About six years ago, when Judah was just starting to eat solid foods, I started thinking about food and nutrition for the first time in my life. When it was just Eric and I we usually went for what was quick and easy (lots of eating out) and before that, in college and high school, it was more about the calories and fat (or, lack thereof).
This was right about the same time when organic foods started to become more mainstream. I knew there was something to it then, but when Eric and I would go shopping together and we'd see the organic and non-organic sitting right next to each other, and one with a higher price tag, it was hard for him to pay more. Understandably so. Who wants to spend more money unnecessarily?
Over the past several years, after doing a lot of reading and research, we decided that it is worth it for us and we've switched our diet to almost entirely organic. There are definitely different things to consider for you own family, but know that you can eat organic without going broke. Here is a list of why we choose organic and how we make it cheaper and more accessible.
Chemical toxin free. Chemical toxins are made to damage and kill bugs and other irritants that live on plants, but when you eat the food you are also putting the herbicides and pesticides in your own body. Washing or rinsing your food does not completely get rid them. The same toxins that kill bugs can damage your body.
Non-Genetically Modified (GMO). GMO food is sturdier, stronger, looks better and can grow faster and more uniform, but that doesn't mean it's better for your body. In eating GMO foods you are introducing substances that our bodies have never before come in contact. Many scientists are opposed to genetically modified foods and we don't fully know their risks.
More nutrients. Conventionally grown food is planted in nutrient depleted soil, which in turn produces crops that are also depleted of nutrients. Organic farming involves common practices such as rotating crops, which keeps the soil nutritionally dense.
Save money in other ways. Part of bringing organic into our diet was taking processed foods out. Sometimes we do pay a little more for organic, but we save a lot of money by not buying packaged crackers and cookies, frozen foods, pre-made meals, canned soups, and anything else that contains unfamiliar ingredients. If we don't know what something is on a package, then we usually don't buy it. Now, our kids do have these things sometimes, but we save them for special occasions.
Find it cheaper. We don't have a Whole Foods here, but if we did, I probably wouldn't shop there often. They have a delicious salad bar, but super inflated prices. I do occasionally shop at Trader Joe's, but most of our shopping, especially produce, is at the Farmer's Market and the local co-op. Another great thing to do, that we've done in the past, is to join a CSA. I wrote a post about all why we eat local, but one Farmer's Market tip is to go right when it's closing. The selection is slimmer, but a lot of farmers are practically giving things away, so they don't have to take them back home. Also, you don't necessarily need to buy "certified organic," just talk to the farmer about their farming practices and ask if they use pesticides. To get an organic certification is a huge, costly process, but a lot of market farmers are selling organic without the certification (although, some aren't, so be sure to ask).
For more information I highly recommend watching one of my favorite documentaries, Food Matters.