I love organic food. Seriously, I'm addicted. It is healthier, safer, and tastier. Not only is it good for us it's better for the environment. Organic farmers do not use dangerous pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that are harmful to the surrounding ecosystem. Despite what some may have you believe, those chemicals make their way not only into the food they are sprayed on but the waterways and even the air we breathe.
Eating and cleaning organically on a budget can be hard and overwhelming. For food the best way to start is to check out the list of the dirty dozen. These are 12 fruits and vegetables that have the highest concentration of pesticide residue. According to the Environmental Working Group “individuals can reduce their exposure by 80% if they switch to organic when buying these 12 foods.” Apples, potatoes, celery, and peaches are just a few of the dirties. You can see a complete list of the dirty dozen as well as the clean 15 on the Environmental Working Group's website. I also recommend avoiding all non-organic corn and corn by-products as most corn is genetically modified. My family and I are not science experiments, if you agree check out the Just Label It campaign. Join me in telling the FDA we have a right to know what is in our food!
Another great way to save money is to plant your own garden. You can buy organic soil and seeds at any local hardware or nursery store. Now if you are like me and have a black thumb start small. I bought an organic basil plant, and since I have followed the directions to the letter it is still alive. I use a lot of basil so growing my own is more cost efficient and the added bonus is that awesome fresh taste. Having a garden is also a great way to teach your children about where our food comes from. I've always taught my children where the stores get the food from but it amazes me when children don't realize that food doesn't just magically appear in Harris Teeter. Gardening is also is a means to get them excited about eating all different kinds of fruits and veggies. Something about growing their own food makes them want to eat it more, who knew?!
Like I said, I have a black thumb, so having an immaculate garden is just not in the cards. That is why I visit my local farmer's market. I can find organic produce and save money. Without having to pay for shipping costs, the actual price of the food is lower. This helps my pocket and keeps more emissions out of the air.
I do love finding deals and I was up for the challenge when we decided to switch to organic and natural foods. Trader Joe's became my go to place. It is a great place to stock up on healthy snacks and organic goodies without spending every dime of your paycheck. As far as finding coupons went that proved to be difficult. If you want artificial, genetically modified garbage then you can find coupons galore and manage to spend less then $20 on a cart full of junk. It takes some digging but you can find coupons for the good stuff. Occasionally, I get lucky and the paper and/or coupons.com will have a few. My rule of thumb is to always check the brands website and/or facebook page to see if any promotions are available. Mambo Sprouts is an organic website that offers coupons, and all you have to do is sign up for their newsletter.
I believe cleaning green is equally important to eating green. What's the point of eating healthy if you are spraying your toys and living space with chemicals? Organic cleaners do as good of a job if not better then conventional ones. They are safe not only for your kids but the environment. The best part is you can make your own for less money then you would spend on brand named cleaners. If you are too busy for that, or worried that your inner mad scientist might come out while mixing ingredients, no worries I have you covered. When I'm too lazy to make my own, my favorites are BabyGanics tub and tile cleaner and Seventh Generation all purpose wipes. I use those wipes on everything! With 2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a husband I can assure you they work magic. Soap.com is a great place to find green cleaners at a great price. If you haven't order with them before use the link below and get 20% off your first order!
This Earth Day, after you turn off the lights and the water, why not try going to a local farmer's market and go green the organic way!
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. – Native American Proverb