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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: Small Steps to Affordable Whole Foods! (Part 1)

When my family began this adventure in eating whole and natural foods we experienced sticker shock! For us, changing everything over to organic and all natural would have required some serious financial changes.

I'm an action oriented, "all or nothing type" and it just irked me (once I had that knowledge and desire) that we were still buying regular old (artificial) food BUT I knew we just couldn't jump in the deep-end all at once.

So, I did some research and found that great benefits could be had from making some smaller changes in the right areas. We didn't have to start shopping solely at the Whole Foods market, nor did we even have to buy EVERYTHING organic.

There are a few small steps you can take to get started and learn what works for your family. Along the way you'll naturally find ways to fit other stuff in.

First is to focus on certain food groups ahead of others. You base this on the priority list below and how much of that category your family consumes.
Order DOES matter here...the most beneficial changes are closer to the top.

1) Dairy - if your family consumes a good amount of dairy products...this is your primary focus. Especially for children who typically drink (and need) the products with higher fat content

2) Meat - again, if your family consumes good amounts of red meat, fish and pork you will want to focus on this area.

  • Red meat would be your highest priority given the higher fat content (this is where nasty chemicals, hormones, etc. tend to congregate).

  • Fish is leaner and if you are careful to buy "WILD caught" not farm-raised, you will be doing just fine there (it doesn't need to be Organic since there is no regulation in this area).

  • Something to note when you are shopping for poultry and pork...based on USDA regulations, they are ALWAYS free of hormones. They may contain small amounts of antibiotics (unless the packaging states otherwise) and of course, based on the feed they were given...any trace pesticides used in production of that. Any additives in meat MUST be listed on the label/packaging so READ THEM! (click here for information on reading labels and packaging)

3) Fruits and Vegetables - be ware of the dirty dozen...these are the dozen produce that are most often sprayed with pesticides. The others are typically not an issue and there are some that you just shouldn't spend your money on if you don't want to. (See Joy Bauer's article below).


  • Apples

  • Cherries

  • Grapes, imported (Chili)

  • Nectarines

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Raspberries

  • Strawberries

  • Bell peppers

  • Celery

  • Potatoes

  • Spinach

Second, take the time to visit stores in your area that buy local foods (or Farmer's Markets). You will find a better deal there and you will have the opportunity to talk directly to the grower!

Third, don't be fooled into thinking you can't get (or use) coupons on these types of items. There is a growing customer base for organic/whole foods and as a result, companies are popping up and competing harder and harder to get your business!

Fourth, if you can buy in bulk for a lower price talk with your friends and family about splitting food!

Joy Bauer, a nutritionist, has some wonderful information and advice regarding foods that are worth your $$, here is a write-up she did for the Today show.

Of course, you must do what works for your family; this "Works for Me..."!!!

Check out our other contributions to WFMW at BeCentsAble


Ingram Gang said...

I like this. Very helpful, thanks!

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

Good tips. We're in the midst of the organic shift here as well and I was so inspired when I started to realize I didn't have to get EVERYTHING organic all at once.

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

Nice post. Good meals start with good ingredients. I stay away from processed foods and get as much organic as I can find and afford.

I have a brand new dessert blog. :-)

Infinity Goods said...

Thank you. I enjoy going to my farmer's market. Not only is it more fun than the super chain grocery stores, but if you're a regular, the farmers will remember you and your likes. They will often bring you special items or save produce for you. They've even given me freebies and discounts just for being a regular.

The Happy Housewife said...

Great tips, I forgot about the poultry thing.

Homeschoolin' hot-rodders said...

Too funny! I posted about the Cleanest/Riskiest foods from the EWG lol. Great minds think alike :)

Angela@ Thehotrod5.blogspot.com