This blog post is simple as I’m cutting straight to the chase about how you can switch from a GMO heavy diet to one that’s as organic and non GMO as possible without killing yourself financially. Already groceries are expensive as it is, but what I’ve learned as I made the switch from the garbage I bought thinking was good for me to quality foods that really was good for me that I had to really do my research.
For those looking to break away from a GMO diet I highly advise you visit the non GMO Project website. I’ve placed their banner here so you can click on it and see for yourself. This is what got me started and this is the equivalent to the holy bible for me as I work closely with this site as if it were a form of religion.
Whatever you need to know about GMOs and non GMOs that is the site to go to. Do not make the mistake of trusting anyone else. When you buy your groceries that claim to be GMO free, unless you see the verification logo from the non GMO Project then the company selling that product to you is lying.
When I buy my groceries at any larger scale grocery store, I look for these labels;
If I don’t see those labels on what I’m buying I won’t do it. I value my dollar a bit too much to compromise where my dietary health is concerned.
Another strong recommendation for those looking to go organic is eat less meat. Unless you are vegan or vegetarian, there’s a good bed a huge chunk of your grocery money goes towards meat. I was fortunate enough to find a local farmer that has only grass-fed meats and is anti-Monsanto as they come. Even though their meat is slightly more expensive, where I save in this regard is in spices and sauces to flavor that meat.
I’ll tell you right now that unless the meat you buy is already heavily sauced in packages in the departments they’re sitting in, you are buying a meat that will not be the same quality than if you were to buy that same meat directly from a farm. The majority of the meats bought from a grocery store lack any form of flavoring due to the cheap diets they’re put on in order to sell cheap meat to the public. Of the meats that are flavored there is a considerable amount of chemical going into that meat that actually makes it more toxic than you may be aware of.
Because the grocery meat is usually so flavorless, extra money is spent on sauces and spices in order to make that meat more palatable based on whatever tastes an individual has. Direct from the farm meat does not have this same problem. Although seasonings certainly do make food taste better, the one key difference I noticed with my grocery spending was I realized I was needing less spicing to my farm bought meat products as opposed to the store bought versions. So, those extra few dollars I spent on ground beef from the farm I was able to save by not having to buy a spice to jazz up when it came time to cook it.
I should add the majority of the farms that sell meat also sell eggs. Although they are more expensive than the store bought versions, they are so much better. They last just as long and can actually survive on the counter instead of refrigeration. The store bought eggs are heavily treated to the point where they require constant refrigeration or else they’d spoil. The same cannot be said for the farm eggs. For those who’ve watched Little House on the Prairie, when Caroline Ingalls brought her eggs to Harriett Olsen to be sold they were never refrigerated. They came straight from the chickens, to her basket and then to the store. Even there, if you bother to pay close enough attention to the store’s set up, there is no refrigeration devices to be found anywhere. Those eggs were never put into a cooler of any kind at their store.
Switching from meat to produce I should add that grocery stores are bringing in more organically grown items to satisfy public demand. For those who don’t have a garden or don’t have access to a farmers market (usually at least one or two organic growers in there) then while in the produce section of your major grocery store watch the labels. There is a number labelling trick you can follow, but I would not put full stock into that. Majority of the time organic produce is already packaged in such a manner where you will easily see the organic labeling on it.
I would highly recommend, even if you live in a space confined place, to start gardening. There are methods you can use where you can maximize the yields of what you garden using minimal spacing. One trick I’ve been learning is when you buy organic produce from that grocery store, save the seeds. There are a number of sites you can visit that show you how you can save these seeds and make them work for you. This route serves two purposes for you. With patience and TLC you have yourself a productive little hobby that can take as little as a few short minutes of your busy schedule. This hobby allows you to grow something for yourself, not just once but repeatedly as you keep saving the new seeds and maintain this routine with whatever item you choose to work with. This is the most ideal way to save yourself some money when it comes to your groceries.
I know in certain communities they ban people from collecting rainwater. For those living in limited spaces, the only water you need to collect is just enough for what you need. You can get away with setting out a small decorative pot (even a coffee mug will do) just enough to catch whatever you need to water your seeds with. Even your nosey neighbors will likely assume you were too lazy to bring in your little pot or mug before it rained and not think anything more of it.
