Question number one was by ABW:
"Here's my stupid question! I know it is expensive to eat all organic, etc. I do try to buy it when I can, but what things would you absolutely not budge on? (eg I heard don't buy organic bananas or fruits with skins you don't eat. Although I swear organic bananas taste better!)"
This is an awesome question! I use to have a little list in my wallet of the best foods to buy as organic; I would refer to it when grocery shopping. I don't have the list anymore (Darn!), I tossed it because I got to the point where nearly everything I bought was organic. But now, because I am living in a place where organic is pretty much ignored, I am having to re-evaluate what I will and won't give on.
Here is a great list of foods to buy organic from the Gaiam for Life website:
1. Peaches 2. Apples 3. Sweet Bell Peppers 4. Celery 5. Nectarines 6. Strawberries 7. Cherries
8. Lettuce 9. Grapes (imported) 10. Pears 11. Spinach 12. Potatoes
Here is their list for the least contaminated foods ( the ones to "give" on):
1. Onions 2. Avocado 3. Sweet Corn (frozen) 4. Pineapples 5. Mango 6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
7. Asparagus 8. Kiwi 9. Bananas 10. Cabbage 11. Broccoli 12. Eggplant
I have found that I do the price comparison thing a lot - Organic bananas... 20 cents more expensive a pound? Worth it. Frozen sweet corn is usually only a dollar more - again, worth it.
And I know, it all adds up, but I have chosen to give on other things rather than our food.
To answer ABW's question in a concise manner it would be this:
Concentrate on buying the things you and your kids eat the most of, organic. If I can't afford the organic version, like fresh raspberries or blueberries, I will either buy them as (organic) frozen, because they are much cheaper that way, or not at all. We have tried a lot of different foods out because the ones we normally eat are just too expensive. I also used the local farmer's market, as well as local (organic) orchards and farmers to their full potential. I would buy/pick large amounts of fruit and vegetables, bring them home and freeze them.
Rice and grains are good to buy organic, as well. The most cost effective way to go is buying them from your local health food store's bulk section. I buy my flour and rice, my beans, popcorn, grains, and spices from the bulk section - I bring them home, divide it up into ziploc bags or containers and stick it all in my freezer. That way I have the amounts in easy to use quantities, and I am preserving the nutrition and keeping the food from going rancid. Some grocery stores have a bulk section in their natural foods section - I have found that they are not always cheaper though.
I buy organic bread - always - because we eat a lot of it. If I couldn't find organic bread, I would make my own. It's that important to me. Milk - I buy organic because, again, it's a highly used item in my house. I don't buy organic cheese or butter because it's just too costly. Eggs, I normally buy from a local farmer because they are fresher and more nutritious. As far as meat, well, that's a tough one for me. I just can't afford to buy organic meat. It's just too stinkin' expensive. In Vermont I bought chicken from Costco - it was natural without any added crap, and my beef I bought from a woman my mom knows back home. The cows were grain fed and it was as close to organic as I could get. The meat was definitely something I had to give on - but I did the best I could.
And that is truly the point. Be informed about what you are eating, drinking, and rubbing on your body. And with that information in hand, make the best decisions for your family - and don't stress about the rest. You just do what you can do!
Well, so much for being concise!
Hope that helped, ABW! By the way... I agree! Organic bananas taste tons better than conventional. I find that is true about a lot of organic food.