I have you guys all to myself again, with a show I decided to record as a follow up from last weeks show with the wonderful Professor Michael Antoiou on genetic modification and glyphosate – A must listen! It was heavy and hard to hear but in a good and empowering way, so I wanted to help you out with understanding how to afford organics a little better – even if it’s only about bringing in a few items a week. There is always something we can do to take a little step forward, and make some positive changes in your life that feel good. Here’s to feeling great about taking a step forward from wherever you are now in terms of organic food, don’t feel guilty, just pick what works for you and do it!
- Tip number one: baby steps!! Go to your fridge / pantry, and find your highest volume items – the items you’re always having to replenish… pick your top 3, and consider changing those to organic this week. Big volume = big impact! and I’d LOVE to see your top 3 swap outs – please share with us your top 3 swap-outs on instagram and tag us @lowtoxlife – or write about it on our facebook page.
It’s a very conscious decision to spend a bigger proportion of your household budget on groceries – there are things you need to let go of / compromise on. According to a bureau of statistics study conducted, ‘…in the past, feeding our family took a much bigger bite out of the average family budget. In 1901, the average family spent almost half of their budget on food, with just 3% going into meals away from the home. Today we spend an average of 13% of our budgets on food, but 14% of that amount is spent in restaurants…’
- Tip number 2: Think about how many ancillary products in your trolley or shopping basket you might not need… consider swapping from products to PRODUCE. Put a dollar value on all the packet snacks you’re buying, and consider using that cash towards buying some really great quality fats to complement the meats, veggies and legumes that you’re buying. If you switch to better quality proteins, and better fats, you are going to find that the need for snacks dramatically reduces. You can almost become cost neutral this way – try it!
Read my top 14 tips for amping up the nutrient density of meals HERE
- Tip number 3: Check out a farmers market. It’s one of the best ways to cut out the middle man, you often get much fresher and higher quality produce, and you can start some great relationships with your suppliers – ask them questions, get to know where your food is coming from. Chat pesticides, chat irrigation and what’s happening on the land – really get to know what you’re feeding yourself and your family and feel confident in your knowledge of where your food or meat is coming from, and what it’s been ‘fed’ with.
*For Sydney-siders, check out Rita’s farm – they do Marrickville, Rose Bay, Double Bay, Bondi Junction markets, and have certified organic as well as just “spray-free” produce – I just love them!
- Tip number 4: Grow something – anything!! This can be a challenge in small space apartment living, but if you do have space – then get resourced. Herbs on your windowsill? the odd little pot on your kitchen bench if it’s in a sunny position? if you have a backyard – get raised veggie beds happening – these are brilliant if you have space.
Here is a list of resources in Oz and the USA for buying a veggie bed to pop into your garden, you can also read a whole host of tips on the best ways to get started, how to fill it with the right soil mix, etc to get things growing well from day one.
UK: QuickCrop UK
And I love this “Get a great yield” tip sheet from Organic Life magazine.
Fancy DIY project and making your own raised beds? Head here.
- Tip number 5: Consider co-ops. Start your own, join a friend in one – you can get some amazing products via this avenue and get that benefit of a much cheaper bulk ordering deal. For eg, The Canadian Way is in import business in Australia from Canada, which is just divine – something I treat myself to every couple of months through my co-op.
Here is a list of resources on getting started with your own co-op, or joining an existing one as well as a few markets and bits and pieces from Raw Food Mum’s site.
- Tip number 6: Eat less meat! If we halved our meat consumption and doubled our veggie intake, we would see a much greater diversity of nutrients and much less pressure on farming to produce more and more meat. We don’t need to eat excessive amounts of meat and I encourage you to spend time on your unique body with a nutritionist or naturopath so you can get clear on what YOUR protein requirements might be and where those sources are best to come from for you – we’re all different! Increase the veggies and get some healthy fats on your plate too, and then you can pretty much go cost neutral when it comes to switching to organic meat. Buy less but buy better! Learn how to cook with secondary cuts, by slow cooking to break down the tougher meats. Make mince your friend – you can do so much with mince and it’s such a cost effective way of cooking meat – for eg burgers / taco mix / bolognese / moussaka / san choy bow / etc… so many things to be done with mince, and it’s such a great way to be able to afford organic and pasture-raised options.
