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BTD Forums  /  Live Right 4 Your Type  /  Organic vs money
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, September 2, 2010, 8:16pm
I'm trying to get my whole family healthier, and I need to do this within our food budget. If I don't, then the resultant financial stress will cause tension and unhealth in the household. Not to mention the simple fact that spending more money on food than I can afford simply isn't sustainable! Even minor differences in conventional vs organic produce add up over the month. And if I buy fewer fruits and veggies (so spend the same amount total on produce) I'll need to spend more on other foods to compensate, so we all feel  full.

I recently learned about the "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies, and I've been trying to either buy those items in organic form or not at all (although I am using up the conventional food I've already purchased.) But I also need to keep the house well stocked with BTD compliant foods my kids will actually eat.

Do I have to be as careful with frozen and dried fruits as I do with frozen? Are the pesticide levels of conventional frozen strawberries or dried prunes as high as they are on conventional fresh strawberries and plums? The prunes are really not a big deal, as I found a source for organic prunes that aren't too expensive (and a medium sized package lasts me all month) but DD2  goes  through tons of strawberries in breakfast smoothies before school. Organic frozen strawberries from Trader Joe's cost between one and a half  and two times as much as conventional frozen strawberries from Costco.

There are a number of things I'm doing to save money already: Organic stuff from Costco, when available, costs about the same or even a little less than conventional produce from the supermarket: that covers lettuce and carrots. I buy conventional for anything other than the "dirty dozen", so I buy limes, onions, and frozen broccolli from Costco as well. I'm still trying to find a balance between enough meat (for 3 Os and a B) to keep us healthy and enough beans to keep us fed cheaply/ stretch the meat. I've found that serving some beans every day allows us to eat smaller portions of meat and still feel satisfied.

OK, if you've read through this novel, here's what I most want input on: is it important to buy organic on the "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies in dried and/or frozen form? Do I need to spend extra on organic raisins and frozen strawberries?
Posted by: C_Sharp, Thursday, September 2, 2010, 8:26pm; Reply: 1
This is not based on actual data.

But my presumption is nonorganic dried fruit would be worse than fresh or frozen.

The reason being in dried fruit water is removed and thus the poisons are concentrated.

So one pound of dried plums would contain the same amount of pesticides as three pounds (or so) of fresh or frozen plums.  
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, September 2, 2010, 8:29pm; Reply: 2
Yeah, but I also eat fewer dried fruits at a time, with plenty of water or tea- so I'm still eating the same amount of fruit per serving.
Posted by: DenverFoodie, Thursday, September 2, 2010, 10:32pm; Reply: 3
As your body starts to assimilate your food intake better on this protocol you then should require less food to get the same benefits.  That being said, you can now afford to pay more for expensive organic and natural products.  20% better assimilation equals 20% less food intake equals 20% more you can pay for better food.
Posted by: ABJoe, Thursday, September 2, 2010, 11:46pm; Reply: 4
I think the "per fruit" pesticide would be the same whether the fruit is fresh / frozen or dried.  Either pesticide was used during the growing cycle or not.  If the dried has no other additives and is less expensive, I would probably buy it and eat the number of fruit I would normally eat if eating fresh...  
Posted by: balletomane, Friday, September 3, 2010, 12:05am; Reply: 5
Quoted from DenverFoodie
As your body starts to assimilate your food intake better on this protocol you then should require less food to get the same benefits.  That being said, you can now afford to pay more for expensive organic and natural products.  20% better assimilation equals 20% less food intake equals 20% more you can pay for better food.


Really? I find myself eating more  :P ;D
Posted by: Wholefoodie, Friday, September 3, 2010, 2:00am; Reply: 6
Like Balletomane, I am eating more. I haven't seen anything close to a decrease of food on this diet (almost two years). I am still needing lots of food to keep my weight up and feel like I could eat more!

