Monday, February 7, 2011

Eat Less Toxins and Save Money

We talk a lot about detoxing here on this blog - that is, removing chemicals from your body to reduce your toxic load. But it is equally important (perhaps even more so) to prevent those chemicals from entering your body in the first place. Reducing your toxic load by not contributing to it is actually one of the best and healthiest things to do for yourself. We often share articles and resources on the importance of using natural/organic products on your skin and around your home, but what about your food?  We focus more on that on our Cooking From Scratch blog, but it is also fitting here to talk about just how helpful it can be to "eat clean."

I need some recipes for Spring greens, if you ...Image via WikipediaSo what does it mean to eat clean, and is it really feasible for most people to eat only (or mostly) organic foods?  First of all, eating clean and healthy does not necessarily cost a lot more money. By watching what you eat, and focusing the majority of your diet on foods that contribute to health, rather than cause health problems, you can actually lower  your cost of living (and your medical bills). Fruits and vegetables are full of healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also tend to be much cheaper than meat and processed foods, especially if you buy less exotic varieties that grow closer to home.

Also, depending on where you live, you may be able to participate in a co-op or CSA, which can lower your costs, while providing your family with fresh, locally grown, often organic foods, and supporting your community at the same time. I have been a member of a CSA now for almost 3 years, and I can say that while my grocery bills maybe have not gone down, they certainly have not substantially increased - and 95% of the fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy I now consume are organically or naturally grown. I feel so much healthier - have great energy, my skin is better, and I rarely ever get sick with anything - even during the cold winter months of the Midwest.

Public domain photograph of various meats. (Be...Image via WikipediaSo, what does all this fresh, local, organic food cost me?  I'll get personal here, and share a breakdown of approximately what I spend - keeping in mind that I get all my meat and eggs through a CSA, and veggies, fruit, and milk about 9 months out of the year. (FYI - the photos on this page aren't from my CSA - sorry - I keep forgetting to take pictures! But the two links below will take you straight to the websites of the CSAs I'm a member of, if you're interested.)

Veggie/Fruit/Milk CSA (Veggies are 100% certified organic, fruit is spot-treated only with minimal chemicals, milk is from pasture-fed, non-hormone, non-antibiotic cows): $640.00 for 20 weeks at a time (Summer and Winter seasons) ($32/week).

Meat/Eggs CSA (Most is organic, all is pasture-fed, no hormones, no antibiotics): $260 for 30+ lbs (and 6 dozen eggs), which lasts me about 6 months, as I try to limit meat consumption for health reasons. (About $11/week.)

Prior to joining a CSA, I spent between $150-$200/month on groceries (as a single person, in a large city in Ohio).  Now I only grocery shop once or twice a month, instead of weekly (or more often), for things like flour, pasta, beans, rice, and that sort of thing. This also cuts down on impulse buys!  My CSAs combined cost me a total of about $175/month. With the occasional grocery shopping trip, I probably do cross $200 once in a while, but not by much.

The New Leaf CSA (community-supported agricult...Image via WikipediaEssentially, I am spending the same amount, to a few dollars more, to eat fresh (usually harvested that morning, in the case of the veggies!), locally grown, mostly organic foods for the majority of my diet. And I also have the pleasure and satisfaction of meeting and supporting local farmers who contribute so much to the community.

If you've never looked into a CSA, make it a point to try one this year. Now is the time when most CSAs are accepting signups - typically they will fill their membership slots before planting time, so they can plan for the season ahead. So don't wait 'til summer, as most do fill up. Check out to find a CSA in your area, or learn more info on CSAs first at Get healthy, reduce your toxic load, and get connected to your community by joining a CSA today!
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