Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eat, Love: Organic Foods on a Budget

 My grocery bill is getting higher and higher. I owe it all to Netflix. I am a documentary junkie, and Netflix has a ton of them available on demand. One night I was looking for a good one to watch, and I came across Food, Inc. That's when my grocery bill began getting higher and higher. A look behind the scenes of America's food supply is sad, sobering and just really gross. I had smelled the feed lots of West Texas and the chicken houses of East Texas, but the glance of the inside I got from Food, Inc. had an impact on me. 

I can't blame it all on Netflix. When Lily came along I began analyzing every factor of our lives, and food was one of those. We decided to start using beef and milk without added hormones as a first step. Study after study shows the age of the onset of puberty dropping; studies are not absolutely conclusive, but more and more evidence supports the idea that we are shortening childhood with the added hormones in our beef and milk. These added hormones make our dairy cows produce more milk and they make our slaughter cows get really big, really fast, but do we really want these hormones going into our kids? Just a side note: most other meats and animal product, like pork, poultry, and eggs, are free of added hormones due to government regulation.

I managed to move on from meat to produce. I was pretty sure I wanted to cut out pesticides along with the hormones. However, I didn't want to cut out hormones, pesticides and electricity; after looking at the prices on many organic foods I realized the electricity might just have to go if we were going to pay our big fat organic grocery bill. That's when I came across the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen, the list of foods that contain the highest levels of pesticide residue. By purchasing organic on these twelve items, you can reduce your intake of pesticide residue by 80%. Here's the list:

The Dirty Dozen

1. Apples

2. Celery

3. Strawberries

4. Peaches

5. Spinach

6. Nectarines

7. Grapes 

8. Sweet bell peppers

9. Potatoes

10. Blueberries 

11. Lettuce

12. Kale/collard greens

EWG also has a list of foods with very low pesticide residue. These foods, called the Clean 15, are listed below and, in the opinion of your humble blogger and her bank account, are not worth paying those organic prices. 

Clean 15

1. Onions

2. Sweet Corn

3. Pineapples

4. Avocado

5. Asparagus

6. Sweet peas

7. Mangoes

8. Eggplant

9. Cantaloupe 

10. Kiwi

11. Cabbage

12. Watermelon

13. Sweet potatoes

14. Grapefruit

15. Mushrooms


Hope this helps! In the end, just do your homework and do the best you can by your family. Happy shopping!


For more information on foods and pesticides, check out


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