Is It Hard to Eat an All Organic Diet?

Annette McDermott
Fresh Produce

Eating organic foods helps reduce your exposure to GMOs, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation and the pesticides and chemical ingredients found in heavily processed foods. But is it hard to eat an all organic diet?

The Challenges

Many people want to eat an entirely organic diet but find it difficult. Here are some of the main reasons why people don't eat organic and tips for resolving the issues:

It's Expensive

While it's true that organic foods are more expensive than non-organic, it's for good reason.

  • Growing foods without pesticides requires more labor.
  • Organic certification is an expensive process.
  • The supply of organic food doesn't meet demand.
  • Organic fertilizers such as animal manure are more expensive than conventional ones such as sewer sludge.
  • Crop handling after harvest costs more due to strict requirements.

Despite the cost, you can still eat an all-organic diet and not break your budget. Here's how:

  • Eating organic is part of an overall healthy lifestyle. If you truly care about your health and plan to stick to an all organic diet, you won't be adding expensive, processed items to your shopping cart. The money you would have spent on those products can be dedicated to purchasing organic items.
  • Use coupons. While you won't find many organic foods coupons in your Sunday newspaper, you can sign up for newsletter from organic food manufacturers or find them on their websites. For example, Earthbound Farm will send coupons directly to your email.
  • Join a Community Supported Agriculture group (CSA) or natural foods co-op in your area. Buying fresh produce direct from the farmer is usually cheaper than buying at the grocery store. But remember, organic frozen fruits and vegetables are also a great option and often cheaper than fresh at the supermarket.
  • Plan your menus. If you're serious about eating healthy, menu planning is critical. Planning your menu and creating a grocery list before hitting the supermarket will help you stay on track and reduce your chances of impulse buying.
  • Stock up on sale items. Organic foods such as frozen vegetables, canned goods (beans, soups or broth), cereals or nuts often go on sale at the grocery store. When they do, stock up.
  • Purchase seasonal produce. Plan your meals around seasonal fruits and vegetables to avoid buying more costly out-of-season items.

It's Hard to Find

Organic foods have become big business and are easier to find than ever before. Unless you live in an isolated area, your supermarket likely has an organic foods section or carries organic brands on their shelves.

If your local store doesn't carry what you're looking for, check out your local natural foods store, co-op or farmers market. You can also purchase a huge variety of organic foods online from dairy products to baby food -- often at Internet discounts.

It's Inconvenient

After cost, this is probably the biggest obstacle to eating an all-organic diet. In today's fast paced world, there's little extra time for menu planning or coupon clipping. At the end of long and stressful day, stopping by a fast food joint to save time and hassle seems easier than preparing an organic meal from scratch. But if you're serious about eating healthy and organic, you must make some lifestyle adjustments.

  • Plan your meals. This is worth mentioning again because it's really key to sticking to an organic diet. Make the most of every spare minute by jotting down recipes on your smartphone while waiting in the school carpool line or the doctor's office. Pick recipes that are simple and fast to make for busy weeknights. Simply Organic offers dozens of recipes on their website.
  • Enlist help. To ease your load, get your entire family involved in meal planning, shopping, prep and cooking. They can choose meals that appeal to them, help find items in the grocery store, help with food prep (depending on their age, they can chop vegetables for a salad, add ingredients to a casserole or stir sauces or stews) and, if they're old enough, help cook the meal. Not only will this help with family bonding but kids will learn a love for clean eating.
  • Freeze meals. Spending a few hours one day a week preparing organic meals that can be frozen is a great way to save time and keep you from sabotaging your healthy diet. Having a pre-made, organic frozen meal you can pop in the oven at the end of a busy day prevents last minute trips to unhealthy fast food restaurants. Thriving Home features a nice selection of healthy freezer meals.
  • Don't go cold turkey. If switching to an organic diet all at once is just too overwhelming to consider, do it gradually. Choose an organic brand of some of your most commonly used food items first, such as milk, yogurt, meats, grains or fruit. Then, each shopping trip, try to add more organic items. Before you know it, you'll be eating all-organic.

Few Restaurants Feature Organic Foods

It's true that very few restaurants offer organic foods on their menus. This is a real downer for people who love to eat out and are trying to eat clean. But as demand grows, more and more restaurants are offering choices that include some (if not all) organic ingredients.

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill: Chipotle strives to use as many organic ingredients as possible in their menu items.
  • Evos: They use many organic ingredients including the milk in their shakes.
  • Jason's Deli: Located in 28 states, Jason's Deli offers organic choices on their menu.
  • Bryn and Dane's: This Pennsylvania chain is on a mission to change the way people think about fast food. They offer a nice variety of organic options on their menu.

The Verdict

Is it hard to eat an all organic diet? It depends on your commitment to the process. While certainly challenging, eating organic is not at all impossible and with a few lifestyle adjustments, can be as easy as eating conventional foods.

It all comes down to your goals and the choices you make. If you're determined to eat organic, you'll find the time to make the changes that you feel add value to your life. With a little research, knowledge and planning, you can enjoy the benefits of eating an organic diet.

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Is It Hard to Eat an All Organic Diet?