- It’s really important to know your butcher – ask your butcher whether the animals they get their meat from are pasture raised AND pasture finished? When it comes to Pork, you need to ensure your pigs are in the pasture and not fed genetically modified grains… unfortunately the ‘free range’ label does not guarantee that the animals are pasture raised, and it also doesn’t guarantee us that they’re not fed GM grains. When it comes to chicken or buying chicken breast, switch to buying whole organic chickens and use the entire bird, you’ll probably find it becomes cost neutral too… it’s amazing how many meals you can get out of one chicken! and lastly, remember – don’t just steam your veggies and pop them on the plate – we need healthy fats to be able to assimilate the vitamins – add a good quality olive oil / ghee / etc, it will mean they taste super yummy and all the vitamins are more easily assimilated into our bodies.
- Tip number 7: The ‘Clean 15’ and ‘The dirty dozen’ – this is a list that the EWG (Environmental Working Group) puts out each year. This list gives us a guide as to what we can do to still buy some conventional produce, and what conventional produce isn’t routinely sprayed. So if you’ve swapped out your three highest volume items in your fridge / pantry, and you’re after your next challenge – switch out the dirty dozen for organic produce, it’s the perfect next step.
The clean 15 list is: Avocado, Sweetcorn, Pineapple, Cabbage, frozen sweet peas, Onion, Asparagus, Mangoes, Papaya, Rockmelon, Cauliflower, Kiwi, Eggplant, Sweet Potato.
The dirty dozen is: (products that are sprayed the most!) Spinach, Cherry tomatoes, Strawberries, Snap peas, Apple, Peaches, Grapes, Capsicum, Potatoes, Cucumber, Celery, Nectarines.
- Tip number 8: Buy frozen! When it comes to berries, organic berries are usually $10-12 a punnet… argh! If you really want to go organic with your berries because they are quite heavily sprayed, I would seriously consider frozen berries. Consider things like a crumble, a delicious smoothie, then you won’t notice the squishy soft defrosted berry but you’ll still get your fix. Peas – frozen organic peas – you can get a huge bag they are quite cheap and last ages!
- Tip number 9: Eat with the seasons… for some great tips / recipes on cooking within the seasons, check out the Maggie Beer cookbook that categorises recipes for the seasons – Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring. Get to know the seasons (there are some great farming Instagram accounts that pop up what produce is in season – see list below for some instagram accounts you can follow in Oz / US / etc), but it comes down to two things for me – we’ll become more connected with nature, we’ll get things that taste their most delicious, and we’ll appreciate nature for the incredible gift that it is.
2. Shop for your produce seasonally wherever possible. It doesn’t need to be obsessive but more of an exploration of what’s best, and how to cook with it.
A little tip when sharing: When it comes to talking to your partner or older children about these changes, remember it can be really daunting, I suggest you make sure you learn this information together, listen to this info together. If people need the science, listen to last week’s show together… talking about the lab / the scientific results, the pesticides and herbicides and GM crops – let them feel like you’re in it together, rather than you trying to teach them. If change feels bad, you’re doing it wrong!! Love the changes you’ve made, and be the change and others will want what you’re having! 😉
YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: Share anything you’re inspired to change this week – share it on facebook, instagram – whether it be signing up to co-op like Lettuce Deliver, or it might be your top 3 swap outs, visiting a local farmers market, whatever is your ‘bite size’ change please share this with us all! I would SO love to see, so tag me @lowtoxlife so I can see your goal kicker moments.
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Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet