya products, which I can also pick up at my local .99 cent store. If you can go to a natural foods store or a store like Whole Foods and just take a good look around, I'd be willing to bet you could find some of the same brands in your local grocery store. It's more about shopping smart than just grabbing anything that says "organic" on it.
If you're interested, here's a link to all the Whole Foods in your state

January 8th, 2006, 04:11 AM
I work at an organic health food store. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.