To be as concise as possible, I'm going to create 2 lists, one of things I have decided worthwhile to keep organic, and the other of things I tried and decided to drop, inclusive of the reasons Why.
- Beef & chicken, though we eat less of it than ever, and I've added another stipulation to that: Grass-Fed. Corn and soy-fed animals ("all-vegetarian diet" is what they say on the package. Deceptive, isn't it?) are not healthy animals. Cows, chickens, and people were meant to feed on a variety of foods. Imagine how healthy you'd be if all you ate were corn, soybeans, and a pill full of vitamins. Healthy cows make nutritious steak. That's my logic there. (btw, grass-fed means "raised in a pasture" which for chickens, means they're eating bugs, and for cows, means they're getting all the "green" they need)
- Milk, my goal is to buy gallons of raw, whole milk in bulk from a local farm. This will supply me with milk, cream, sour cream, yogurt, kefir, and hopefully (when I get good at it) cheese. I'm still waiting on a call from the farmer's wife letting me know the calf has been born. In the mean time, we're just drinking the pasteurized, homogenized stuff. :P
- Eggs. Costco has a good deal on these, making it possible to afford them!
- All toiletries and household cleansers (barring carpet spot-remover. Have yet to discover something that will keep us from replacing the carpets in this bloody white-sheathed rental home of ours when we leave!)
- Sugar. The reasons for this are the following: sugar is an imported food. Foreign countries do not have the "protection" (sarcastic quotations) of the FDA to regulate the pesticides they use. Also, it's pretty expensive, and it makes me think twice about using it, which is good, since even when it's organic, it's not good for your body to consume it in huge amounts like, say, Sweet Tea. (my biggest weakness right now)
- Oil. Once again, Costco rules when it comes to this. I wouldn't be able to go organic on oil but for their awesome bulk deals!
- I have to put Bread in here, too, because I make my own bread, even though it's not perfectly organic sprouted wheat, it contains the organic flour, sugar, and oil. It's pretty good, though, and we're spoilt for store-bought bread, now. :) Thanks to my Mom for teaching us to make it at home when we were 6. That's a gift I can't put a price on!
Alternatives to Organics:
In the long run, my solution to having a mixed "impure" diet is to shift our balance from Majoring on Meat & Potatoes to Majoring on Raw Foods, mostly raw vegetables and fruit. One thing that has helped is to take just one meal per day: breakfast, and eat ONLY raw fruits. That eliminates the problem of balancing the "right" amount of meat to starch to veggie. We just decided to up our intake of raw foods, and hope that it made up for the holes in my "Organic Shield." So far, we've been LOVING the results! We start the day with a totally raw fruit breakfast, and make lunch our highest-protein meal. This usually consists of something like chili, a chicken/veggie casserole, potatoes & ham au gratin, accompanied by a vegetable. We end the day with a lighter version of that, such as a salad topped with grilled steak strips, or a chicken breast with mango salsa, no starch. It gives us both a lot more energy in the evening, so we can actually talk to each other and play with Violet rather than sit staring at each other, bloated digestive systems working hard, counting the minutes till bedtime!
- Fresh Produce: the reason for this is I believe if I buy local produce I have a very good chance of getting nearly pure food. There are a lot of family-run farms out here that don't necessarily have the FDA "stamp" on their organic farming tactics, but they are earth-friendly, just the same. The average difference this makes is around $8 per week for our family. A few seasonal things I buy from out-of-state, like strawberries and oranges...but I try to make sure they're at least from the U.S.
- Fish: For a while now, we've been getting salmon from the hatchery here on post owned by the Nisqually Indian tribe. They give out free salmon in the fall to whomever wants to stand in line while they harvest the eggs. We have no guarantee that they're organic fish, but they are darned fresh, there's certainly no mercury, and FREE!
- Anything I use infrequently enough to not reconcile the extra expense with the benefits. These include: cocoa, baking powder, corn starch, chocolate, vinegars, most condiments, salad dressings, sauces, spices, tea, coffee (though this is more about the awesome "native" coffee out here, and my inability to free myself from this addiction than anything. )
- Oh, and this final one I'm really not satisfied with: Juice. I canNOT find a good alternative to juice.....organic stuff. The good wholesome "Whole Fruits" juices are SUPER expensive, and just plain not an option. We still drink juice, but I do wish I could find a healthy substitute. Not sure that getting a juicer wouldn't end up being just as expensive, once you buy all that fruit!
Honestly, we didn't ever complain about our digestions before we started this, it just suddenly occurred to us how much better it was this way! I'm having to re-think my "3 things arranged on a plate with bread on the side and a dessert waiting" training.....which must be a Southern Thing, now that I think about it! If we're going to have meat, I try to accompany it with a cooked vegetable AND a salad, and skip the mashed potatoes or rice pilaf or noodles & cheese. My more recent research has shown me that the necessary carbohydrates can be had from a pile of raw mixed veggies just as easily as from a bowl of gooey noodles. Plus, the roughage. :)
Anyway, those are my rambling, ever-changing thoughts on health. I'm also in the process of switching to a cheaper acai berry blend. I'm venturing forth from my safety zone of Mona-V*e, proven to work, and hoping to land a much more affordable product!