Organic or Conventional? Plus, Money Saving Tips for Your Next Grocery Visit

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Buy organic. Don’t buy organic. Regardless of your decision, the bottom line is that eating fruits and veggies is better than not eating them at all.

I try to eat organic every chance I get in order to protect myself from the harmful pesticide residue. But let’s be real. Buying 100% organic can be expensive! But just because you can’t always afford to buy organic, doesn’t mean you deserve to be doused with toxic chemicals.

That is why I’ve provided a list of the  “2017 Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen below to help you decide when you can save money by buying conventional, and when it is crucial to spring the extra bucks on organic.

In addition, here are other ways to save on produce:

  1. Join a CSA -When you join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program you pay a farmer in your community a monthly membership fee and they deliver a box of what’s in season to your door.
  2. Buy local and in season- Another cost effective practice is to buy produce that is in season where you live. This is much more economical than buying produce that has been shipped from far parts of the world.
  3. Don’t be shy and check out the discount aisle- Grocery stores put stuff there that will expire soon, it’s not yet expired! So if you are going to eat it for dinner that night, or even the next day, scoop it up and save some cash!
  4. Buy your dry food online – That’s right, places like Thrive Market have competitive prices on organic dry foods, and they deliver right to your door. How’s that for convenient? There is a small membership fee, but Thrive sponsors a low-income family with it.

2017 Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen List:

Dirty Dozen:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes

Clean Fifteen:

  • Sweet Corn (non-GMO)
  • Avocados
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangos
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapefruit

Happy Shopping! And remember to support your local farmer whenever possible!

xxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

 

3 Steps to Conscious Eating

eatingConscious eating is a major and necessary feature of our plant-based philosophy, a philosophy that extends out of the kitchen, off of our plates and into the wider world, informing how we interact with others and how we treat our environment.

The opposite of conscious eating – unconscious eating, is practiced by most people in the world today. It is the default operating mode for almost everyone when it comes to choices made about food, overwhelmingly so in developed countries. It’s an easy and low cost way of eating supported by businesses and society alike. And the most insidious quality of unconscious eating is that most people know no other way, or even suspect that there is an alternative.

As more and more people awaken to the disastrous effects the animal agriculture industries are having on our planet and the effects their ‘food’ is having on our health, unconscious eating is giving way to conscious eating.

As Eldridge Cleaver said, “There is no more neutrality in the world. You are either part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”

3 Steps to Begin Your Journey Into conscious Eating:

1.  Expand your Knowledge

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance” – Confucius

Before we begin to make profound changes in the way we eat, it helps to be exposed to the ideas that lead us there. A lifetime of healthy food choices can be built on the right foundation of knowledge.

There are numerous books, films and websites that expose us to the truth about the food we eat, and educate us about a healthier, more sustainable way of eating and living.

Make a point of studying and researching for yourself. Arm yourself with facts before opinions. The more you know about the subjects of animal agriculture and the negative health effects of animal products on our health the more you are naturally inclined towards eating consciously.

Resources to expand your awareness:

How Not To Die, by Gene Stone and Michael Greger.

A painstakingly thoroughly well-researched book about the benefits of plant-based diets and the insidious effects of animal products.

Earthlings

This film narrated by Joaquin Phoenix strikes at the emotional level, highlighting the reality behind factory farming and research labs among others.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

This film addresses the real cost of animal agriculture on the environment.

More resources can also be found at The Plant-based Plan Resources

2. Stop and Think

think

 We are all creatures of habit. Our negative lifestyle decisions are usually made subconsciously. We all do it as we stroll through the aisles of the supermarket, mindlessly throwing packages into the trolley that are no good for us, or the environment.

Conscious eating is also a habit that needs to be established through practice.

So how do we practice?

When you find yourself in a situation where you need to make a choice about food, take a moment to stop and ask yourself this question:

Based on my current understanding, will purchasing or eating this food lead to better health, vitality and moral satisfaction for myself, or will it potentially damage my health, lead to suffering for the creatures we share our planet with or damage the environment?

In the beginning you may find yourself coming to the conclusion that the food is not healthy or environmentally friendly, but you just throw it in the trolley anyway. I’m that way with Häagen-Dazs ice cream, it just short-circuits my common sense.

