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I've been doing a lot of mulling over our diet and food purchases lately and have been making some changes for the better... At times I find it difficult to balance my desire to spend less on food with my desire to buy the best quality that I can for my family. I thought I'd post some of my food "rules" and see what my fellow FVers are thinking about as they push their carts around the store.

1. We buy only organic milk to use at home. I'm considering not buying milk when eating out etc unless organic is available (not often) We use almond milk as well, to get more "good fats" into our diets.

2. Recently decided to buy only organic yogurt and am deciding between switching to a national organic brand of butter, or a growth hormone free local butter. Will choose organic cheese when the price isn't exorbitant lol. We also use organic or local farm eggs.

3. We avoid high fructose corn syrup as much as possible.

4. Only 100% whole wheat flour bread for sandwiches etc, will buy breakfast breads and bagels that use white flour.

5. Recently decided to make the switch to only organic apples, pears, lettuces/greens, potatoes and carrots since they are high in pesticides and foods we buy very often. Will also choose other organic produce when available and affordable, such as bananas to support organic farming.

6. We buy only 100% juices, no punches or cocktails. We use only about 1 bottle of juice per week and often times water it down. Prefer whole fruit instead.

7. Have started focusing on buying better quality meats. Beef is the most worrisome for me due to the hormone/antibiotic concerns so I try to avoid buying it as much as possible. (Sometimes hubby just really wants it) We will be visiting a farm that sells grass fed organic beef this weekend. I look for affordable prices on "Nature's Place" line of chicken and pork at my grocery store. I buy it when I can since it's free of hormones/antibiotics and vegetarian fed.

Other than the above things, I just try to cook from scratch as much as I can, avoid processed foods, include fresh produce in our meals and try to be on the lookout for healthy substitutions I can make in our diets.
 

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Great post!

This is the quintessential struggle that I, and many of us here, deal with. I always feel as if the two sides of me (organic/local/natural vs inexpensive and frugal) are fighting with each other. Thats not to say that you cannot eat affordably while being committed to organics/nautral/whole. For example, I buy organic quinoa in bulk for about 3.50 a pound. I can make several side dishes with this amount, and so for my money, it's cheaper than many boxed sides. (not to mention exceedingly better for you!!)

In my house, it's a tough balance. My husband does not see the benefit to organics. Actually, he is totally opposed to spending the extra money on them. (I should mention his occupation: he is a pest control advisor....aka: agricultural chemical pestiside sales rep!!) EGAD!! So we have a bit of differing positions in our home. I have to be very careful how I spend my grocery dollars on organics. I watch sales very closely, write to companies for coupons, bulk organics in bulk (stored in glass jars, of course!!), and stock up when the price is right.
 

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Great post!

This is the quintessential struggle that I, and many of us here, deal with. I always feel as if the two sides of me (organic/local/natural vs inexpensive and frugal) are fighting with each other.
You said it right! When I'm shopping it's almost like I have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, like the old cartoons lol

I found an article the other day on how to cook quinoa, and looked for it yesterday at the grocery store but couldn't find it. I plan to pick some up on my next trip to Whole Foods!
 

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make sure that if you have to ask for it, you pronounce it correctly

quinoa = keen-wa

:)
 

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If you're interested in organic yogurt, cheaper, why not make your own? You can make it in a thermos easily. There's info for that somewhere here...

If you want organic/natural foods cheaper, try finding your local farmer's market listing (check the state ag co-op site) in NH at least, the farmers who grow organically SAY so!

Look for your local food co-op, and see what they do with their day old bread, etc. Mine is an hour away, but they have a salvage market, bless them, so I get all my beef and pork organic, reasonably priced, and frozen from the salvage market. (I sure couldn't afford it otherwise!)

The co-op probably has a mailing list they'll happily put you on, and when they do, they'll send you a flier once a month with their specials and coupons (or at least mine does).

Finally, check out mambosprouts.com for organic coupons!

Judi
 

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The food thing is a tough choice.....

On the dairy I don't buy 'organic' but will look for milk that says it came from cows WITHOUT being given BHT. Lots of our meat and diary are now stating 'safety' type things on them. I will buy that.

I buy chicken that came from farms in this (or close) area and state that they give no hormones.

One caution to all-------if you are buying any produce that came from Guatemala.......Costa Rica ---Mexico.(probably others too).......they have not outlawed the use of DDT in those countries. So........how do you know it wasn't used on the produce you are purchasing?

I used to work for Chiquita in Costa Rica and NEVER could get an answer out of them if the bananas had DDT on them or not.............HMMMMM!
 

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1. I refuse to buy anything organic unless the price is comparable to nonorganic. For the most part IMHO, "organic" is a marketing term, especially for packaged items - waay overpriced for what they deliver. I've got an Aunt that's 102 y/o and I don't think she knows what the word organic means. We've been trying to get one of our Dexter cows to stand still long enough to milk - You've seen the feet on Irish dancers? :) Plan on getting back into goats...maybe this year. Boughten almond milk isn't almond very much "*lue Diamond" check the ingredients. I tried one unsweetened..tastes sort of starchy to me.

