Buying organic food on a budget

We’ve made the decision that our traveling and fun lifestyle has to be put on hold while we save hardcore for the next year. We realized if we don’t start saving we could get stuck in England forever, and that’s definitely not ideal. It’s not ideal for a variety of reasons, one being that this is the weather almost every day of the year:

Yes, you are seeing that correctly. A big gray blanket of misery. Gray everywhere. Never too cold. Never too hot. Never much of anything.

Anyway, this financial decision also meant my food budget got cut despite my protests. I guess it’s fair to say I didn’t have a budget for food before. If I wanted it, I bought it. I felt (feel) that health shouldn’t be connected to a budget.

Needless to say, buying all organic is no longer an option for the Mitchell residence.

Adrian believes that if you aren’t going to buy all organic then it’s pointless to bother buying any organic. I disagree. I think you should do all you can to eliminate pesticides and fertilizers from your diet, even if that means cutting them by only 50%.

I’ve read that certain vegetables and fruits are worse than others in terms of contamination, so I did some research and found this list from organic.org on which are the most contaminated fruits and veg:

12 Most Contaminated 

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

12 Least Contaminated

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

From what I can tell this list seems to coincide with a lot of other things I’ve read concerning the contamination levels of these foods.

(Image from dailymail.co.uk)

In addition to trying to limit my organic spending to the most contaminated, I’m also buying far less meat. If I can’t buy meat that is humanely farmed and raised free of hormones and drugs then we won’t eat it.

We want to eat more healthfully anyway, so adding a lot more vegetarian options to our diet will be a good thing.

I tried going to our local farmers’ market to try to buy local but it was just awful. It was nothing like farmers’ markets I’ve been to in the US. All the food was clearly days old and starting to go bad, the meats weren’t displayed in a clean or safe  manner and at one stand there was blood all over the back of one of the vans. We also ended up getting food poisoning from what I believe was  a cheese we bought.

There are lots of markets throughout the city, but a few I’ve been to it’s no better than the supermarket because the food isn’t even from England. I’m sure that’s not the case for many, but I’ll have to find them.

Do you have a budget for food/organic food?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Buying organic food on a budget

  1. Pingback: Buying organic food on a budget | ram :: random access memory | Cheap Healthy Foods

  2. You’ve discovered the “dirty dozen”! We don’t have a specific budget for organic food, but we try to stay within a budget for our weekly grocery shopping. There are some things that I always buy organic and others that I only buy when they are on sale. About a year ago, I decided that organic milk was one thing I did’t want to bend on, so we’ve been buying that ever since. I also always try to get organic, cage free eggs. Fruits and vegetables are more hit and miss though, so it really depends on what I’m looking to buy each week and what is on sale. Overall though, I agree that the extra price (to an extent; if it’s too much I’ll skip it) is worth my health.

    P.S. Have you read anything about the vanishing honeybees? I’ve read about it before and it’s pretty fascinating….and scary! Then I saw Ellen Page on Bill Maher the other night talking about her new documentary, Vanishing of the Bees. I’m definitely going to check it out and thought you might be interested too.

    P.P.S. Sorry for leaving a novel in your comment section:)

    • Totally fine! I should have mentioned the Dirty Dozen name, it’s cute. Apparently you can download a Dirty Dozen app so you’ll never forget while you’re shopping! I am also always sure to buy organic whole milk if I have to buy milk. I can’t stand the thought of all the drugs and hormones they pump into animals. I know organic doesn’t solve the problem of how they are treated, but that’s another issue.

      I haven’t heard of the bee documentary, but I’ll be sure to check it out because I’ve been hearing for a while about how honey bees are disappearing. Ellen Page must be cool if she appeared on Bill Maher. I LOVE him!!

  3. Hi there! Great post 🙂 Since I’m a student I don’t really have the money to buy organic food but I made an agreement with myself. When I’ve finished, hopefully this summer, I’ll start paying more attention to the quality of the food so I’ll probably buy organic stuff as well. I think it’s very important to save our own planet!

    • Hi! I think that’s a good plan and totally understandable. I don’t even like thinking about some of the stuff I ate when I was a student! I remember one time I bought salisbury steaks with fake grill marks on them and even back then I was like “Wow, this is low.” lol!

  4. Kim

    Ah, thanks for the research! The list is very helpful. I an totally understand that. Why does organic food has to be so expensive? Since I’m still a student, I can’t afford that much 😦

    • I know, it’s so tough as a student. It’s probably easier to not know these kinds of things lol. Sometimes I wish I didn’t know because ignorances is so much easier and cheaper!

  5. Michael

    Hi. You do realize that organic food does not by any means mean “pesticide free”, right? It only means that certain “approved” pesticides can be used, in lesser quantities and less “post-production” as well. All in all, organic means you get less of the “bad stuff”, but it doesn’t mean you don’t get any of it. 😉 So, yes, it totally makes a lot of sense to go part-organic. You should also look into organic meat – that’s much more “cost effective” than fuit & vege – especially organic chicken as compared to the regular one…!

    • Hi Michael,
      Yes, I do have a ful understanding of what exactly organic means in both the US and EU. I think the term organic is misleading to a lot people because of the way it is promoted on labels. For example, from what I’ve read and from what I used to believe a long time ago when it started becoming prominent, it’s common to think that organic also means the animals are raised to higher standard of welfare. This is not the case at all. In fact, organic meat can come from animals treated just as cruelly as regular factory farmed animals. Organic produce and meat are produced on such a large scale that in many cases they are no better than factory farms.
      Like you said, it’s better to do away with as much as possible and you will by eating organic, but by eating organic no one should believe they are pesticide free or that they are contributing to a better lifestyle for animals unless it’s specifically stated.

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