Why organic and natural?
There are MANY reasons why I think organic is the way to go. The main reasons are the amount of chemicals found on non-organic fruits and veggies, not to mention the the hormones, antibiotics, and GMO grains fed to animals we get meat and dairy from. HERE is a great article if you'd like to learn more.
If you are unable to buy organic for various reasons, I recommend making and using your own fruit and veggie wash (recipe HERE). I would also encourage you to check out the EWG's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to avoid produce with the most pesticide residue.
For our family, we have found significant health improvements after switching to a whole foods traditional diet. You can read a little about it HERE. Learning is always a process. If you are at the beginning of this journey, I'd encourage you to hold on to your hat and don't let go. The learning process will get overwhelming, exciting, and frustrating from time to time but I have found this journey to be very beneficial.
Buy your produce in season!
Not only is it healthier for you and the nutrients are exactly what you need at that time of year, but the prices are much better. For example, this fall I was able to get organic pears and apples at Fred Meyer for .98/lb!
Always be on the look out for markdowns and good prices!
Every time you go to the grocery store, check out the organic section and do a quick price check. You can sometimes find markdowns on produce or dairy. For example, I got some organic grass fed butter for $2.50/lb and stocked up because it was getting close to the pull date. I bought what I could use and then froze some! Another example was while shopping at Uwajimaya. I found local pure honey for $42/gallon (which is an unbeatable bulk price). They have since raised their price on honey by $20, but I was glad that I stocked up.
This is also how I stock up on good quality meats. I try and buy grass fed beef and free range, no antibiotic chicken as well as pastured eggs. I found Draper Valley chicken for .99/lb at Uwajimaya a couple weeks ago and stocked up! They also have a good selection of grass fed beef. Keep your eyes open and share deals on my Facebook page as you find them so we can all enjoy the savings!!
Buy in bulk!
Check out Azure Standard, and other sites like Tropical Traditions, where you can buy bulk items for a whole lot less than in the store. Azure is great. I have tried their bulk products and love them. I am most excited about the sea salt (read HERE about REAL SEA SALT. Be warned, not all sea salt is the real deal)! I like Tropical Traditions for their coconut oil. By the way, coconut oil is amazing. Read about it HERE. It also has a shelf life of 3 years. Oils go rancid really fast, so make sure you are using a good quality oil and that you know its pull date and cooking temperature range! Costco also carries quite a few organic products. Their produce is especially well priced.
Earthbound Farms Organic
Organic Valley Coupons
Email your favorite organic company or checkout their website. Tell them how much you love their products and ask if they have any deals or coupons you should be aware of!
I recently downloaded the Chinook Book App to my phone! It was $15 and has a TON of great coupons that make it worth my money. For example, they have two Buy One Get One FREE (B1G1) coupons at Bob's Red Mill which equal over $15 in savings. They also have a lot of FREE coupons at New Seasons, and other local grocery stores and co ops! The downside to the App, is that the print edition ($20) has a ton of manufacturer coupons in it. If I was to do it over, I may have decided to buy the book over the app just for this reason. I typically don't like to pay for coupons, but like I said, it has already more than paid for itself in savings for me!
Safeway's Just for U program has a bunch of produce coupons. I have have added great eCoupons to my Safeway Card that I can use on organic produce. For example, a $3 off $15 purchase coupon and $1.50 for a 2lb bag of organic baby carrots! Also, Whole Foods has a great list of printable coupons available!
Grow your own produce!
This is pretty self explanatory, but I only have to mention the importance of getting organic or heirloom seeds. Read why HERE.
Raise your own animals!
If you're able to do this, let me know and I will buy from you!! It is a dream of mine, and I'd love to have a little farm to someday (Lord willing) so that I can feed my family nourishing food and share with others. It does seem like a pipe dream, like sailing around the world, but you never know!
If you have property, this can be a very good source of supplemental income and you also will get to be in charge of exactly how your animals are fed and treated! Is is a ton of work though, and its always good to learn from pro's before you begin.
Pick your own produce!
We have picked as much fruit this summer as we could handle. Check out pickyourown.org to find local farms you can pick at. You'll need to ask the farm about their practices to make sure it is up to your standards (as far as organic goes). It helps that we currently live on an orchard. We also went to a couple farms and picked peaches and organic blueberries this summer. The price per pound is a lot less expensive than in the grocery store. So, time=money in this case. It can be a good family bonding activity, and the kids love it. My son James still asks me almost every morning if we can go pick blueberries (he is 2).
Check out your local farms!
I love the Baggenstos Farm. It is great. They are practically organic in their practices (They told me that the difference is that their manure is not certified organic). My favorite deals were their HUGE green peppers for .50 ea. and their local pure honey for $10.49 for 32oz. this fall. They only heat the honey enough to get the bees out of the hive. By the way, I do not use refined sugar anymore and choose to sweeten with honey, maple syrup and stevia. HERE is some info on why.
Farms are also a great place to get pastured eggs. These can be $7 in the grocery store and you can't be as sure of the quality as if you actually see the chickens and talk to the farmers. HERE is why pastured eggs are important.
Order a Community Supported Agriculture box (CSA)!
If I was to buy a CSA, I would buy from Gathering Together Farms. They are organic, and have great prices at the local farmer's market. They are also very generous with their produce. They have given me more produce than I paid for on multiple occasions.
Daily Deal sites!
I have seen two awesome organic deals the past few months on Groupon. If you are new to Groupon, check it out through my referral link HERE. The first deal I missed because I didn't act fast enough and it sold out. It was for $2/lb grass fed ground beef! WOW! Want to know about why grass fed beef is so important? Check out this post HERE.
For the other deal, I was able to use my groupon credits to get 20lbs of heirloom tomatoes for $5!!! I was in heaven. My husband can tell you that these tomatoes have been my pregnancy craving this time (which is a LOT better than the previous cravings of marshmallows, which were making me so sick and I didn't even know it! Again, check out my post HERE for the whole story).
This is really a mouth full. Phew! Thanks for taking the time to read it, and I really hope it helps!
(Thanks to my friends who have inspired and helped me along the way and who I am continuing to learn a TON from!!)