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Organic food

Last post Mon, Oct 12 2009 11:15 AM by frugalme. 19 replies.
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  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 1:32 PM

    • Pat
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
    • Colorado
    • Posts 14,463

    Organic food

    Dollar Stretcher has a new poll up about organic food. I know it's been discussed here in the past, but I wonder if any of you have started to buy more? Or less?

    I am trying to buy more, but it's hard for a frugal soul! Buying as close to the source as I can helps, and there are a few coupons our there, as well as a sale now and then if we're lucky. Have you found other ways to save on organic foods?

    Oh, and don't forget to take the poll: Organic Foods: Readers' Poll

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  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 3:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Organic food

    I answered that I don't think organic food is a good value. I realize I'm probably in the minority, but my opinion is that organic food isn't any better than non-organic food, it just costs a lot more. That being said, if I run across a bargain on organic food I'm not going to pass it up.

    When we were on vacation in June, we found out what "free-range" really means. At least for beef, anyway. It means the cows are left to graze on whatever they find.

    I don't understand why people willingly pay more for less. To me the taste isn't worth the extra money. I'm also sure there's any number of people who don't agree with me. But that's OK. That's what makes us all different.

    Jill

  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 3:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Organic food

    We are buying less right now as we are on a strict budget. We just had to reroof to a tune of $7,000. So we are trying to save all we can. I am getting more diligent in trying to make sure all fruit and veggies are washed really good before we eat them. I also still look at ad for Whole Foods and Sunflower Markets. Sometimes they have great loss leader making them cheaper than traditional items. So we still get some organic products.
  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 3:26 PM In reply to

    • mary w.
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Jun 27 2007
    • Austin texas
    • Posts 465

    Re: Organic food

    We are eating more fruits and veggies, and healthier, but not necessarily organic.  Almost everything depends on cost - vs - quality.

    mary w.
  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 3:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Organic food

     Consumer beware: Actually, currently "free-range" doesn't mean animals are allowed to graze freely on whatever they find. Free-range is only currently legally defined for chickens, and all it says is that they must have "access" to the outdoors for a very short time each day. Since chickens are raised indoors, and kept confined, they don't go out of their own accord. Meaning the "Free range" label on almost all chicken products is useless. Beef isn't much better. And, I tell all my clients not to bother paying $3-5/dz for "Free range" eggs, because it's silly. There's no benefit from large, commercial eggs raised in a coop with a door open 5 minutes a day. Just because they're brown doesn't make them better.

    I also worked in the Organics certification program for a beef farm for a while. It doesn't mean what most people think it means. So, I don't bother buying certified organic, unless it also fits my other criteria of being local and small so I can visit it myself.

    What I do is shop local farmers, especially those with sustainable practices that answer questions and don't mind farm visits. I don't feel I am paying more for less when I buy sustainable, better-than-organic foods for many reasons.  First, all meat in the store that isn't labeled "not injected" has up to 12-14% gluten and water solution added; so, for every pound of meat purchase in the store, 12-14 percent of what is being paid for is water. Taking that weight difference into account, since the meat I purchase locally is not injected, none of my meat is any more expensive than store meat, and it all tastes a lot better (at least around here, products direct from the farmer aren't substantially different from the prices for agribusiness-style products in the store). I was raised on a small farm where we raised our own cattle, chickens, and produce; so, I never really liked most of the meat from the store. It tasted odd to me even before I kne the nutrition differences.

    The local, sustainable, actually pastured meat I buy has about 5x the amount of nutritional value, including CLA, Vitamin D (the deficiency of which in the US is becoming an epidemic in it's own right, causing myriad other health issues) and Omegas, that commercial, conventionally-raised meat does not have (this is also true of eggs and dairy), and 1/3-1/2 the calories and fat, depending on the cut. And, they have no growth hormones, which are being linked directly to some pretty nasty things, especially in dairy products. Some of these hormones are now being implicated in breast and other types of cancer. American milk is banned in Europe for this reason. In addition, DH and I try to stay away from antibiotics in general (we're healthy, so we don't need them often anyway), and since most conventional meait is loaded with them, we feel better not eating it. Anecdotally,we are far healthier when we're serious about this type of diet than when we haven't been, and I've had many other people (including my clients who transition to it with me) say the same thing. We save a ton in medical costs.

    The food is worth it to me. I realize it isn't to everyone, and if it's not worth it to you, jillibean, I totally understand. But, our menu wouldn't be significantly cheaper if we ate commercially produced items of the same type we eat now. Of course, since we don't eat any processed foods, our bill is higher than it would be if we ate differently; but, it's not the "organic" or "local" part that makes a difference in the bill--it's how we cook. Which, incidentally, also is why our bill isn't higher than it is (because we do cook). If someone is eating mostly processed foods, or doesn't have reasonable access to local food sources, the difference in "organic" and not organic would be huge.

