We’re settling nicely into our organic lifestyle. There is so much to learn, but I find it to be a very enjoyable experience!
My first goal when we decided to go organic was “out with the old, in with the organics!” As food items were used up in the refrigerator, cupboards and pantry, they were replaced with an organic (or at least healthier) replacement. When we used up our sugar, I re-ordered organic cane sugar in bulk, when we ran out of peanut butter, I purchased two or three organic brands to see which one(s) we liked best. (in my humble opinion, Santa Cruz Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter is amazing!)
There were certain items I tossed out right away — products with artificial flavors, high sugar content or food coloring were out immediately. I truly felt liberated and loved that my family was on the road to a healthier lifestyle! We were cooking again and this time using quality ingredients! Organic food seems to naturally enhance the flavors of any dish.
Now when I shop at a traditional grocery store, I notice I am buying much less. Why is that? Because I am passing by the many aisles filled with processed foods. I typically head to the produce department for organic fruits and vegetables, pick up a must-have in our home (Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk!) and am pretty much done with the exception of a few healthy treasures I find here and there. Our remaining food items are purchased primarily through Azure Standard in addition to monthly runs to Whole Foods. Buying organic ingredients in bulk has proven to be very beneficial to our household and makes healthier eating much more affordable! For example, I might spend close to $28. for 5 lbs. of organic cocoa powder, but that cocoa powder is going to last at least six or seven months! The main items we buy in bulk are flour(s), cereals, vanilla, oats, sugar and cocoa — the rest we typically buy in normal quantities.
Cooking is back-to-basics, and it is great! I still use family favorite recipes that we have accumulated over the years as well as new-found favorites, but replace ingredients with organic ingredients or healthier alternatives. Some recipes are more challenging than others, but it’s fun working with them. Rule number one — be creative! If a recipe fails when using healthier ingredients, then try again. I’ve had some recipes fail miserably and some improve dramatically!
I love making lemonade in the summer, but even with organic lemons and sugar, I was still using a lot of sugar! So I tried honey. I began with half sugar, half honey, then gradually reduced the sugar to one-fourth of the amount and used honey for the rest. I loved it! Remember that with any recipe, not everyone is going to have the same taste, but typically there will be a way to make a recipe work for you in a healthier way. I’ve also learned that some recipes are best left alone, but can still be improved (health wise) by using organic ingredients. So don’t be discouraged, be encouraged and have fun!