Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cheap Foods vs. Clean Conscience Foods

I shop as cheaply as possible. Sadly this does mean loss of quality in foods. One of the best reasons to cook at home is to maintain some of the quality while still cutting the price. But what about organic verses GMO's, and sustainability if farming? I actually care quite a bit about avoiding GMO's and consuming humanly raised meats but apparently not enough because I generally put cost before principle. I'm probably one of the worst offenders too because I've read books about factory farms and I hate the idea of GMO's but I haven't changed our grocery shopping that much. I did try a few years back but it was so much more expensive.

I would LOVE your input on these issues. How do you feel about organic foods and GMO's (genetically modified organisms)? Do you try and purchase grass fed meats? Do you shop exclusively organic? Do you know much about factory farming verses sustainable farming? I've never planted a veggie garden. What would be the best/ easiest veggies to start out with I were to give it a go?

I love the idea of eating sustain-ably raised meats. I hate the idea of GMO's being in our food. But I don't know how to afford the food I want to eat. At present I'm trying to take small steps in the right direction (again). We only buy organic yogurt. I purchase some organic veggies and fruits. I'm going to try and find another close small farm to buy eggs from. I used to drive past one weekly and I'd stop in for eggs but I don't work in that area anymore. That was super cool because the eggs were from free range, family run farm chickens and they only cost 21 cents more per dozen then at the grocery store.

These issues are a real dilemma for me. Does it have to cost a ton more to eat with a clean conscience? What do you think?

Here's a list of companies that use Monsanto products.
This list is so upsetting because I purchase food from almost all of these companies and Monsanto totally scares me.

Here's a bit about the Monsanto boycott list.

Average daily spending for May: $19.04


  1. In his retirement years, my father has developed four types of cancer, three of which are traceable to herbicide exposure. Not Roundup, but an herbicide, nonetheless. This experience leads me to believe that it is extremely important to eat organic foods.

    Like you, I operate on a very tight budget and so I understand that the the added cost associated with buying organic and non-gmo products can be a deterrent. Here are some ways I stay on track:

    1. For the most part, I don't buy 'convenience' foods. I make almost everything from scratch. There are some exceptions - mustard for example - but I don't buy things like canned soups, cake mix, store bought bread, or frozen dinners. It's much cheaper to do this and it's not that difficult once you get a routine.

    2. I joined a food-coop. This allows me to buy organic and non-gmo items such as flour, sugar, dried beans and nuts and a lower cost than the local grocery stores charge.

    3. When am I tempted to purchase non-organic items because they cost less, I play a mind game. Let's take green beans for example. I ask myself if one product was labeled "green beans" and the other was labeled "green beans with poison", which one would I buy. Would I buy the one with poison because it cost less? No.

    4. I don't eat meat or dairy so the high cost of those foods is eliminated from my budget. This is the thing that most people would see as extreme but it isn't for me. I was vegetarian for 18 years before switching to a completely plant-based diet. While I did it to maintain my health, it is also a budget friendly way of eating. The documentary "Forks Over Knives" does a great job of explaining the health benefits and most libraries have a copy that can be checked out. I thought giving up eggs and cheese would be difficult but it turns out it wasn't. I guess it just depends on one's motivation. As a vegetarian, I always tried to purchase eggs and dairy products from humane certified sources but now I realize that I was still purchasing eggs and dairy from non-humane sources every time I purchased prepared or convenience foods.

    We all draw the line somewhere. Where that line falls depends on our own personal circumstances and motivations but I hope my comments help.

    1. I love your comments. Thank-you. "would I buy the green beans or green beans with poison" is SUCH an awesome way to think about it. I have never put it into those terms and that is really motivating.

      I think right now I'm going to draw my "line" just past my tippy toes and slowly move it out from there. I can commit to buying organic yogurt and carrots because I pretty much always do. Then I'll add certain things from there. I really want to cut out GMO's so I can maybe pick a certain packaged food to cut out. I cook from scratch quite a bit but I think over time I can go to almost all "from scratch" cooking.

      I don't see us ever being vegetatarians or vegans but we can eat less meat and certainly try and eat from humane sources. I think this will take time but small steps will almost always get you where you're going if you keep stepping.

      Thank-you so much for your comments!

  2. I would love to just eat sustainable foods. Sadly there is not enough money in my budget saved up, to buy good beef in bulk at a local farmer. But saving tiny bits every month.
    And easy veggies to plant really are tomatoes, lettuce and green beans. They're like weeds, but they die after one summer. And depending on the climate, things like bell peppers, strawberries, cabbage type plants.
    Its really not hard. And it doesnt take loads of stuff to make them grow. It can be a big saver for a food budget.

    1. I live in great strawberry and blueberry territory. I've decided that this is the year to finally plant a blue berry bush! I really am leaning toward a container garden because my backyard is really the only place for a garden but my dogs pee on everything. I might start with tomatoes, strawberries, and maybe some sort of lettuce. Thanks for the suggestion. Now just getting to it. I'm a little leary about starting this year because we have this weird polar vortex thing going on and the temps are CRAZY low this year. I guess you have to start somewhere though!