2. We raise our own chickens so the meat and eggs are close to organic.

3. I avoid high fructose corn syrup as much as possible.

4. Only 100% whole wheat flour for anything I make with flour unless I run short.

5. When buying fruits and veggies...cheapest and freshest is the rule.

6. We buy only 100% juices, to keep away from HFCS. Also, juice is concentrated fruits and vegetable...I normally go 50/50 with water (from my spring)

7. We raise our own chicken and beef so it's pretty close to organic. At least WE get to control what they eat.

8. Will have a variety of stuff from our garden - blueberries, apples, rhubarb, strawberries, and assorted veggies...mostly grown without chemicals..again, WE control what the plants feed on.
 

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One caution to all-------if you are buying any produce that came from Guatemala.......Costa Rica ---Mexico.(probably others too).......they have not outlawed the use of DDT in those countries. So........how do you know it wasn't used on the produce you are purchasing?

I used to work for Chiquita in Costa Rica and NEVER could get an answer out of them if the bananas had DDT on them or not.............HMMMMM!
......let's not forget the grapes from Chile....... (I won't buy them. period. end of story.)
 

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We're vegan, so no worries for us about milk, cheese or meat. :)

We use mostly whole wheat flour, including w.w. pastry flour, though DW does keep some all-purpose flour on hand for recipes that require it. When we buy bread (as opposed to baking our own), we only buy whole-grain.

When the local farmer's market is operating, we buy most of our produce there, knowing that it is fresh, organic and local, the best of all worlds. We prefer organic for produce where you eat the exterior (apples, carrots, greens) but are less fussy about stuff that you have to peel. We try to buy local produce where possible, though we have not yet conquered our weakness for bananas, pineapples and avocados.

We have quit buying commercially made fruit juices after reading horror stories about what's in them and how (un)fresh they are. Now, we buy organic apple juice from local orchards. It's fresher, healthier and keeps money in the local economy.
 

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I'd like to be able to afford organics but am not in a position to. I buy a lot of whole grains and make most everything from scratch. I am toying with gardening.
 

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I'm not hooked on organics. For the most part I look for freshness and quality, and of course price.

Gave up corn syrup in the 90's. My friends thought I was wacko. They now come to me with concerns about it.

Never liked whole wheat products. A lot of them have added sugars and higher carbs than some regular "white" breads we prefer. We don't eat a lot of bread, in general.

I'm a 100% juice fan, since I gave up corn syrup and don't do artificial sweeteners. DH drinks diet juices because he shouldn't have that much sugar daily.

DH only gets real dairy. No margarine, no processed cheese "food". I'm lactose intolerant so I have to processed milk to avoid getting cramps if I want tea or cereal.

I have a vegetable garden in summer, so part of the year we get really fresh "organic" produce.
 
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I'm not hooked on organics. For the most part I look for freshness and quality, and of course price.

Gave up corn syrup in the 90's. My friends thought I was wacko. They now come to me with concerns about it.

Never liked whole wheat products. A lot of them have added sugars and higher carbs than some regular "white" breads we prefer. We don't eat a lot of bread, in general.

I'm a 100% juice fan, since I gave up corn syrup and don't do artificial sweeteners. DH drinks diet juices because he shouldn't have that much sugar daily.

DH only gets real dairy. No margarine, no processed cheese "food". I'm lactose intolerant so I have to processed milk to avoid getting cramps if I want tea or cereal.

I have a vegetable garden in summer, so part of the year we get really fresh "organic" produce.
Close to what she said. Personally I think organic is over rated. Wouldn't pay the price even if I could and just in general not interested.

If it tastes good I eat it. Anything is bad for you if you over eat it. Including the flouride in the water if you drink enough of it. +
 
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I know people who say they have family that are over 100 have never heard of organic.
When they were young everything was organic, grown by there homes.
If we want our children to have a chance to 100 we have to read labels and watch out for pesticides and hormones.
I'm also frugal but I have to give myself permission in 2010 to spend the extra money to give my children a long future.
I hope I can do it.
 

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I struggle with balancing the grocery budget and eating healthily. Since DH is in the military and has weight issues (according to the Air Force), I need to prepare healthy foods.

So these are what I've noticed that bumps up our grocery budget:

-lots of fresh fruits and veg
-lean meats. I try to stretch them
-100% juices. This also helps me keep hydrated with my high-risk pregnancy since I can get tired of water all the time
-whole grain breads

BTW- IntlMom: I LOVE quinoa.
 

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We have goats, so that pretty much takes care of our dairy needs. Love the fresh milk and make cheese and buttermilk out of leftovers. The plan is to eventually put culled goats into the freezer but that hasn't happened yet.
We have a few chickens so that is where I get my eggs. Would love to go into that deeper and provide meat there too.
We garden every year and have some awesome blackberry bushes established. Working on adding blueberry and figs this year.
I grow a few herbs too and dry them.
Our goal is to grow what we can and try to stick to basics on what we buy.
Have a daughter and two granddaughters living with us too so the budget really has to be stretched.
 

