Living an Organic Lifestyle, On a Budget

What if I told you eating organic doesn’t have to cost you your life savings and 401k? Honestly, the expense of organic foods and misinformation is the reason why i never even researched the idea of living an organic lifestyle. I was so wrong about the expense.

I recently shared a blog post about GMOs and toxic diets. I shared how research is showing the negative impact of GMOs and non-organic produce and animal products on people’s health. More importantly, the last couple months I have been researching natural ways to improve fertility and just about every article talks about the negative effect of non-organic foods on our fertility. In addition, the negative effects on our children even long before conception.

For the last few months we have been purchasing only organic foods for our household. I knew organic foods were essential on our journey to making baby Panza. Yep, this girl on a budget has found away to eat all organic without breaking the bank.

Some of the reasons to go organic

  1. Buying organic produce that is in season not only is easier on your wallet, but it gives you the ability to incorporate all types of vitamins and nutrients throughout the year. This is how we were designed to eat. Studies have found that when produce is grown in season, it can have up to three times more nutrients than when out of season.
  2. Organic foods have more nutrients than their pesticide, GMO riddled friends. Findings from a review of 343 studies on organic nutrition showed organic foods, on average, contained more antioxidants. Organic foods are also grown in a better environment. onventional non-GMO crops can be treated with “biosolids”, which is literally the treated waste that’s flushed down the toilet, and waste from hospitals and industry. Biosolids, are not permitted in certified organic foods. Biosolids contain heavy metals, toxins, steroids, and more substances that can pose a threat to your health. Possible health risks from substances in biosolids include kidney damage, adverse effects to the immune system, hormone disruption, and even cancer.
  3. Organic doesn’t just apply to fruits and veggies. Did you know the meat and animal products you consume can easily contain antibiotics, GMOs, and hormones? 

    Antibiotics and hormones given to animals on conventional farms make their way into the foods those animals provide. The prevalence of antibiotic usage with livestock can lead to antibiotic resistance in humans.

    Hormones, such as rBGH, are injected into cows on non-organic farms to boost milk production. This can lead to various health problems with the cows, such as abnormal milk, fertility issues, and hoof disorders. In addition, rBGH milk has significantly higher levels of the IGF-1 hormone. This hormone has been shown to greatly increase the occurrence of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

Okay, so now you are convinced, but you aren’t sure where to even start. Don’t let the idea of eating only organic overwhelm you and certainly do your best, but don’t kill yourself for perfection.

Transitioning to an organic, natural lifestyle shouldn’t increase your stress. Small steps are key to making a big change. My suggestions, start with what is most important to you and slowly work your way to the next step. For me, what we were eating was crucial and needed to be priority. After that I started transitioning out of plastics, changing beauty products, and finding alternative household cleaners.

If you desire to start with your food and what you are eating, I can help you. Here are some of my secrets.

Shop Costco

Yes, Costco! The land of bulk processed foods is also a GREAT place to find reasonably priced organic foods. What I love about Costco is their price labeling system. Most, if not all of their organic foods have a green tag on the shelf. This makes it really easy when you are trying to transition your household.

I purchase their organic fruits and veggies. I also purchase their frozen organic fruits and veggies. As well as their wild caught and grass fed/organic meats. 

Phone a friend

Let people your neighbors, friends, family, and people you work with know you are on the hunt for organic fruits and veggies. A lot of times you can find people who have fruit trees in their backyards and they don’t use any pesticides or treatments. Usually they are willing to give the fruit away at no cost. Some people may ask you to come and pick it yourself, but what a cheap price tag for fruit! 

Stock up and save

When produce or organic meats are on sale, stock up. When grass fed ground beef is $3.99 a pound, I make sure to grab extra and freeze it for later. You can save quite a bit of money buying seasonal fruits and veggies and freezing them for later.

Start with the basics

The dirty dozen and the clean 15! Sounds like a nursery rhyme, but it really does apply to the foods we eat.  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that nearly 70 percent of samples of 48 types of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticide residues. The pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.

