Eating Organic on a Budget
- 6 Months ago
Organic food has gained a lot of popularity in recent years accompanied by the sprouting of supermarkets and shops that specialize in selling this food. Although the younger generation seems to be well informed on the health and environmental benefits of eating organic, one major concern that still remains is that they don’t come cheap. In fact, the cost is the only downside of eating organic food, one that prevents most people from making it a lifestyle choice. The end result involves consumption of an unpleasant mix of non-organic and organic foods, a 70/30 ratio that doesn’t really help the body as much.
Pesticide-ridden, genetically modified non-organic foods deliver harmful neurotoxins that are damaging to the brain and nerve cells. They cause intestinal damage, allergies, liver and pancreatic problems, and are linked with cancer as well. And, they don’t just stop with your body; they affect the environment as well. Organics, on the upside, do not deliver such harmful results. They are more nutritious and contain higher levels of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and chromium. What’s more, they are cultivated free of pesticides and fertilizers and are environment friendly.
So what are the ways to make organic food more affordable? For that, we need to understand the concept of organic foods. Unlike what most people believe, organics is not restricted to vegetables alone. It extends to grains, lentils, flour, eggs, meat, and processed foods as well. Now, that would seem huge to anyone! Organic veggies alone are not affordable at times. Imagine adding other organics to them! Seems impossible right? Well, not really. There are ways to inverse that 70/ 30 ratio without burning a hole through your wallet.
Practice Portion Control: This works well in India, because our typical meal comprises of rotis/ rice with gravy/ vegetables. In this case, it may not be possible for everyone to acquire organic flour or rice. Organic vegetables are easier to obtain. Therefore, make them your priority. Try to cultivate the practice of eating less rice/ rotis and more veggies. Make your children practice the same. Eating this way also ensures lower calorie consumption.
Do It Yourself: Make your own organic food at home. Refrain from buying store bought jams, chips, juices, and yogurt. Instead, juice your organic fruits and make jam out of the pulp. Sun-dry your organic veggies for chips before baking or frying them and replace store-bought ice cream with healthy, homemade frozen yogurt.
Buy Wholesale: Bazaars and local markets, especially those located on the outskirts have people selling fresh produce, meat, and grains year round. Most of the vegetables are homegrown, chickens and goats are farm-bred, and the grains and rice are supplied directly from farms. They are also fairly cheap when purchased in large quantities. You can buy vegetables and meat and freeze them in portions for later use. Grains can also be bought wholesale and ground to make flour or rice can be stored in air tight containers for a few months.
Build a Home Garden: Most of the herbs used in every day cooking can be grown in small spaces such as a terrace or a balcony. Coriander, Mint, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Wheatgrass, and Green Onions can be regrown from the left over stems and seeds that are usually discarded after cooking. Cherry tomatoes and curry leaves can be homegrown as well. For better results, you can add manure, tea extract sans the sugar (wash them thoroughly before emptying them into your pots), and even discarded egg yolks!
Recycle, replant, and re-grow. Make this your mantra.