For those who have larger areas they can work with, even that to a full scale garden, save your seeds. I cannot stress how important it is to do this. There are a number of reasons why and it isn’t just monetary ones. Monsanto is working hard to force out non GMO and organic seeders, even going as far as buying some of them out. There may come a time where the only seeds we’ll be able to buy are the GMO’d ones produced by Monsanto and their affiliates. Your one shot to avoid this is to save and/or buy organic/non GMO seeds and use them as needed. Store what you don’t need right away in secure (preferably glass) containers. Not only is this a good money saving scheme, but a way to maintain food independence.
Aside from meats and produce there are also the grains and pre-packaged goods. If you have access to a place like Bulk Barn I highly recommend making a store like this one of your best friends. Inside they have organic and non GMO products that are sold both in bulk and smaller packaging. Quite often there will be a shopping cart of discounted items and this is your golden opportunity to snatch such organic/non GMO items at prices that can be even lower than their GMO’d counterparts. Grab what you feel you can.
I like to bake and I like to cook, so when I come across bins that have organic and non GMO items I can work with I go for it. Yes, they are more expensive than the others and this is where you exercise reason. If you’re prepared to spend $10 on baking products, instead of buying the cheap junk offered by Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker, spend that same $10 towards bulk organic flour and organic sugar. Learn to bake your cakes from scratch, not from a box.
Your key with a place like Bulk Barn is to do as the name suggests. Bulk up. Stock up. I’ve done this and now I have a good supply of baking needs that do not go near any of the GMO’d junk whether it be pre-packaged baking materials or pre-made items.
I’ve been learning to make my own frozen meals and stop relying on the garbage sold to us via Michelina’s, Weight Watchers and Smart Ones. Those are all garbage and one thing I’ve learned when I did eat that stuff was I actually gained weight. I did not lose weight. What those companies don’t tell you is every morsel inside those frozen meals is enriched with chemically induced ingredients that is actually designed to keep your weight on, not lose it.
What companies like Heinz, Pepperidge Farms, Christie’s and Nestle do is brainwash the masses into thinking they put quality ingredients in the foods they sell. What they are doing is false advertising but done in such a manner that nobody stops to think what is really going on. When a company says they’ve now got a line of “natural foods with natural ingredients” they are only telling you a partial truth. They expect the people to believe that if a product is deemed natural it must be organic and it must be healthy. No it is not. What is deemed natural today is nothing at all what natural was considered to be as little as a decade ago. So much tampering has been done to our food supply that all natural means nowadays is naturally grown or manufactured without additional hormones or chemicals done to it.
This does not mean the food is organic! It means that although a meat product or packaged product claims they do not contain additional additives notice the key wording there; additional. This is basically an acknowledgement from the company itself that this is not organic. It is acknowledgement that the meat sold to you “naturally” still had a diet that contained GMO ingredients in it, but it was naturally fed to them in the exact same manner as those who do not have the natural claim on their product. The only true difference, if there really is one, is those who stake the natural claim didn’t have needled injections poked into them during their time they were still alive like the other animals did.
I will admit, however, if you are on a really tight budget (especially if you’re a large family) and you must have that meat in your diet and the organic/farm route is just not an option you can deal with right now, then favor the “natural” choices over those who do not have this claim. Do this for meats only, but still try to make that effort to either wean your dependance on so much meat or push your local grocer to bring in an organic meat line. Grocery giants like Canadian Superstore will listen if enough pressure from their consumers is poured on them.
When it comes to dairy, aside from the eggs, organic milk is definitely more expensive than the regular milk. It is much healthier, though. Regular milk uses sugar to extend it’s lifespan and sweeten the flavor. Organic milk does not use this, but has found an organic method to improve the flavoring so when you drink a glass of it you should not taste the difference. If organic milk is too expensive for you and your family really give the alternative milk products a chance. The beauty of these is they have a much longer lifespan and instead of taking up space in the fridge before it is opened, they can stay in the cupboard until you are ready to use it. What I have done, since I’m not exactly made of money, is instead of buying 2 jugs of regular milk (I love my milk) I buy 1 jug of organic milk and supplement the difference by grabbing at least 1 container or jug of alternative milk of the same size. I’ve actually noticed by going this route it costs no more than buying those 2 jugs of regular milk. Sometimes I luck out and find specials on the alternative milk and am able to buy extras so I can stock up.
