Monday, January 26, 2009

The Organic Pantry

I don't know that I particularly feel the need to go organic with our food. At least not right now. But because of where we live, a lot of the things we buy are already organic, so I think that makes it easier for us. I love Costco for that! Still, a friend of mine has been blogging lately about going organic and it has made me think, so I thought I'd just see how many of the items we eat regularly ARE organic already. (Especially of the ones on the dirty dozen list.)

not organic
* organic
** all natural (nothing on the label I don't recognize as food or can't pronounce)

  • Raisins*
  • Pirate's Booty**
  • Fiber One Bars
  • Easy Mac (we just use the macaroni, not the cheese)
  • Pretzels
  • Kidney Beans
  • Tomato Sauce*
  • Oatmeal*
  • Apple Juice*
  • Chicken Broth*
  • Puffed Wheat*
  • Potatoes (not listed as organic, but they are locally grown one town over)
  • V8 Fusion
  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Green Beans
  • Applesauce**
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Spaghetti*
  • Whole Wheat Lasagna
  • Rice Milk*

  • Whole Wheat Bread** (and local)
  • Feta**
  • Cranergy Juice
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots*
  • Apples*
  • Tofutti Cheese
  • Celery
  • Whole Grain Flour Tortillas
  • Spinach*
  • Soy Yogurt**
  • Activia Yogurt
  • Orange Juice
  • Unsalted Butter

  • Strawberries
  • Peas*
  • Peppers** (and local from a farm in town)
  • Fish Sticks
  • Green Beans*
  • Sweet Potato Fries**
  • Chicken Breast**
  • Stir Fry Vegetables
The items in bold are items I'm okay with, just the way they are. I don't see any need to change what we're using right now. Some items, like the canned green beans in the pantry, I'm going to use until they're gone, but then not buy because we're switching to the frozen organic beans from Costco. We're really switching for the sodium content difference (there's no sodium added to the frozen beans) but it helps that they're organic, too.

The items in italics are ones that I would like to make an effort to buy organic. In the case of the potatoes, I'd want to buy organic AND local, otherwise just stick with local. Potatoes are a big produce here. I've actually thought about growing potatoes myself, and maybe I'll try it one of these years.

This isn't a comprehensive list of the items in our food storage, but it does give me a good idea of how many of the items we consume are organic/local/pesticide-free/hormone-free. We're actually right at 50% for this list, because there are 43 items on the list, 21 that are organic or all natural, and one that is local, but not organic.

I didn't delve into my baking supplies, but I know that we use local flour, and white sugar. I haven't tackled the sugar yet, but I might in the future. We still have a couple bags, so it isn't worth it until I use that up, but then I think I'll look into using an organic cane sugar, maybe. I think I can get that at Costco.

Really a lot of it boils down to what I can get at Costco. I could get more things organic if I shopped at Town&Country or the Coop, but the parking situation for both is wretched, and that's a big pain when I've got Ellie with me.

I can't give up my Fiber One bars. That's just not going to happen. Nor are we willing to give up I Can't Believe It's Not Butter yet. Maybe I'll look for a butter bell this summer and I'll change my mind at that point, but right now a soft spread is a must for us, so butter in the fridge just won't cut it. We could do without the fruit cocktail. And truthfully, we could probably do without the Easy Mac as well. I would just have to keep cooked whole wheat pasta on hand. And really, that wouldn't be so bad.

Anyway, it's food for thought at least. I've got a few things I can look into when I head to the grocery store this week and I can start to make a couple changes for the better. Really, though, it's pretty encouraging to do a random survey of our food items and find that we're about half way to organic/local/natural already, without really trying. It makes it easier to make better decisions when the change looming ahead isn't as big as I thought it would be.

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