For the Dirty Dozen list is produce with the highest loads of pesticide residues. On the clean 15, relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticide residues on them. However, this does not mean that if the food is listed in the clean 15 that it is free from GMOs. 

If you are starting to eat organic in an effort to reduce exposure to pesticides, this list is a great place to start.

Grow your own organic produce & herbs.

You do not need a ton of outdoor space to grow your own garden. I suggest starting with herbs. They are easy to grow and take up little room. You can even grow herbs on a windowsill or on your patio. These herbs are growing on my balcony window. 

Shop local & in season.

Shop the farmer’s market. Farmer’s Markets have locally grown produce and (usually) there are many organic options to choose from. Not only will you be supporting a local farm family, you will be able to buy in season organic produce. If you are not sure where a Farmer’s Market is near you, try this website to locate one! 

Shopping for foods that are in season usually means that organic produce is on sale. A lot of times organic produce is the same price as conventional produce, in peak seasons. Check out your local store ads or see if they have an app to browse.

The journey to organic living should not become stressful or overwhelming. Start small and do your research.

Do you currently enjoy organic foods? How did you transition to an organic lifestyle? Share your ideas below to help others!

 

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Is your diet toxic?

I never really understood what all the hype was about NonGMO Foods. I especially thought that organic labeling was a fad diet type of thing. Something that only Birkenstock wearing hippies cared about. Boy was I misinformed and wrong.

In the world of organic, nonGMO, and “all natural” there are so many particulars. Particulars I truly had no idea about until I started researching it myself. 

Okay, let’s talk about this. 

What is a GMO? 

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Genetically engineered crops are crops that are altered with inserted genetic material to exhibit a desired trait.

They are altered in such a way that they do not die when sprayed with pesticides so that the crop can be mass produced and grown not by humans, but machines, and sprayed with pesticides to kill everything but the GMO crop. A real, natural plant would immediately die from the amount of pesticide sprayed (the pesticides themselves are a whole other story).

Okay… and what’s your point, Anna?

I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!

Genetically modified foods haven’t actually been proven to be safe in any way. Most studies are showing major concerns for the consumers health and the health of the next generation. The lack of long term studies and testing may be hiding disastrous health defects. Enough concern that 50 countries around the world have banned GMO foods. 

Unfortunately, GMO foods aren’t labeled in America and a majority of people have no idea this is even a “thing”. GMOs are in your produce and about 80% of processed foods. Animal products are not exempt. Besides the hormones and antibiotics administered (a story for another day), livestock is fed GMO crops.

Before you continue, if you are someone saying “My parents and I have eaten this way my whole life and we are just fine.” Because that’s what I thought too! Not exactly. Genetically modified foods didn’t actually make their way to the market until 1996 and their presence has increased over the years. So no, we and our parents haven’t eaten this way our whole lives. 

In 2012 Kaiser Permanente published a newsletter article titled “What you need to know about GMOs”. That article shared “Despite what the biotech industry might say, there is little research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human health. Independent research has found that several varieties of GMO corn caused organ damage in rats. Other studies have found that GMOs may lead to an inability in animals to reproduce.”

The newsletter recommends that consumers purchase organic foods, or foods with the “Non-GMO verified” logo.

I sure didn’t know ANY OF THIS before watching GMO OMG on Netflix and researching. I honestly thought it was some hippie fad that made my food more expensive!

The research.

May 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle announced the FDA’s anti consumer right-to-know policy which stated that GMO foods need NOT be labeled nor safety-tested. Meanwhile, prominent scientists such as Arpad Pusztai and Gilles-Eric Seralini have publicized alarming research revealing severe damage to animals (monkeys, lab rats) fed GMO foods including: sterilization, miscarriages, cancer, NEW allergies, seizures, and death!


The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) shared animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Yeah, you know that “I” word caught my attention immediately. Aside from infertility, a growing number of studies are finding hundreds of toxic chemicals in mothers’ and, subsequently, their babies’ bodies when they are born. Including pesticides industrial and environmental chemicals.

