Eating Organic Without Going (more) Broke

Eating organic is often included in the green and healthy lifestyle that many people are starting to adopt.  Obviously it’s healthier to eat foods that haven’t been doused in pesticides or injected with hormones, but it is definitely an expensive option.  My good friend is taking a class in which she has to eat not only organic, but also only entirely unprocessed foods for two days.  This is going to be very expensive for poor college students, which will quite possibly turn off the entire class from every trying to eat organic.  I think it’s very important to realise that eating healthy and organic isn’t an all-or-nothing decision.  You don’t have to throw away all of your prepared foods or shun cheese forever, because even just making small changes does help.

It’s important to know the differences in terminology before you go shopping.  “Natural” means basically nothing- it is a term that is not really regulated by the FDA.  “100% organic” clearly means that there are no synthetic ingredients in the food.  “Organic” means that 95% of a food’s ingredients are organic.  “Made with Organic Ingredients” means that 70% of the food’s ingredients must be organic- these three terms are regulated by the FDA.

Some foods are more important to eat organic than others.  For example, fruits with thick peels are more resistant to pesticides, so it’s not always imperative to buy those organic.  If you eat meat on the other hand, it’s pretty important to make sure it hasn’t been fed antibiotics or hormones.  Here’s a brief list of some of the most and least important foods to worry about.

Watch out for:

  • Apples, peaches, and other tree fruits
  • Celery
  • Berries
  • Leafy greens
  • Bell Peppers
  • Grapes, raisins, and wine
  • Potatoes
  • Meats, milk- the fat retains pesticides that the animals ingested
  • Coffee, chocolate- The beans are often grown in countries with few regulations
  • Rice
  • Green Beans
  • Cucumbers

Don’t worry about:

  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet peas
  • Mango
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cabbage
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Mushrooms
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Asparagus
  • Mango
  • Avocado
  • Onions

There are other ways to save money while trying to stay healthy and unprocessed as well.

  • Buying in bulk is always great if you know it won’t go bad and you have space to store it.
  • Take a page out of your granny’s book and use coupons– seriously, I LOVE coupons.  Sometimes I leave the store with them practically paying me.
  • Buying generic is a good idea- a store brand of plain organic vegetables is usually pretty indistinguishable from a fancy brand.
  • See if you can buy frozen– if you’re just making soup or smoothies, frozen fruits and vegetables are adequate.  Also, sometimes canned goods are great too.  The canning process actually sometimes gets rid of pesticides, but you do have to worry about BPA in the can linings.
  • Buy local and in season– obviously strawberries are going to be expensive in January when they have to come from some distant land.  Also, it’s more eco friendly since your food hasn’t travelled as far and healthier since they haven’t been treated with chemicals for the long journey.
  • Buy less processed food– not only is this far healthier, it will obviously save you money because you’re not paying for labor.  You’ll consume less sodium, oils, and chemicals with frighteningly long names.  Also, many foods lose nutritional value when they’re overcooked as they often are in prepared foods.  Make your own prepared foods by going on a cooking spree every few days and storing individual portions.

If you can’t find or afford organic goods, just make sure you do the best you can by washing food, peeling skins and outer leaves, and trimming fats.

Remember, it’s not an all-or-nothing approach.  Little efforts do add up!

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The Big Bang

So, this is my first foray into the blogging world since the explosion (and nearly immediate demise) of Xanga in middle school.  I was never one for blogging or keeping journals because it seems self-absorbed to assume that anyone would be interested in reading about my thoughts.  It turns out, my life is a lot more interesting than I give myself credit for because so many people that I know have requested that I write about what I am good at.  Question is, what on earth are they talking about?

I used to be fairly miserable- pretty overweight and suffering from a host of psychological issues.  Near the end of high school, something exploded. I dumped my negative boyfriend (sorry, I’m not sorry), joined a gym, and found ways of interacting positively with the world around me.  I had been trying yoga since middle school, but I really threw myself into it.  I kickboxed until my biceps felt like they would explode.  I read about how to be a healthy vegetarian rather than subsist on carb-heavy side dishes.  I stopped listening to depressing goth-rock and directed my taste towards mellow indie music and mentally stimulating psychedelic tunes from the 60s.  I slowly ditched my all-black wardrobe in favor of grungy neutrals (hey, it’s an improvement) and spent as much time as possible hanging out with friends rather than sitting in my room sketching and writing moody song lyrics.

Now, I am in my third year at Syracuse University.  I’m a music major (voice and piano) with minors in Business Administration and Information Technology and an awesome job lined up for me as soon as I graduate- a year early.  I’ve taken between 19 and 27 credits each semester while working between 2 and 6 jobs at any time.  My friends think I’m crazy and my family knows I am, but really I’m not particularly special.  I just know how to manage my time, what’s negotiable (that extra hour of sleep), and what’s not (hitting the gym).  If you can benefit from my experience, then I’m more than happy to share!

So, what am I good at?  That varies on a day to day basis, but one thing that I am always good at is finding a way of being content, come hell or high water.  This is a blog about how best to navigate this tumultuous world that we inhabit through positivity, a healthy yogic lifestyle, exercise, and efficiency so that you too can always find a way of being at peace.