I would be leary of high pesticide fruits in any form. Do you have any local farmers who do not use pesticides? Bananas are cheap and filling but I think I remember you can't eat them. Mangos are filling as well and lower on the pesticide scale.
Posted by: Dr. Pepper, Friday, September 3, 2010, 2:17am; Reply: 7
Some grocers, like Whole Foods, publishes strict criteria for their own store brand (365).  Taking frozen fruit as an example, I am totally comfortable buying the 365 brand and not organic, as I think they're reasonably comparable in terms of health benefit yet the 365 brand is considerably less than the same certified organic product.  There are lots and lots of naturally grown products where the co. has chosen not to become 'certified' organic due to costs they'd have to pass along to the consumer.  If you read the labels carefully and check company websites carefully too, you'll likely be able to find a number of 'trusted' companies whose food you might be comfortable buying whether certified organic or not.

I also wholeheartedly agree with your decision to use Costco.  Another very 'conscious' company.

As far as meat goes, I've really gotten to enjoy buying inexpensive cuts of meat and trying to make them taste as good as, or often better than, more expensive cuts.  Chuck, round and beef shanks (shins) are some great examples of less expensive cuts that can be transformed into luxurious treats if cooked in just the right way.  The one caveat is that it takes time...more prep work and longer cooking times.  If you like to use a crock pot or braise, however, it's a breeze.  And, with dried beans, you can make some world-class one-pot meals, and have fantastic leftovers for the next day to boot!  Done.
Posted by: Possum, Friday, September 3, 2010, 8:43am; Reply: 8
Some very good points there Dr P!! I get a little too hung up these days re vegs after reading that dirty doz!! I now wont eat celery 'cos I can't get organic...& I used to eat tons of it!! ::) :o In fact, due to still trying to work out allergies etc, I am not eating much fruit or veg at all, which is a pain!! :B :o Must sort myself out!! Sounds like some of you are well onto it ;)
Posted by: Henriette Bsec, Friday, September 3, 2010, 10:13am; Reply: 9
I peel non organic sources that way I reduce my exposure a lot.

I don´t eat much dry fruit - due to the carb content -but I tend to get organic fruits due to the sulfuric problem
I try to find wild  fruits for free as well- ( away from roads)
Pick unwanted fruit from peoples gardens (unsprayed off course I am so surprised how much fruit are wasted in gardens - but I know this is not an option for all.

I must admit I prioritize organic animal fat over fruits;
Like butter, cream, yoghurt, cheese and eggs.
Trying to get as much grass fed meat - often organic

I am less organic when it comes other sources, like beans, pulses etc.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Sunday, September 5, 2010, 2:47pm; Reply: 10
Quoted from Dr. Pepper
Some grocers, like Whole Foods, publishes strict criteria for their own store brand (365).  Taking frozen fruit as an example, I am totally comfortable buying the 365 brand and not organic, as I think they're reasonably comparable in terms of health benefit yet the 365 brand is considerably less than the same certified organic product.  There are lots and lots of naturally grown products where the co. has chosen not to become 'certified' organic due to costs they'd have to pass along to the consumer.  If you read the labels carefully and check company websites carefully too, you'll likely be able to find a number of 'trusted' companies whose food you might be comfortable buying whether certified organic or not.
Do you know about Trader Joe's frozen and dried fruits? I have a Trader Joe's 2 miles  from my house and a Whole Foods about 10 miles away. So it's not TOO far out of my way to get to WFs, but TJ's is a lot more convenient (and costs me less in gas money.)

Posted by: Dr. Pepper, Sunday, September 5, 2010, 2:58pm; Reply: 11
Quoted Text
Do you know about Trader Joe's frozen and dried fruits?



