If you are interested in switching to an organic diet, here are
ten basic tips to get you on the path to a healthier food
1. Do Your Research - As with any new
endeavour, it pays to do a little background research. Start with
the following areas:
Pay attention to your family's diet. What foods do they consume
and enjoy often? What are their favourite foods? Are they open to
Investigate local organic produce, growers and stores. Compare
where the foods are grown. Are there organic alternatives to some
food staples that interest you?
The Canadian Organic Growers website
is an excellent resource for directories of organic retailers and
farmers across the country.
2. Be Flexible - Not all organic foods taste or
even look the same as their non-organic counterparts. An example of
this would be organic bananas - they always arrive green and
smaller than what you're probably used to seeing. Because they
arrive green, they may not be as sweet or they may take a little
longer to ripen.
3. Grow Your Own - If you have a "˜green'
thumb, use it! There's nothing like eating fresh from your own
garden. As a gardener, you control the use of pesticides and
4. Shop at Farmers Markets - Farmers markets
are an excellent venue to learn about the food you eat and where it
comes from. You will be introduced to the people who actually work
the farms and how they do what they do. The insight you gain by
engaging with the farmers directly is invaluable when you care
about the use of pesticides and sustainable food systems.
5. Join a Co-op - Food Co-ops are a unique way
in which you can see directly how your money is being spent.
Typically, once you buy a membership, you are then partial owner of
the organization, therefore you have voting rights and can then
influence co-op processes and decisions. For example, the Ontario Natural Food
Co-op has a buying club, where you can purchase natural foods
directly from the wholesaler. The ONFC considers their members to
be "˜member-owners.' Being empowered to improve or effectively
change food processes to more "˜green' options, is certainly a step
in the right direction.
6. Shop Online - Online shopping has eased its
way into all facets of a busy lifestyle. There are online organic
retailers who deliver directly to your home. A great example is http://www.eatit.ca/. While they are located in
Winnipeg, they ship anywhere in Canada. Organic shopping has never
been so easy. You will pay a premium for delivery to your door,
however, that is the cost of convenience.
7. Buy Big In-Season - When organic produce is
in-season, buy larger amounts. Once you return home, keep half of
it fresh and ready-to-eat, and prepare the other half for the
refrigerator (ex. chop vegetables and fruits into serving portions
and store in the freezer, or make jams and preserves with the
8. In the Off-Season, Eat Preserves and Embrace
the Big Freeze - This is where the "˜fruits of your labour' from
in-season will pay off. When items are off-season, simply turn to
your preserves and frozen produce.
9. Re- Think Your Food Budget - Eating
healthier unfortunately (usually) means spending more. Until
organics are considered part of the everyday, we will continue to
have to pay extra for these alternatives. On the flip side, think
of the many savings to be had when you limit your spending on junk
food and empty carbohydrates, in favour of a sustainable food item.
It's difficult to put a price tag on one's health and that of the
10. Transition Slowly to Organics - Begin the
transition to organic eating with some of your and your family's
favourite foods. Pick produce with flavours that excite you and
your family. Families with young children may want to start buying
organic baby food and dairy products. Once the first initial
organic items are integrated into your family's "˜normal' diet,
continue adding one new organic item to the menu at a time.