A Grocery Debate

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'd like to have one, that is.

Mr. A and I are always amazed to hear about someone we know in real life who's having trouble conceiving. He is convinced (I'm almost there) that there are definitely more people nowadays that deal with infertility than the days of yore. (What is a yore? misfit, I'm sure you will tell me!) I'm not sure if it was just way more taboo in the past (which is saying something, considering it is still taboo), or if there are literally more people affected today.

Our fuzzy conclusion is that it has to have something to do with the way we (in general, as a culture) eat. Unlike the olden days when the milk on the table came straight from the barn, the normal milk everyone reaches for possibly contains hormones. And so forth, when it comes to all kinds of poultry/meat/dairy and the processed dinners or treats in a box or bag. And, when an infertile gal's hormones are already out of whack, the last thing she needs is some added ones here and there, or random unnatural ingredients or preservatives.

(Let's pause for a moment for me to identify a couple holes in our theory. Number one, I'm pretty sure cra.ck ad.dicts are not making sure to eat their recommended doses of fruits and veggies each day (not to mention aiming to eat organic fruits and veggies!), and yet they manage to have as many kids as they want. Number two, I am a from-scratch cooker anyway- I can't remember the last time our dinner came from a box or freezer bag. But I think the quality of ingredients could be higher in what I make.)

But anyway, so we have decided to go as "whole" as possible. Organic milk/cheese/produce/pasta/snacks, and local-Menn.onite farm fresh (i.e. no hormones/meds) poultry/meat/eggs, and even switching to organic/natural cle.aning things and sham.poo and soa.p and stuff (have you heard that paraben.s are bad?). And, there is definitely a price difference. Minimally noticeable with the milk/cheese/produce, but at least a dollar a pound more when it comes to the farm things. (Which, I might add, why is organic more? They use LESS stuff to grow whatever it is they're growing, so shouldn't it be cheaper?)

As my long-time readers know, we follow Dav.e R.amsey's budget plan of a set cash-only budget for monthly expenses, like groceries. So, while I consider myself to be a careful keeper of the grocery budget (not once in our 2.5 years of doing it that way have we had to eat saltines and water for dinner on the 30th of a month!), especially when I pull away from the farmhouse, I am noticing a little less cash in the envelope. In addition, there are way less coupons for organic things, and pretty much no coupons for produce. My farm doesn't have buy one get one free on roasts, etc. (Although they did have $2 off per chicken last week!)

So, the debate I'd like to have is this:

Is it worth it to you to eat more "who.le" foods, if they cost more? Have you considered eating more naturally/organically but decided against it because of cost or the lack of evidence that it makes a difference (especially with regard to infertility)?

We feel really good about trying to eat/live this way, and if we have to be even more protective of our grocery dollars, for now I think we'll be doing just that!


Anonymous said...

My husband and I have done one of Dave Ramsey's programs. It was interesting. I don't think I would ever go organic and switch over all my cleaning products. however, I would like to eat more fresh stuff instead of prepared and out of the box stuff.

Josey said...

Certain things I think are more important to eat natural - meats, produce that you eat the skin of, etc. However, I refuse to pay double for things like organic avocados when I don't eat the skin.

I also hate the word organic. It's a government term and there are always loopholes. Organic Grass-fed beef is often no better that "regular" beef b/c the ranchers can fatten them up with feed/corn/etc. at the end to up their profits. Grass-FINISHED beef is fed healthy natural grasses their entire lives.

I guess my point it, do your research, ask questions at your local farmers market, etc.


The Martins said...

YES, it's so important to spend the extra $$ for organic and non-processed b/c then guess where you don't spend it....the doc's office! Other than my RE visits, I haven't been to the doc in two years for any illness since we went organic and whole. You can save by buying organic compost and soil and doing your own garden which I already know you are good at. Also, I know places like Whole Foods do double savings on Wednesdays and see if you can find a local coop to buy into. There are ways to save on organic...but it's a little more out of the pocketbook. It will pay BIG though. It's changed my life. I've seen people come off blood pressure meds and insulin for diabetes by changing the way they eat. Walmart is carrying organic now! Also, to agree with Josey, there are some foods that you don't need to buy organic. Type in the "dirty dozen" on G.oogle and you'll see the ones you must get organic. Also, I highly recommend renting Food Inc., it will change the way you think about our regulations on the food industry. I update our blog a lot with healthy, cheap recipes. We also cut dairy and refined sugar because it's too acidic for the body. Those can be big money guzzlers.

Anonymous said...

That is the way we eat - whole foods, not stuff from boxes, or with ingredients we don't recognize. About 90% of the meat and dairy we eat comes from an Amish farmer and is all from animals that are pastured. I've also cut out ALL cleaning and beauty products that contain harsh chemicals - I basically use white vinegar and lemon around the house (and baking soda) as well as natural hair/makeup products. Those are all way cheaper than the regular stuff. The food gets pricier, but I find that the better food we eat, the less we need. Nutrient-dense food satiates you more - it does matter how food is raised, what the animals are fed, and what quality of soil the veggies are grown in. You can definitely taste the difference! My Hubby will never go back to store-bought eggs :).

Food is the one thing we've never skimped on, even when we were poor and in the Army. It's always been where we spent the majority of our budget (until we bought a house of course).

Changing my diet has made such a huge difference in my health - it started with trying to control endo, and lead to me discovering my celiac disease. So, I'm very passionate about eating well. If you ever need scientific backup for the way you eat, check out westonaprice.org :).

Oh, and when you DO become pregnant, eating well can ensure the future health of your children! Increase their IQ's, decrease their likelihood of developing asthma, allergies, ADHD, autism, you name it!

And I'll end there, before I run out of space in the comment box :).

AL said...

