Here’s some tips to help you stretch those precious grocery dollars and get nutritious foods.
Ideally it’s best to avoid…..
Non-organic dairy because of the hormones and antibiotics as well as the GMO feed given to the animals
Non-organic meat because of the hormones and antibiotics as well as the GMO feed given to the animals
Anything containing corn, soy, or canola in any form because it is almost certain to be GMO
Anything with chemical additives like artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Anything that is likely to have been doused in pesticides
Anything containing neurotoxins like MSG, fluoride, or aspartame (along with other artificial sweeteners)
Weigh pros and cons for your family based on your personal health concerns, ages of children, genetic traits, etc. and prioritize. Growing children are most sensitive to hormones, antibiotics and pesticides so best not to cut corners on organic dairy, neurotoxins, or the GMOs
The Lesser of the Nutritional Evils
GMO’s: Genetically modified foods have not been tested for long-term effects on humans-the general public is the test population. There is a great deal of evidence to indicate the GMOs can cause a host of illness. Peer reviewed studies implicate GMOs in the development of grotesque tumors, premature death, organ failure, gastric lesions, liver damage, kidney damage, severe allergic reactions, a viral gene that disrupts human functions and more.
Hormones and antibiotics: Livestock animals that provide meat or dairy products are tainted with growth hormones, antibiotics, and GMO feed. These items pass through the food chain to the consumer. Growth hormones can cause opposite sex characteristics in developing children, early puberty, the development of cancer, and infertility. The world is quickly becoming immune to the effects of antibiotics because of constant exposure through the food supply, which means that there is the potential for things that should be easily treated to become deadly due to antibiotic resistance.
Pesticides-The use of pesticides in conventional farming is rampant. Even the hijacked Environmental Protection Agency had to admit that the ingestion of pesticides can cause health problems. They warn of the risk of “birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time.” (Despite this warning, the EPA just RAISED the acceptable limit of glyphosate at the behest of Monsanto.) Especially at risk of harm from pesticides are prepubescent children and fetuses.
Neurotoxins-Our water supply contains chlorine which interferes with thyroid function, and fluoride, which is a neurotoxin that lowers IQs, causes infertility, has been linked to cancer and causes hardening of the arteries
Nearly every packaged food on the shelf is seasoned with MSG in one of its many names, and many lower calorie foods and diet drinks are sweetened with aspartame. Both of these are excitotoxins that cause brain cell death instantly, causing decreased IQs, headaches, depression, and seizures.
Assorted chemical cocktails-The length of the ingredients list in your food is often a direct indicator of the unhealthiness of the item. When an item contains a host of additives, colors, flavors, and preservatives, you can safely bet that most of the nutrients are gone. These highly processed food-like substances are very difficult for the body to break down so that the few remaining nutrients can be used. If you can’t picture what an ingredient looked like in its natural state, it probably isn’t something you really want to eat.
What Should You Eat When You’re Broke?
If you can’t swing organic grains, look for whole grains with few or no additives.
If you can’t afford grass-fed organic meat, at the very least look for options that are guaranteed to be hormone and antibiotic free. The USDA does not allow the use of growth hormones in pork, which makes it a slightly better option.
Hormone-free: This means something with beef but is nothing but a marketing ploy when you see it on poultry or pork, as the USDA does not allow the use of hormones with those animals. Hormone-free does not mean antibiotic-free.
Antibiotic-free: Because of poor and stressful living conditions, factory-farmed animals are very susceptible to illness. Antibiotic-free means they were not prophylactically treated with antibiotics. This does not, however, mean that the animal is hormone-free.
Grass-fed: Grass-fed cows are allowed some access to the outdoors and are not fed grains or corn. This does NOT mean they are organic, because the grass they are grazing on may have been chemically fertilized and sprayed. Unless you have actually seen them roaming around the farm, keep in mind their access to the outdoors may not be the lovely rolling pastures that you have in your mind, but a crowded corral with hundreds of other cows.
Free-range: This label doesn’t mean diddly squat. It means that the animal is allowed a minimum of an hour a day outside. This could mean that they are crammed into an open area with a billion other chickens, still, without room to move, or that their cage is put outside, leaving them still tightly confined. Like the grass-fed cows above, unless you actually see the farm with the chickens or pigs feeding freely on grass, take the label “free-range” with a grain of salt.
