Whole Foods Lifestyle - Who eats organically?

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01-08-2010, 10:09 PM
Today my boyfriend and I went to the all natural grocery store here and I realized two things:

1. They have EVERYTHING you could ever want there!


2. Organic doesn't mean low calorie.

I didn't really notice TOO big of a price jump from the regular store, but it was a little more expensive. My question is, have any of you gone organic? Does it make you feel any better? I just wanted to know what you're experiences/opinions are on switching to a completely organic diet.

01-08-2010, 11:35 PM
We do organic fruits and vegetables. There is a local organic food delivery service here. We pay $43.00 for a BIG box of assorted organic fruits and veggies.

My husband hunts so we have a lot of deer, elk, moose, and grouse. Of course that's organic too!

My youngest son and I drink organic almond milk.

The only thing we don't do that is organic is milk and cheese. We can't afford it. My son and husband are the only ones who consume those, and it's not a whole lot.

ETA I haven't noticed a difference in terms of health just from the organics, but because it's home delivery for the fruit and veggies, it saves us a lot of money because I only have to grocery shop once every two weeks for milk, cheese, crackers, bread.

01-08-2010, 11:55 PM
I get nearly all of my produce at the farmers market, where most of it is organic, and all of it is local. I do notice a big flavor difference on foods that are grown locally, and have less travel (nutrients degrade over time, so shipping veggies can make them less nutritious, and definitely negatively effects flavor). I don't eat a lot of processed foods and opt for organic when I have the choice. Given the choice between organic I go local every time.

That being said, I do feel a lot better since we moved to a local/mostly organic way of eating. I don't know if that's because it's local and more nutritious (which I suspect is the case) or if it's the mostly-organic part.

01-09-2010, 12:39 AM
I eat quite a few organics. I get my beans and whole grains from the bulk bins and they are organic. The price is usually cheaper because its bulk. I get veggies from the farmer's markets (when they are open) or from the stores that specialize in organics. Often, I find the prices cheaper or the same as the regular grocery store.

I do also buy from the asian market and although they aren't officially organic, I've actually seen enough bugs to give me hope (I know it sounds funny).

01-09-2010, 01:09 AM
I used to more than I do now. Pinching more and more pennies.

01-09-2010, 09:53 AM
I eat organic as much as I can afford. Some conventional produce is much less contaminated than others.The really bad ones use "systemics" which means that the poisons are inside and can't be washed off.
I believe the link below is very relevant

01-09-2010, 09:49 PM
I'd love to go completely organic but its out of my price range just yet. I visited a store about 2 hours away from me while visiting a friend called Jungle Jim's they had so much affordable organic stuff I was in heaven. I buy some of my veggies organic and frozen from the 365 brand and I always purchase milk and tomato products (ketchup especially as it seems to taste so much better) and usually I pick up a fruits when they are in season so i can afford the organic version..I would like to do more.

01-12-2010, 09:33 AM
I agree w/ Mandalinn that eating local is a bigger priority for me than eating organic. Getting the proper "organic" certification is an expensive & time-consuming process, and a lot of small farmers can't really do that. I am a member of a food co-op in the summer, and buy as much as I can (not just veggies, but also meat, eggs, etc.) from the farmer's market or from the roadside stands operated by local Mennonites.

As far as processed foods, I avoid them entirely as much as I can, and when I can't, I don't much worry about "organic" or not. I do try to buy those with minimal ingredients that I can't pronounce! :)

01-12-2010, 12:19 PM
I live in an area, where most of the organic produce looks barely edible (and is still marked at a price twice that of the non-organics).

In the summer and fall, we get most of our produce from the local farmer's market. Our favorite vendors are Hmong family-owned farms, most of which could probably be certified organic. Especially the farms where the older folks are still in charge, you can see the difference in their food. To be honest, even just by looking at it, you can tell the produce is more naturally cultivated than the few certified organic vendors at the market.

For one thing, they waste less of the plant. They eat (and therefore sell) parts of the plant that most non-Asian Americans don't even realize are edible.

On on occasion, I saw a woman ask the Hmong lady running the stall, what some greens were (they were pea tendrils), and in her rather thickly accented English explained that they were "pea leaves." They were being sold ridiculously cheaply - $1 for a huge bunch. They sell out quickly because the people who know they're good (like hubby and I), get there early.

The white woman turned her nose up, and rudely said "You can't eat those."

I laughed and told her they tasted wonderful, and that the fancy french restaurants served them in salads and sauteed (which I had read, but had no first hand knowledge of), and in front of her I bought 2 of the 3 remaining bundles. The lady running the stall smiled at me, and threw in the third bundle free. She's always doing that for us, in part I think because we're very chatty and sometimes act as translator for her (her english is excellent, but thickly accented, and many of the white shoppers don't listen carefully and assume they can't understand her. I understand her just fine).

It was funny to see the woman disappointed that I had gotten the last bundle. I smiled at her, and told her "you've got to get here early, if you want the pea tendrils (I used the fancier name to goad her a bit)." I have to admit I got a bit of smug satisfaction, that the woman had been punished for her rudeness - to be honest, I think it's why the elderly Hmong lady gave me the third bundle. Normally when she gives us free stuff, it's something new for us to try, or something we didn't ask for that she knows we like.

