In my first post I talked about the health challenges I have faced, and how far I have come in just a few short years. My journey isn’t over, and I will be the first to admit that the path I took to get here was a long and winding one full of trial and error. I experimented with many supplements (under the supervision of a trained professional), and made other lifestyle changes, including making homemade natural air fresheners, lip balm, deodorant, and sunscreen, but the single most important change that I made was switching to an organic diet.
Since making the switch, the mood and anxiety symptoms that used to cripple me regularly are virtually non-existent. I no longer need allergy medicine, because I no longer have allergies. I get so much joy now from being able to run up to household pets when I visit friends and family, petting the fluffballs all over without even the hint of a sneeze. My blood sugar is stable for the first time in my adult life, and I can finally enjoy sugar and fruit without feeling drunk.
I also unintentionally lost a decent amount of weight – easiest 15 pounds I ever lost! My palate has changed a lot in this process so the foods that I enjoy and consume regularly have changed, but everything we make at home is beyond delicious (ie: loaded baked potato broccoli cheddar chicken soup we made today). Bottom line, I eat just about whatever I want, as long as it’s organic, and still maintain a healthy weight, feeling great both physically and mentally.
Another huge part of my recovery was healing my gut with probiotics, and eliminating foods/ingredients that are connected to poor gut health (eating organic makes it much easier to do this without having to try so hard). You would be astounded if you knew how many processes in the body are tied to the bacteria that call your gut home! This is such a complex topic that it will get its own blog post in the near future.
While eating organic and focusing on cultivating good gut bacteria seems to be my holy grail of health, it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone’s body reacts the same way to the same fuel. Some people have sensitivities to certain foods, and others have full blown food allergies. Ultimately you have to listen to your own body to find your own perfect diet.
Food allergies and sensitivities aside, I would suggest that eating organic is a good idea for everyone, for a few reasons: More cancer-fighting antioxidants, higher concentration of nutrients like Omega-3 fats, reduced exposure to potentially harmful pesticides, and avoiding consumption of medically necessary antibiotics. I won’t get into the science behind all of that today though, because this post is about cheap clean food.
One of the first things that people ask me when they find out our family eats all organic is, “But isn’t it really expensive?” The answer is, “Yes and no.”
First, it’s more expensive than conventional food, but it’s not un-affordable if you know where, when, and how to shop for it.
Second, the amount you could save on health related costs (over-the-counter medicines, doctor’s visits, blood tests, prescription drugs, hospital stays, etc) is, in my opinion, well worth the investment at the grocery store or local farmer’s market.
You probably know the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You can pay a little more upfront for high quality, clean, nutrient-rich food, or A LOT more in cumulative medical costs over your lifetime. The choice is entirely up to you.
For our family, stores like Aldi, Costco, Jewel, Meijer, Wiseway, and Ultra Foods have made eating organic a breeze. There are new organic products available every time I browse the aisles at these stores and my husband laughs at me because it makes me so giddy to see all these new options available to help keep my mind, body, and budget happy.
The happy shopping trip that inspired this blog post took place at Aldi. If you aren’t familiar with Aldi, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out. Aldi is great because they have their own store brand called Simply Nature, which is free from more than 125 artificial ingredients and preservatives. Not all Simply Nature products are organic, but many are, and the store has a great everyday selection of organic items available. But that is not the only reason Aldi is great. They also have “Special Buys” every week where they offer new featured products for a limited time. When the special buys feature a large amount of organic options I stock up and save big.
There are several Aldi locations throughout Northwest Indiana but the two that I frequent the most are the Crown Point and Merrillville locations. Here is a short list of what I came across during the second week of January at the Crown Point Aldi.
- Organic Chocolate Milk Boxes, 8 oz – 12 count: $9.99 [SPECIAL BUY]
- Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: $1.99 [SPECIAL BUY]
- Organic Frozen Green Beans: oz – $1.99 [SPECIAL BUY]
- Organic Pancake Mix (Oatmeal or Whole Wheat): $2.99 [SPECIAL BUY]
- Organic Yellow Corn Chips: oz – $1.89 [SPECIAL BUY]
- Organic 2% Milk half gallon: $2.95
- Organic Creamy Peanut Butter: $3.99
- Organic Grass-fed Ground Beef, 1 lb (85% lean): $6.99
- Organic Gluten Free Pasta (Penne or Rotini): $2.99 [SPECIAL BUY]
- Organic Shredded Cheeses (Mozzarella & Mexican Blend): 6 oz bag – $2.99 [SPECIAL BUY]
- Organic Cabernet Sauvignon: $6.99 per bottle!!!!! [SPECIAL BUY]
- Organic Canned Beans (Pinto, Black, Garbonzo): $.79 each
- Organic Spaghettios: $0.99 [SPECIAL BUY]
- Organic Baby Carrots: $0.99 [SALE]
- Organic Spring Mix: $1.69 [SALE]
- Organic Baby Spinach: $2.49
- Organic Bananas: $.69 per lb
- Organic Tomatoes: $2.29 per pint
- Organic Apple Juice – 64 oz: $2.49
- Organic Frozen Strawberries/Blueberries – 12 oz: $2.99
This is just a small sampling of the awesomeness that I came across when I shopped at the Crown Point Aldi between January 6 and 12. There were many more organic items available in store that were not advertised in the weekly flyer, but many of these were listed online.
Aldi also offers THE MOST DELICIOUS Organic Brownie mix sometimes as a special buy for only $2.99. This mix is what my husband uses as a base when he makes my favorite (not-so-healthy) peanut butter cheesecake brownies. Don’t worry, these completely organic sweet treats only happen like twice a year for special occasions.
My body doesn’t require that I maintain a gluten-free lifestyle, but Aldi also has a line called liveGfree for those who need to avoid gluten consumption. I would exercise caution with processed gluten-free items that have incredibly long ingredient lists though, because they sometimes contain ingredients and additives that can cause other negative reactions. As a general rule, it is ideal to minimize the amount of processed food consumed (organic, gluten free, or otherwise).
If you are looking to maintain a healthier lifestyle by eating food that makes your body happy, and also keeps your wallet healthy, Aldi is a great affordable place to start.
To learn more about health coaching, visit Be Your Very Best’s website by clicking here.
*I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. This post is meant for informational purposes only. It should not serve as a substitute for medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any medical condition*