By Jennifer Hankey, President of Organic Baby University
Most people think that buying organic will break the bank! This doesn’t have to be the case if you learn some techniques to save money while going organic. There are more and more studies coming out every day that are linking toxic pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified foods, artificial colors and flavors and all the other chemicals in conventional foods to a variety of short-term and long term health issues. These are particularly damaging the babies and children as their systems are still developing and growing. Studies are showing links to ADHD even at typical level of exposure, as well as lowered IQs, thyroid and reproductive disorders, developmental delays and more. It is also important to realize than children accumulate 50% of their cancer risk by their second birthday. So infancy and early childhood is a particularly important time to reduce pesticide exposure.
So how can you protect your children without going broke? Here are some easy ways to save some cash while protecting your child’s health!
Vendors at farmer’s markets are almost always willing to negotiate so always ask…and if you go the last few minutes, vendors are more willing to really negotiate price or throw in additional produce at no cost since they want to sell as much as they can. Try it! I always recommend making sure you go organic. Some of these vendors may not use pesticides but cannot afford the USDA Organic seal. Make sure you do your homework though as there have been reports of “no-pesticide” labels on products that do contain high levels of pesticides.
2. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
These are groups you join that will provide you fresh, local, organic food usually either weekly or bi-weekly. Some delivery to your door while others will offer a pick up within a few miles of your home. It is a great way to save money, support your local organic farmers and eat what is truly fresh off the farm and in season. Go to http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ for more information.
3. Shop In Season
Shop for local, fresh produce that is in season. It is a good, green habit to get into and will usually save you money.
4. Buy Online
Buying online for certain items can save you money. Often times meats can be pre-packed, frozen and shipped to you home (free-shipping) and may be less than at your local store. Make sure to buy 100% grass-fed and grass- finished beef only. This contains healthy levels of Omega 3’s and is much more healthy for you and your family. You do not necessarily have to buy the USDA seal if you cannot avoid it, however you need to make sure to avoid all meat treated with hormones, antibiotics, or that are fed GMOs or animal by-products. Many times for grain-fed meats the only way to avoid GMOs are to buy organic. Some companies do raise their animals in an organic fashion but do not want to or cannot afford the organic label. There are many studies coming out showing the damaging effects of grain-fed meat and the health benefits of grass-fed meat.
5. Buy Organic in Bulk and Freeze
Buy fruit, meat, vegetables and other produce in large bags to save money. Use vacuum sealers to freeze into individual serving. (Most of these bags do not contain PVC or phthalates…make sure to check and never to heat food in them!). You can also prepare large quantities of sauces or dishes and freeze in glass containers.
6. Buy Frozen
Usually frozen food is less expensive than fresh. Organic frozen food holds nearly all of its nutrients and is a great option if you cannot buy fresh.
Store brands are usually less expensive. However, there is some controversy with this choice. While it can be a great option to get organic food at a lower price, the problem arises with what kind of long-term ramifications this may have on the organic industry. As the huge food companies get more and more involved into the organic industry and gain power, they will in all likelihood lobby to have the strict organic guidelines lowered to cut costs and increase profit margins. They are already buying up smaller organic farms now. There is serious concern with what this will mean for the organic industry in the future. If they lobby for lower standards and are successful and they have purchased a large portion of the organic farms, where will be able to get true organic food in the future. While this is all conjecture, it is something to consider when purchasing brands owned by large food companies that have a history of bad practices. Try the above options first!
This is probably the single easiest way to save thousands of dollars! The average family who formula feeds spends somewhere between $2000-$3000 a year! Wow! Breastfeeding is free! There is a lot of research that shows the short-term as well as long–term benefits to you and your child from breastfeeding…and these benefits increase as the time your breastfeed increases! For example, children breastfed 18 months show more benefits that babies breastfed 12 months and so on…Not to mention that conventional formulas almost always contain GMOs, hormones, antibiotics, DHA extracted from using the toxic chemical hexane, and more….all packaged in a BPA lined can!
It is not as time consuming or as complicated as you think! And it will save you TONS of money! Pop a sweet potato in the oven and scoop out and mash, or mash a banana, avocado, Steam some fruits and veggies in a steamer basket on the stove and blend in a BPA free blender. It will take a matter of minutes and you get all the nutrients from fresh, organic fruits and veggies. Make a big batch and put them in used baby jars (bought on Ebay) and store them in the fridge or freezer to save time in the future! Just remember to put some natural waxed paper between the lid and the food as most lids contain BPA. And don’t fill too full if you are going to freeze and the food will expand and the glass can break!
10. If You Can’t Go All Organic Then Shop Smart
Not everyone can afford all organic! If you can’t we suggest you refer to our guide that lists the foods that are the worst ranked for pesticides and should be avoided at all times as well as the list for safer choices to buy conventional. You can find those here (http://organicbabyuniversity.com/ChecklistPdf.aspx)
To learn more about where these chemicals are found and how to avoid them visit http://www.organicbabyuniversity.com to watch fun, animated videos in their Organic Pregnancy Class and Organic Baby Class! They also have guides and checklists, safe product recommendations, exclusive coupons and more!
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jennifer Hankey is the President of Organic Baby University. Organic Baby University is a site dedicated to teaching pregnant women and moms how and why to avoid the common, harmful chemicals in everyday products.
To learn more about where these chemicals are found and how to avoid them visit http://www.organicbabyuniversity.com to watch fun, animated videos in their Organic Pregnancy Class and Organic Baby Class! They also have guides and checklists, exclusive coupons and more!