Friday, August 14, 2009

Organic - or not?

With me on 'maternity leave' (well, technically 'unemployed' since I am self-employed) we're adjusting to the loss of one income, so things are all achange. The belt is being tightened, 'lifestyle' tweaked.

We're trying (of course) to be more careful with money. We've dropped one day of daycare to lower that bill, we're thinking of dumping private health (after the bub is here!) and economising where we can.

Sadly, this may mean giving up something we've only fairly recently become committed to: buying organic.

In the past few months we've progressively built up how much organic food we buy and eat. I wouldn't say we only eat organic - we're a long way from that - but we're trying. If I see a standard product and an organic one, I will always consider both. In some cases I will buy organic as a matter of course. Here's one:

Organic tea. I like to drink it whenever possible. Why? I read a piece in The Guardian ages ago about just how tea is produced, and about how teabags are generally bleached (the organic ones generally come in unbleached bags). Now, just how well is pesticide usage regulated in places like Sri Lanka and India, where a fair bit of the world's tea is grown? I don't know the answer to that. Do I want to pour boiling water onto bleached paper and then drink that water? No, I do not.

I was pleased to see IGA carries organic teabags - and sells them for not much more than regular ones. That's an organic product we can stick with.

Another way I've found to keep organics on the weekly shopping list is to be smart about when and where I shop. The supermarket nearest to us sells a small but decent range of organic vegies. Some of the prices are outrageous - but hold off a couple of days and the same produce tends to get reduced. That's when I buy it!

And that of course brings me to my latest love: ALDI. I have shopped at ALDI off and on for a while, but with the view it was best just for basics. However, it sells a great range of organic food - at pretty reasonable prices too. Take my fave:

Pasta sauce - good pasta sauce. And something like $2.99 a jar (off the top of my head). I'll take it. Again, it could be pregnancy squeamishness but the knowledge that tomatoes are among the mmost heavily sprayed of the vegetables we buy makes me lean towards an organic option.

The ALDI organic cheese is fantastic too! It comes from NZ (so not too many air miles to get the guilts about!), has a crumbly texture, a tangy taste and it costs about $4 a block - more than the other regular cheeses, but not too bad.

This week when I ducked into ALDI I was excited to pick up a couple of pretty cool organic extras too: an organic cotton bathmat for about what you'd pay for a normal one. And this t-shirt for E:

It's organic: and it was $5.99. I know, I know ... probably made in a sweatshop in China, etc, etc. But I'm a sucker and I bought it. I don't generally care too much for organic cotton clothing, but when I saw these I had to have them:

They're Pure Baby OOO organic cotton trousers and they were one dollar at our local secondhand shop. Seriously. Organic and recycled ... could I be any happier with my purchase?!

One organic cotton product I spent a fair amount on is these:

These are a mix of Baby Beehind organic cotton and hemp blend fitted nappies and, er, an 'imitation' Baby Beehind nappy that is a bamboo and organic cotton blend. These nappies are ultra-absorbant - I know that even though they've not been on the little one's bottom yet, because they take FOREVER to dry. Never mind, the absorbency factor is good!

So there you have it. To be organic or not? Hmmm. It's case by case in our house - but we try.


petite gourmand said...

I hadn't really thought about the tea bag thing before.
Lately I've been buying loose tea from a fantastic teashop in our neighborhood and it's not to crazy expensive.
Then again I'm not sure if it's organic or not.

I think it's a real shame that Organic is more expensive than conventional food.
Good for you that you are sourcing out some good organic deals to be had- and posting about them.

So Now What? said...

I love Aldi. Try and do majority shop there as often as possible. Plus all the random crap in the middle really sucks me in. Who doesn't need a ski-suit or universal remote? Plus we save - on average over $100 per week. Heaps in the course of a year. Loved your post.

Thrifted Treasure said...

Inspiring post! We recently moved and our rent has gone up by $100 per week meaning we have to make cutbacks elsewhere, I must have a look at those Aldi organic products, thanks for sharing!