When we were going through treatments, I bought everything possible organic. I've backed off a bit, but I try whenever possible veggies specifically on the veggies that you eat the skin of or doesn't have a thick skin.

I think it's worth the extra cost, I've just been lax about it lately :-/

Anonymous said...

We've tried to eat more natural or organic foods for the exact same reasons and there is a little bit of a price difference with some things but a noticeable price difference with others. For instance, organic or all-natural chicken isn't much more than regular chicken where we shop. But produce? WAY more expensive in some cases. Organic milk is at least $2 more a gallon, too. We do what we can, when we can. Eventually I'd love to be able to eat completely organic, but until our paychecks expand, it's just not possible.

Trisha said...

I think you have to be really careful especially when shopping at chain grocery stores that claim things to be "organic." While I'm not an "organic hater", there are some things that I'm just not going to pay that much money for. Yes I agree that the hormones in foods are awful these days, and make some of my middle school students look like they're in their 20s.

We buy fresh vegetables in the summer that haven't been sprayed with pesticides etc and then I freeze them. Buying in bulk helps to save.

There are organic coupons out there, you just have to watch for them. I love Dave R! We follow that same plan! Good luck in your switch!

One Who Understands said...

I totally get the wanting to go 100% organic. We tried this years ago when I read a book saying it would help us get pg. I don't think it makes that much of a difference, but if you feel healthier and feel like you are doing what you can to improve your chance then you should. I think fruits and veggies that are not peeled are the most important things to buy organic. Good luck girl!

PS Loved the comment about crack addicts. Yep, pretty sure they are not eating organic. HAHAHA!

Praying for Hope said...

I'd love to eat more organic foods, but I tend not to buy them due to the price. I know in some types of food, going organic makes a bigger difference than not. In the meantime, I mainly eat the non-organic foods and hope for the best. Eating whole foods is always a good idea since the processed stuff is generally missing some vital nutrient or vitamin or whatever.

Coco said...

Oh I think I'm going to make myself wildly unpopular with my opinion. :) So, in general, I think that being healthy is good, and using the smallest amount of pesticides, hormones, preservatives, etc is definitely the way to go. BUT we have a huge issue with the organic craze that is sweeping the nation lately. In fact, if I buy something that says "organic" on it, I'd better be prepared to justify why it was so much cheaper than the regular version. The reason for this is that my husband is going for his PhD in Biotechnology. Part of his field of study includes ways to improve by science the quality of food that we eat, but once genes are spliced then it is no longer considered organic. In fact, one person in his field has engineered a potato plant that is very drought resistant, yields abundantly, and has higher nutrients.... in short a potato plant that would do well in drought plagued Africa. There was even a pilot program to plant them there. The villagers involved were able to grow enough to eat and have much left to SELL, thus improving everything. It could, in effect, solve world hunger. But because it is not "organic" it can't get funding or support. Being organic doesn't mean much on a label either. The actual standards to qualify as organic would shock you.... and probably really piss you off if you're paying that much more for it. But I guess buying from a farm is at least "safer" for truly organic produce than just grocery store labels. I guess I would say that watching what you eat is always good, just be sure you know what you're really paying for. And, above all, I'd rather grow it myself in my own garden, and can it or freeze for year round use. Much cheaper and safer, and I always know what I did to the veggies that I grew in my backyard.

Melissa said...

I'm with Josey; we buy natural when it comes to meats, produce...but anything that I have to remove myself (just saw an ad for organic bananas) No, I just steer clear.

It's hard though trying to buy groceries on a budget but notice, eating fresh foods makes me feel better physically.

Jane said...

I absolutely have to weigh in here because this is something that I am extremely passionate about: not organic food specifically (I don't believe food should be political, yet the term "organic" can sometimes be polarizing), but eating what I call "naturally nutritious" food. The more natural the better (i.e. the food has never seen the inside of a factory, is not fertilized with chemicals, etc.), and the more nutritious the better (i.e. more fruits and vegetables than meat or grains). I absolutely live by what I learned from reading the book "Real Food: What to Eat and Why" by Nina Planck. She outlines all the reasons why things like lowfat dairy products are actually less healthy than full fat, why sea salt is better than regular salt, why grassfed and pastured is better than grain fed, etc.

So, yes, spending your food dollars on "real food" is definitely worth it! We are what we eat, right?

Hillary said...

Have you considered eating more naturally/organically but decided against it because of cost or the lack of evidence that it makes a difference (especially with regard to infertility)?

Plain and simple: yes. My DH doesn't want us to buy into hype (I'm more tempted to, haha), and he doesn't believe there is "proof" that this would help. We try to eat pretty healthy, but also eat out once or twice a week and are not opposed to junk food every now and then.

If our RE told us to do this, we would, but my RE is all about "everything in moderation."

FWIW and IMO, I think more people are dealing with IF than the old days because people wait longer to have children - even just waiting until the late 20's, you know? And I'm not knocking older women TTC, it's just a fact. And I do think there was a fair amount of IF before that would account for PCOS, MFI, unexplained, etc...there's just MORE now because we're generally older when we TTC. Just my simple opinion.

Toni said...

Yes, it is worth it. I too am a from-scratch cooker but know the quality of ingredients I use can be so much better. Blue and I have a few goals when it comes to food: 1. Eliminate waste (which is hard with two people) 2. Buy local 3. Cut out all processed foods.

I am actually more committed to buying local and/or making my own things (like granola bars) than I am organic. It's more important to me to buy from the local farmer's market or farms. It may not all be organic but I can drive by the farm it came from and I know I'm supporting the local farming community.

One last thing. A few months back, Blue convinced me to buy frozen fries and frozen popcorn chicken. He was craving them from the days of living on his own. It was THE worst meal I've ever made. We didn't even finish it and Blue never asked for anything like that again.