In studies, the organs of rats who ate genetically modified potatoes showed signs of chronic wasting, and female rats fed a diet of herbicide-resistant soybeans (GMO soy) gave birth to stunted and sterile pups. Sterile pups, meaning no babies down the road.

What this means for us.

Now I definitely know GMOs don’t cause all infertility or all miscarriages or all allergies, all cancers, or all autism.

I also know that not all people who smoke cigarettes get lung or mouth cancer, but I still don’t smoke because it and the risk it brings isn’t good for my health. I know that the majority of us can and will admit smoking can cause cancer, but there was a time where the tobacco companies FOUGHT to say smoking didn’t cause cancer.

If I held your interest for this long, thank you. There are so many facts supporting the negative impact of GMO foods in our culture.  Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. 

How can you make a difference for your family’s health?

Make informed choices.

I recommend researching and making your own informed choice. You can read the book Seeds of Deception. Try watching GMO OMG on Netflix, along with The C Word. Both documentaries are so informative and educational, something that we as consumers have to take seriously. It isn’t enough to expect that ALL of the facts are in plain view, because they aren’t. For your health, your family’s health, and the health of your children, do a little research. You can also choose to ignore it, but that doesn’t make the problem disappear. 


Avoid GMO food

Avoid GMO foods whenever possible. In the US there are currently no labeling laws requiring that the inclusion of GMO foods be placed on the label.
Look for the “Non-GMO verified” logo on packaged foods. The Non-GMO Project is a mission-driven nonprofit organization offering a third-party non-GMO verification program.

Choose organic.

Choose only organic, free range, wild caught, and grass-fed animal products. “All natural” doesn’t cut it, it doesn’t mean GMO free.

If it is organic it is not a GMO food. In the US and Canada manufacturers are not allowed to label something as 100% organic if it has been genetically modified or if it is an animal and has been fed genetically modified feed. So when it comes to eggs, dairy and meats, organic is a must.

While soy, corn and potatoes are the most prevalent GMO foods, there are many others that you should be aware about as well, such as:

  • Salmon
  • Canola oil
  • High fructose corn syrup/corn sugar (on of the reasons there is so much GMO corn being grown. The other reason for so much corn is that it is readily fed to livestock)
  • Dairy (conventional cows are injected with the genetically engineered hormone rBGH/rBST and are frequently fed GMO corn and grains.)
  • Processed foods (many processed foods have been tested and shown to contain some GMO ingredients.)

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I know it is a little more lengthy than most, but it is truly something I feel needs to be talked about more. If you read this post, would you please let me know by commenting below or sending me a quick message or comment on Instagram or Facebook? I would love to know that I’m not just talking to a lifeless screen! 

sources:

organicauthority.com
Natural Fertility Info
Responsible Technology

 

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Know What I Mean, Peaches ‘N’ Cream?

I know by now you are so tired of hearing that you shouldn’t skip breakfast. Wait, don’t roll your eyes just yet. Skipping breakfast comes with greater risks than just a growling stomach. 

What if I told you that eating breakfast could lead to more weight loss? 

In one recent study, people who ate breakfast as their largest meal lost an average of 17.8 pounds over three months. The large-dinner group only lost an average of 7.3 pounds each over the same time period. (source) 

I find that the common reason women skip breakfast is because they do not have enough time in the morning. Either they don’t have the time to eat breakfast at all or they are not eating a balanced breakfast before they start their day. 

What is balanced? Well, a protein (yogurt or eggs), a complex carbohydrate (oats), and healthy fat (chia seeds) is truly considered balanced. Your body digests foods in a particular order. Carbohydrates first, protein second, and fats.

This means, grabbing a banana on the go isn’t enough to fuel your body for an extended period of time. But how does a woman who is on the go and trying to find balance master breakfast? Have you tired overnight oats yet? 

You can prep multiple overnight oats on Sunday evening or the night before you plan to eat them for breakfast. 

Overnight oats are more than your plain-Jane milk and oats you are used to as a young girl. They are also better than your Quaker maple and brown sugar or peaches n cream, sugar packed instant oats you find at your local grocery store. 