But the important thing is to exercise your mind in this way continuously.

By doing so, you bring your negative lifestyle choices into awareness on a daily basis, rather than just ignoring them, and we can only take so much of our own irresponsible actions before we decide to make changes.

3. Simplify

simple

The world of food, whether it be the aisles in the supermarket, the gaudy primary colours of the fast food restaurant, or the dimly lit elegance of an upmarket bistro, has become an arena of entertainment, designed to appeal to the senses and draw you in with tastes and flavours.

This approach makes food one of the great pleasures in life, even though it may be killing us.

Millions of years of evolutionary biology have programmed us to relish the intense flavours of sugars, salt and fats. We are programmed to stock up on sweet and fatty foods when they are abundant because in the past we would inevitably have been faced with long periods without them.

But now we live in a world of permanent abundance. This state of affairs has only existed for around half a century, but how quickly we have seen the disastrous effects of ‘stocking up’ on a daily basis, in the skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Conscious eating therefore requires us to step back and make a sacrifice and a commitment.

We sacrifice the artificial flavours of the packaged sauces for the simplicity of lemon juice and vinegar, for example.

We learn to enjoy beans and nuts and vegetables as they are, without complicated and unnecessary preparations.

We choose a food primarily for it’s health benefits, rather than it’s tastiness.

We make a commitment to sometimes stay at home and eat simply rather than disconnect ourselves from the process in a restaurant.

Simplifying our kitchens, our eating habits and our lives in general is a powerful way to benefit our health and contribute to the well-being of our planet and our fellow earthlings.

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About Donny McFarlane

Donny McFarlane is an English teacher, yoga teacher, freediver, generally enthusiastic mover and plant-based lifestyle advocate.

He has independently researched nutrition and the relationship between health and food for more than a decade. Switching to a 100% plant-based diet was the catalyst that reversed years of negative lifestyle choices and allowed him to excel athletically, personally and spiritually.

Visit The Plant Based Plan for meticulously designed and beautifully laid out 100% plant-based, vegan meal plans and recipes.

Raw Dark Chocolate (Only 5 Minutes to Prepare!)

I love dark chocolate. If someone gave me the ultimatum to go without hot water or dark chocolate, I think I would probably go without hot showers for the rest of my life. As much as I love dark chocolate, I equally disdain all of the artificial ingredients put into many of the store- bought brands such as high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, food dyes, “natural” flavoring, etc.  Not to mention many well known food companies procure their chocolate in a not- so- ethical manner.

But this does not mean you have to abandon ship and give up chocolate forever!

Homemade dark chocolate is extremely easy to make. All you need is coconut oil, maple syrup, and cacao (salt is optional). By buying your ingredients from companies who get their ingredients ethically, you are supporting the good side, and by making your own chocolate, you are ditching the ingredients which make your body sick. It’s a win-win all around!

Extra bonus: Cacao (not to be confused with its evil twin cacoa) is rich in magnesium which helps us keep regular visits to the loo, helps us catch zzz’s, and reduces anxiety.

Raw Dark Chocolate:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cacao
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt (optional)
  • Directions:
  1. If you live in a place with a cold climate melt the coconut oil first in a saucepan over low heat (If you live in a climate where your coconut oil is liquid then skip this step).I like to use a double broiler so the chocolate mixture does not come in direct contact with the heat. If you do not have one, just put the mixture in a bowl and set on top of the saucepan. Use what ya got, right?
  2. As soon as the coconut oil has melted add the maple syrup.
  3. Next, turn off the heat and immediately mix in the cacao until smooth, then add your vanilla.
  4. After that is all smooth and blended, sprinkle in your sea salt.
  5. You can add any other ingredients such as goji berries, shredded coconut, etc. if desired.
  6. Next, put into small cupcake papers or a silicon mold. Place in the freezer and let harden for an hour.
  7. Store in the refrigerator after if you live in a cold climate, and keep in the freezer if you live in a hot climate.

Goji berries and dark chocolate is my jam. What’s yours? I would love to hear about the creations you come up with!