Fruits and vegetables
If organic produce is not an option, look for the items with the lowest pesticide loads. Fruits and vegetables that can be peeled often subject to less pesticides than thin-skinned items. If you must buy conventional, wash the produce carefully (soak in very diluted apple cider vinegar) and peel it if possible. SOME ITEMS COULD BE GMO. Resource: EWG.org
Corn – look for non GMO
Peas – sweet frozen
Conventional dairy products are loaded with hormones. Dairy cattle are given high levels of female hormones to make them produce a greater quantity of milk. This makes little boys develop female characteristics and makes little girls hit puberty at a far younger age than normal, which is the reason you see 4th graders with large breasts and hips. These hormones can also trigger obesity in both genders. Because of the public outcry, some dairies have pledged not to use rBST, the most commonly used of the growth hormones. Do your research to discover if there are any such brands available to you. (It’s interesting to note that Monsanto, the company that pushes rBST, wants the FDA to disallow dairies to put this on their labels, and that the FDA forces those who label their products rBST-free to also put the following disclaimer on the containers: “No significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST treated cows”.
Effort vs. Dollars
Build a pantry to have a stockpile of long shelf-life foods like grains/legumes. Buy one extra item each time you shop to build your stockpile.
Avoid buying packaged foods, especially prepared meals. They are a waste of money and are loaded with chemical with very little nutrient value.
Avoid restaurants – very few with nutritious foods. Money can be put in buying organic foods
Plan on at least one extra frugal meal per day. Have peanut butter and crackers, a bowl of oatmeal, or soup for one meal per day – not every meal has to be made up of protein, veggies, and grains.
Don’t give up! Do the very best you can with the resources you have available. Remember, if you can’t afford good food, you definitely can’t afford bad health – it’s even more expensive.
Use the internet wisely – do your research and create a plan to provide better options in your future. Join Facebook groups to get and share ideas. You’re not alone. Resource: www.theorganicprepper.com
Visit outlet stores. Sometimes places like Big Lots or grocery clearance centers have organic options at good prices. You might be able to pick up canned goods, cereals, and crackers at a fraction of the normal grocery store price.
Meal planning and prepping are essential. Make an appointment with yourself each week to do this so you won’t be tempted to go for convenience.
Make your own household products so that you can convert those dollars into food dollars. There are many resources on the internet. Research and have fun making DIY products – more below.
Eliminate unnecessary household products which are expensive and toxic
Grow your own herbs and produce – even in pots. Spend the money to buy organic seeds and hopefully organic soil if growing in pots
Find a community garden or local farmer and trade work for produce
Can, freeze or dry produce when in season to have in the winter months
Make your own sprouts from organic beans, like mung beans, broccoli, etc. It’s easy and inexpensive – a great way to get concentrated nutrients
Forage for freebies. There are free delicious foods just waiting for you to pick them. Dandelions, wild berries, nuts, and nutritious leaves abound. Just be very sure you know what you’re picking and that the area hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. Search Facebook or other sites to find nature walks to help identify edibles. Resource: Commonsensehome.com/herbs and wildcrafting
Resource: Findaspring.com – We have access to a free spring which has been tested for quality -buy a few large jugs and make a trip to Cross Hollow Spring at 12590 Cross Hollow Road in Rogers and get free, healthy water.
Take short showers to keep chemicals from absorbing through your skin
Avoid regular baths
Buy as much local, unprocessed dairy as you can afford from a local farmer. Cow and goat milk is available for sale in our area.
Make butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese. These are the easiest products to make.
Resource: Facebook page – Traditional Nutrition NWA for list of local farmers
Your best options, if you can’t afford organic meats, are to go for the hormone and antibiotic free options as a supplement to vegetarian protein sources like local eggs, beans, and organic dairy products.
Find a local farmer with good farming practices and ask for soup bones/carcasses. Make broth to drink, add to casserole type dishes or soups. You may even find that the farmer will give you bones when an animal is processed
Ask a local farmer for offal (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.) – not popular but the most healthy part of the animal and less expensive because they aren’t popular
Resource: Facebook page – Traditional Nutrition NWA for list of local farmers
Buy organic in bulk-store in vacuum bags or quality glass containers – they last a long time. Rinse and then soak for 24 hours in good water before cooking to release anti-nutrients.
Make the basis for many meals combined to make a complete protein instead of meat.
Cook in large batches and freeze for future convenience
White vinegar – diluted to soak produce, ½ cup for fabric softener, 1 cup in toilet for cleaner
Apple cider vinegar - small amount diluted with water for hair conditioner, deodorant
Baking soda – mix with small amount of liquid detergent to make a paste - will clean most anything (sinks, tubs, showers)
Shampoo, dish detergent, clothes stain remover, household cleaner – Dr. Bonner’s liquid soap diluted 1c per ½ gallon water.
Make your own clothes detergent, lotion, bleach substitute, furniture polish, glass cleaner