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Three Easy Steps to be Organic in a Year or Less.

As with most people, our household wasn’t always organic. We certainly didn’t switch to organic overnight either. Having been through the process and watched others do it since, I am fairly certain I have some helpful advice. Do you find yourself saying “but I don’t know where to start?”. If so, you’re in the right place. If not, maybe you know somebody who has and may find yourself sharing this with them in the future. There is nothing better than FREE information!

Eventually, I’m going to cover off every excuse we can come up with as to why people aren’t organic! There are so many reasons and fears. We have touched on why, we have covered affordability and now… we cover how to do it! I’ll try and share some personal experiences along the way.

1. Commit. Make a personal endeavor to really think about what kind of health you strive for, and what kind of foods will reflect that health in your home. Say it out loud or share the idea with a friend/spouse who will do it with you. Sounds simple right? It’s kind of like when my sister said “I will never smoke again”, forcing her mind, body and spirit to agree so that no matter how badly she would  be tempted, she won’t disappoint herself, her friends who she’s committed to and her body, which feels 1000 times better not doing it!

To keep that commitment motivated, break down each items into its ingredients and think about it on a basic health level, while keeping whatever goals you have in mind. This is how I would decipher ketchup at the grocery store:

“Tomatoes are the first ingredient. Tomatoes are a highly sprayed crop, often gassed in transportation on top of that. Do I use ketchup that often? No. Is the cost that much more? No. Will my child benefit from fewer pesticides? Yes. Is the idea of ketchup being organic worth it? Absolutely.” Reading the ingredient label is a must with this. Some ketchup companies use high fructose corn syrup and other potentially genetically modified ingredients. If you know which items you refuse to buy no matter what the cost, like MSG, colorings, corn, soy, beet sugar, anything you can’t pronounce, then that will make buying organic even easier!

This can be done for any food item you struggle to buy organically. Of course, there will be exceptions where price doesn’t justify the purchase, but always strive to stick to your commitment and seek the best item you can find.

2. Start looking. You are already in the right store, so start to become aware of the prices and availability of organic! I was at Superstore the other day and I was eying up the 5 pack of organic avocados for 3.99. As I was doing this, I saw someone my age walk past the organic ones, straight to the conventional bin and grab three avocados and carry on. The price? 1.39 each. That right you would have had two free organic avocados had you LOOKED. This week at my local neighborhood market, organic avocados are half the price of regular ones. The bananas here are 10 to 20 cents more a lb generally. How many lbs of bananas does the average home buy? Lets say 3lbs. That could be a giant increase of THIRTY CENTS to your bill. Seeing these items will get your accustomed quicker to the price differences, the options, and potentially even the feeling you get from organic food. Yes, I said FEELING! There is energy from everything and food is an extremely important fuel for our energy. I notice physical and emotional effects when I enter certain grocery stores so I learn to follow my body’s prompting to lead me to what it needs. Sounds crazy, but you’ll see! Try dipping your toes and your shopping cart into the health food aisle and organic produce sections to see where the transition is going to take you.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!!!!!!!!!

3. Do it one piece at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed, frustrated or ahead of yourself. Out of oatmeal? Replace it with better oatmeal. Out of sea salt? Now go look for celtic or himalayan salt. Need baking soda? Find some aluminum free soda next. Always wanted to try a non-wheat flour? Check the bulk section and see what is available. You need the items anyways so just decide to replace it with the new, healthier item! The cost becomes an incremental one that won’t break your bank. You might even find some killer sales and stock up on some items for your food storage (bonus!) You also aren’t wasting any food, nor are you wasting time or money shopping for a whole new kitchen. It really can take up to a full year to get through your stock – dressings, vitamins, soups, cereals, grains, condiments, frozen goods etc. and by the end of that year you will be so proud of your kitchen! I mean it, you’ll have the cleanest foods and feel amazing. Just ask anyone who has already been through the process. I love my kitchen and I have yet to have a friend buy healthier items and return back to their old ways. It noticeably changes your life for the better.

What is/was your excuse? (comment below!!!) I didn’t go organic until I learned about the pesticide use and soil degradation in conventionally grown foods.

Help other friends by sharing this information!

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Top 10 Secrets to Afford Organic!

The NUMBER ONE reason people are less-likely to try organic is the price. I always hear “but it’s more expensive” or “I don’t think I can afford it”. But if you live in the Okanagan, or any places with growing demand for clean food, farmers markets or health conscious grocery stores and have always been afraid to TRY, then this story will change your perception.

Naturally, many of my favorite conversations evolve into health topics while visiting friends. A few weeks ago, we were having a fun night at a friend’s house and by the time we reached the door, they were set on trying organic! I can’t even remember what was said, but it was clear they had thought about this before and just needed a few ideas of where to start and some inspiration from someone who was already doing it. This wasn’t just an individual, but a mother, father and three kids – yes an entire FAMILY challenged to buy the “expensive stuff” on a budget! Well guess what happened…

THEY SWITCHED AND SAVED $50-100 DOLLARS THE VERY NEXT WEEK!