I know a lot about Trader Joe's policies relating to their employees:  They are one of the very best companies to work for as they genuinely treat employees as valued, respected members of an ecosystem.  Sadly, though, they're a private company and they don't publish much information about the company at all.  You'd really need to ask a store employee and check the pkg really well.  Since most of their foods are their own store brand, it's hard to check them out on suppliers' websites.  I'd be very surprised if the store employees or managers weren't very helpful in figuring out the answers to your questions.
Posted by: RedLilac, Sunday, September 5, 2010, 3:03pm; Reply: 12
I find TJ less expensive than WF.  But as for their quality, someone else has to answer that.  I can’t find everything I want at TJ.  1 week we’ll go to WF another HFS & TJ, another week a local grocery store.  I wish organic was cheaper too.
Posted by: Victoria, Sunday, September 5, 2010, 5:13pm; Reply: 13
Ruthie,
It sounds like you are doing a very good job at balancing compliant with organic/non-organic issues.  I'm impressed, especially since you are dealing with others in the family and not just yourself!

I also look at that Dirty Dozen list if I'm needing to reduce food costs.  The only thing you mentioned that I get uneasy about is the strawberries.  My daughter recently bought a flat of fresh strawberries at a non-organic farmers market.  She loves them so much and eats a lot when she gets in the mood.  But I'm concerned about the toxicity of them.  There is really no way to clean them well.  You can rinse the surface, but they are quite soft and I think they absorb whatever is sprayed onto them.  You sure can't scrub or peel one of those little things!   :-/
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Sunday, September 5, 2010, 8:16pm; Reply: 14
Now that DD1 is following the O nonnie diet, we're not buying fresh strawberries anymore. DD1 likes fresh strawberries and banana/chocolate smoothies, while DD2 isn't a big fan of fresh fruit (except peeled apples) and likes strawberry-banana smoothies on school mornings. So I'll need to keep frozen strawberries in the house for DD2.

Is it worth spending extra money for organic frozen strawberries? Would the non-organic strawberries from trader joe's or whole foods be a reasonable (and frugal) alternative to conventional frozen strawberries from costco or a supermarket?
Posted by: Victoria, Sunday, September 5, 2010, 9:22pm; Reply: 15
Maybe you could talk to the produce buyers at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's and see if you can get an honest idea of how much pesticide application is used on the strawberries they buy.

Posted by: AKArtlover, Sunday, September 5, 2010, 11:57pm; Reply: 16
Are you washing and scrubbing dried fruit and frozen fruit?
Posted by: Andrea AWsec, Monday, September 6, 2010, 12:30am; Reply: 17
http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/20/news/companies/inside_trader_joes_full_version.fortune/index.htm

Fortune magazine had this article last month about TJ's.. secretive company.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Monday, September 6, 2010, 4:20pm; Reply: 18
Hmm. Looks like TJ's is a great place to work but I should be cautious about what I buy there. Maybe I'll start making monthly trips to WFs to stock up on frozen strawberries.
Posted by: Victoria, Monday, September 6, 2010, 5:41pm; Reply: 19
Ruthie,
To me, the important thing is if it is going to be a regular in someone's diet.  That's different than the occasional and rare exposure to toxic substances.
Posted by: MileHighRob, Monday, September 6, 2010, 8:19pm; Reply: 20
Quoted from Henriette Bsec
I peel non organic sources that way I reduce my exposure a lot.
...

Pesticides also enter the plants through the root system and are often carried into the meat of the fruit or vegetable.  Peeling doesn't necessarily lessen exposure to the toxins in all cases.  
Posted by: Dr. Pepper, Monday, September 6, 2010, 9:27pm; Reply: 21
Quoted from MileHighRob

Pesticides also enter the plants through the root system and are often carried into the meat of the fruit or vegetable.  Peeling doesn't necessarily lessen exposure to the toxins in all cases.  


MHR, you beat me to the punch on this.  I agree wholeheartedly.  Bacterial contamination is same issue at times.  Good evidence recently when lettuce was contaminated w/ eColi from bovine farm runoff in irrigation.  eColi got into cells of lettuce itself--not just on outside; as a result, it couldn't be washed off or irradiated.  Had to be disposed of... :-/ :-/

The lettuce could have just as easily been contaminated as an organic farm or non-organic farm because the toxins (or bacteria, in this case) came through the supposedly clean water supply.  

