Its been about 3 months now that we have been eating an organic diet (99% anyway), made up predominately of plants, eggs, a little dairy, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes.
When I began trialing organic I expected that there would be an increase in costs, I expected that we would not be able to get everything that we would normally eat and I expected that our eating habits would alter... well yes and no is the answer and here are the results...
Costs have not gone up, we actually spend the same -- in the 3 months the biggest weekly spend has been $180, and lowest $100, we generally average $120 - $140, this is dependent on cleaning products and pantry restocking items (nuts, seeds and goji berries are expensive!). So upon closer inspection how have the costs not increased our overall spend...? Firstly the impulse buys aka "Its on sale", "Oh that looks nice", "I haven't seen these before" type purchases, don't happen. I buy what I need. (NOTE: for those interested, the cheese, rice milk, yogurt, coconut water and bread costs about an additional $50-$70 per week)
Secondly I have found the time - somewhere - to make more things myself and this ties into my other project -- aiming for zero waste. I bake 2-3 times a week now, I didn't think I had time to do this, but I do, I find the time because its important to me. So, night times, Sunday afternoons or even before school in the morning I'll throw something together. This cuts out all packaged lunch time items that I may have purchased - crackers, muesli bars, corn cakes etc are now replaced with homemade crackers, cookies, muffins and muesli bars.
We haven't been able to get everything we normally would, initially this thought concerned me -- the kids HAVE to have berries right!!! But now they eat Kiwi's and Oranges instead, or whatever the store has in stock for that matter, and they haven't complained yet! This experiment has shown me what it is to eat seasonally, whatever is available fruit wise, we buy. Plus we have cooked with different vegetables that we may have otherwise overlooked.
I really enjoy this, eating seasonally develops a synchronicity in terms of the natural rhythms and cycles that fluctuate within our bodies throughout a year with the foods available. We now experiment more with foods, I have found the *art* of typing the ingredients I have on hand into google and seeing what recipes pop up... and its a strategy that hasn't failed me yet!
The most noticeable difference is that our fridge and pantry looks different now, its starker, but not in a deprivation type way, in a way that everything I bring home, we eat. There is so much less waste. Nothing, so far, has been allowed to spoil, after all when you have paid organic prices, avoiding food wastage becomes much more of a priority! Plus its a part of that 'impulse' buying I mentioned, how many times did I purchase food thinking I would do something with it, and I didn't, or when I went to, it was too late and the food was spoiled.
At the end of the week our fridge is empty. Of course the door has jars of pickles, sauerkraut or mustard etc. But the fridge section is bare. Its all gone. Then I shop and fill it up again. Ah wonderful.
Part of the zero waste project - of which this and that are not mutually exclusive - is that I am more mindful of my purchases, I am more aware of my options. I make new choices. Our cheeses come from a deli, they go straight into my own container, our vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds come from the organic store, all package free into my own linen bags or straight into a big box. Packaged items are recycled, and so far I've found an alternative for anything and everything that was purchased previously in packaging unable to be recycled. There will be a blog post on that another time!!!
I still need to go to the main grocery store for a few items - we drink rice milk but the mark up in the organic store it is more than what it is at Woolies, I also purchase yogurt (one large tub a week) and coconut water from woolies and bread comes straight from the bakery,
And so our little family of four has moved to organic indefinitely and it wasn't nearly as hard as what I thought it would be, funny that!
Love, J x