How to Spend Less on Eating Organic Foods

Most organic foods cost a bit more than their non-organic counterpart. For people on a tight budget deciding to eat organic foods can be a tough choice. When you live on a limited budget you have to choose carefully how you allocate your funds. What is really important to you? Perhaps you would rather have 200 cable tv channels instead of a refrigerator full of organic food. Perhaps you would rather eat dinner at a restaurant once a week than eat organic meals every day.

Eating organic foods on a tight budget begins with a choice. You can choose to eat foods that are sprayed, coated, genetically altered, artificially ripened, and unnaturally preserved. You can choose to eat foods that drain your health, destroy your environment and degrade your children’s future.

If you don’t like these choices then read on. Eating organic foods on a tight budget is easier than many people realize. Once you have made the decision to commit to a healthy organic diet, there are several tips for eating organic on a tight budget that can make this decision affordable.

Tip #1: Comparison shop

Most towns and cities have at least two stores that stock organic meats, produce, and dry goods. Many traditional chain grocery stores have organic foods. Compare their prices to those at the local health food store, food coop and/or farmer’s market and buy items where they are cheaper.

Tip #2: Spend your money where it matters most

Some produce items are more contaminated with pesticides and insecticides than others. The UNC School of Public Health suggests that people buy organic versions of these most contaminated conventional items: peaches, apples, nectarines, celery, pears, potatoes, bell peppers, raspberries, grapes (imported), strawberries, spinach, and cherries.

Other produce items are likely to have only a minimal amount of contamination. The organic version is better if you can afford it. But if your budget is tight, save money by purchasing the conventional version of these items: papaya, kiwi, broccoli, asparagus, onions, bananas, peas, mangos, cauliflower, pineapple, avocado, and corn.

Tip #3: Stock up on sale items

Organic foods go on sale just like every other food you can buy. When one of the organic goods you like goes on sale be sure to stock up. Dry goods are easy enough to store. Meats freeze well. But remember that certain fruits and veggies can also be frozen. Cut up pineapple, strawberries, mango and more and freeze for future smoothies. Lightly cook spinach, beans, corn, etc and freeze away.

Tip #4: Find coupons

Many health food stores, such as Whole Foods and Earthfare, have coupons that are specific for their store. Look for coupon booklets near the entrance or at the checkout counters. Additionally, many organic products have coupons available online. If you have preferred products, it’s worth a quick search on the internet to look for coupons.

Tip #5: Eat less meat

One of the most expensive grocery items that people buy is meat. Eating only antibiotic-free and hormone-free meat is essential for optimal health, particularly in growing children. However, many people eat more meat than is necessary. A serving size of meat should be no bigger than the size of a deck of cards. Limiting your portions to this size will save you money.

Additionally, consider cooking with meat substitutes. Tofu and tempeh are great alternatives to meat. Save money by purchasing these organic items when they are on sale and eating them in place of meat. Enjoy the variety of texture and taste that these non-meat proteins offer.

Eating organic foods is an excellent choice for one’s health and for the environment. By following the tips above, it is entirely possible to eat delicious organic meals on a tight budget. Enjoy!

 

Your Wellness Yogi

Soto Zen Meditation: Sitting facing a wall and meditating can lead to positive changes.

What is Soto Zen Meditation?

There is nothing special or different about Soto Zen meditation. It is not something weird or esoteric. It simply involves being still within, and allowing one’s real self to emerge from beneath the jumble of thoughts and emotions that usually fill an individual’s mind.

How Can One Practise it?

How can someone be still in this way? There are various techniques, but in Soto Zen Meditation the practitioner simply sits. The physical sitting position doesn’t really matter very much. Sitting on a zafu or meditation cushion using one of the lotus positions is traditional if the person is comfortable that way. But sitting on a chair or stool is fine, and often more suitable for western meditation practitioners who are not used to sitting in crosslegged psoitions for long periods. The eyes are kept open, and meditators usually face the wall. The technique is not to concentrate on anything, but instead to simply observe one’s thoughts or emotions, and come back to sitting still.