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We've eliminated anything with trans fats or even partially hydrogenated oils from our shopping. That limits a lot of prepared foods from our diets. The only time we might get them is eating out at a restaurant or meals at someone else's house.
We try to eat as much whole foods as possible and buy plenty of local produce in season.
 

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I'm also vegan, and my kids eat vegan at home (but not necessarily at their dad's or other people's houses).

We buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I buy from the farmer's market when I'm in the neighborhood. Right now, I am not in the position to buy as much organic as I would prefer, but I buy what I can when I can.

We actively avoid HFCS. My kids are ketchup fiends, so I only buy organic varieties (no HFCS). Soda is a rare occurrence in my house, but when we have it, it is usually a Mexican brand that uses sugar rather than HFCS.

Most sweets consumed in my house are homemade (although we are more likely to eat fruit than anything else for dessert). Cheaper, tastier, and I know exactly what's in them.

I prefer dried beans to canned (but I do keep a few cans bought on sale around for emergencies and weeks when I don't plan as well to keep me from eating out). Usually, I cook them in the Crock Pot and freeze them in can-size portions.

We don't typically buy soda, Kool-Aid, or any drinks that are not soymilk, almond milk, or 100% juices.

The vast majority of bread and pasta I buy is whole grain. I also like to bake bread now and then, but since I am no good at making pita (well, it tastes good, but I can't seem to get it to form a pocket!) or tortillas, I tend to purchase these.

Most of my baked goods are made using whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour. Sometimes I use part all-purpose flour and part whole wheat, sometimes I use all whole wheat, depending on what the recipe can bear.

I use a lot of herbs and spices, and have an entire kitchen cabinet dedicated to them. Some family members think I have a problem, but I don't ever worry about not having a particular spice called for in a recipe!

I avoid most processed foods and try to stay away from artificial sweeteners as much as possible.
 

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I'll buy organic if something is on sale but I don't regularly buy it. All of our fresh fruits/vegetables come from a produce market here in St. Pete, whether or not some of that is organic, I don't know. I do know that much of it is locally grown, which is part of the reason I buy it. Plus, it's ALWAYS fresher than the grocery store, and 99% of the time cheaper, too.

I buy 1% milk, 2% cheeses, and red. fat sour cream & cottage cheese. Even that was a major feat, given that BF was raised on whole milk fat everything. I get fat free light (less sugar) yogurt for myself. I do like buying the brown organic eggs if they are reasonable. It reminds me of when we were living at a motel while our house was being built. The polish family that owned the property had a chicken coop and their youngest daughter and I would collect fresh eggs often. They were soooo good.

I eat 100% whole wheat bread/bagels, but BF doesn't care for the bread too much. He seems to have taken to the bagels, though. Go figure LOL. The only crackers I buy are triscuits, another nostalgia thing for me I think. Grandma would eat triscuits, super sharp cheese, and pickled bologna at "toddy" time. I'm going to give whole grain pasta another go. The one time I tried it, the texture scared me off; it was "gritty" and very chewy.

I don't usually buy juice. I squeeze my own oranges and lemons when I want some. I can get oranges at the produce stand for as little as $1 for a dozen. We drink that or filtered tap water. Pop is rare (or is it soda down here? :D) and I buy it only to mix with Captain Morgan LOL.

We don't have kids so I don't have to worry about buying chicken nuggets or lucky charms or Little Debbie snacks. So I don't really buy a lot of convienence foods.
 
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-lots of fresh fruits and veg
-lean meats. I try to stretch them
-100% juices. This also helps me keep hydrated with my high-risk pregnancy since I can get tired of water all the time
-whole grain breads
If you're after organic food that yields you more per dollar, try two things: 1)make sure your portions are what they should be (someone else mentioned this earlier I think) and 2)use fruits and vegetables where they aren't just cheaper but have less waste. For example, an apple has less waste than say a piece of watermelon or an orange. The watermelon or orange maybe cheaper to start with, but after you throw out all the rind and seeds, maybe not ....

My :cents:

Judi
 

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I am not an organic fan yet. So I pretty much buy whatever is one sale. With that said I try to keep away from highly process foods and stick with simplier foods. (i.e. I don't eat bologna anymore except when its a super special occasion)

I do NOT use or buy anything with High Fructose Corn syrup at all. I discovered a few years ago that I evidentally have an allergy or something to it. I use regular corn syrup for pies though. I seem to be able to handle it just well except for the extra padding it adds.

I have a Lactose alergy so only Lactose Free milk. I used to purchase Soymilk but I prefer the lactose free cow's milk. I like the almond milk but cat won't drink it, so its cows milk for us.

I really prefer buying locally grow produce, but I will confess its because of the price. Where I am from a bushel of canning Tomatoes was about 6 to 8 bucks. I would get enough for a year where as they are a buck a can in the grocery store.

I usually pick my own strawberries as well as blueberries, black berries, peaches, apples etc. I can them and have them whenever I want them. The blueberries, apples, peaches and blackberries I pick are from wild trees so yeah, thats organic. The strawberries are a Farm.
 
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