Yep, yep, that is right. You are correct.
Yes, organic food is more expensive than non-. Yes, fresh produce is more expensive than frozen or canned.
Or is it?
Funny. Last summer we were paying 25 cents apiece for green peppers at our local farmer’s market. Sometimes 10 for a dollar.
And, gosh, there’s an ad in the paper today for 5 pounds of organic apples for $5.99. And we buy them straight from a farmer for $22 for a 20-pound box.
Can’t eat 20 pounds of apples before they go bad? Ever eat a dried apple? Ever core and slice one and slip it into a dehydrator? (No, you don’t have to peel.) Or layer them in a pan and turn your oven to its lowest setting and let them transform themselves into candy sweetness over the course of an hour or so?
No, they don’t turn brown. Rather more like a creamy, shadowy white.
When is the last time you bought a pound of dry organic beans? We buy them 5 pounds at a time for less than a dollar a pound. Even at the most expensive organic market they are about $1.50 a pound.
Organic carrots? Five pound bag for $4.99. Five pounds of organic carrots lasts us about a month.
Hemp protein? We order it 3 pounds at a time from www.mynaturalmarket.com for about $10 a pound. A pound lasts us for 2 weeks of lunches. Add some coconut milk, coconut yogurt, bananas, and frozen organic blueberries and cherries from Costco, and we spend about $3 per day for both of us for lunches. Compare that with the price of a lunch out–even for a cheap hamburger–and you are talking a savings of at several dollars a day–for one person. Let’s round it out and square things off, and account for anything I’ve forgotten, and you’re talking maybe a savings of at least $100 per month for 2 people for lunches. Granted, we happen to really like our hemp protein shakes and have been drinking them for years, so I’m certainly not writing about this in the light of any kind of sacrifice.
And, yes, we do order most of our staples from a farm in Oregon that grows and processes organic foods and offers very good prices on bulk purchases–everything from pinto beans to nectarines–and have been for over 30 years. You can find them at www.azurestandard.com. I hate taking business away from my local retailers, but I do have to think about my own well-being first, and, unfortunately, living in a relatively remote area the way we do, sometimes things are just plain hard to come by, although, as the food revolution starts reaching us, reasonable prices and an array of food choices are becoming more available.
And yes, I could go on and on, but here it is in a proverbial nutshell: I haven’t had to seek medical care in years. Not since I made the decision to go vegan. That right there has saved me over $1000 in insurance deductibles.
A thousand dollars!
Although we can’t account for it exactly in dollars and cents, as Phil said this morning, the amount we spend on snacks is drastically reduced, simply because we don’t crave them. We are being fully nourished by the food we eat. Raw food—fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds—takes up much more space in your stomach and because it is loaded with fiber, it raises your blood sugar slowly and keeps it there, so you don’t get as hungry.
Bottom bottom line? We flat don’t feel the need to eat so much.
So we don’t buy nearly as much. In fact, if you average it out with the great bargains we get at our local farmer’s market from May through October, we likely spend about half what we were spending five years ago. The one simple fact that we don’t buy meat makes up for any extra expense that might come with choosing organic over commercially-grown produce.
And we used to spend in the neighborhood of $200 per month.
You do the math.
Look, you can change your life. You can eat organic, you can eat vegetarian or vegan or at least cut way back on meat. You can experience improved vitality. You can say good-by to brain fog. You can lose pounds and inches–although that is not necessarily the goal as much as improved health. You can keep yourself out of the doctor’s office. You can spend less at the grocery store.
But you do have to be proactive about it. Check out nutrition and cookbooks at the library. Take a county extension class. Run and ad in the paper and form a group of other folks who are trying to do the same thing. Find local resources for bulk organic foods. Check out organizations like Azure Standard. Locate your local food-buying co-op and share mega-bulk lots with others in your group. Check out great websites like http://plantbasedonabudget.com/.
Keep track of your grocery spending now.
Then go vegetarian/vegan/organic for a month and keep track of that, too.
Compare the difference in what you spend.
Compare the difference in the way you feel.
And if you really want to save a whole boatload of nickels, drop a seed in the ground.
Learn how to freeze and can your own summer bounty.
And then write and tell me about it.