Tuesday, July 8, 2008

To Be or Not To Be - Organic?

This is something I've been struggling with for a while. I know organic is often touted as being "better" but the price premiums on so many of the foods makes it just seem like too much money for too little benefit. As a parent of a baby/toddler this past year, I assuaged some of that guilt by buying as much organic foods for my daughter as possible, but left the 'regular' stuff for the adults.
I've been reading a lot about pros and cons of organic foodstuffs. My current thinking is that the most cost-effective way to get the health benefits of organic while staying within my grocery budget is to make informed purchasing decision. Sounds like common sense, right? It is, but it just takes time to do the research, and who has time? I've seen lots of lists on the web of which organic foods to "splurge" on and I'm collating a lot of that information here.
The first change I am going to make is to organic Dairy.

I found this info on The Daily Green.

"Pesticides and other man-made chemicals have been found in human breast milk, so it should come as no surprise that they have been found in dairy products. While any residues detected have been rare, and of low concentration, milk is of special concern because it is a staple of children's diets.
Organic dairies cannot feed their cows with grains grown with pesticides, nor can they use antibiotics or growth hormones like rGBH or rbST."

In addition, I've read from various sources that the hormones in dairy are being linked to early puberty rates in girls. WHOA. I am NOT okay with that. My daughter gets most of her protein from yogurt, cheese and milk and I shudder to think that there could be chemicals in that affecting her so deeply.

I went to our discount grocery and found 1/2 gallon of organic milk (2%) for $2.99. YIKES! I was buying a whole gallon of 'hormone milk' for $2.50. This one is going to hurt, but I would much rather spend the cash now than have it adversely affect my daughter's health.

I was thinking of ways to make this change budget-neutral. I thought about just posting "we'll buy one less liter of soda" but that would be a lie, since we don't normally buy soda and you, my readers, deserve full-on honesty. I think we'll buy less juice. I always swore my kid wouldn't be a juice addict, but when other caregivers come into play, you let some things slide. Once she discovered juice at daycare, I decided to give her some at home, too. I think we'll buy one bottle of juice each week, and when it's out, her options will just be water or milk (or mom's V8, which she loves, bless her heart!).

Something else to think about: The more demand there is for organic milk, the more producers will jump into the game. As that continues to happen, supply will increase and drive the price down. We're actually already seeing the benefits of our economic system in the widespread availability of organic foods.

We also buy organic yogurt from Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt. We can find it at our local grocery and big chains like Wal-Mart.


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Jules said...

WOW Im really learning a lot about this "go green" from ya girlie! Thanks! I am going to have jump on the bandwagon!

Chele said...

The milk would bankrupt us right now as we go through 4-5 gallons a week. I have switched to mostly organic vegetables and will buy the meats when they are on sale but unfortunately price does pay a roll in what and when I buy organic products.

MomStillLearning said...

Chele, I can only imagine with those strapping lads! If you really wanted to try it, I'd say look for coupons and sales (milk does freeze well) and maybe try to just make it part of your milk supply, instead of all of it?
I understand, though. We've all got to do the $$ trade-off...pick and choose what's right for YOU! :)

Nikki & David Goldbeck said...

My name is David Goldbeck. For over 35 years my wife Nikki and I have been campaigning for natural and organic foods as three decades ago these foods hardly existed. I understand your economic dilemma as that is real, but I also want you to know how fortunate we all are today to have the mass availability of these foods. As someone posted they do get cheaper as the demand increases - you would not believe the poor quality of organic foods 20 or 30 years ago.
Some produce has more pesticide residue than others – this site may make it easier for you to decide. http://www.foodnews.org/
Your kids are fortunate to have such a concerned Mom.

Mommy off the Record said...

Watch out for Stonyfield. They package some of their individual yogurts in #6 plastic which leaches styrene.