Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Down the "Organic" Trail....

So, as I bumble along the trail on the "quest" to consume more organics in our family's diet, I found a CSA in our area!  This is very exciting!  I have read alot about CSAs on a few message boards for organic living as well as other health-related articles here and there.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

One the hardest things about going organic is finding organic groceries.  Because currently every grocery store in my area may have a few organic items, but not all.  So this is what happens in my reality :  to find all ingredients for an organic dinner, I have to stop at one store to get the organic meat, another store for the veggies, another store for the onion that the other store didnt have, etc.  What ends up happening is I run all over the city buying an item here or there and probably waste a TON of gas AND give myself a headache for all the frustration.  Enter the CSA.  CSA's promise to help with this by pulling produce and products from local farms in the area and procuring and sorting and delivering to your door in one shot.  Sounds great.  Its just a little pricey.  But then again - If I counted up all the gas and the time I wasted running all around town to find these items - maybe the price isn't so bad after all.

So a few weeks ago i tried the CSA and signed up to receive a local box.  Not bad.  I just expected the box to be full to the brim, I guess and there was only enough in the box to cover the bottom of the bin.  :(
See my picture of the local box below:

So I was a little depressed by that.  But I may still give it another go.  Its a great concept, really.  And if you can use all the items in the box, how can you go wrong?  Will keep you posted on my next Greenling delivery....  :)

*If you would like to give Greenling a try - you can find the link to their site in my list of Noted Websites.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oh, the changes a baby brings! :)

I think the first of the changes I implemented was for Ruthie's diet when she began to eat solids.  Some of my friends, with babies, had talked about saving money by making their own baby food for their kiddos and the thought had crossed my mind to try it but I thought it probably would be more trouble than it was worth. Well, one of those friends let me borrow a book called, Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel.  (Thank You Katie!) And I thought, "Hey what the heck, I'll try one of these."  IT WAS WAY EASY.  Ridiculously easy.  steam the food, puree, put in a freezer tray, pop out of tray next morning and put in big Ziploc and keep in freezer till needed.  EASY.  and when you fix the food - grab a cube out of freezer - put in microwave for 20 sec and "Wha-La!"  instant baby food.  this was highly empowering to me - and it felt great  to know we were saving some serious money by doing this.  It was also great to know EXACTLY what i was feeding my baby and allowed me to go a step further by choosing organic fruits and vegetables to make her baby food with.

At this point i was really not concerned at all with what me and papa were eating (whether it was organic, natural, etc) or not.  Its all about Miss Ruthie at this point.

So my obsession with Ruthie eating organic began with fruits and vegetables, and as we added more new foods to her diet, I tried to find organic versions of those to feed her as well.  So at this point in time, Ruthie has eaten most of her solid diet from organic food.  probably 85-90%.  why not 100%?  well, some things are REALLY hard to come by in organic.  Like meat - and when you do come across it - ground beef for $7.99/lb.....its really difficult to fit that into our budget right now.  BUT I did find an alternative for that and that was the prepackaged baby food brand of SPROUT that started showing up on our HEB's shelves.  All organic and Ruthie loves all the different varieties.  And we've introduced her to alot of flavors this way of things we don't even normally eat - so hopefully she won't be as picky of eaters as we are.  ;)

At some point, I did wonder about the formula that she was consuming - (Kirkland's Signature from Costco) and what was in it.  But after doing some research and visiting several different grocery stores LOOKING for an organic alternative - I really didn't find much and what I did find would have been too expensive to change to.  So I decided to just "stick it out" on the formula and when the time came to transition to cow's milk - Ruthie would be drinking organic milk.  And so, that's where we are now.  Ruthie has been drinking a glass of organic cow's milk everyday for the past few days.  And after she's been doing that for a couple weeks we will slowly begin to wean her from the formula.

She loves yogurt so we feed her alot of the YO BABYorganic  yogurt made by Stonyfield Farms.  Its made from whole milk also.  And its some pretty darn tasty stuff - I can understand why she loves it!  :)  We've found organic versions of most of the Gerber snacks on the shelves, like yogurt bites and puffs and they all taste good and Ruthie likes them all just fine.

And because she is beginning to eat a little of what we are eating now, we are (ever so slowly) transitioning some of the foods we eat into organic versions.  For example, eggs.  We eat scrambled eggs on Saturday mornings - especially lately and Ruthie likes them a lot.  and they give her an opportunity to feed herself so we let her go wild with them.  We have found that the organic eggs taste better to us as well.  So, its a little more expensive for the organic eggs, but we feel we are making up for it in taste and a healthier value for our  bodies.  :)  We've also tried some organic pasta - pretty good - can't really tell a difference in taste.  Slowly, we are adding more and more items to our pantry shelves that are organic.  Now sometimes, there's just not any organic options out there - and in those cases, we buy what we always have in the past.  But we are always on the lookout for an organic option.  I will say that for some produce - with very thick peels, you can probably get away with consuming the conventional version.  There's a list floating around of the "Dirty Dozen"* on the internet.  If you're going to only do a few foods organic - these are ones that you would benefit the most from (the theory is that pesticides and such are stored and applied to the skin of the produce - most of the dirty dozen are produce that you would consume the skin)  So, you'd probably want to purchase organic fresh blueberries, but wouldn't need to worry about spending the extra on organic bananas unless you intend to eat the peel.  :)

*A link to the Dirty Dozen is included on my list of Noted Websites.

I know I'm not the only person out there that is interested in consuming more foods from organic sources.  Over the past few months, I have seen more and more organic items on the grocery shelves.  That's good - because every dollar you spend is like a vote.  Its telling the grocery chain what you want to continue to see on their shelves.  I remember my dad always saying that Money talks.  And that it always said, "Bye, bye", or you could read that as "Buy, Buy".  Money is definitely talking for us all in this situation.  :)  Guess Dad was right!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Where it all started...

I guess this all got started with a few random comments and conversations with friends a few years ago.  And some of those comments were "Do you really know what is in the food you eat?" or "What is in that lotion that you use on your body everyday?".  Frankly, I never gave these things a second thought - UNTIL I was pregnant with my first child.  There's something about being pregnant that changes your perspective on life - especially as you get closer to delivering.  Maybe its all those hormones!  Ha!

Well after that baby arrived - I began doing a little research, kinda for fun, kinda out of curiosity to see if I really could find some answers to these questions that have been looming and growing in the back of my mind, kind of like little pearls in an oyster.  I came across the Environmental Working Group's website for their cosmetic database and typed in a few of my lotions and wasn't really happy with what I read about the ingredients in those products.  And so my "quest" so to speak to live healthier had begun.  I've been slowly using up all my current toiletries and related items and replacing them with products that are made from more natural and organic ingredients.  It has definitely made me feel better about myself and my body.  But I really went an extra step with our baby, by trying to use organic products, food, etc on her as much as I can.

In this transition, I thought it would be hard, but really it has simplified my life somewhat - I don't use but a few products on my face and body anymore and I find that my skin is clearer and I feel just as good about using them as I did using the old favorites.  (Because yes, there is something therapeutic about lathering up with a fabulous scented soap in the shower - Its one of my guilty pleasures) :)

And so my monologue begins......

Thursday, September 22, 2011