But back to organics, our certified organic vendors offerings never look as fresh (the Hmong vendors tell us that they pick their vegetables in the morning of the day they sell them - which means they're up at 3am to harvest the food they're selling that day). We've talked to the caucasian vendors too, and they usually pick their fruits and vegetables the day before). There's also less signs of insect damage on the organic farms' produce, which always makes me suspcious.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to buy produce that the bugs have eaten as much as I'm planning on - but when there's not so much as a trace that the veggie leaf has been tasted by the insects makes me think pesticide (I also notice that the Hmong vendors always leave the stems on their veggies - mostly because they're edible and their loyal customers know that), whereas the caucasian certified vendors often cut them off and wash the fruits and veggies (washing fruits and veggies before selling makes them look nice, but it also shortens their shelf-life).

I don't really look for organics in the grocery store, because I don't think there's a lot of difference between big-farm organics and big-farm non-organics. They choose varietes of plants that have been bred for pretty, uniform fruits and vegetables, natural pest-resistance, ease of harvesting, and thick skins (so they don't bruise easily during harvesting and transport).

When all those things take priority, flavor gets sacrificed.

I love that the local vendors (of all nationalities) choose to cultivate for flavor. They're all farms small enough, that they're eating what they're selling, so they make sure it's good.

Now that hubby and I have a small chest freezer (a Christmas gift from hubby's family), I'm looking forward to freezing fresh, local produce for the winter. And with our new larger kitchen, I may even try to pickle some.

01-12-2010, 12:59 PM
Neither of my CSA's are certified organic. Both of them practice more organic and more sustainable farming than any of the big organics, the varieties are not bred for mass production and therefore have more flavor and nutrition than the mass organics.

Now in the winter I am back to buying produce from a store (I have some other veggies put up but I NEED my peppers and cukes and carrots year round) and I tend to buy a mix of organic and non organic. Depending on where I am shopping.

I eat a lot of red peppers and those are on the high pesticide list, but the organic ones are usually half withered in the store. I tend to buy costco veggies in the winter.

I would love to do more organic meat, but it just isnt in the budget right now. I do organic dairy...even my mainstream pediatrician pushes organic dairy for kids.

01-12-2010, 01:40 PM
Although its a bit different with winter about, there is a grocery store near me that has mostly organic food, all organic produce and they strive to have local produce. In summer, mostly everything is marked as local but with winter, its only a few items. The Whole Foods near me does the same thing although they don't strive to have all organic and lots of time something will be labeled local but not organic.

I was enjoying early winter because we have 2 apple/squash farms near us but the last one closed up for the season a couple weeks ago. So I definitely try to go with local foods and a lot of them happen to be organic as well but without the label.

01-12-2010, 02:52 PM
Going mostly-completely organic is very important to me when i hit those last 10-20lbs because i want my hormones to be working as good as they can with out and outside hormone disruptors

01-26-2010, 11:50 PM
My partner and I try to buy as many organic items as we can, although we're not purists. Oddly enough, we do it as much because we believe it's better for the earth as we do for personal health reasons. I was extremely healthy even when I was eating nothing but junk food, so I didn't switch to semi-vegetarian and organic for that reason. But still, I don't like the idea of putting pesticides into my body -- or into the soil.

It think we can get the food industry to change only if we support organic growing techniques. Yet, I have a number of non-organic favorites that are my guilty pleasures!

01-27-2010, 02:33 AM
We eat about 90% organic. Most of our food is local, as well. We've found ways to go organic/local on a budget. I am vegan and my husband only eats meat 2-3x a week. Our son eats meat/dairy daily, but it's in small quantities. It's amazing how far the dollars stretch when you're not buying meat/dairy for every meal.

We buy most of our veggies through a local organic CSA and the rest through a farmer's market. We eat seasonally, which keeps prices down as well. For example, since tomatoes are out of season right now, we use dried tomatoes from last summer. They taste fantastic!

Even through organic dairy is expensive, it's a top priority when it comes to my son. I refuse to load him up with the hormones and other additives that are found in non-organic dairy.

We maintain a garden and that also helps keep prices down. We hope to eventually add chickens as well!

01-27-2010, 03:09 AM
Encelia - I am so jealous of your plan to have chickens! My wife says she draws the line at farm animals...but I do have a garden. Tomorrow's dinner veggie is 100% organic chard right from my backyard.

This week, I was out of town for my farmers market timeslot, and it's amazing how different these grocery store veggies (organics, mostly) taste. You just can't beat in-season produce grown close to you (I did get stuff that was seasonal, just not grown nearby for most things).

01-27-2010, 04:55 AM
Local is a higher priority for me than organic, in most cases, and as other people have mentioned in the thread, there are plenty of local farmers who are effectively organic, but just don't or can't spend the money on getting certified. In my own garden, I am 100% organic, and we're looking into getting chickens or ducks at some point in the future, so we'll have extremely local organic eggs. :) As for the rest, mostly I buy my grains and pulses and winter vegetables from the Asian markets and traditional greengrocers around here, and I'm under no illusions that they're organic, for the most part, but I like supporting my local community as much as possible. The stuff I bake bread with is certified organic, as is our milk and much of the cheese. I can't find any organic Greek yogurt I like as much as the Fage, so I don't bother with that.

