Monday, March 31, 2014

How much organic do you buy?

Today was the weekly trip to the grocery store. This is an event that is always plagued with a certain amount of guilt and anxiety. I am torn between buying the best possible produce for my baby and making it out of there without blowing half of my grocery budget on one visit.

The simple answer and the answer I would love to tell you is that there is no price on my baby's, my, and my husband's health. Being a food writer, a healthy food writer at that, that is what I feel like I should tell you. I have read all of the articles on how pesticides are slowly killing us and what's more, I believe them. I think chemicals are causing most, if not, ALL of our health problems today.

And yet....

I still don't shop 100% organic.

From mid-April to November, a CSA provides the bulk of our family's produce. During those months, I would say we eat 80-90% organic.

From November until the CSA starts, we are scrambling to find the best produce for our family. I love eating seasonally and locally, but we live in Wisconsin and I don't like squash or other typical winter produce. It's a problem.

With a small child, I don't have the time or the energy to drive all over town to do my shopping. We go to one store (Woodman's) for the bulk of our groceries and get our meats from other places (the CSA, Costco). I hear of other families driving to 3 or 4 different stores to get all of the organic stuff they need and I have to admit, just hearing about it wears me out.

My husband and I made the decision to raise our family on whole foods. We don't buy anything processed. No chemicals, no pre-mades. No Cheerios, no rice puffs. We take it a step further and also try to limit her grains and eventually, we will not give her cow's milk though she does eat other dairy (cow's milk is for baby cows). These are all choices we have made based on our lifestyle and how we want our family to live.

And when I get to the store, I am filled with self-doubt. Would it be better for me to buy organic pre-mades? Am I hurting her by giving her produce that may have been treated with pesticides? Should I be driving all over town to get specialty stuff?

And when I start to think about that, I start to think, how long could I keep it up? Do we really want to spend THAT much money on organic food that doesn't always taste as good as the regular stuff?
Yes, it's true. I have spent way more money than I want to admit on green beans, mangoes, and apples, only to have them taste like nothing. And trust me, that does nothing to get Baby G excited about fruits and veggies.

For us to maintain our lifestyle, we have to make decisions that will aid in our success. In short, we don't want to set ourselves up to fail. So, if we are going to continue feeding our family a whole foods diet, it's not going to be 100% organic 100% of the time.

I would say we are moving towards a 50/50 split on organic/regular produce during the off season. During the summer, that may change, but I am not sure we will ever be 100%. And I think I am finally okay with that.

This is how we break it down:

Meats, dairy, and eggs: organic

Celery, strawberries, carrots, cucumbers, spinach: organic

Apples for Baby G: organic.

Apples for us: Varies.

The rest: depends on what we find at the store.

I would love to hear from you. Do you buy organic? What are your must-haves? What influences your decision? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I struggle with the financial component of buying organic. My mom is frugal, and that rubbed off on me. Even though I've read how horrible the pesticides and chemicals are for us, I will admit it's hard to spend $4.50 for three organic peppers when the nonorganic ones ten feet away would be $2. I've made some small changes though, like buying local milk, better eggs (although I'm looking to buy directly from a farmer) and some organic produce, and hopefully a quarter of a cow.
    Great post! I appreciate the honesty :)