By Rick D
from Eat Local Grown
Why is Organic food so Expensive!
(hint: It’s not.)
We get a ton of comments from people that are always asking “Why is Organic food so expensive!”. That’s a tough question to answer for a lot of reasons, particularly because expensive is such a relative term. My personal thoughts on the matter are that organic food is no more expensive than it’s always been– if you look at it from the standpoint of a percentage of household income. Around 60-70 years ago, we spend a much larger percent of our money on food than we do now.
And the main reason is that junk food is really cheap. Food manufacturers figured out that if they switched out ‘real food’ and replaced it with ingredients like fillers, artificial color and artificial flavors, costs went way down. And people didn’t care! They kept buying it. As a matter of fact, the companies with the cheapest food-like products started selling more than companies with ‘real food’.
Whether you agree with that line of reasoning or not, the fact remains that Junk Food is cheaper than Organic.
How to Save Money on Organic Food
We scoured the web to find some of the best tips and tricks out there. Each tip lists the website that supplied the tip and we recommend you visit them for even more great information…
1. Eat with the Season
Retrain your taste buds to think like your grandmother did. She didn’t eat strawberries in the middle of winter.Locally grown foods are usually cheaper than those flown in from another hemisphere so if you eat with the season, you’ll be eating more affordably. – Via allergykids.com
eatlocalgrown says: We bought organic peaches, plums and nectarines last year at $5 of 5 pounds at the local farmers market! The trick is find these items when they are at the peak of the season. We bought 20 pounds, sliced them up and froze them, then used them in smoothies for a few months. Find similar deals on apples and oranges.
2. Buy organic in the freezer section
A December 2013 study looked at the difference in the vitamin and mineral content of eight different fruits and vegetables when they were fresh versus frozen. While the produce was not organic, the findings are still applicable. The researchers found that fresh produce degrades over time, resulting in a loss of certain nutrients. Fresh produce stored for five days had lower values of vitamins A and C and folate compared to the frozen version. What’s more, you can use what you need and put the rest back in the freezer, rather than risking the food going bad and then having to throw it out—along with the money you spent. – Via youbeauty.com
eatlocalgrown says: Frozen berries are fantastic in smoothies. They makes your smoothies cold without adding ice. Frozen fruit is also a great organic snack treat for kids on a hot day instead of a sugary popsicle!
3. Look for “ripe” markdowns
Go to a local health food store where normally there is a section in which food that will go bad the next day is kept. Food that is fully ripe like bananas with black dots are cheaper than green ones. So often markets mark down food that doesn’t look as “pretty” or that is completely ripe and needs to be eaten very soon. So look for food that is of the best quality and buy that at a reduced price, which is possible. – Via therawfoodfamily.com
4. Join a CSA
A CSA or community supported agriculture is another way you can buy local and seasonal foods directly from a farmer. Each week you’ll receive a box of fruits and vegetables, and other farm products may be included. All depends on the package you decide to select. Essentially its a weekly subscription of the freshest produce that is in season. Its a great way to try new vegetables for new ways of cooking. – Via greenjuiceaday.com
5. Use more ground meats
Use ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, as much as you can. You can make burgers, chili, meat loaf, spaghetti, tacos, etc… Using ground meats is one of the best ways to make your budget stretch further- for example, pairing ground beef for tacos with homemade pinto beans and Spanish rice will easily feed an average size family for multiple nights, and probably some lunches too. Via – theorganicmomma.com
6. Time is Money
It’s much cheaper and more nutritious to cook your own food, even though it takes more time and effort. It will leave much more room in your budget for organic produce. If you go for preserving food in season by canning, freezing and dehydrating, you can save a bundle. Via – savvyvegetarian.com
7. Buy in Bulk
We aren’t talking about those huge bundles of toilet paper people buy at box stores. Your local organic Co-ops and health food stores have bulk sections, too! Buy beans, legumes, grains, spices, etc. in large quantities and save. If you buy in bulk, though, be smart. Before you buy, learn how to properly store your food before you buy all those hearty grains to ensure they don’t go bad. Via – organicauthority.com
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By Dr. Edward Kondrot of The Healing The Eye & Wellness Center
Millions of people suffer from a condition referred to as ‘dry eye syndrome.’ Creating an uncomfortable situation for those who experience it, the problem can also increase one’s chances of infections and even lead to further problems and complications with the eye. The good news is that there are things people can do to help prevent and address dry eye, helping them to stay more comfortable and avoid additional health problems.
“Typically, those in the industry tend to tell people to use eye drops or follow other conventional forms of addressing dry eye,” explains Dr. Edward Kondrot, founder of the Healing The Eye & Wellness Center. “This can be problematic, though, because eye drops often come with side effects and may not be as effective as we would like them to be.”
Several factors can contribute to one getting dry eye, including aging, medications, and environmental factors. Here are 5 tips for preventing and addressing dry eye syndrome:
- Homeopathic. Speak with a homeopathic specialist in order to obtain a natural treatment plan. This will help avoid side effects associated with many of the conventional treatments used. Those needing drops to help moisten their eyes should opt for ones made from natural ingredients.
- Increase humidity. By increasing the humidity in their homes, people are able to help keep their eyes moist. Placing a bowl of water near the head of the bed will help with this.
- Take plant based omega oils instead of omega based fish oils. Many people begin taking fish oil for their dry eyes, but it can have the opposite effect. There are problems that can arise due to fish oil that has become rancid, have longer fatty acid chains, and run the risk of mercury. Plant based omega oils like borage, primrose and flax oils will give more health benefits to your eyes
- Go organic. It is important to opt for including as much organic food in the diet as possible, ideally at least 70 percent. This will help keep harmful chemicals, which can potentially damage the eyes, out of the body.
- Stay hydrated. To avoid dryness, be sure to drink plenty of water each day, ideally 8 glasses.
- Blinking. To help keep the eyes from becoming dry, try to blink often. This will help to keep the eye surface moist and prevent it from drying out. Try opening and closing your eyes in a slower motion, giving your eye more time to become moistened.
- Palming. Close your eyes and gently rest the heels of your hands on your cheekbones, covering your eyes with your palms. Imagine and visualize blackness. At the same time, feel your breathing. Breathe deeply, slowly, and evenly, through your nose. The slower you breathe, the better.
“Tears and lubrication supply oxygen to the eye, and help remove foreign substances, among other things,”
“Tears and lubrication supply oxygen to the eye, and help remove foreign substances, among other things,” adds Dr. Kondrot. “When it comes to protecting the eyes it is imperative that people be proactive and do what we know works to help prevent and protect them.”
Dr. Kondrot is the author of three best-selling books, including “10 Essentials to Save Your Sight” (Advantage Media Group, July 2012), and president of the Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative Medical Association. He has founded the Healing The Eye & Wellness Center, located just north of Tampa, Fla., which offers alternative and homeopathic routes to vision therapies known as the “Kondrot Program.” The program focuses on such conditions as macular degeneration, glaucoma, dry eye, cataracts, and others. His advanced programs have helped people from around the world restore their vision. The center sits on 50 acres of land and features a 14,000-square-foot state-of-the art complex, an organic ranch, jogging trails, swimming pool, hot tub, and more. For more information, visit the site at www.healingtheeye.com.
About Health The Eye & Wellness Center
The Healing The Eye & Wellness Center is located 30 miles north of Tampa, in Dade City, Fla. Founded by Dr. Edward Kondrot, the Center offers world-class alternative therapies for vision conditions, including color and vision therapy, the treatment of glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, dry eye, and more. The center also offers a variety of seminars, webinars, and training sessions for others in the medical community. Dr. Kondrot is the world’s only board-certified ophthalmologist and board-certified homeopathic physician. He is also author of three best-selling books in the field. For more information, visit the site at www.healingtheeye.com.
May 30, 2012
No one expects you to run your own farm and live off the land, but there are plenty of simple ways you can reduce the impact your food has on the environment. Sustainable eating means the production of your food doesn’t hurt the environmental systems that we depend on.
There are plenty of reasons to care, including your own health and food safety, but this article is mainly focused on the environmental effects of food production. SustainableTable.org clearly articulates the issues with unsustainable food: “Industrial agriculture causes massive topsoil erosion and aquifer depletion, undermines genetic diversity, and pollutes air, water and soil with toxic chemicals, causing $34.7 billion worth of environmental damage annually in the United States alone.”
We’re not asking you to completely overhaul your lifestyle; even following one of these tips can make a difference. And maybe after you take that first step, you’ll realize why it’s worth it and take another. That said, in no particular order, we present to you the top 10 ways to eat more sustainably.
1. Eat organic.
This probably isn’t a shock to you; you’ve been encouraged to eat organic food for years. But it’s possible you weren’t aware of the environmental benefits of it. Organic food production follows certain standards that promote biodiversity (i.e., a balanced ecosystem), sustainability, natural plant fertilization, natural pest management and soil integrity.
