Hippocrates said it best, “Let Food Be Thy Medicine, and Medicine Be Thy Food.” How can you translate this ancient wisdom into success in a more expensive modern world? These 7 best ways to eat organic on a budget will allow you to add more organic foods into your diet, and help you get the most bang for your buck!Buy clean food.Buying organic meat, dairy, and eggs, and produce will reduce the chance of ingesting the pesticides and herbicides commonly used in conventional farming.  If you’re on a tight budget, at least go organic with foods found on the  “dirty dozen” list. They have the highest levels of residual chemicals when grown non-organically.  Keep in mind, though, that if it isn’t organic, there’s no way of knowing whether or not it is GMO, since labeling isn’t required.

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Snap peas (imported)
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet bell peppers

Plus these, which may contain organophosphate insecticides, which Environmental Working Group characterizes as “highly toxic” and of special concern:

  • Hot peppers
  • Blueberries

Cook at home.

If you make your own meals, you will be less likely to buy unhealthy food products as you begin to try new foods and expand your horizons. You’ll also save money compared to eating out, where there is really no guarantee that the restaurant food is organic or GMO-free.

Buy sustainably grown food.

If you visit farmer’s markets or local farms, you know where your food is coming from. Some farms use organic techniques, but can’t afford the organic certification. Timing your visit on market day can help save  a few dollars on organics. Farmers and growers are often more inclined to offer bargains near closing time. When it comes to packaged foods, ask where the ingredients are sourced, and if they are certified organic or grown without pesticides and herbicides.

Eat seasonal.

Buying fresh food that is out of season where you live often means that it is grown and shipped by another country. You can expect to pay more to cover the shipping costs. Stock up while food is available, and you can store it for months with preservation techniques such as canning, jarring, or freezing. Lacto-fermentation is an excellent way to preserve fresh produce while providing the healing qualities of probiotics to your digestive system.

Use bulk purchasing.

Many beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds can be kept in cold storage for a long time, especially in glass containers. Quinoa is one example of a healthy, high protein grain that will stay fresh for months. If you prefer, however, to “put meat on the table”, consider whole-animal purchasing, which will save you hundreds of dollars compared to the high-price per pound generally found on individual one pound packages. If the cost is too high up front for your family budget, consider sharing the purchase with family and friends.

Grow a garden.

This can be a cost-effective form of organic food production with high return on investment. For the cost of seeds and soil, and some weekend work, you’ll reap the rewards right at your door throughout your growing season In addition to saving money, you’ll gain a greater appreciation for nature and the food that you eat.

Eat less animal protein.

Contrary to what the American lifestyle has led us to believe, daily consumption of meat can be detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. You can get plenty of proteins and essential fats from plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans. Try sprouted seeds for a live nutrient-packed treat that will give you real energy for hours.

Although others around you may be experiencing illness, you can continue to gain strength and light up as a beacon of hope for everyone to see. With serious intentional living, you begin to feel the healthy benefits of eating organic. If a product is labeled “Organic”, you take important steps to decreasing your exposure to harmful food ingredients.

Image: doublebug via flickr