Organic Food – How to include organic food into your diet in a practical way.
Why Organic and How to do it on a Budget in Nashville.
This article addresses the importance of eating as cleanly as possible and how to do that if you are on a tight budget.
Our food plans ask you to try to eat organic produce and grass-fed beef and dairy, pastured chicken and eggs, and wild caught fish. There is a lot of information and studies that say an organic apple has no more nutrients than a conventional one, and that may be true, but there are important reasons other than nutrient content for why you want to adhere to these “food rules”.
Fruits and Vegetables
Conventional fruits and vegetables are heavily sprayed by pesticides and herbicides that can be toxic to our bodies. Glyphosate, a major herbicide can seriously damage the microbiome in addition to actually killing human cells. This is used in high doses in GMO foods as the GMO crops are resistant to the glyphosate so can be doused with it. GMO wheat in particular is saturated with glyphosate just before harvesting in order to increase the harvest. Pesticides are implicated in many diseases including cancer and neurological disorders.
Factory farmed meat (which is what most of the meat that you find in grocery stores and restaurants is) is harmful on many levels. First they can contain growth hormones and antibiotics which impact your microbiome and biochemistry. Second they are fed GMO, conventional grains and other things (candy, soy or whatever they can get their hands on) that are inflammatory and do other harm to our bodies. It is true, we are what what we eat eats!
Many of the large fish in the sea (tuna, swordfish, halibut etc.) eat smaller fish and have higher concentrations of toxic metals like mercury and recently they have discovered bits of plastic in fish that would also enter our bloodstream upon eating these fish. In general, stick to smaller fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies and sardines to be safe. Additionally, you want to be sure you eat wild caught fish since farmed fish are fed grains and other items that fish aren’t meant to eat and also are inflammatory to humans.
Organic Food on a Budget
There is no question that organic food is more expensive than their conventional, factory-farmed alternatives. But there are places where you can shop in Nashville to get organic foods at lower costs. Some of our favorites are Trader Joes, Costco, Aldi stores and online websites like Thrive Market and Butcher Box. You can save up to 30% off regular organic prices by shopping in these places.
But, if that’s still too pricey, you can prioritize what organics you buy. For produce, we like to use the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists produced by the Environmental Working Group every year. As it sounds, the dirty dozen lists the 13 fruits and vegetables that are most highly sprayed with those toxic pesticides we talked about earlier, so you want to be sure you are buying those products in their organic form. (One of my favorites that routinely makes that dangerous list are strawberries). The clean 15 are fruits and vegetables that don’t get heavily sprayed or have thick skins that are just fine to eat in their conventional form.
As for meat and chicken, if grass-fed or pastured is too expensive or hard to find, even from Butcher Box, you most definitely want to eat at minimum organically raised animals. Or, even better, just eat less meat in general and opt for quality over quantity. Did you know that all you really need is a serving of meat the size of the palm of your hand??? plus there are amazing plant sources of protein too, like beans and legumes, quinoa and even broccoli!
Lastly, and this is the hard pill for so many of us to swallow, and that is to look at where you are spending your money in general and see where you might be able to cut back. If you have luxury car, the latest iPhone, more shoes than your closet can handle, multiple subscriptions to entertainment, and more, perhaps it’s time to take an inventory and cut back on a few things to give you more money to spend on your food, and your health!
For support on how to upgrade your food, schedule a time at our convenient Nashville office through the patient portal to discuss these ideas further.