(If you’re wondering how to buy organic, non-GMO fruits and veggies, grass-fed meats and wild caught fish without breaking the bank…you’ll want to Save, Share and READ this week’s Q&A!)
Question: Eating healthy is SO expensive. I’ve never spent SO much on groceries in my LIFE trying to buy organic! What do I really need to buy, to eat? Organic? Natural? Non-GMO?
Answer: Its no lie. Eating organic, local, grass-fed, free range meats and wild caught fish can be expensive.
Here’s how I made sense of it all. And how I slowly made the change.
First, ignore all the marketing. “Natural” means nothing! Its a marketing term used to try to trick you into thinking you’re buying something healthier. After all, not to be gross or disrespectful, but to get my point across, poop is natural. Doesn’t mean I want to eat it. And to believe that they make you pay more for a “marketing” term! Ugh!
Second, Organic, Non-GMO, grass-fed, free-range meats and wild caught fish is the gold standard. But as any newly graduated college student knows, you first have to start at PB&J or ramen noodles before you get to fillet mignon dinners. So start where you are. Make one change.
– Organic, Non-GMO veggies and fruits contain no pesticides or modified seeds. The nutrient content is no different to conventional veggies and fruits, but there are fewer toxins introduced to your system. And the research is still out on GMO modifications effects on humans. Since you’re not a rat, at least I’m pretty sure you’re not, the current trials don’t really pertain to you, your system or DNA.
– The Take-away: If you suffer from any type of allergy or want to lower your toxin exposure, start here.
– Dairy – grass-fed, non-antibiotic, steriod or pesticide milk, dairy and egg products are the way to go. There a causeual link between antibiotic feed and antibiotic resistance seen in the general public, but this has not been deeply researched on a large basis. However, the FDA allows for a certain percentage of antibiotic residue to come through in our milk supply.
– The Take-away: Dairy products carry the highest toxin, pesticide and antibiotic residue. If you want to reduce these exposures, start here. (This is where I started, as it was the easiest to know what I was and wasn’t buying as it saying it right on the packaging.)
– Non-GMO, Organic grains are the way to go if you’re concerned about pesticide and toxin exposure. Corn, Wheat and Soy are the two largest genetically modified grains in the world. They also account for the largest packaged goods. Think cereals, breads, baked goods, etc.
– The Take-away: If GMO exposure is a concern start here. (This was the last thing I changed to our diet and shopping. Its harder to find non-gmo grains, although it gets easier every day, and its much more expensive. I choose first to limit our processed carb consumption and THEN make this change.)
– Local, Grass-fed meats & wild caught fish – Wowzas, these can up your grocery bill! But the latest research is clear. Grass fed meats and wild caught fish not only produce healthier animals or fish when brought to slaughter (wouldn’t you rather eat a healthier animal that was killed or one the buzzards were already swooping around!), but they’re also higher in Omega 3s, Omega 6s and other essential fatty acids and amino acids that your body uses to build cells and muscles. If I want better cells, those little things my body, bones, skin, are made up of so I can live longer, healthier…ok and look younger!…so I can enjoy my life, my children and family, then I want the best meats and fish to eat.
– The Take-away: If you want to get the highest quality fats, amino acids and nutrients from your meats, then this is the way to go. But it can easily add to your budget. (I made this kicking and screaming! Even with all the research, I couldn’t believe the sticker price! So we now eat 1 or 2 non-meat meals a week which helps. My husband and I also noticed, coincidentally, that we didn’t eat as much meat or fish from grass-fed or wild caught sources. I believe this is due to the higher fat and nutrient profiles, so our bodies can use MORE of what we’re eating rather than excreting it away. Ewww! I know back to poop! But that helped me to see that I was paying more, but getting MORE in return.)
Step by step:
1. Start with Dairy, including butter & eggs (non antibiotic or pesticide, grass-fed)
2. Next Fruits and Veggies – first dirty dozen, then others
3. Grass-Fed Meats & Wild-Caught Fish – local if you can
4. Lastly, Non-GMO, Organic Grains