USDA-certified organic foods cannot contain synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or antibiotics; their production cannot involved genetic engineering, irradiation or sewage sludge; all organically produced animals must be given 100% organic feed, which does not contain any animal byproducts or growth hormones; all organically produced animals must have access to the outdoors; and the product must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. It’s true that organic products can be produced unsustainably, but usually organic farming falls into the category of sustainable agriculture.
We bet we can guess what you’re thinking right now: “These are all good reasons to buy organic, but that doesn’t change the price tag on organic food products.” It’s true; organic food tends to be more expensive. (Find out why here.) Pick and choose what to buy organically based on the amount of pesticides in conventional produce. The Environmental Working Group has composed a list called the Dirty Dozen of the 12 most pesticide-heavy produce that you should buy organic, as well as the Clean 15 — a list of the cleanest conventional produce that isn’t necessary to buy organic.
2. Eat seasonally and locally.
The farther our food travels from farm to plate, the larger the carbon footprint. A 2005 study found that the conventional food distribution system used four to 17 times more fuel and emitted five to 17 times more carbon dioxide than the local or regional systems.
While it can’t hurt to buy all your food locally, it’s important to note that the most important items to pick up at your local farmers market are fruits and vegetable. According to EWG data, buying broccoli locally can reduce the overall footprint by 20%; buying tomatoes locally can reduce it by 25%. Local meat purchasing makes only a 1% to 3% impact.
In addition to helping the environment, you’re supporting the community’s economy and your food is fresher. Even if you don’t have any farmers markets nearby, you can check the food labels at the grocery to determine where the product comes from.
American groceries are usually stocked with almost anything you could ever want year-round, but produce does have peak seasons. During peak seasons, you can find fruits and vegetables produced locally. But out of season, they’re often shipped long distances to make it into your supermarket, thereby increasing their carbon footprint. If you really can’t live without something during the winter months, freeze it before the season’s end and store it for future use. SimpleSteps.org offers an incredible online tool to find out what’s in season in your area or find a farmers market near you.
3. Eat sustainable seafood.
Sometimes the ways in which seafood reaches your plate hurts the environment. This is usually due to unsustainable practices, such as overfishing (i.e., catching fish faster than they can reproduce), habitat damage (e.g., the fishing method could damage the sea floor, destroying the fish habitat) or bycatch (i.e., the fishing method kills animals other than the ones being fished).
For quick tips on ensuring your seafood is sustainable, click here. For a guide to finding sustainable food, click here. And to find out which supermarkets were ranked highest for selling sustainable seafood, click here. Still have questions? Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s informative website.
4. Eat less meat and dairy.
Alright, carnivores. Hear us out — we promise we won’t demand you become vegetarian or vegan. But you should know that meat production accounts for about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The main reasons for this are feed production, manure and the digestive process of cows, sheep and other “ruminant” livestock.
The majority of the livestock raised in the United States for our consumption is fed a combination of soybean meal, corn and other grains that must be shipped to the farm, increasing the use of fuel and emission of carbon dioxide. Additionally, the grains used to feed the livestock require an immense amount of fertilizer, fuel, pesticides and water. That fertilizer produces nitrous oxide, which has 300 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide, according to the Environmental Working Group.
Livestock don’t clean up after themselves. According to EWG, livestock in confined feedlots generate about 500 million tons of manure a year — three times the waste produced by Americans! That waste generates methane and nitrous dioxide. Finally, the digestive processes of cows, sheep and other livestock — but not pigs and chickens — involves the release of methane, which is 25 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.
If you can’t imagine your life without hamburgers, what about making a small sacrifice and going one day a week without meat? This is exactly the idea proposed by the national Meatless Mondays campaign, which states that going meatless just once a week could reduce your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, in addition to reducing your carbon footprint and saving natural resources. Check out their website for more details.
5. If you do eat meat, make sure it’s grass-fed, free-range, hormone-free and organic.
Remember what we said about how the livestock feed increases the carbon footprint of meat? Pasture-based systems minimize this problem since the cows graze on grass and naturally fertilize it with their own waste. Thus, eating grass-fed meat is more environmentally friendly than consuming the meat produced by industrial farming systems. If you need some help finding grass-fed meat and dairy products, EatWild.com has a helpful guide to local suppliers.
You can also make a difference by broadening your usual meat options. Don’t just stick with chicken breasts when including poultry in your diet; the thighs and legs can be a healthy and delicious addition to a meal. By eating more of the organs and “less desirable” animal parts, you help reduce what goes to waste.
