7 tips for going organic on a budget

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You’re likely are no stranger to the benefits of organic foods over conventionally grown foods -- organic foods 'aren't allowed to be cultivated with nasty pesticides, synthetic growth hormones, and GMOs. 

But perhaps the price tag of organic foods makes you wonder if it's worth it or if it’s even possible with your food budget.

There are many benefits of eating more organic food, not least lowering your exposure to hormone-disrupting toxins.  

The costs of healthcare are more astronomical now than ever, so it makes great sense to take better care of yourself through nourishing foods that don't have harmful agents in them.

Going organic can have a bit of a higher price tag, but it is worth it in the long run.  

If going all organic isn't an option, you can still take small steps to get safer food on your table.  

Here are a few tips to help you on your next grocery run: 

1. Always give your kids organic

Because kids are still in a crucial period of growing, if you have to make sacrifices in your budget for organics, then you could just buy organic for your children to start with.  Those pesticides and growth hormones can affect their growing bodies. You can start by picking up long-lasting produce that won't go bad quickly, so you aren't throwing money down the drain. So going organic is especially important for your kids.

2. Go organic on meat and dairy items 

If you do choose to eat meat & dairy, buy from farms that have an excellent reputation.  Conventionally-raised livestock is given synthetic growth hormones, and they're fed grains that contain GMOs.  If that's not upsetting enough, these animals are often kept in inhumane conditions that you'd be appalled to see. 

3. Follow the EWGs yearly Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen’ 

Want to know something really alarming? Even fruits that have peels that you don't eat can absorb the pesticides they're sprayed with. So when you thought it was fine to choose a banana that wasn't organic, think again. It's even more critical when it comes to fruits and vegetables where you do eat the skin.  Check out the EWG's yearly Clean 15 / Dirty Dozen list to see what items you should definitely be purchasing organic, and which items have the lowest amount of pesticides where you can skip the organic label. 

4. Avoid GMOs at all costs

GMO's cause a host of problems and should be avoided.  Just a few years ago, GMO's weren't as widely understood as they are today.  Because of this awakening, we are starting to see more products labelled ‘GMO-free’.

5. Switch your coffee

Love coffee? Make the switch to organic. Regular coffee is chemically-treated, and since it penetrates into the beans, you're brewing up a pesticide-laden beverage for yourself that can take a toll on your health over time.  Since coffee is typically consumed daily by coffee drinkers, it's worth the extra money to invest in organic coffee.

6. Wash all produce (both organic & non-organic)

It is also important to wash all of your produce - organic and non-organic. Here’s my produce wash recipe.  

Fruit & Veggie Bath Recipe 

Fill your sick with water.  Add 3 drops of lemon essential oil and a 1/2 cup of white vinegar.  Add produce and leave to soak for 15 mins. 

The white vinegar is effective at killing most bacteria, germs and mould due to its acidity level. 

The lemon essential oil is a good degreaser and will hep dissolve the wax and toxins that are sprayed on some fruits and vegetables that can seal in pesticides. 

7. Shop local & look for your local co-op

Consider shopping for produce at your local farmer's market where you can be sure you're getting organically-grown produce which has the added benefit of being local, too.  You can also join a co-op where everyone pitches in for fresh organic produce from local farms. 

There are options for your better health organically that don't have to cost a fortune, so check them out and find what works best for you and your family.

Your turn: Do you choose to buy organic?  Do you have a favourite produce wash recipe? 

8 Easy Swaps For These Common Ingredients

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Have you been wanting to ditch the dairy and see what changes you notice? 

Or perhaps you want to try out a new recipe without setting off a food allergy, but you're allergic to one of the main ingredients in most recipes. 

It could even be that you're just one or two ingredients short of the recipe you want to try and don't have time to run to the store. 

For all these occasions and more, it's helpful to know a few common ingredient replacements to hack into your cooking skills.

Whether your goal is to be healthier, to use what's already in your kitchen, or to avoid a food sensitivity issue, these ingredient swaps can help you be a master of ingredient disguises!

Butter 

Baking something? You can use coconut oil in a ratio of 1:1 in either soft or solid form to replace the need for butter.

Milk

If milk is called for in whatever you're baking, you can swap it for any type of nut-milk. That means almond milk or any dairy-free milk in the same amount as called for in the recipe. 

Whipped Cream

Want to top your fruit with fresh whipped cream but without the dairy? Use coconut cream instead. Just be sure that it's well chilled overnight and only use the solid parts for the whipping. It has such a fresh and light taste to it!

Going Gluten-Free

Instead of using regular flour, use a cup of gluten-free flour plus a half-teaspoon of xanthan gum. Read the labels though…some gluten-free flour varieties already have xanthan in them which means you won't need to add it. 

Eggs

Whether someone has an egg allergy or they're plant-based, you can still bake up tasty treats by replacing each egg in the recipe with 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal combined with 6 tablespoons of purified water. Make sure you mix it into a paste first before combining it with your other ingredients. You can also substitute eggs with unsweetened applesauce, to make things easier. 

Fish Sauce

Many Asian recipes call for the use of fish sauce. For those that have allergies or follow a plant-based diet, you can swap it out with either soy sauce or tamari or my fav is Braggs Aminos Sauce. Although you won't have that same umami flavour the fish sauce will bring, it will still be delicious, and you'll hardly notice the difference.

Grated Parmesan

If you need to add grated parmesan to your recipe, choose nutritional yeast. Side note: it's fabulous on air-popped popcorn, too.

Vinegar

Vinegar is one of those that can stump you in the kitchen since there are so many types, but the good news is that it's very versatile. So if you have a recipe that calls for white vinegar, but you only have apple cider vinegar, you can use what you have. The only vinegar you can't just randomly sub in or out of your recipes is balsamic vinegar because the flavour is truly unique. Thankfully, it's an ingredient that meshes well with all diets so you won't be doing anyone harm. 

With this quick list of common ingredients to swap, you'll be able to master any dish for any occasion or any dietary concern.

YOUR TURN: I want to know if your favourite swaps - what did you eliminate from your diet and what did you replace it with? Drop a comment below……