All in all week 1 was a success and not too difficult, however not to say it didn’t have some challenges! Throughout the week I was often reminded how grateful I am to live both a lifestyle and in a place where organically grown foods are accessible (for the most part). I am very aware that this is NOT the case for all people in all places. I want to make it clear that the reason I am doing this challenge is to spread awareness about the dangers of pesticides for both the planet and human health and to show the importance of getting in touch with how our food is grown. I never hope to make anyone feel bad about their situation and how it might dictate the foods they eat.
Instead, I am raising awareness because 300 billion pounds of glyphosate are sprayed per year in the U.S. alone!1 This chemical gets into the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breath. It is one of the main factors contributing to chronic diseases such as cancers, infertility, autism, autoimmune conditions, digestive disorders, and mental illnesses.
Listed below are some challenges and things I learned throughout my first week of this “Organic Only” Challenge!
- My travel day: there are almost NO organic foods at the airport or ferry terminals! Luckily I bought a jarred salad from “Fresh City Farms” before I got to the airport. I also packed homemade chocolate chip banana bread, chopped carrots, and chamomile tea bags. I was hoping to find another healthy snack along the way – however even the healthy looking snacks like veggie chips were not organic
- I bought tempeh, forgot to look at the label, and realized as I left the store it was “non gmo” but not organic. I went back to return it and explained why – luckily the person working at the til was super understanding. I exchanged it for tofu instead which turned out to be quite delicious and a nice change up in my usual diet (although I don’t recommend eating tofu too often)
- Eating out: this was such a tough one – and I knew it would be! I love grabbing a decaf Americano and a yummy treat when I’m out and about however, I realized unless the cafe specifically labels themselves as fully organic – it is almost near impossible to find places that serve organic foods. This was the same with restaurants! Luckily for me on Salt Spring, I was able to find organic goodies at the “Mateada“, “Earth Candy Cafe“, and “Switchboard Cafe.” I brought my own organic almond milk to put in my coffee at Switchboard as neither of the almond or soy are fully organic. The owner is so sweet and understanding and supportive of this challenge so she didn’t mind at all!
- Tortillas: I dragged my boyfriend to 3 different grocery stores to look for organic tortillas with ingredients that I liked – luckily at our 3rd (and last place we could have looked) we found “Bakestone Brothers” tortillas that were fully organic and made the perfect base for our refried bean burritos
- Explaining to others about this challenge without sounding “entitled.” I realize the word “organic” has a bad rep. Those who don’t understand the true meaning and importance of it use the word to categorize food for wealthy people who just enjoy spending more on their groceries – this is certainly not the case for me!
Things I Learned
- Preparation is everything. I learned that in order to stay sane in this challenge I need to be prepared and plan both my eating schedule and meals accordingly
- Read the ingredient labels ALWAYS. Most packaged foods will be sure to tell you if they are certified organic on the front – but some don’t want to pay for the certification so instead they just individually list the ingredients as organic on the back of the label. “Little Creek” Salad dressing is a great example of this – although I just found out they are now moving over to certified organic
- “Braggs” my favourite healthy soy sauce alternative is not organic – I was really surprised by this one! I opted for organic Tamari instead and haven’t noticed a difference in taste in any of the recipes I usually use Braggs for.
- Shopping around is important. This is where I needed to show up with full dedication to the challenge. It’s never ideal to have to go to 3 different stores to find the organic version of what you’re looking for – however, chances are by the 3rd one you will likely find it – and know what stores offer the most affordable prices 🙂
- Buy in bulk. I did a big order from “Organic Matters” this week. My produce hasn’t come in yet but I know when it get here it’s going to make things wayyy easier and more cost effective for me.
- I head back to Vancouver for a few work events – I will certainly be bringing ferry snacks with me and am currently researching what organic restaurants I might be able to enjoy eating out at in the city- stay tuned.
- I am going to soak and cook some chickpeas – I’ve gotten in such a bad habit of buying the organic canned ones but know I can save my self a small fortune by cooking mine own – and it’s way better for the environment and my digestion!
- I’m going to talk about the most affordable ways to add more organic greens into your diet
- I look forward to what else I am going to learn and discover!