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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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Egg cartons are deceiving you! Hilary tells us the truth.

August 23rd, 2012 4 Comments


Egg cartons these days look like advertisements for spa retreats:  free range, all natural, grass-fed, etc.  And just like an ad, it’s meant to SELL you on the product, and doesn’t always deliver.

Hilary took me the through the explanation of what everything ACTUALLY means, and I was shocked at what I found out!

Brown v. White Color

The egg is actually the same.  They bleach the eggs white because they look more appetizing that way!

Cage Free

Hens are not in a “cage” but are still crammed together in a barn or warehouse with no access to the outdoors.  It’s basically just as bad as being in a cage.

Free Roaming

Can be interchanged with Cage-Free.  Stocking density may still be high and forced molting through starvation is allowed.  They can also be debeaked!

Free Range

The barn or enclosed area is open air and has access to the outdoors.  However, the door to get there is made to be unattractive (or be barred) so they elect to stay inside.    The quality of the outdoor area is also not regulated.  The issues in Cage-Free and Free-Roaming may still be present if they pack too many bird into the barn.

Grass-Fed/ 100% Grass Fed/ Pasture-Raised

Technically the animal (hens, cows, etc) must only be fed grass the last 120 days of its life.  Otherwise they can be fed anything.  For eggs, you can assume the hens were raised in fenced-pastures with open-sided shelters so they have a better life (living like normal chickens) than in the above terms.

Hormone and Antibiotic Free

The animal has not been injected with any hormones.

All Natural

MEANS NOTHING! The term is totally unregulated by the FDA. This is a marketing tactic by companies who have no other claim to make!

USDA Organic

First of all, organic does does not mean “healthy” for any product (organic cookies are still cookies!).  It actually only means the 70% of the ingredients are organic.  The USDA does not view chickens the same way they do other animals so even if the eggs are “organic” they can still be raised in constant confinement, being staved and debeaked.

That being said, Hilary advises that we buy organic eggs because it means what the hens are fed is organic.

Bottom line: You are looking for 1) Organic, 2) No Hormones or Antibiotics, 3) Grass-Fed and Pasture-Raised

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