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How to eat healthy on a budget

June 28, 2013 by Sayan


"I want to eat healthy but it's too expensive!"

"I have to eat organic all the time, don't I? I can't afford that!"


I hear these 2 cost-related issues far too often as an excuse to put off a diet.

But fear NOT. The truth is, eating healthy can be pretty cheap if you follow 2 simple rules:

1) Eat real, single-ingredient foods 90% of the time. Cut out the expensive snacks here and there. Focus your diet around meats/fish, veggies, and fruits, plus gluten-free grains if you're somewhat lean and strength-training.

2) Read this post and learn what you should buy organic, and what you can get away with buying "conventional".

How To Choose High Quality Meat/Fish

1) Wild-caught and grass-fed are the most important qualifications

ORGANIC by itself doesn’t count! Animals can be eating organic corn and soy, which does nothing for their health (and ultimately ours)

- For thousands of years, the natural diets for cattle and wild game, included grass, green and leafy plants, herbs, shrubs and more

- For wild chicken and other fowl, their diets include grass, seeds, fruits, insects, and pretty much whatever they could peck at in the wild. How exciting!

- The story is much different now. Cattle, game, and fowl are more often than not force-fed with corn, soy and other foods (likely genetically modified at that) that their digestive and immune systems can’t handle. On top of that, they are stuffed into dark, tight quarters with no room to move around or take in sunlight to create Vitamin D, and overall a healthier nutritional profile.

This is not to mention that they may be eating other animal parts, as has been seeing in many CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).

The solution?

Beef: Buy GRASS-FED (very important); if not grass-fed, buy organic

Chicken/Turkey/Other Fowl: Check out local farms for pasture-raised, organically-fed chicken, turkey, duck, etc (look for meat that is NOT fed soy)

Fish: Buy wild caught (farm raised might sound good, but think about, since when are fish found anywhere remotely near a farm??)

The good thing is that Organic feed cannot be GMO by law, so even if corn or soy is in the feed, at least it won't be a completely fake food!

Best part?These naturally raised foods are tremendously higher in vitamins, minerals, lower in cholesterol, lower in Omega 6 fats and higher in Omega 3 fats, and devoid of hormones and antibiotics. Sign me up!

How To Choose High Quality Eggs

Buy organically-fed eggs from pasture-raised chickens (the best option)

1) This means the chickens get proper exercise, sunlight for Vitamin D, natural protein from insects, grubs, etc, and in addition organically-grown chicken feed

2) 2nd best - locally raised, non-organically fed chickens. As long as they are getting adequate exercise and sunlight they are better off than the rest (and better for your body)

3) 3rd best - Store bought, organically-raised eggs. (with Omega 3’s for added benefit)

4) 4th best – Eggs from chicken fed an Omega-3 enhanced diet

Note - If dealing with local farmers, make sure the feed does not include soy which is terrible for us and of course not part of a chicken’s natural diet.

How To Choose Organic Vegetables and Fruit

The vast majority of conventionally raised crops are sprayed with herbicides, insecticides and who knows what else.

1. Pesticides and chemicals have various effects that most of us don’t even realize

2. Fungicides used on crops have been shown to increase insulin resistance, thereby setting us up for chronic disease.

3. Pesticides act on brian chemicals closely related to ADHD development. In one study a tenfold increase in urinary organophosphate content in children 8 to 15 years old directly correlated with a 55 to 72% increased prevalence of ADHD.

4. Organophosphates, while essential in some instances for humans, are highly toxic via the herbicides and insecticides they are used in. Even at very low levels, they are hazardous to human health. Studies have pointed to an increased Alzheimer’s risk, and brain and nervous system damage even at low levels. The EPA banned residential use of organophospahtes in 2001, but agricultural use is still widespread. Herbicides/insecticides containing them have been sprayed on: apples, walnuts, almonds, peaches, blueberries, celery, and broccoli….to say the least!

5. What about washing and peeling? Well, washing veggies/fruits can reduce some of the pesticides, but definitely will not reduce all. And with peeling, you will still be unable to remove all the pesticides and you’ll lose the vital nutrients that are in the skin.

Choosing Vegetables/Fruit Part 1

My rule of thumb is, if we eat the skin, BUY ORGANIC

Bananas – Organic NOT necessary

Apples – Organic NECESSARY

Peaches – Organic NECESSARY

Celery – Organic NECESSARY

Mangoes ­– Organic NOT necessary

You get the idea. Do the quick “skin or no skin"