Healthy Eating: Going Organic

Recently our household began to do something I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time – we’re now buying organic fruit and vegetables.

I grew up eating a lot of organic produce (my Dad is a naturopath), but like a lot of people, the cost stopped me from buying it once I’d left home.  If you are a poor student and you have a choice between organic apples at $4.99 a kilo or non-organic apples at $1.99 a kilo, you’re going to go for the non-organic option.  It’s a no-brainer.  I guess for a long time I’d put organic food in the category of being a ‘privileged-class luxury’.

My kids are a big reason I’ve decided to go organic.  Children are much more susceptible to toxins than adults, and my word, there are some nasty pesticides used in clean, green New Zealand.  Kids eat a lot of fruit and if they haven’t got to that ‘veges = yuck’ stage, then vegetables make up a lot of their diet too.  Just by switching to organic fruit and vegetables you reduce the number of nasties going into their systems.

Another big reason I wanted to go organic is I seem to be increasingly sensitive to chemicals.  I always have been, even as a child (my worst nightmare is walking down the cleaning products aisle at the supermarket, second worst nightmare is walking by the perfume counter at a department store…), but in the past couple of years my sensitivities have been getting much worse.  I can no longer wear most perfumes, lots of shampoos and toothpastes make me gag to the point where I almost throw up and leave me with streaming eyes. Anytime we need some industrial strength cleaning done in our house, it’s my husband who has to do it.  I try to use natural products to eliminate any reactions, but I am constantly battling mild contact dermatitis on my hands from having inadvertently touched something; and I have a perpetually runny nose that nothing can be done about (seriously, I should buy shares in Kleenex).  After noticing the effects that handling some fruits and vegetables have had on my poor hands, I decided enough was enough.

I found a Whanganui organic fruit and veg delivery business on Facebook, called Go Organic.  The owner, Kim, really impressed me with the flexibility of the products she delivers.  If you don’t like something, just tell her and it won’t go in your box.  Just want fruit?  Okay.  Only veg?  Okay.  Didn’t use all your fruit from your last box?  No worries, she’ll add more veg to your next box.  Discovered you need a bigger or smaller box to meet your needs?  Not a worry.  Most produce comes from Whanganui so we are supporting both Kim’s business and local growers.  Warm fuzzy.

We decided on a $30 fruit and veg box to start with.  I must admit to being a little underwhelmed when I saw the amount of produce that $30 got us (the box seemed small), but I was pleased with the variety and reminded myself that organic food simply costs more.

Our box of organic goodies

Our box of organic goodies

We got kale, tamarillos (hubby’s favourite), persimmons, onions, potatoes, pumpkin, cauliflower, pears, kiwifruit, apples, carrots, an avocado and a big bag of salad.  We also got a mysterious green branch that looked a bit like bamboo, which we later found out was lemongrass.  You don’t get heaps of everything, just a few of each thing, but it was enough for our family of 2 adults, 1 child and 1 almost-here-child.

Lovely fruit

Lovely fruit

Really, when you see it all written down like that, it was a pretty good haul!

Already I can see several advantages to getting these boxes aside from reducing toxins:

  1. We’ll be eating seasonally.  Seasonal eating is better for my pocket, supports local growers and reduces my carbon footprint as I’m not chowing down on Californian oranges.
  2. Having never bought a persimmon before in my life, I can see that we will eat things that we might not otherwise try.  I’ve never cooked with lemongrass before either, so new recipes will be discovered too.
  3. Paying more for my produce has made me determined to eat EVERY.LAST.BIT OF.IT.  The less food we needlessly waste, the better.
  4. Organic food just tastes better!  It really, truly does.  If you’ve ever grown your own tomatoes and compared them with the watery supermarket version, you’ll know what I mean.
  5. We’re supporting our local growers.  Our local economy is not in great shape right now, so every little bit of cash that is spent helping our small businesses helps.

I realise that for many people, organic food is simply just out of their budget.  Others try and buy it when their budget allows.  The best solution for all of us is to try and grow our own produce as much as we can – even if you’ve just got a few pots in your apartment.  I quite like gardening, and we are blessed to own a home with a humongous garden that has plenty of fruit trees.  My plan is to eventually grow most of my own produce, but while I have very small children it won’t be a reality for quite a while.  In the meantime, I intend to enjoy my weekly produce delivery!

 

If you live in the Whanganui area and are keen on giving Go Organics* a try, call Kim on 027 307 3062.

 

* I am in no way affiliated with Go Organics.  All opinions expressed are my own.

 

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