Ok you’re asking “how” right? Do they not eat very much? Is this for a joke? Oh no, they have an ultra marathon runner in the family, two full time jobs and all of the kids have after-school sports or activities. You might relate, or might be inspired yourself. Take it from Mom’s words herself:

“I used to spend about $200 a week between Superstore & Costco and other bits. Now I have been watching sales at Choices and Nesters and sometimes Superstore and also Costco. I have also been going to the market. I have been only buying organic and spending about $100-$150 a week…WAY less!! Yes some things cost more but not if you buy it on sale. Sometimes the organic on sale is cheaper than the regular stuff! We feel so much better & I have had no temptations for the junk we used to eat!!”

YES! I felt sane again, because this is what I have been saying all along. My husband and I easily eat as much as four-six people, and I am certain we spend less on organic groceries than the average that buys conventional. Intrigued where this unexpected savings occurred from, I also asked her husband what he thought was the cause and he figured it out right away – it was from the awareness of wanting to shop healthier and ditching all of the little “treats” or junk items he would pick up. “A few bags of chips here, a box or two of granola bars there… and before you know it you’ve spent $50” he said. A great support to the widely-known fact that processed or pre-packaged foods are the most expensive items you buy. So what can you do today? What tips did I share with them that will help you too? Although I prefer to individualize my information to a family’s needs and functions, I made my “top 10 ways to afford organic” that everyone can use in their life. Here goes…

1. Be flexible with your “list” when you go to the store. That way you will be less likely to buy the most expensive items, and be putting more money towards the sale items! There are always items on sale so it’s smart to shop once a week at your favorite organic supplier and stock up on the best priced items. That doesn’t mean stray completely from your list, but if the broccoli is full price and the cauliflower is on sale, consider switching or buying more of the sale item. (our meal planning often revolves around sale items)

2. Shop in season. In the middle of summer, you will find local produce well priced and often less expensive than the regular priced items that have been shipped in from abroad. Eat a salad every day! In the winter, follow your body’s need for warmer foods while shopping for winter squash, potatoes, root vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

3. Plant a garden in the summer. Even if you only plant two items, you will still have two items that you don’t have to buy! Organic seeds this year were $3 a bag. Quite the investment. Community garden are super trendy now.

4. Become aware of the re-occurring sales on the “second tuesday of the month” for example. It can be up to 15% off your entire purchase. Springfield Bulk has this weekly and Bulk Foods in West Kelowna was 25% in December. Get to know what consistent deals fit into your grocery shopping route.

5. Subscribe to the flyers of your favorite/closest stores. Often you can do this online and they will email them to you. Then you know what sales are available without wasting two precious items – TIME and GAS! I always choose the nearest store unless I know I will save at least $5+ to cover the $3 I spent in gas to get there.

6. BULK BULK BULK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot stress this one enough. Costco is doing a wonderful job of this. Bulk stores carry organic. Wholesale companies ship directly sometimes. If you can use it for food storage, go through it quickly or can share with another family buy the largest size available if the price reflects a savings! Here is a small list of major items worth considering in bulk sizes: rice, pasta, hemp hearts, canned items, wheat or baking alternatives, oats, grains, frozen foods, high use items and the biggest savings of all – MEAT.

7. Farmer’s markets or health food stores. Not only are you supporting local, but you are putting your money where your mouth is. Every dollar you spend makes a “vote” on what you want the world to look like and what you want to see more of. Want more organic, wholesome items? Then buy them! The price will invariably go down with increased demand via purchasing. I see this every single day. Prices are constantly coming down and sometimes even surpassing it’s imported or conventional counterpart. Plus you get a bit of spiritual nostalgia at the markets. It just feels good.

8. Eat less meat. Yes I said it. I could hit this from a health standpoint as well but just based on the pocketbook – you will save money having just ONE vegetarian meal a week or more. There are lots of vegetables with sufficient protein and the stores in your body will have a chance to use up what’s around. You will feel lighter and more alive if you can eat without meat, even just once in a while.

9. Try incorporating the EWG’s dirty dozen list – the top 12 pesticide offenders! Then you are putting your dollars towards the most important items first, while leaving the clean 15 (least offensive) to whatever is priced the best. A great place to start.

10. Finally, open your eyes! Start looking at the prices and sales and stores that you never really looked at. Ask friends. Go to a new store. Is it 10 cents more a lb? It’s it triple the price and not worth it to you? You won’t know unless you look. It may make you raise your standards and realize the true cost of food. I’m ok paying extra if it’s fair trade and organic. That means someone is getting paid for their hard work on a farm that doesn’t expose them to harsh chemicals, in a country that is probably less fortunate than where we live. Bonus.

I promise, you will feel refreshed, more alive, spiritually in touch with earth and HEALTHIER THAN EVER. I wasn’t always organic so I come from experience. And if you do find success in it, let me know, let your friends know and share the organic love!!!It's not a luxury word.. it's just chemical free!