What About the Mind?

What about thoughts? When they arise, the practitioner tries to simply let them be. He or she doesn’t try to push them away, but does not try to hang on to them or actively ‘think’ either. It’s a little bit like sitting on a bridge watching the traffic going by. It is not necessary to try to stop the traffic, but one doesn’t have to get in there and try to speed it up or change it either. Thought is a natural process, and the meditator is not trying to do anything unnatural. Instead, the person is simply trying to be themselves as they truly are.

So What Comes Next?

In the beginning, meditation can seem very difficult. The practitioner may feel as though he or she has more thoughts and emotions than ever before. Time may appear to pass exceedingly slowly, and he may feel uncomfortable or downright miserable – worse than before he started! But all these feelings should be treated in the same way as thoughts, by not being held on to or pushed away, but simply accepted for what they are. When the meditator finds that he has started following his thoughts, ie thinking, it is best not to worry about it. Just by noticing what is going on, one has already begun meditating again. So the person shouldn’t get upset about it, but just come back to sitting still.

And What Can it Lead to?

This may all sound boring or pointless. But out of this simple practice, many things in one’s life can change. The details vary for different people, but simply keeping up a regular practice means that in time life becomes more peaceful, fulfilling, and natural. One feels calmer, more content, and less inclined to violent emotional swings for no good reason. In fact, it’s amazing what a few minutes of looking at a wall every day can do for one’s peace of mind!

 

Your Wellness Yogi

Tree Meditation Exercise: Reduce Stress and Connect with Nature Using Guided Imagery

When life gets busy, it’s easy to feel disconnected, even uprooted from one’s own life. The following nature meditation is designed to connect the individual with his or her self again by imagining the body as a tree, swaying in the breeze.

After practicing the tree meditation, one will feel grounded and connected again to nature and the self. This exercise is highly recommended after a stressful day or event, any time that one feels disconnected.

Preparation for the Tree Meditation

Drinking some water beforehand may relax the body and prevent distractions. Minimize interruptions by silencing the pager or cell phone. Explain to family members or roommates the need for privacy, and carve out some space to relax and be.

Directions for the Tree Meditation

One will need comfortable feet and ten to twenty minutes of uninterrupted time. Spend thirty seconds to a minute stretching the body and focusing on the breathing before beginning.

  1. Stand up straight, with arms hanging gently at the sides.
  2. Close the eyes and focus on breathing as deeply as possible.
  3. Breathe deeply, three times or as long as needed until the abdomen fills up like a balloon on the inhale.
  4. Breathe in, and begin to wriggle the fingers, like leaves on a tree. Breathe out.
  5. Breathe in, and lift the arms ever so gently above the head to any position that is comfortable. Imagine the arms as branches moving in the breeze. Let them move back and forward. Breathe out.
  6. Continue letting the branches and leaves sway in the breeze for several breaths.
  7. Now notice the legs and soles of the feet. Are they firmly planted on the ground? Adjust them until the body is grounded.
  8. Breathe in, and feel the breath come out the top of the head and sway the tree branches. Now exhale, and feel the breath move down the body and down through the feet into the floor.
  9. Notice that roots sink down into the earth with the breath. Breathe deeply several times and imagine a system of roots sprouting from the bottoms of the feet and grounding the body deep, deep into the ground.
  10. Enjoy connectedness to the world as a tree. Move the feet and take a few steps. Even walking, the connection is still there.
  11. Breathe deeply three more times. When ready, open the eyes.

Meditation Suggestions for Daily Life

The tree meditation may be useful to reconnect with one’s body as well as mind and spirit. It could be practiced during cold weather when one misses nature, or at any time one desires a relaxing escape from the present.

 

A shorter version of the tree meditation might also be practiced in the midst of a stressful situation or encounter. Take a deep breath and imagine the roots connecting the body to the earth. Even though stress may be high, that stress does not have the power to uproot and disconnect the individual from his/her own life.

 

Your Wellness Yogi