Try to keep your consumption of lamb, beef, cheese, pork and farmed salmon to a minimum. According to EWG, those products generate the most greenhouse gases. Plus, with the exception of salmon, they also tend to contain high amounts of saturated fat and have a more significant impact on the environment due to the chemical fertilizer, feed, fuel, pesticides and water necessary to raise them.
6. Speaking of waste, don’t do it! Make food from scratch.
We’re not talking about how your mom used to say “Eat everything on your plate; there are starving kids in Africa.” You can save that food for later if you’ve eaten enough. But she had a point about wasting good food — you probably do it more often than you realize. How long have those beans been in your pantry? Use them! Try to use as much as you have in the kitchen before restocking to avoid wasting food once it spoils.
And believe it or not, those packaged products you buy in the grocery aren’t made by magic. You can make them too. OK, not chicken, obviously. But you don’t need Betty Crocker to bake a birthday cake. Mayonnaise, jelly, potato (or veggie!) chips, mustard, peanut butter, dried fruits, bread and even Nutella can be made from scratch at home. Find out how here.
7. Grow your own herbs and/or produce — and learn how to compost!
If you’re skipping over this one because you don’t have a backyard, not so fast! We’ve got the best guide to gardening in the “concrete jungle” for all you urban dwellers, so no excuses! You can grow anything from a little rosemary and thyme to tomatoes, pepper and kale (think of the kale chips!).
Before you trash your leftovers, know this: It’s logical to assume that your tossed food scraps will end up rotting away and turning to dust in a landfill, but that’s usually not the case. Even the most compostable products can remain intact inside landfills because by design, landfills are meant to bury trash so that it is isolated from groundwater, kept dry and will not make contact with the air. And according to the Environmental Protection Agency, yard trimmings and food scraps make up about 27% of what we throw away.
All you need to do to is let nature do its thing — save the scraps and compost them. If you don’t have a backyard, we once again have you covered. We know decomposing food in your apartment doesn’t sound too appealing, but there are (non-stinky and non-gross) solutions. Find out how to make it work with our guide to indoor composting.
8. Buy products with less packaging and reuse packaging.
Individually wrapped mozzarella sticks are definitely convenient — we won’t argue with you there. But it’s about time we stop looking for the tiniest bit of added convenience and instead focus on the environmental impact we could have by putting in the littlest amount of extra effort — meaning you’re perfectly capable of packing our own lunch and snacks before you head to work. It will take you 30 seconds to a minute more than it would take to throw that individually wrapped snack in your (reusable) lunch bag.
Instead of buying a little bit here and there, buy in bulk as much as possible. Rather than purchasing a can of black beans, buy a big bag that can last you weeks or a month. Choose products with recyclable packaging. If this isn’t an option in some cases, reuse the packaging. Those plastic containers that held last night’s spinach can be used to store leftovers. The mayo jars can be used to hold your homemade jam — since you’re making things from scratch now (see No. 6).
And make sure you use those grocery totes that you keep forgetting to bring to the market so you don’t have to carry groceries home with plastic bags. (Just don’t forget to wash them. Find out what you need to know about grocery tote safety here.)
9. Buy fair-trade products.
The production of some foods — such as coffee, tea and chocolate — is often environmentally destructive and can involve tearing down rainforests for plantations, as well as excessive air and water pollution.
Fair-trade-certified products are required to follow economically fair and environmentally responsible standards, including sustainable production. Go to FairTradeUSA.org for more information and to find fair-trade-certified products.
10. Drink tap water.
We need H2O to hydrate our bodies — so why not make sure it’s free and eco-friendly? According to the EPA, 30 millions tons of plastic were thrown away in 2010, and 13 millions tons of that plastic came from single-use plastics like water bottles.
Those recyclable PET bottles are wonderful, but the fact is that not enough people bother to recycle them. According to an article published in the Environmental Research Letters journal, more than 5.6 billion pounds of PET bottles and jars were available for recycling in 2007, but only 1.4 billion pounds of PET were actually recycled.
And the production of water bottles takes a toll on the environment as well. Approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil go into the manufacturing of a year’s worth of water bottles for American consumption, according to the Earth Policy Institute. Not to mention shipping! The transportation of water from Italy, France and Fiji to New York alone results in 4,000 tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions, according to O magazine.
While marketers of water bottle brands may swear to you that it’s healthier than tap water, there’s no evidence to support this claim. So use a glass and hit up the faucet. You’ll save energy and money!