Overnight oats are a great way to incorporate fresh fruit, dairy-free yogurt, and extra essential healthy fats. There are so many different recipes to try, too. This means you can enjoy different flavors throughout the week so you do not get bored. Breakfast ready to grab and go! Ready to try your hand at overnight oats yet?

This simple Peaches ‘n’ Cream Overnight Oats recipe has dairy-free coconut milk yogurt, fresh organic peaches, chia seed, raw honey, and almond milk. Sweet and refreshing to grab and go in the morning. 

Let me know what you think! Enjoy! 


Peaches 'n' Cream Overnight Oats {dairy free}
Print Recipe
Servings
1
Servings
1
Peaches 'n' Cream Overnight Oats {dairy free}
Print Recipe
Servings
1
Servings
1
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a clean, glass jar mix oats and almond milk until combined.
  2. Layer peaches on top of oats
  3. Add coconut milk yogurt, honey, vanilla extract, and chia seed
  4. Seal the glass jar and store in the fridge overnight. Enjoy in the morning.
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Dairy-Free, Chocolate Peanut Butter Treats

Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, eggs, trees, and hearts. You know those sweet holiday treats that are so delicious. Girl, I used to go to Target the day after every holiday on the hunt for half-priced peanut butter filled chocolate treats.

I would sit and eat a whole pack of the Reese’s eggs after easter. Yep, all 6 in one sitting. It would follow with a stomach ache. Why did I do that to myself? Maybe it is the novelty? Who knows. 

What I do know is, they are filled with dairy. *gasp*, about 18+ ingredients, some of which contain GMOs *double gasp*, and 18g of sugar per egg! whaaaat?! A 6 pack of eggs = 108 grams of sugar. Definitely NOT the kind of 6 pack that is going to help me get a 6 pack.

I wanted to find a way to make something a little bit more healthy than the GMO filled (GMOs are my new thing, btw), sugary Reese’s cups I used to buy. Something I could enjoy without the guilt!

This Easter I wanted to make some of these delicious treats without the dairy and garbage. Especially because I USED TO fill Nick’s Easter basket with a plethora of Reese’s treats. I know though that they don’t make him US feel very good after eating them… AND I am committed to helping us live the healthiest life possible.

This recipe sure does beat the ingredients list of the typical household favorite, without sacrificing the taste. They are so delicious! I used only Organic ingredients, also to be certain the ingredients were GMO free!

Have you ever look to see what is in a Reese’s?!?!

Reese’s Ingredients: Milk chocolate, (milk, chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, no fat milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ and citric acid.

I was appalled to read the information below about some of the ingredients from Living Traditionally. I am still learning and researching all about modern day ingredients, GMOs, and what they ACTUALLY mean for our health.

PGPR (polyglycerol pilyricinoleate): PGPR that has  replaced cocoa butter in an effort to cut down on manufacturing costs. PGPR is made from castor beans that reduces the viscosity of chocolate. This chemical has been found to cause gastrointestinal discomfort and allergic reaction in children.

•Soy lecithin: 93% of soy is genetically modified. Soy lecithin can cause breast cancer, has negative effects on fertility and reproduction, may lead to behavioral and cerebral abnormalities. (Read More About Soy Lecithin)

TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone):
TBHQ comes from petroleum and is related to butane. This can be toxic and also cause nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ear, delirium and collapse. It is shown to cause stomach cancer in lab rats, fragment DNA and cause damage to humane lung and umbilical cells. In children it can cause anxiety, restlessness, and intensify the symptoms of ADHD.

