What it is Like Being ‘Organic’ *THE PROS AND CONS*
I have been organic now for just over 3 months. Admittedly not a long time. However I have learnt so much in this short time that I feel the need to share what I have learnt on this journey to any of you that are thinking of being organic or my organic pals who are already on it!
The bonus of organic food is that they are free of anything that has been genetically modified, which is great as we do not yet know the long term effects of GM food, as it is otherwise known.
On top of that you get more nutrition in terms of more vits and mins from organic produce as they have to be made in a way that gets more goodness out of them.
I have tended to buy less food and eat less overall, as I don’t snack as much as I don’t see the point. If I do snack it is to eat something healthy or organic.. and because there are not as many organic snacks available my cupboard is not full of snacks which means I ‘pig’ less often. Although I have bought less, my shopping spending has stayed relatively the same as before I was consciously buying organic food.
Even in just a few months of trying to eat as much organic food as I can, I already feel so much better for it. I don’t feel any hatred towards myself for buying lots of high sugar or high fatty foods which used to buy ans then immediately regret and ask why I just did that to myself. In that way I have found that my need to be instantly gratified by food has reduced and I am able to make more conscious decisions about what I buy, rather than my taste buds taking over my shopping basket.
More conscious of what you eat
I have found that I am looking on the back of food packaging at the ingredients a lot more. I think I do this nearly every time, unless I have checked the item before. I tend to buy less ‘rubbish’ and go for more ‘natural’ food with less preservatives, no additives, no colours, no E numbers and only natural flavouring.
If an item has lots of words I cannot understand, I don’t bother buying it. It’s as simple as that. It has made shopping a lot easier as I can put food items down a lot easier if it doesn’t meet any of my new requirements. It also means I snack less often as I do not crave any of the ‘rubbish’ I was used to before, as I have kind of weaned myself off it.
This one is related to the above, as when you know what you eat, you start to be more conscious of what you put into your body. I have found that because I am eating organically, I don’t want to ruin that by buying unhealthy food or food that has no guarantee of being free from GM food.
One of the biggest shockers for me was how easily I have found it to avoid chocolate. I now only tend to buy Organic Chocolate without milk. I tend to go for Green & Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate. The first time I ate it it was so dark in flavour that I almost didn’t enjoy it. I craved the sweetness you get from typical chocolate like Cadbury chocolate. When I got over myself and craved chocolate again, my only chocolate to fall back on was the Green & Blacks Chocolate in the cupboard. Each subsequent time I ate the Dark Chocolate it tasted much sweeter than the last and I didn’t need to eat as much to be satisfied (a line of squares). Compared to what I used to consume in one sitting (usually the whole pack of chocolate), this is a great improvement and my body is thanking me for it. Also, I do not buy chocolate as regularly now, which has benefited my purse.
Since I am more conscious of what I eat and that it is more pricey, I take great care in deciding whether to buy something organic. I tend not to buy multiple fruits for example, as I know I can only eat so many in a given week. I tend to limit myself to eating two types of fruit a week. I have also found that I make sure I use every possible part of, say an onion as I ‘feel the horrible wasting food feeling’ more when I chuck away usable produce. In this way I am not wasting as much as I used to and I also think of ways to use leftover produce for meals as I do not want to chuck them away. Before, I would buy cheap produce and would turn a blind eye to a lot of unnecessary food waste because it was so cheap I did’t feel ‘it’ when I chucked usable produce away. Now I use every morsel I can and try to get the maximum I can out of the produce I buy. I have physically seen a difference as my number of trips to the dustbin have reduced from every week to every week and a half, so it’s taking me longer to fill up mu bin.
Sense of Belonging and a Happier Self
This is to a lesser effect as I have not met many organic people. But whenever I see someone buying or considering organic food by checking it out or putting something organic into their shopping basket; I feel part of a bigger community (than just myself) with good intentions, and again, that is a brilliant uplifting feeling. I also get very happy when organic produce is on offer. I feel like it is my lucky day. It also just brings me joy to know that I am buying organic, even when on a budget as I know I am buying good quality food for myself but am doing good for the planet (the environment, animals, wildlife and organic farmers) in the process of doing something good for myself.
Neutral – Other things you will notice
- Supermarket Loyalty can sway. Just something to be aware of. I went from a predominantly Aldi shopper who now shops more at Tesco.
- mySupermarket becomes your best friend (aside from the annoying ads you get on the phone).
I’ll be honest with you there aren’t many cons. Only really one to be specific: the cost factor. Of course to produce organic food, with everything that is involved and the proportionally lower demand for them than non-organic food, the price of organic is more. Sometimes they can be as much as twice the cost of a non-organic food. However, in my case I feel that the benefits most certainly outweigh the con of a small increase in the price. I also am a savvy shopper, so will not buy Organic Produce at inflated prices, I usually wait for them to be on offer or just look for the most cost effective option. You can check out this long list of affordable organic products and the Organic food I have tried and love.
Having said all that I love to shop at Tesco Supermarkets as they often have Organic produce in the fruit and veg reduced section, usually with more than 50% taken off, making them a lot cheaper than the non-organic produce. When this happens I feel like I have hit the jackpot.. organic food for a non-organic produce. If you are ever shopping in the reduced section of Tesco you may even catch me there. Say hi when you do.. 🙂
Due to lower demand for organic produce, unfortunately not many supermarkets stock organic food and of the food they do produce there is not much variety available. The other issue is that there is not always an organic alternative available at any of the supermarkets. There is also the issue of needing to travel to different supermarkets in order to get all of the organic produce that you would want, which can be a pain at times. However, since I love food shopping, it gives me an excuse to spend more time shopping..
Reality of Disappointing Packaging
One thing that I have found it hard to come to terms to is the fact that so many organic produce is contained in unrecyclable packaging. When I notice this it breaks my heart as us ‘organics’ are trying our best to do our best for the environment by buying organic in the first place, but our efforts seem almost wiped out given that by buying some organic produce we are adding to the amount of landfill. In an ideal world all organic produce would be contained in recyclable material and it is out there. Sometimes for supermarkets and brands the profit blinds them and they forget the reasons behind many of us become organic in the first place. In this way I feel that they are making a fundamental error in judgement by being ignorant to their customers thought-process and buying decisions, which can lead to them losing customers. As an example, I would much prefer to pay more for organic produce that is contained in recyclable packaging that costs more than to buy organic produce packaged in non-recyclable packaging that costs less (within reason). Unfortunately, whenever I have seeked an alternative brand that does have recycable packaging when the one I wanted did not, I find that the other brands package the food in the same unrecyclable way.
Lack of knowledge of others
People just don’t get it. They can think we are hippies. Whats so bad about thay eyy? If someone inquisitive does ask anything, they ask if it tastes better. Usually the answer to this is yes, but the difference is sometimes not much. Sometimes it is not always about the taste; it is about how the food is produced, the nutrient content and the appearance of the produce. In that way it is the principle behind organic food that influences me to buy. I have found organic produce to be much more vibrant in colour (such as egg yolks), they contain better nutritional value and generally they make me feel better after eating them (knowing I am eating organic, and not food that is made with ‘rubbish’ is a great feeling). You have to be ready for a potential debate with someone if they ask you about your organic buys.. and you have to resist the urge to be over-persuasive with getting them to adopt organic where possible.
My (Biased) Conclusion
I have been trying organic food now for a few months, and whilst that is not a long time, so much good has come out of me becoming organic (where possible).
Let me know if any of these tips have helped to lower your insurance premium. I hope they do!