Is it possible make the switch to organic and actually save money in the process? Keren Slutzkin has a family of four to feed and shares her story.
The organic craze is still in full force, despite the popular opinion that the associated cost is a major hurdle for most people. I’m going to be perfectly honest and admit that despite all I’d learned about the benefits of organic produce, it was previously difficult for me to switch and become a purely organic fruit and vegetable household.
We are a family of four with very ‘healthy’ appetites, so as you can imagine a trip to the local fruit and vegetable shop normally resulted in a grocery bill that totalled more than $200 a week. Until recently I couldn’t even imagine what I would be spending if all of my produce was organic. I was sure my husband would have an absolute fit!
However, the desire to switch kept nagging at me, so I want to share with you a little experiment I recently conducted to find out if swapping to organic produce would really blow our budget. But before I do this I’ll explain why the switch was so important to me.
It is no secret the use of chemicals in animal and crop agriculture has resulted in human health disasters. Many chemicals used during the 1950s are now banned due to their link to cancer and other diseases. And we continue to produce new and ‘improved’ chemicals to use on our farms with no idea what the long-term health ramifications will be.
Organic foods have been proven to have higher levels of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals. Organic farming sees healthy crops growing from clean soil that is free from chemical sprays, which makes the produce more nutrient-dense. We are also eliminating the bombardment of chemicals entering our body. Did you know in some non-organic farming, up to 10 chemical sprays can be used from when the soil is prepared until when the crop is picked?
Unfortunately, when we eat this produce we consume all the chemicals as well. Symptoms that result from chemical exposure include rashes, sweating, joint and muscle pains, fatigue, lymph node swelling, swollen glands, persistent diarrhoea, allergies, anxiety, twitching eyelids, muscular spasm, heart palpitations, vision blackouts, cancer and death.
So, now you can see why I was so keen to pursue my experiment! I have never been one to pre-plan a meal menu for the week prior to going shopping, rather I fill my trolley up with standard ingredients every week and then work out on the day what I feel like preparing, knowing I pretty much have the fruit and vegetable shop available in my fridge.
As I knew I would not be able to do this with organic produce I did some research online and found Bayside FarmBox, a company that pre-packs boxes of seasonal organic fruit and vegetables and delivers it to your home on the day they go to the markets. I didn’t know what I was going to receive or even what quantities.
I received my first delivery two weeks ago and was very pleasantly surprised with what arrived. For $85 (including delivery) I received large quantities of 10+ different ingredients that I was easily able to spread out over the week to prepare different meals that suited everyone in the family. I still needed to make a quick trip to the fruit and vegetable shop to buy some staples that weren’t in the box, but I only spent an additional $50. So all up, I actually saved money by making the switch.
This worked for me because I was happy to be flexible with the produce that arrived, and was able to be smart and creative with the dishes I prepared. Needless to say, I ordered my box the following week and the experiment continues.
So when it comes to using organic produce, I do believe it can be done in a budget friendly manner and I would urge you all to give it a go. It is definitely worth making the effort to find good quality organic food!
Keren Slutzkin is a mum of two young boys and the founder of Vital Assurance. She is a holistic health and wellness coach, health article writer, recipe developer and cooking demonstrator that specialises in inspiring other mums and their families to live healthier, happier lives.
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