Everyone who wants to shift toward a greener and toxic-free living, dips into the organic diet. Those of us who earn a modest income can find the prices of such organic food products exorbitant, which causes us to slide back to our old ways. Organic products are considered healthy owing to the lack of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in their production as well as to the best practices followed in preserving the ecological value of the land.
In India, a food product is deemed organic only when it is certified through the National Program for Organic Production (NPOP). Buying organic food daily can be heavy on the pockets. Here are five ways to go light on cash and high on green lifestyle, check out our five tips to buy organic food:
Five Tips to Buy Organic Food on a Budget
Tip 1: Do your homework – Check Organic Labels
Find out the list of companies and organization in your region that produce organic products. The major organizations that produce organic food in India are: Down to Earth, Green Sense, Deha Organic, Chamong, Organic Tattva, Pure & Sure and Ab ali Organic Tea. When you buy a product, check the label: scan for the ‘India Organic’ label that is used to certify organically farmed food items. This label declares that the item qualifies for the National Standards for Organic Products by being produced on organic farming, without the interference of synthetic materials like fertilizers, growth hormones and others. Other certifications include ISO 14001, USDA, GMO Free and Halal Certification.
Tip 2: Plan your meals – Weekly Diet Management
Make a list of vegetables that are in season and thus, would be placed at a lower price in the market. Cover all the nutrients required and shop according to this list of in-season vegetables. A sample organic food shopping list should include: dairy, meat, corn, zucchini, papaya, buy-in-dozens (potatoes/ apples/ grapes/ peaches/ cucumbers/ leafy veggies/ celery), eggs, tea & coffee, dried spices and chocolate.
Tip 3: Limit Your Meat and Dairy Intake
Find out the exact amount of Calcium, Vitamin D, Protein and Vitamin B12 you need. These nutrients are primarily found in milk products and meat. Distribute your consumption across the week and ensure that you do not buy beyond your requirements. Meat and dairy products are the two food items that you cannot afford to buy non-organic due to the use of growth hormones and antibiotics on animals.
Tip 4: Buy in Bulk
Whenever you come across the usual ‘Buy One Get One Free’ sale, check out the products and buy those that are staple in adequate amounts to be stored. Make sure the items are packaged and also, the spices are zipped tight (otherwise, they lose their nutritional value over time).
Tip 5: DIY – Grow Your Own Food
Take small steps to reduce the burden on your pocket. Plant a spice in the kitchen pots- basil, mint or coriander. Also, learn about vegetables which can grow in your geographical region and start a rooftop kitchen garden. For instance, in Delhi, you can grow beans while in Maharashtra, it is ideal to grow cauliflower, potato and onion. If you have privacy of a garden, you could also bring in chickens and take care of them while also enjoying the eggs.