 

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Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Sweets
Print Recipe
I used only organic ingredients to ensure these PB Chocolates were GMO free. I also used dairy-free chocolate, which isn't difficult to find at your local health food store.
Servings
10-12
Servings
10-12
Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Sweets
Print Recipe
I used only organic ingredients to ensure these PB Chocolates were GMO free. I also used dairy-free chocolate, which isn't difficult to find at your local health food store.
Servings
10-12
Servings
10-12
Ingredients
Filling
Chocolate Coating
Servings:
Instructions
Filling
  1. In a mixing bowl mix together all filling ingredients until a soft dough is formed.
  2. Roll dough in to whatever shape you like (eggs, hearts, circles, etc.)
  3. Line baking sheet with wax paper and freeze shapes for 30 minutes
Chocolate Coating
  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl, in the microwave until melted. About 30-45 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds.
  2. Coat the shapes in a layer of chocolate and put chocolate covered shapes on wax lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a small amount of course sea salt.
  3. freeze 1-2 hours. Store in refrigerator.
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Chocolate for Beauty


When I learned chocolate was considered a beauty food, I had to dive in and find out the facts. I’m a girl that actually believes her acne issues had a little something to do with the massive amount of sugar I was consuming in my teenage years and early 20s. Which if you read my last post, we know sugar truly does negatively impact our skin condition. What I want to know is, what is this chocolate food that’s all the rage and can it benefit me?!

Cacao is not cocoa, there is actually a difference.

Let me explain.

Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. What’s the benefit in that?

Well, Cacao in its raw form is considered one of the highest source of antioxidants of all foods. If you know anything about current beauty trends, you know antioxidants help our body fight free radicals. Free radicals are damaging not only to our cells, but our skin as they can cause aging and a dull complexion.

According to this source, Cacao can prevent premature aging – polyphenol antioxidants found in cacao belong to the same group of antioxidants as green tea and red wine. These anthocyanins (found in dark colored fruits) and catechins (found in green tea) protect our cells from premature oxidation or destruction and can keep us looking and feeling younger longer.

But wait, there’s more! Cacao contains four times the antioxidant content of regular processed dark chocolate, 20 times more than blueberries, and 119 times more than bananas.

Aside from antioxidants, cacao is an excellent source of healthy fats. The same healthy fats as we see in olive oil or coconut oil.

What does it taste like, though?! My preferred way to consume cacao is from cacao nibs. They look like little chocolate chips.

Both raw cacao beans and nibs undergo a fermentation process that preserves the antioxidants. They have a rich, dark chocolate flavor.

If you follow me on Snapchat, you know my latest dessert obsession is cacao nibs, 1/2 a banana, and crunchy peanut butter. It is delicious! You can also add them to your smoothie in the morning.

 The natural sugars in the fruit of your smoothie or PB Banana dessert decreases the bitterness, dark chocolate taste.

Another option is to mix the cacao nibs in to your coffee with a little coconut milk. {avoid dairy as it destroys the antioxidant properties in the cacao}  It won’t be as sweet those hot cocoa packets you drank as a kid, rather it will be a mocha flavor filled with skin glowing benefits.

I have been eating cacao daily for the health benefits. Not only does cacao help with glowing skin and fighting aging, but cacao helps with so much more. Depression, diabetes, inflammation, energy, lowers blood pressure, and so much more. It truly is a SUPERfood!

I add cacao in to my glowing skin smoothie, but I also made these quick, raw cacao bites you can grab and go! Beauty food to go? Sign me up!

These beauty bits not only have cacao, but they are sweetened with dates not artificial sugars. They also have walnuts, which are an excellent source of  omega-3 essential fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). 

Keep scrollin’ for the recipe!

Have you tried cacao? What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate it in to your diet?

PS… you might be missing out on blog posts! Get them straight to your inbox with tons of other valuable information! Never miss a post again! 

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Raw Cacao Bites
Print Recipe
These sweet little treats are a great for satisfying your chocolatey sweet tooth.
Servings
12 bites
Servings
12 bites
Raw Cacao Bites
Print Recipe
These sweet little treats are a great for satisfying your chocolatey sweet tooth.
Servings
12 bites
Servings
12 bites
Ingredients
Servings: bites
Instructions
  1. Place the walnuts in a food processor and blend until walnuts are chopped
  2. Add the dates, cacao powder, cacao nibs and blend until well combined.
  3. Roll golf ball size balls with your hands.
  4. You can dust the balls with a little cacao powder or unsweetened coconut so that they are not sticky.
  5. Store the bites in a sealed container in the fridge.
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