We all need to eat. The substances we put into our bodies, become our bodies. But eating with the best intentions can be pricey.

These days, organic groceries are abundant and eating local is a wonderful luxury. I am well aware of the pesticides and depleted soil that conventional produce is grown in these days. I leaves my body screaming for nourishment. But how can I ask everyone to justify the “Whole Foods, Whole Paycheck” reputation when so many of us struggle just to pay the rent?

As a former student of holistic nutrition, I know this game all too well. I spent the last year being taught about the importance of shopping daily not weekly, eating the rainbow, and the importance of eating organic (unless it fits into the “Clean 15”).

I understand that ensuring freshness, decreasing our toxic exposure and obtaining optimum nutrients provides security in my future – my body, my voice, and what I like to call my “money maker,” aka my brain. But, I think Donna Summer put it best when she sang, “We work hard for the money. So hard for it honey. So you better treat us right.”

The last thing we need at the end of a stressful day is to feel guilty about how much we spent on our grocery bill! And as a student I need to be frugal with my moola (this comes from a girl that isn’t afraid to throw a dresser she found in the alley on her back and truck it home 6 blocks just to save $50. Lol)!

Along with the obvious ethical reasons here are some thoughts on why I think organic and locally sourced groceries are more important and why should you buy them…

You feel better when you eat them! We are what we eat and with the proper nutrients coming from our food we don’t have to worry about filling in the gaps with budget breaking daily vitamins.

They have more flavor! This is a question of quality not quantity. Local fruits and veg are naturally ripened and have not been exposed to gases that ripen them on the outside leaving them unripened and bland tasting on the inside.

Organic produce is bursting with nutrition! Not only have your fruits and veg not lost half their nutrition over the long journey from farm to table, but they also have more nutrients period! Soil depletion is caused when large companies plant the same thing over and over each year in the field without rotating crops. It is called “monocropping.” Why is this so bad? Well when we rotate our crops certain nutrients and minerals are replenished back into the soil. This allows the next crop to utilize these nutrients, so consumers can reap the full benefits of the nourishment that our starving bodies thrive off of.

Pesticides are used to kill bugs. Yes, I understand we are a gazillion times larger than bugs but residue that is left on our produce is put into our bodies and can cause a “rain barrel effect.” Meaning that those chemicals can accumulate in our systems, causing illness over time. Some studies also suggest that pesticide accumulation may exacerbate disorders such as ADHD (Click Here For The Study)

Buying local, seasonal produce not only supports your community farmer but it may be more important than simply buying organic in some cases. Small farms often struggle to afford the “Organic” certification but are grown with purest of methods (sometimes even better than those big so-called organic farms that are only separated by a thin row of trees or barrier that may not actually protect against cross). Don’t be afraid to call your local farmers and ask them about their safe growing practices.

Farmers spend tireless hours watering, weeding by hand, and growing our food with love on the daily. Here are a few ways to do them a solid and utilize the WHOLE plant, cut down on your grocery bills, and get a greater variety of nutrients in your diet that adds to your health and quality of life.

Plus, this method of “cooking smarter” cuts down on the number of times you need to empty that icky compost bin sitting under your sink. Seriously – if I had a boyfriend that would totally be listed as a blue job. Plus, I live on the fourth floor and I get so tired of walking those stairs!

Here are a 7 pointers on how to get the best bang for your buck!

…or make the most out of the fruits of your labor (if you’re lucky enough to have a garden and grow your own) … because we all know, you are worth it!

1: Buy organic beets with the stalks intact.

The greens can be washed and mixed into a salad and the stalks, which contain more potassium than a banana (hello athletes!) are great lightly roasted or tossed into a stir fry.

2: Stop peeling your potatoes and carrots!

Buying organic ensures they are not marinated in a sterile, gut bacteria killing pesticide bath. So, after purchasing organic potatoes simply wash and scrub them before cutting and roasting, mashing or grating. The peel provides a healthy dose of iron, B Vitamins (B6, B1, B3 specifically) and is a fantabulous source of fibre that is essential to keeping your digestion regular if ya know what I mean!

3: The many uses of fennel!

Yes that weird looking bulb comes attached to huge hairy stalk that resembles dill but tastes somewhat like licorice (yummy?!?!). Live dangerously! Fennel is an amazing addition to stir fry, or a perfect partner in crime to a simple salmon and rice dinner. But don’t throw away the stalk. Keep them and juice it the next day for a powerful diuretic that helps to reduce water retention following a night of overindulgences.

4: Blend your avocado core!

Yes, you could try growing your own avocado tree but that seems like a lot of work to me! Instead, try cutting off a chunk of it and adding this to your morning smoothie! It is packed with nutrients that usually end up in the compost.

Make two meals at once!

Reduce your food waste by prepping dinner and the next days lunch at the same time. Try freezing meals even. I like to prep my meals on Sunday night so that I make the most out of my groceries when they are fresh and am not tempted to cheat by eating out. I hate throwing groceries away.

Be generous…share with thy neighbor and they may just share back.

This is a great way to add variety to your meals if you are growing your own garden. Also, the act of giving without expectation naturally boosts our happy hormone levels. Better mood = more time spent enjoying the things you love!

Become a “stalker”!

Don’t be shy to use the stalk of your broccoli or kale. Finely chop and add to your stir fry, juice them with your fennel (mmmm, green juice is the best!), and try adding them to your gaucemole. This adds nutrients and fiber to a summertime staple. Plus…this way you save an argument with your hubby and kids about forcing them to eat more greens! It’s a win win!

Looking to get more Organic Greens in your diet? Check out my “Kal-e-mole” Recipe Here!

Katie Israelson

Certified Nutritional Practitioner at Refresh Natural Health
I like to bring an organic and honest yet humorous approach to my counselling and writing. I believe in the importance of nourishing the soul and body, and hope to provide support for those open to my quirky yet insightful anecdotes. By embracing my own challenges with food sensitivities, hormone balancing, and weight management (believe me, this is an ongoing battle) I hope to connect with my readers on a personal level.

As a newbie blogger, I am here to let you know we are not alone in our struggles, challenges or successes. Everyone has a story. Regardless of setbacks we are powerful human beings, capable of achieving greatness. So may we rise up, and walk this road together.
Katie Israelson