How To: Eat Organic/Non-Gmo On A Budget
- Published on: 13 December, 2013
- Last update: 04 August, 2017
This is the way it is in America at the moment. The crap made in a lab and sold in a box is always on sale. There are coupons for everything BUT organic food. Some extreme couponers can get $700 worth of processed, GMO food for FREE (and surely pay in health consequences in the long run.) It seems as though the system is set up so that it’s incredibly difficult for anyone to keep an organic way of life. And, it is. Why? For one, the health care industry and “big pharma” (drug companies) would have a lot less business. There is no profit in those with good health. Another reason organic is so expensive is that everyone budgets and buys the genetically-engineered junk, fueling the fire of GMO companies, allowing them to make more product with bigger, better advertisements. One way that the people can help lower the price of organic food is to simply buy it and vote with your dollars. Companies will push production where the money is going. If the money of Americans is going to organic foods, people will grow more of them, and thus, the price will go down. Beautiful!
But what should we do NOW?
- BUY YOUR MEAT IN BULK ONLINE. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY YOU WILL BE ABLE TO EAT ORGANIC MEAT ON A BUDGET. You simply CANNOT be cheap with animal products. You need to settle on the fact that you’re going to have to pay a little more for meat than you did when you were not eating organic. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. I order ALL of my grass-fed meat from www.USWellnessMeats.com because they are an organic-dedicated farm. I order ground-beef instead of steak because it is half the price and I don’t mind burgers. On Sundays, they release a 15% off coupon code in their newsletter. I ONLY order when this coupon code is available because I know it’s always coming. After the coupon code, my grass-fed ground beef comes out to a mere $6.75/lb. That is amazing. I order soy-free organic chicken in bulk from Uddermilk at $8/lb. That is not a price you will find in stores. What I have learned is that you MUST buy organic meat online when you’re on a budget! Stores give you a huge mark-up and the quality of these specialty online sites is better than any store because this is ALL THEY DO. They CAN offer the better price because it’s their only job unlike a grocery store. You’re skipping the middle man.
- Plan your meals ahead of time! Pick a form of protein you’d like to have for lunch or dinner a few nights throughout the week and buy it in bulk. Often times the big pack of chicken will end up costing less per oz than the small pack.
- Try eating meat every other day. Growing up we were always shown plates of “complete meals” containing a piece of meat, carbs, and greens. This is not a law of nature. As I said, we want to only eat the highest-quality, organic, non-GMO and pasture-raised animal products, and you’ll be paying a slightly higher price for them. On days you don’t eat meat, get protein from another source (quinoa @ 11g protein per cup, sprouted beans, nuts, seeds, raw milk or almond milk).
- If you still want to have some form of animal protein, try substituting eggs for your meat every other day. Eggs can be a lot more cost effective than a piece of steak. I order my organic, soy-free pasture raised eggs from Uddermilk, and each carton of 12 is $6, ($5 in the summer). That comes out to .50 cents per egg! A dinner of a cobb salad with 3 hard boiled eggs will give you the protein you’d get from meat (18g) and will cost you only $1.50 plus the price of your salad greens. If you don’t live in NY/NJ and can’t order from Uddermilk, you can buy 4 dozen organic soy-free eggs here for only $30, (still about 50 cents an egg) and they deliver everywhere.
- Some packaged foods are non-GMO, but not certified organic. Some foods can be 100% non-GMO, but not organic. This means that some pesticides were used in the growing of the food, but you are assured that no ingredients were genetically engineered and won’t change your DNA or cause infertility. Non-GMO is of higher importance than organic when you can’t afford to buy everything organic. Whole Foods’ ENTIRE 365 store brand is non-GMO, although not organic. That means chips, snacks, granola bars, sauces, nuts, EVERYTHING. The prices are on par with many other generic store brands. They also have some organic 365 brand options (even cookies) that are also low-price.
- Only buy what you need – cut down on wasted food. A lot of the time when I’m at the grocery store I get excited and want everything and think of a thousand recipes I can make. I end up over-buying and letting some veggies or fruits go to waste. Buy as you need. This is especially practical if you have a good organic grocery store close to your house. Since mine is so close, I go shopping every 3 days or so and am more conscious of the small amount of things I have in mind to buy. (See Tip #13: meal planning is ESSENTIAL to this)
- Use dinner leftovers as lunch! Leftovers = SUPER budget friendly.
- If you find a recipe you like, don’t immediately go and buy every little specialty ingredient. Sometimes you can substitute ingredients. For example, when a recipe I like calls for almond flour or vanilla bean, I take flour the $5 bag of organic coconut flour I have on hand and vanilla extract instead. If a recipe calls for “coconut butter,” just go to the store and get shredded coconut (very cheap) and put it in a food processor until buttery. Experiment with what you already have.
- Buy in season. My favorite fruit in the whole entire world is strawberries. Over the summer, organic strawberries were in abundance so they were on sale for $1.99!! Now that it’s winter, they are a whopping $6.99 for the same box. Those will have to wait!
- FIND A FARMERS MARKET. I cannot stress this enough. They are VERY inexpensive. And, if you go to a farmers market and tell them for example that you want to buy broccoli in bulk, they will mark down the price per pound since you’re buying a lot. I get broccoli for $1.25/lb down from $1.75 because I buy several large heads. I simply incorporate that one bulk veggie into all my meals for the week (steamed, sauteed, broccoli quiche, omelets).
- Make snacks from scratch. The same kale chips that are $8 for a small box in stores can be made for almost nothing at home. Google “kale chip recipe” and check out how simple it can be. Google is your best friend. Whatever snacks you want to buy in-store for a premium, you can make at home simply by googling “____ recipe.”
- Make simple meals and make them taste good. All you need are some fresh veggies sauteed in grass-fed organic butter to have a super-rich side dish. I use butter liberally since I eat paleo, and also since it makes me feel very satiated.
- Look on your local organic/health grocer’s website for weekly deals. If you normally shop at Whole Foods like me, since there is one so close to my house, you can go to their web site and enter your zip code. Once you find and specify “your store,” you have access to their weekly sale flyer. From there, you can plan meals and start a grocery list. You can also see a COMPLETE LIST of all certified non-GMO foods available at that exact Whole Foods once you click on “your store.”
- Buy your grains, dried fruits, nuts, and flours in bulk. Most grocery stores have an aisle where you can fill a bag with a product, label it, and they will weigh it at the register. You can get organic brown rice for $.99/lb here.
- Always buy meat/fish/eggs/chicken organic, but make an exception with less dangerous produce. Once again, some foods are 100% non-GMO, but not organic. Pesticides are used on non-organic produce but in certain cases, fruits and veggies have a thick skin and not too many chemicals get through. See below:
- Avocado (thick skin keeps out MOST pesticides)
- Pineapple (there is now a GMO version of pineapple, but it is orange-rose colored so just avoid it)
- Frozen Sweet Peas
Foods That You MUST Buy Organic:
- ALL ANIMAL PRODUCTS. ALL DAIRY. Milk, butter, eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, you name it.
- Collards / Kale
- Corn (GMO)
- Papaya (GMO)
- Summer Squash (GMO)
- Zucchini (GMO)