Cost Effective Organic Eating

You know those bumper stickers that say, “My money and my kid go to __________”. Well my money and my money goes to Whole Foods and I spend roughly 25% of my income there to feed a family of five. No, not because Whole Foods is affectionately known as “Whole Paycheck” (obviously it is not) but because I consider what we eat to be part of our “health insurance” budget. Currently, we don’t have health insurance and a doctor might say (and a doctor friend of mine did say), “you are playing Russian Roulette”, but so far we have been able to consume what we are spending on “health insurance” and that’s a pretty good deal.

But seriously, how can you afford to eat organically? It is simple. Think of what you buy as being a “whole food” meaning that you are paying for a fruit, vegetable, meat, seafood or packaged food that is all food and no additives or chemicals. You aren’t paying for someone’s marketing idea or new way to keep food fresher or redder or, more likely, cheaper to make and give the producer a better profit margin. The main entrance to Whole Foods in my town takes you straight into the produce department and your eyes begin to feast on the colors and the smells and the choices. Next comes seafood and then dairy and in the middle are all of those yummy, nutritious “whole foods”. The meats, prepared foods and bakery are at the farthest end of the store and your basket should already be full before you get there. Smart marketing? No, smart eating because the store is set up like a food pyramid. Nice touch, huh?

Want a simple example of cost effective organic eating. Good Morning America had a recipe for, “The Lady’s Cheesy Mac” from Paula Deen and it sounded good for dinner (kids love macaroni and cheese), so I printed out the recipe. It called for elbow macaroni, so I bought a bag of 365 (Whole Foods brand) Organic Whole Wheat Pasta Shells for $1.29. The recipe called for 2 cups of cheddar cheese, so I got their 1 Year Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese for $3.77 and used about half of it. The three eggs came from the 365 Cage Free, Omega-3 Organic Eggs and the total was $.75 for the eggs. The recipe calls for sour cream, so I used organic light sour cream that was $1.39 and finally milk, so I used organic 2% milk which is $2.79 a half gallon and I used a cup or so. Along with it, I got an organic cauliflower, which was $4.76.

The ingredients made two casseroles and each casserole fed 2 adults, a 12 year old boy and my two little girls – 3 and 1 – and the cost was under $12.00 – and all organic. See recipe, will make it healthy – and organic – and cost effective. If I can do it, you can, too!

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