    Since I am also a Personal Chef, I do the budgeting and meal planning for more than just our household. Most of my clients eat some version of local & sustainable diets, so I compare prices regularly. There just isn't a huge savings in buying conventional if you're buying whole, local foods in our area. Buying at Whole Paycheck, of course, will eat your entire paycheck very, very fast; and, I agree that in most cases that's not a good value for most people.

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 3:46 PM In reply to

    • Wyogirl
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Nov 10 2008
    • Posts 70

    Re: Organic food

    This is an interesting question. I really have mixed feelings about organic foods.  I think I would surely go organic on meats.  We buy local on meats, I really do not trust what is in the supermarket.  It looks funny, smells funny and tastes funny, I think.  I try to buy fruits and veggies locally if at all possible.  I think the closer to the source they are, the frester and more nutrious they are.

     My goal at the moment is to eliminate as many processed foods as possible. I bought canned cream corn at the supermarket recently and thought it tasted sweet.  When I checked the label, sugar had been added to it. It seems like some form of sweetening is added to everything. When we have an obesity problem, why would we want to add unnecessary sugar or other sweeteners to our diets.  I can't think this is good for our health, what is this going to do to our children? 

     

  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 3:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Organic food

    Wyogirl, you're spot on. I won't thread-jack here, but yes, added sugars and fillers are definitely a part of the obesity issue we're facing (obviously, not the sum total, of course). I can't stand sweet spagheti sauce, gravies, creamed corn, etc. either. Sugar is usually used in these foods to cover up the fact that the vegetables they were made out of were not fully ripe, and/or were grown in an environment that left them fairly flavorless. This is one reason we don't eat processed foods, too.

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 4:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Organic food

     As a note, "organic" sauces, etc. can and often do still have sugars added, so it's still worth label reading. And, it's another reason I am not sold on the US Organics certification system. Most people also think, due to big business commercials, that organic chickens and eggs aren't debeaked, stuck into cages they can't turn around in, etc. That's false--they are raised just like other conventional chickens, and are often raised right along side them in a "dual production" system. That way, when one gets sick, they just shoot it with antibiotics and move it to the "non-organic" side. The only difference in many of the "organic" and "non-organic" meat and dairy products is that they were given organic feed, and in theory no antiobiotics or growth hormones were used. Given what I've seen, that latter is always suspect on the larger, conventional farms, since after the initial inspection, they're never inspected again as long as they pay their fees and no one complains.

    Joke among local farmers here: What's the difference in an agribusiness organic farmer, and an agribusiness conventional farmer? The organic farmer sprays at night. (alternately, the organic farmer shoots up his cows at night, etc.).

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 4:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Organic food

    Somehow the discussion on organic has morphed into a discussion on frankenfoods. You can eat well and not eat organic. Just because I'm not overly worried about whether my food is organic doesn't mean I don't care what I'm eating. I eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and we only eat out about once (sometimes twice) a week on average. So that's one or two meals out of 21.

    I do think some of the products being sold as organic should NOT be. Organic Oreos, anyone?

    I agree about the comment regarding the US Organics certification system. Why is it that something that should be an indicator of quality gets morphed into something that's almost completely worthless, but can fetch a higher price?

    Jill

  • Tue, Sep 29 2009 4:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Organic food

     Jillibean, I definitely didn't mean to imply you didn't care about what you eat, and I am very sorry if it came across that way. My point (which I think I wasn't making well) was that in this area, with our abundant availability of local organic and better-than-organic whole foods, it's not really any more expensive to eat those foods than it is conventional foods of the same type from the store. The very small price differences are worth it to me, personally, and to many of my clients.If I lived in a different area, such as a large city, where the only "organic" foods I could buy came from dubious sources and/or were priced per Whole Foods (i.e., Whole Paycheck), I am pretty sure that even as strongly as I feel about things, I couldn't afford to eat organic.

    When it comes to "organic" price increases in this area, it becomes glaringly apparent in foods like the Oreos you mention (and I agree, "organic" is ridiculous for things like that!). Eating organic frankenfoods is hugely expensive, and honestly the nutrition value of something like organic spaghetti sauce vs. prego probably isn't a good value. Since we don't eat those types of foods, the cost for us to do a true organic diet (as opposed to "Certified organic," which is mostly a marketing term anyway) is pretty comparative to not doing it.

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
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