For those who are bargain hunters, you know the drill. Hunt down the specials and don’t be afraid to clip coupons. One trick I’ve learned to help reduce my organic grocery costs is be vigilant when it comes to finding deals. For me, my main stop for produce right now is Superstore. However, they don’t carry everything I’m looking for so I go to a local organic market that I’ve grown very fond of. Every city has these and with the demand for organic growing, even the towns are beginning to see organic markets sprouting up. I go to places like these to help fill the gap.
I am also a major advocate for local farmers and often target them first before going to the grocery outlets. Whether they admit to growing organically or not, by favoring a local farmer vendor over those big time grocers you are sending a statement that you prefer to buy products from people you trust. And you are supporting your local farmer, which helps build on something that is truly valuable; community. And like I suggested earlier, if you save and grow the seeds from the produce you buy eventually you’ll be in a position where you don’t have to rely so much on other people to help keep you stocked up. So from a long term point of view in this regard, this alone can save you considerable money based on what kind of spacing you have available and how you utilize it.
Here’s something else I will share with you. When I first made the switch from conventional groceries to organic I worried about the meats later. My first focus was taking out the packaged goods by avoiding all those aisles in my store and go to only the organic one. When I first did this I took over 2 hours in that aisle alone. Normally when I grocery shop I am very fast as I go in and about 30 minutes later I am out. I’m back to that pace now, but in the beginning I was a newbie and was treading very carefully as I was revamping over half of my grocery stock. Because I was doing the no junk challenge at the time I had no problem swearing off junk food so in place of the money I normally spend on that I favored packaged goods within the organic aisle to make up for that. This also included soda pop. At that time I made a point to buy absolutely no meat, but to my advantage (sorta) I already had a freezer that had enough to get by until the next pay period.
It was actually just shy of that next pay period I learned about Cool Springs Ranch, a place I now make a point to buy my meat from. I remember vowing to spend half of my grocery money on them and then the other half back on organic/non GMO goods at the markets.
My 2nd round at buying organic included the farm I went to get the meat, the organic aisle, the organic aisle of the big grocery store, Bulk Barn and a localized organic market. I will be honest here that I actually overspent as I got a bit too overzealous with my purchases. I was still new to the organic food buying game and still had lots to learn.
It has become so much easier now and I have since developed a pattern where I will allow a hint of GMO into my home but am more selective as to which company brand gets my dollar. Companies who are against GMO labeling do not get my money. Companies who breach environmental and ethical laws do not get my money. Oddly enough since taking that stance I have come to realize I’m actually saving money going organic than sticking with conventional grocery shopping.
Since going organic I’ve noticed the portions of the food served actually needs to be less because they fill the stomach better than the conventional crap. I also noticed I don’t need to sauce or spice my food so much. That really drives the cost of grocery shopping for me way down. Organic foods, especially fruits, grains and vegetables if eaten on a regular basis leaves less room in the belly for meat. I treat meat as a luxury supplement and not a necessity. I have also noticed since going organic the desire to go out to eat has been reduced. This also saves money. The only time I’ll eat anything out of a restaurant now is if the boyfriend wants it I’m away from home. Even there I am selective on who I go to.
Another observation I have made since going the organic route is the decreased need for vitamins, minerals, supplements and medications. If you’re eating a regular diet of those fruits, grains and veggies we’ve been told to do and they’re of an organic nature instead of conventional you’ve got all the nutrients you need. Those Flintstones vitamins for your kids are no longer needed. Those minerals and supplements to boost your body’s performance is no longer required. Also, your ability to fight off headaches, colds and flus has just become that much stronger. Plus, if you pay enough attention, you can actually cure your ailments by organic means that will be far cheaper and more effective than the advertised junk we see.
Don’t kid yourselves into thinking conventional fruits, grains and vegetables sold in those big chain grocery stores are as effective as the farmer version and/or organic/non GMO ones. They are not. For starters they lack flavor, so here comes the seasonings again. Secondly, what’s supposed to make fruits and vegetables so beneficial in the first place has had most of their key elements robbed the moment they got tampered with, even as far back as to when they are mere seedlings. Going farmer and/or organic is your best route to receive the gains you’re supposed to get from eating your fruits, grains and vegetables.