When most people think of organic foods they think of one thing: it’s expensive. I’ll never be able to eat well because I cannot afford it. Why’s it so expensive anyways? What’s so great about it? Are the health benefits really worth the cost? What even makes it organic? Does everything I need to buy need to be organic? Because You Are What You Eat, it is extremely important to understand these questions and how to begin implementing organic foods into our diets.
What Is Organic?
First, let’s address what organic foods are. Certified organic foods are those that are grown under the USDA Certified Organic Foods Guidelines. Generally speaking, it means the animals have not been given any growth hormones or antibiotics and the produce has not be grown with synthetic fertilizers, chemicals or pesticides. I’ll probably write a future article detailing the differences between Organic, Grass-fed, Pastured, Cage-free, Natural, etc. so stay tuned. I’ve addressed the health benefits of eating live, raw, organic foods compared to the health consequences of eating conventional foods in a previous article so check that out for more details. Because of the associated health risks you put on your body when eating conventional foods it’s only a matter of time until you suffer the consequences and have to deal with them the rest of your life or at best, temporarily. Either way, it’s going to cost you more money in the form of medical bills than it ever would if you just bought organic food in the first place. Organic Food Is Expensive? Honestly, cheap or expensive is a matter of perspective. Most Americans do not realize that we spend the least amount of our incomes on our food compared to most nations in the world. The average human being around the world spends up to 60% of their income on food. Sixty percent!!! For you to spend a paltry 5-10% is really incomparable. The world should be so lucky. If you bought EVERYTHING organic it would still equal 5-10% of your income! Why? Well, for starters, most people are buying many items that are highly processed and completely useless. If one stopped buying all that junk and replaced it with just the organic meats, vegetables, fruits, spices, and oils that are needed for healthy meals then it would be very likely that you’d have spent the same amount of money. Organic food is not expensive. Fake food is cheap! REAL food actually costs more to make. The farmers take much better care of the animals, their land, and themselves in order to bring the health benefits of such food to you. That costs money. Quality costs money, but the benefits pay for themselves. The good news is that more and more people are demanding quality foods and that helps create more organic farmers and eventually lower costs.
FAKE food costs nothing to make. The government subsidizes conventional farmers and they use horrible living conditions, drugs, and chemicals to produce as much food as possible with as little nutrition as possible. It’s not about quality. It’s about quantity. This gives you calories with no nutrition. This gives you the foundation for sickness and disease that you will pay for one way or the other.
Implementing Organic Foods
Now that you know a little more about what makes organic foods “organic” and why they seem to cost more than fake foods you hopefully have decided that you should at least consider implementing organic foods into your diet. Now where do we start so we don’t shock our bank accounts? For starters, let’s decide what we want to implement more into our diet. Let’s say we want to switch from conventional ground beef to organic ground beef. Don’t quote me on this, but I think conventional ground beef is about $2.99 a pound and organic ground beef is about $6.99 a pound. Let’s also say you buy two pounds a week. That’s going from $5.98 to $13.98 or an increase in $8. Now let’s look at what we actually buy as mentioned above. What do you actually need to eat? Do you NEED those Diet Cokes? Do you NEED those microwavable burritos? Those Doritos Cool Ranch chips? Those Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls? Of course not. They taste great and they’re fun to eat, but they’re completely processed, have no nutrition, and only contribute to health problems. AND those foods seem to be a big portion of your groceries and your bill. Besides, you can actually make your own versions of many of these things without all the chemicals or lack of nutrition. So pick something that adds up to $8 and DON’T BUY IT. It’s as easy as that. If you don’t want to do that then I can’t help you, but that’s about as easy as it gets when it comes to implementing organic foods. Make a conscious effort to drop something from your diet that’s processed and put the proceeds towards upgrading something from conventional to organic that you NEED.
Don’t Rush It
You’ll be quite surprised just how much organic food you might be able to buy once you start dropping processed foods and adding organic foods. Remember, you’re not REPLACING those foods with organic versions. You’re not going to drop Doritos and find the “organic” version of Doritos. Even the organic version is processed. Focus on what you NEED. You NEED meats, fats, vegetables, fruits, some whole grains, and spices. If you get to the point where you can buy all of these things organically and still have money left over then go ahead and get whatever you want. A little processed food every now and then, organic or not, never killed anyone. We’re all still human and can handle it. As long as quality foods make up the majority of your diet than you’re in pretty good shape. Lastly, don’t rush it. Gradual change is always easier to accept and stick with than rushing into things or changing too much too quickly. Pick one or two things to drop and get used to being without them. It may take days, weeks, or months before you’re ready to drop something else and upgrade your food quality. Implementing organic foods is just like any other lifestyle change. It’s not hard, but it does take a conscious effort. Stay tuned for more tips on implementing organic foods into your healthy lifestyle!
Nathan W. Jackson