I don't eat meat, but my husband does, and since there's only the one of us eating meat, organic is pretty easily affordable there.

Sanna Maria
01-27-2010, 06:49 AM
I can't afford to buy everything organic, so I just wash fruits and vegetables well. Some things taste like nothing unless they're organic though, like tomatoes and strawberries IMO. I have a list somewhere that says which fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide residues and which ones are ok to be bought non-organic.

01-27-2010, 07:43 AM
I am jealous too ! My friend provides me with fresh eggs when her hens are laying, but the growing season here is so short that my veggies and fruits are from last summer, preserved, or trucked in from warmer climates. In the summer I sell my soaps and crafts at the local farm markets, and can usually trade or get fresh produce on the cheap. I would love to go 100% organic and I do so whenever I can afford it. I believe that food is a social issue not just a question of health. It is becoming so clear to me by reading some of these posts , how wired people are to the frankenfood which is so cheap and available...but what is the real cost ?

01-29-2010, 09:47 PM
I found local farmers who sell grassland fed beef, pork and also have chicken and eggs. Once I have a deep freezer, I will be buying from them. Right now I am buying my turkey and chicken from Costco. I love our local Farmers Market. I love supporting our local farmers. In the winter, I buy our produce that is "in season". I dont like buying stuff like canteloupe... i have no idea where in the world that is coming from during the winter months...

I watched a movie recently called Food, Inc. It was really eye opening. I immediately switched to being more organic. i dont do it for "the earth". I am doing it for a healthier me. No more messing around for me.

01-31-2010, 09:08 AM
Good movie !

01-31-2010, 09:35 AM
my husband and i eat 95% organic on a shoestring budget. the only times we don't eat organic are:

-if there is a local option, but not a local-organic option. local is more important to me than organic, ultimately.
-if we're going out to eat. obviously, our local mexican restaurant does not use organic tomatoes, but it's important to us to support local business. we haven't eaten at a chain in over 5 years.
- we never eat anything with dyes, HFCS, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, or too many mystery ingredients (suggesting a lot of processing). this is the only step that made me FEEL better, physically. we've been eating this way for about 3 years. everything else is driven by ethical/social concern.

01-31-2010, 09:37 AM
this article (http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2009/04/25/pinched_ethically/print.html) is a good starting point for anyone looking to eat local organic on a budget.

01-31-2010, 06:49 PM
I try as much as we can. I'm looking to join a local CSA close to our house. I believe during the Spring they open a FM at the NY Botanical Garden and we are not far from it.

I was so excited when we went on our vacation to Puerto Rico during the Holidays. My son was able to pick up oranges, pumpkin, eggs, cilantro, plantains and my family even killed a chicken to make him some soup. I miss PR in that way.:(

01-31-2010, 09:55 PM
I eat a few organic foods, like eggs and apples.

02-17-2010, 07:22 AM
I have been eating organically for close to a month now. I find that it isn't as expensive as I had thought if I go with a shopping list and stick to a plan and that the food tastes better because I am buying more locally grown and within season. I also have had very few if any cravings for junk food. I don't deny myself and eat what I want. While I switched due to health benefits I have found that a positive side effect has been weight loss. I did lose about 10lbs due to being in the hospital but have since managed to not gain it back and lose 3 more. Of course a month is hardly a lifetime but this is the longest I have stuck to anything in a long time and that is because for me it is truely a lifestyle change and not a diet.

02-17-2010, 08:06 AM
I choose more local than organic, and I'm fortunate to have farmers in my family so much of it is free or discounted. I try to get as much organic as possible, and only purchase meat from a local farmer.

Great article, seidlet. The books she references look interesting too.

02-18-2010, 01:34 PM
I've been purchasing organic food now for over 2 years, and I love it. The meat is awesome because I purchase only grass fed meat. And believe me, when you are eating organically for a while and you try to switch, you CAN taste the difference - and it's awful! I don't ever step foot into any grocery store now unless its a "Whole Foods" or a "Trader Joe's".

When I first started shopping organically, I would buy one or two organic condiments; and then purchase a couple of meats and pasta and then purchase all of my fruits and veggies. I would do this every week until even my spices were organic. It costs me about $50 more a week to shop organically, but it's well worth it.

I think that if most people actually KNEW that garbage that was in their foods, they would switch to organic products.

03-06-2010, 09:26 PM
I buy organic beans, popcorn, groats, and carrots and when I can find ones that look good I buy organic apples and potatoes. For some reason I have better luck in the summer and fall with apples than I do right now. Another poster mentioned the bulk bins, they are a great way to reduce food costs!
I use this for our groats, the oatmeal is really good:

I buy organic valley or horizens milk when we can afford it. My son loves the Horizens chocolate milks! :carrot:

I just bought Pacific free range low sodium chicken broth the other night. I'm going to try it with instant potatoes. I love chicken noodle soup!