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When you NEED to buy organic + other money-saving grocery shopping tips

August 30th, 2012 No Comments


Hilary has our answer!

(Is it just me, or are you loving all of her helpful tips too?!  The girl poses these questions before I even get a chance to ask!)

The rule of thumb is:

If the food comes in a shell,

is not porous,

or you can scrub it,

you don’t need to buy organic.

So you need to buy organic: meat, milk, and produce that you can’t scrub (like broccoli, berries, or mushrooms).  The exception is eggs.  We learned that last week.

With fruit, you need to beware of shiny skins.  They are sprayed down and that pretty shine is the build up of chemicals.  If you are willing to scrub this off (lemon juice works well), then you can feel free not to buy organic.  But with something like an apple or cucumber where it’s almost impossible to get it all off, you should choose organic.  As Hil says, “if a bug isn’t going to eat it, neither should you.”

With fruits like pineapples, bananas, melons, avocados etc, since you peel off the skin, you don’t need to buy organic.

Almonds, all nuts actually, come in shells, so any pesticides they were exposed to were removed along with the shell!  Hilary also says if you buy your nuts in the bags instead of boxes you’ll save money.  Check out the unit price next to the total price.

Other things that don’t have to be organic:

Here are more of Hilary’s insights:

Sugar is sugar.  Cane sugar, agave, maple syrup, corn syrup, it all metabolizes pretty much the same, according to Hilary.  I’m not sure I buy this totally, it’s probably the first thing I’ve seriously questioned, but she claims it all hits your blood system the same way. If you read the “turbinado” bag, it is a “cane” product so I suppose she is right.  She has been about everything else :)  Since sugar is cane and the skin is taken off before processing, then you don’t need to buy organic.

It’s cheaper and better for you to buy frozen veggies in a BAG not a BOX.  Make sure they are flash-frozen to preserve the nutritional value.  Veggies in boxes have usually been cooked once and have additional stuff on them for flavor.  When you cook them again, you are killing the reason you are eating them.

The vine attached to the tomato means that the fruit still has a small source of energy and will last longer on your counter top.

As long as the only additional ingredients in canned beans is water and salt, you’re good to go!

If you are cooking with olive oil, which Hilary does not recommend due to its low smoking point, you don’t need to spend the money on “Extra-Virgin.”  The only time you should use olive oil is for dressings and sauteeing over low heat. Hilary suggests cooking with coconut oil, which I have tried, and adds an interesting dept to my dishes.  I use grape seed oil for simple sauteeing.

Vegetables that have been fried are not good for you.  When you cook something until it’s crunchy, you’ve taken away all it’s nutritional value.  Might as well get chips instead!

Speaking of chips, the “crunchy” rule applies as well.  To my shock and disappointment, sweet potato chips are not better for you than regular potato chips.  THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS WHEN BUYING CHIPS: the fat source – what kind of oil was used to make them.  Look for bags with nut oils instead of vegetable or canola.

If you are going to buy pasta, choose the ones with whole grains so you’re actually getting the fiber the box claims you are.  At the end of the day it’s all pasta and there are many better choices for your source of carbs.

Veggies in the deli case are shinier and more expensive, both of which signal a bunch of stuff has been added.  Opt for the veggies at the salad bar for a lower price and fat content.

More to come on how I’ve been executing Hilary’s actual nutrition plan for me.  It ain’t easy, I’ll tell you that much, but totally worth it when I execute her rules properly.

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