Organic : Prioritized

The importance of eating organic (and non-GMO) has been written a million ways by a million people way smarter than me so I’m not even going to go into how EXTREMELY critical it is! (Robyn O’Brien is my fave blogger/expert on this topic if you want more info.)

So, how does the average person on an average budget know how to prioritize? I really struggle in making decisions on where to splurge on organic and when its OK to buy conventional. And if you’re anything like me, I dread coming home after a grocery store visit to my husband asking, “K how much did you spend this week??” So, I wanted to share a few tips.

Now, I must include a disclaimer: most of the information I share in the post comes from my mother, Patricia Ryan-Carlson, MD. I quickly picked her brain while she gave Kate a bath last week (seriously, she’s the best) on why she recommends certain foods MUST be purchased organic. Her order of importance is as follows:

1.) Meat and Dairy – MOST IMPORTANT

Why? The pesticides and herbicides are fat-soluble, meaning they accumulate and are stored in the fatty tissue of the animal. The EPA reports that meat is contaminated with higher levels of pesticides than any plant food. Animal feed that contains animal products compounds the accumulation, which is directly passed to the us. In addition, antibiotics, drugs, and hormones are a standard in raising and slaughtering livestock, all of which accumulate and are passed on to consumers as well. Ick. So much ick.

Grass-fed beef (and butter/milk/yogurt/cheese) and free-range chicken and eggs (Note:  not just “cage free”) are absolutely worth the splurge.

2.) Fruits and VeggiesDirtyClean

Why? There can be as many as FORTY (40!) different pesticides sprayed on each piece of produce (strawberries being the biggest offenders). Check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 here. This guide can help you prioritize which produce items are critical to buy organic and which ones are OK to purchase conventional.

Quick tip: While fresh is always the best, I am big consumer of frozen organic fruits and veggies. It’s totally cheaper!

3.) Everything else: Grains, snacks, processed goods

Work this stuff into your budget when you can. Thankfully, grocery stores like Bakers, Hy-Vee and Costco have their own store-brand organic items. The smallest ingredient list is best and avoid HFCS and artificial dyes. And, remember: just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

My last tip? The 80/20 rule: be good 80% of the time. 20% of the time, give yourself a break. Perfection when it comes to any sort of “diet” is unrealistic. (Hellooooo Bruegger’s bagels and cream cheese).

K sorry. One more tip: Baby steps! Start small. Small changes over time DO make a difference. Slowly move more organic items into your diet.

Cheers!

Kate Berries

Picture because…who doesn’t love a cute baby eating organic berries?!

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Baby, Back That Glass Up

This mama is a proud consumer of glass when it comes to food/beverage storage. Glass water bottles (my ello is seriously my bestie), glass cups, glass food storage for left overs (this is a great Pyrex set!), glass baby food containers (LOVE Wean Green!) and glass BOTTLES! Buying glass items is second nature to me and I forget how “odd” it is until someone comes over to my house and sees glass bottles drying on my counter.

Decades ago, bottles made of glass were the only bottles made. Did you know that glass bottles are STILL available to purchase?! In fact, Philips Avent Natural glass bottles were the only bottles I bought when I was expecting Lucy. I had to do a bit of searching, but Babies R Us carries a couple of awesome glass bottle brands.

Plastic has become such a staple in our society, and while MOST (not all) food-grade food storage containers no longer contain BPA, plastic unfortunately still leaks toxic chemicals into your food & drinks, ESPECIALLY if you heat them up! (Um, hello! So scary – that is exactly what we are doing with bottles!)

I couldn’t fathom the thought of spending countless hours, meticulously pumping my “liquid gold”, only to have it tainted the second I put it in a plastic bottle for my baby to consume the next day while I was at work.

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So, why did glass bottles go away? Here’s my thoughts:

  • Plastic is lighter – true; glass can’t compete here
  • Plastic is cheaper – eh, questionable; my glass bottles were more up-front but I’m two babies in and they are still in perfect (dare I say, pristine) condition. I bet I’ll be able to re-sell them at a fair price.
  • Glass will break – well, this is technically true…BUT you guys, I have dropped countless bottles on the floor (a couple of times with my milk actually in them with no lid on – so painful to see that milk spill on the floor) and the bottles DID. NOT. BREAK. I have had not ONE broken glass bottle.

Are you intrigued yet? Here are my top 5 reasons for using glass bottles:

  1. Glass is completely nonporous and even impermeable. The quality and flavor of your milk/formula will in no way be impacted. Maybe you need a wine reference….wine references always bring it home for me. Q. Why do you think wine is stored in glass?! A. As to not disrupt the flavor!
  2. Glass is made from NATURALLY abundant materials (i.e. mosly sand) and won’t breakdown over time
  3. There is NO risk of man-made chemicals leaching into your baby’s milk
  4. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity AND 80% of the glass that is recovered is made into new glass products
  5. They are easier to clean and keep looking nice

Do you have a favorite glass bottle? How do you use glass in your daily life? I’m always looking for tips!

“Girl ya look good….won’t ya back that glass up?” You know you’re singing it.