Friday, March 20, 2009

It's What You Put In, not On

Yesterday I made my monthly trek to Trader Joes. As I made my selections it did occur to me that some of the food I was choosing cost significantly more than a similar version in the grocery store. But the food I selected was pesticide free, hormone free, additive free, preservative free, and in many cases certified organic. Organic food costs more. I won’t tell you any different. I will extol all the ways you can spend less through your own efforts, resourcefulness, gardens, and preserving, but the bottom line is it may cost you more, especially in the beginning. This should not be a deterrent because this is life or death we’re talking about. Feeding your family healthy food will protect them for a lifetime. There is no cost too high for avoiding things like cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes. And you’ll never know if you dodged these bullets because you ate and lived well or because you are lucky. Science has yet to connect all the dots, but we cannot afford to wait. Trust your instincts and common sense. And eat things that you recognize. Best not to take chances on your health.

So how do we afford it? Well, maybe we need to take a long hard look at the budget and figure out how to save in other areas. When I confessed to my mother-in-law that I was shopping at Goodwill these days (and that’s a whole other post – have you been there lately? As my son would say “It’s the bomb.”), she said that makes perfect sense to her. She pointed out that you should care about and spend more on the things you put in your body than on your body. Amen.

Choosing to live a healthier, more planet conscious life will cost more in some ways and less in others. You can save money by making and growing much of your own food and by cleaning with simple inexpensive products. But there will be some things that cost a premium. It's a balance you have to find for your own budget and your own life. If may be "cheaper" for you to pay the high cost of an organic item versus make it yourself. Your time is worth money too. As the world has finally begun to get onboard, I truly believe the cost of organics will go down as the options increase.

We find ways to afford the things that are really important to us. It comes down to priorities, and maybe a little creative bookkeeping. So I shop at Goodwill, swap books with friends or use the library, and wait for movies to hit the $2 movie house. Meanwhile, my family eats grass fed, organic filet mignon, local hormone free milk, and organic pesticide free strawberries. Seems like a fair trade to me.

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