Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Changes

I apologize for my recent lack of posts on the blog. January and the early part of February have been full of research and change in our little household. In food issues, genetically modified/genetically engineered (GMO or GE) foods took a forefront with the recent deregulation of GE alfalfa. I've been doing a lot of reading on how these modifications are made, the potential risks to our environment and ourselves, and how to avoid GMO ingredients when labeling is not required. We have chosen to avoid these altered foods as much as possible, and I encourage everyone to take some time to read up on the facts and make an informed decision for yourself and your family. For those of you that are interested in this subject, there is a wealth of information available on the web.  I wont try to list every source, but is one place to start. They explain much about GMO/GE, and offer a shopping guide to help avoid genetically engineered food. The prime points are:

Buy organic (these items cannot legally include GMO ingredients)
Look for labels that clearly state that the given item does not contain GMO or GE ingredients.
If you are buying something that is not organic or certified non-GMO/GE watch for ingredients likely to be GMO (corn,  soybean, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, and some zucchini or yellow squash).

In our case, we buy very little that is processed, so we have decided to push harder to make our staples as close 100% organic as possible. While much of what we have been eating is organic, I admit that the cost of organic flour and organic cheese made me cringe, since they can easily runs twice as much as non-organic. Still, considering the benefits we have seen thus far, it seems prudent to further our efforts to eat entirely organic.

Since we are still trying to keep costs down, I have been looking for ways to save money when buying organic (after all, if we free up some of the food budget, I can buy more organic mozzarella) . I frequently check out the coupon section of the  websites for the organic stores that we shop at, and I have signed up for a few newsletters that are supposed to send out coupons for organic food. Once I have a chance to see how they work, I'll post more information for you. I found this site: and discovered that I could enter "organic" on her coupon database page search to come up with quite a few coupons. I also shop in the bulk section of our local Whole Foods for big savings on organic brown rice, beans, raw almonds, sugar, etc.

Our co-op* (Nature's Garden Delivered) saves us quite a bit on our fruits and vegetables, and we rarely buy additional produce at the store. I was recently asked how I found them. I actually Google'd ‘local Georgia co-ops', or something to that effect and stumbled onto them. We don't live in the delivery area, but Dear Hubby's work is in that zone, so he just brings home the box that they deliver to his office. We are also lucky to have such a progressive cooperative, as they allow us to set preferences, send us an email every Saturday to remind us to log on to check details of the coming week's goodies (and they also have many additional items that we can order a la carte, including dairy, tea and coffee). We can then make up to three changes, cancel an order or set up a vacation stop, and they have great customer service. I recommend that you thoroughly read up on the ins and outs of any service before you sign up, and I hope you fare as well as we have.

This was one of our weekly "tiny" deliveries.

I recently looked at what we were spending on food in a given month, and when I divided that figure by the number of meals that we eat, it came out to a cost of approximately $3 per meal per person. Granted, these new changes may increase that a bit, but still, I was shocked that we were paying so little. It sometimes seemed to me that the cost at the store was high, but I realized that was because we were paying for so much at one time. I also realized that when we used to eat fast-food, we usually paid as much or more, and had no idea what we were really eating. I don't stress quite as much when we go to the store now, and I will still be looking for ways to bring home more food for less cost, but Hubby and I agree that we can choose to pay the grocer now or pay the doctor later.
* Incidentally, I have never been compensated in any way for mentioning our co-op on my blog. I sincerely love the convenience, quality and service that we have experienced since we signed up for their service.

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