A 1: Many foods are the same or less expensive if you know how to shop. This is one of people's really big concerns so we'll start with a practical, bottom-dollar thing or two before moving to the 'in the long run' stuff.
We were happy to find Grocery Outlet. See if you can substitute a few things in your pantry with food you save on from buying there. Then, add those saved dollars to your budget for other stores where some items will be more expensive. Grocery Outlet had so many convenience and snack non-GMO foods that we didn't go back because of temptation. However, if budget is the primary concern of switching, take a look there, absolutely, because they also have Amy's (non-GMO brand) and other non-GMO or organic frozen entrees that are quite good for much less money. It's just that after having been forced to eat good food because of this diet and craving certain now-forbidden snacks- finding all those non-GMO snacks in one place was dangerous. Some of you snack-starved no-GMO's just got in your cars before reading the last sentence. Because at first, this lifestyle feels like deprivation and tiring work. But that goes away fast.
We shop half at Fred Meyer in the natural foods section and half at New Seasons. We pick up a lot of Organic Valley coupons when we're in the store. We've seen coupons on Cascadian Farms cereal boxes regularly as well as PJ's and Annie's from time to time. Many of these brands have internet coupons or coupon mailings.
Winco is a chain that has a few cereals, lots of clean-fifteen produce, a few drinks, a couple of good Amy's dinners and ....drum roll please,... fresh wild-caught and sustainably harvested seafood at the lowest price around- by FAR. Including Snow Crab and live oysters and baby clams. Those three things can be prepared in a few minutes for a few dollars. We also found nori for our sushi. If you want to save money by doing these coupon/multiple store methods, it takes time. Many people have time as yet another obstacle. Just remember- you don't have to do it all in one day. Try the red-and-green game we made. Except for the fish, all the items you might buy at Winco and Grocery Outlet can be bought planning out a few months.
If you're paying $3 a pound for ground beef and pay $4 for grass-fed at N.S., you will forever-after be glad to budget for it. We eat Provista extra sharp organic cheese and recommend using the thin cheese slicers on it. Using less of a very flavorful cheese will end up saving you money. Melt it down with a little milk if you can use a sauce and stretch it. As for milk, Organic Valley and perhaps other brands (not Horizon- they are factory farm conditions, not truly organic and under investigation) milk lasts forever. I do not mean the ultra-pasteurized versions but normal pasteurization organic milk lasts because its not transported as far. Look at the dates and compare- they are weeks apart. So if you've ever thrown out milk, you will end up paying the same. And of course we buy from the bulk bins. Many bulk foods are just one or two ingredients to scan, and there are a lot of organic bulk foods.
If you eat produce, buy it on sale- whatever it is, then come home and search online for what you're supposed to do with it! Of course, it helps to know while you're at the store if you need other ingredients and although more and more people have mobile internet on their phones, you could always check the sale prices on produce online before you shop. Our lives have been enriched by taking home new fruits and veges because they were good deals and then figuring them out. Its fun, and many times its surprisingly delicious. We have one or two winter farmers markets in Portland, and some permanent produce stores as well as amazing store sections in several places we've named in our stores page. If you don't eat veges because you're not in the habit, but you don't mind trying, it will save you money and be tasty, fun, and healthy. Take a picture of that beautiful dinner plate and send it our way by email or on Facebook.
The investment will be time more than money. If you read this site and use our links at the beginning of your journey it won't be that time-consuming. For us, having to research the details for every uncertainty was the killer- and it became a mission to make it easier for others by passing what we found (and still find) along. You'll have to give up some foods that cost a lot because they were convenience foods and that is what you were paying for. What you'll end up doing is cooking- and then your pantry will expand because you have leftover ingredients. And don't worry. 1. You'll learn to mimic those things you can't live without, and 2. The pain of cooking is an illusion. It is convention that is your enemy! Get ready: here is Cooking for Engineers. First of all, the table of contents (sort oldest-first) has an ingredients substitution list. It helps you get better at 'throwing something together' to mimic the prepared foods and condiments you threw out with a tear in your eye. His recipes are clear steps with pictures when a picture will help, followed by an intuitive process chart (that he invented) at the end. CfE is much more than recipes though so look around because, as you would expect, the site is put together better... as in there's good, then great, then there's they way they do things on this site. If you have a geeky or even just an impatient side, or if you have ever stared blurry-eyed through your flour-covered finger at a cook-book and jolted back awake, you will be giddy. Giddy! Thank you Michael Chu, Cooking Angel since 2004.