Not trying to be alarmist here in any way. :)  It's just really hard to know what you're getting unless you buy it directly from the source and trust that they're doing what their marketing mat'ls say... ;)

Posted by: AKArtlover, Tuesday, September 7, 2010, 11:33am; Reply: 22
Shared by Eric...
Organic vs. Non Strawberries
http://www.dailytech.com/Study+Certified+Organic+Strawberries+Have+More+Nutrition+Than+NonOrganic/article19539.htm
Posted by: Lola, Tuesday, September 7, 2010, 4:35pm; Reply: 23
:)
Posted by: Green Root, Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 3:56pm; Reply: 24
One mate here in Finland said that organic farms are nowadays often quite effective in the bad meaning - unlike biodynamic (Demeter) farms. I don't believe those biodynamic doctrines are necessary but if the claim of my mate is true, I have to give a try to more biodynamic vegetables when available in the appropriate price.

Do you eat suitable beans with the same meal as you eat meat?
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 4:55pm; Reply: 25
I can eat beans and meat together (there's no problem with that in terms of kosher) but I usually don't. I tend to use beans to make vegetarian soups that my kids eat for after-school snack.  Then, they're less hungry at dinnertime and eat less meat.

I've recently discovered that I can buy mangoes at Costco. Since those aren't on the "dirty dozen" list, I've been buying those instead of organic peaches and nectarines.I've also been using far less celery.
Posted by: Green Root, Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 6:16pm; Reply: 26
That sounds cool! :) Thank you ruthie.

By the way (again sidetrack, sorry about that!), is celery juice made of celery? In Finland I don't remember to have seen that anywhere. Instead we have celeriac juice.
Posted by: Lola, Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 1:33am; Reply: 27
celeriac is fermented sprouted wheat juice or other grain.....
celery juice, simply juice celery through your juicer
Posted by: Green Root, Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 6:40am; Reply: 28
What? No way... Celeriac is the root part of celery, which is the stem part of the same plant, when I have checked the dictionary?
Posted by: Lola, Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 7:06am; Reply: 29
ohh ok, thanks
here s more on the same
http://www.google.com/custom?q=Celeriac&cof=AH%3Acenter%3BAWFID%3A4452213b291e6613%3B&domains=dadamo.com&sitesearch=dadamo.com

REJUVELAC is what I confused it with ;D
http://www.dadamo.com/B2blogs/blogs/index.php/2002/11/12/uh-o-breakfast-and-rejuvelac?blog=9
Posted by: Green Root, Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 8:31pm; Reply: 30
Oh, that's true. Rejuvelac :) I haven't made it but know that could be really healthy to some people - maybe not so good for me, though.

So celery juice is obviously made of celery, not celeriac. [sigh]
Posted by: Lola, Thursday, September 23, 2010, 3:36am; Reply: 31
make celeriac juice instead :)
Posted by: Green Root, Thursday, September 23, 2010, 11:12am; Reply: 32
Or buy... I don't have a juicer but a good blender (KitchenAid).
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 4:26pm; Reply: 33
Can I safely buy any produce from the "dirty dozen" in non-organic form at Whole Foods, or does that only apply to their frozen fruit? Would it be safe to buy conventional apples or raisins there?
Posted by: AKArtlover, Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 6:58pm; Reply: 34
I would call and speak with the manager, their website does not imply anything of the sort about their non-organic produce. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/produce.php
Posted by: Victoria, Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 7:29pm; Reply: 35
You have to assume that non-organic means non-organic, even if it's in a natural foods store.

There are some exceptions;  that's why it's important to ask, as AKArtlover suggested.  There are a few non-certified farms that use organic growing methods, so that their 'non-organic' produce is perfectly safe.  But you can't know that unless you ask.
Posted by: mikeo, Thursday, October 14, 2010, 1:40am; Reply: 36
I buy organic produce as much as possible and in lower amounts because I'm less likely to throw any out from wasting like I might if I bought the cheaper (government subsidized) pesticide food
Posted by: AKArtlover, Thursday, October 14, 2010, 2:12am; Reply: 37
A lot of times our local farmers are beyond organic standards (and lower price because no middle man). That's why farmer's markets are so great.
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