Affording Organics


For the longest time, up until oh, about 40 minutes ago, I didn't think we could afford to go completely organic. But we did it, today, and within our budget.

Groceries in Orlando aren't cheap, and the organic foods are often double the price of conventional. We're a multi-generation household with my parents here with us, and feed four adults and one child. Sometimes one of the adults eats enough for two (way to go, dad) which means we often plan meals for five adults and one child. We spend anywhere from $175 to $250 on groceries every week, depending on which staples are running low.

Slowly, over the last three months, we've managed to eliminate most every non-essential processed food item from our weekly shopping trip. We no longer buy packaged cookies, crackers, popsicles, chips, cake mixes, BBQ sauce or ketchup, to name a few, for a couple of reasons: (1) I have a soy allergy that prevents us from buying most anything that's been processed and (2) these foods are so easy and quick to make at home with ingredients we can actually pronounce.

For the first time this year, by process of elimination, we were able to go completely organic.      I spent $191.95 this afternoon at Whole Foods. I bought every vegetable, every fruit we normally buy, but this time, every single piece of produce was organic. I managed to find an organic, soy-free crackers that I could snack on, organic milk, cheese, sour cream and (drum roll) organic ricotta cheese with nothing but milk, culture and a trace of salt.

The only thing I didn't purchase was meat because our freezer was already stocked, but estimated it to cost another $50, which would bring us to our $250 budget. I'm so proud we did it!

What about all the foods we left on store shelves?
We haven't bought them since December and honestly, we don't really miss them. We've been eating more fruits and vegetables for snacks, and have been making our own cookies, cakes and popsicles from scratch. I've also been making my own BBQ sauce and ketchup in small batches.

You can do it, too!
For the next three weeks, pick three processed food products you normally buy — crackers, chips, snack mixes, packaged cookies, anything you did not make yourself, but could — and stop buying them. Add up the money, which I assume will be close to $16.00, and buy two pounds of grass-fed beef, or divy it up between organic vegetables and fruits of your choice. When your three weeks are up, do it again.

Post by Dawn Viola :