The cost of organics is going down thanks to increased demand. And if you need help, email us and we'll help you get started. There is less (sometimes no) filler so you will be full from eating nutrients- and if you start feeling healthy you won't be 'comfort-snacking.' Some foods like milk last much longer when organic. Some foods have no price difference at all. But the big savings is in health. What do you spend making up for what bad food is doing to you? Gym memberships, vitamins, doctor visits, antihistamines and antibiotics? These things may go down in cost for you. It did for us. Did you know you'll be at much lower risk of E. coli when you choose grass-fed (which usually means pasture-raised) non-feedlot animals? I updated my understanding to current reviews and choose this explanation. I love what the author says at the end too. Read this article from onlygrassfed.com. We talk about how our website helps you get your own facts and not take other people's word for it. This article is an editorial that responds fairly to the counter-argument which responds well with good references to an original assertion on why Grass-fed is better than feedlot beef when it comes to E. coli. You don't have to read the whole argument trail if you don't need to check the accuracy yourself, this editorial stands alone as a good summary- but I enjoyed the intelligent discussion and satisfying my need to know I had the truth at last. That said, the author(s) does not discuss the fact that GMO's are in feedlot and NOT in grass-fed cattle diets. So for us this whole thing is just a smile on the fact that we don't eat feedlot beef anyway. Thank you, onlygrassfed.com for the good news.
There are also hidden costs we pay as the owners of 'the commons' when we add to water and air pollution, use non-renewable energy, and so forth. Your GMO-eating neighbor is still driving up those costs for you, but at least you aren't. Most companies that make whole, non-GMO or organic foods are doing it for ethical reasons and so its no coincidence that you'll be a consumer of products that are made from biodegradable, recycled/recyclable, and other practices that make them sustainable. This may not be visible in the size of your pocket book now, but as the demand rises for sustainable food locally because others are exposed to your new lifestyle choice, it will make a difference. If you're not sure what sustainability means and what adds up the most, go to myfootprint.org and find out how many Earths it would take to sustain your way of life if everyone were like you- and compare yourself to a typical American. The best thing that site offers though is a little hidden. The buttons where you make choices give you live figures in quiet text above- so you can see what happens when you change between when you do-your-best and do-your-worst at these things. You may be surprised what makes a difference. The punchline at the end is fun (and its likely that you will feel you can do a lot better) but kind of abstract. Its playing with the buttons and seeing what matters that is the benefit. Its really neat for kids to see too- they get everyone into being environmentally friendlier. Its exciting to be young and change your household's behavior a little. Imagine them turning off lights off when they leave a room- and reminding you! So have your kids do the quiz for you while you watch. And now that you know what you do- think about those factories making the products you buy, and the restaurants and stores big, small, and chains. What are they doing? If we start patronizing the right people, this website doesn't tell how it changes our ecological footprint... but I imagine its just as much of an impact as the things on the site.
But the final financial impact is that if you pay $5 for a lunch from a restaurant that doesn't recycle, packs in Styrofoam and uses beef from cows stuck in feedlots that are doing colossal environmental damage and are powered by horrible animal cruelty- versus $8 on a meal from a place that fights these battles for you by growing this kind of value-culture, you basically made a $3 donation to a deserving soldier in the war against criminal environmental practices. Every time you support one of these businesses and buy GMO-free products, you are fighting for your rights while being a good steward of Earth.
It all takes practice to make it time- and cost-effective. The purpose of the red-and-green game is to make it simple, and giving you an option to transition slowly if you choose to. But if you stop having to take hay fever remedies and antacid like Ernie did, or whatever other health expense you might stop incurring as we're all different, count that when you budget. If it is costing you extra money that you don't have, please contact us because it shouldn't. Don't let it stop you unnecessarily. Write us: email@example.com. We're standing by if you're having difficulties making this happen. Its our personal mission to help anyone that wants to eat non-GMO succeed.