Friday, September 18, 2009

The expenses of eating healthy

I started writing about this subject in my last post up until I was interrupted by my baby girl. :) Now she is having so much fun with Daddy I can spare the time for a few more words on the topic. How much more or less a healthy, pure diet will cost you of course depends highly on what you are used to eating. Yes, if you eat mostly veggies and some occasional meat but do not usually purchase organic just switching to the organic varieties will probably increase your food bills.

Like I mentioned previously, where you buy is what makes the difference. For example, the price of organic pumpkin seeds are 24 euros/ 1 kg (2lb) in my local supermarket, where as here they deliver it to my door for 6.50 euros/kg. Big difference! Instead of always buying at one place, shop around. Supermarkets are usually not the best places to get organic food. Some fruit/veggies have reasonable pricing, but often times a better variety can be found cheaper at a farmer's market or specialty stores. For those of you living in Finland in the Helsinki area, I recommend buying most of your vegetables at Hakaniemen tori (Hakaniemi market building) or for example Ruohonjuuri, which is located near Kamppi. At Hakaniemi they have a section for organic food, and especially the fresh produce (seasonal!) is very decently priced. You may also want to consider Labby farm, they will deliver to your door weekly for a small cost. Their flax seed is so inexpensive, 5 kilos for only 12 euros! Punnitse & Säästä is a good store for buying dry goods such as nuts and seeds, there you can weigh out your own quantity. Cocovishop is where I order my Chia seeds, Goji berries, organic coconut oil and shea butter (which we use as moisturizer). At my local supermarket Prisma I usually get some veggies, fruit (cheap organic bananas, oranges and even apples) and organic olive oil. As you can see, some places have better prices on certain items. To be ecological, when I order online I usually order a bigger amount at once and the same goes if we drive up to the local farms which are further away.

I know there are lost of extremely expensive superfood powders available: maca, spirulina, msm, chlorella etc etc. Don't believe it all without always researching the stuff yourself. We use some maca and spirulina in our smoothies, but I'm not too crazy about other powders available. There is also a lot of misleading info out there, like some claim that you can get vitamin B12 from
spirulina. My personal and professional (after studying a fair bit of biology, chemistry and medicine) opinion is that you cannot get this vitamin from a plant source in the form we need it. There is no reliable evidence so far to suggest we could and up until there is, EVERY vegan (no dairy, eggs or meat) and even vegetarian should make sure that they get enough of this essential vitamin. It is crucial in brain cell development and all cell growth in the body.

And don't think that if you simply cannot afford going all the way, that even small steps wouldn't work wonders. Doing these will not cost you much:

1. Stop eating margarine and refined vegetable oils! They are supposed to be heart-healthy, but even if they say no trans fats, margarine is always hardened (hydrogenated), refined vegetable oil that has the same or worse affect on your body as saturated animal fat. Not to mention all the hazardous additives. Look for cold pressed oils, which are full of the essential and good fats. If you need to, replace margarine with preservative and additive free natural/organic butter, or just omit altogether (which I recommend).

2. No more refined, white sugar. Replace with raw, organic honey. You need far less of it. If you feel like you really need to bake something and it won't work with honey, use unrefined, raw cane sugar. I would recommend keeping baking with flour, fat and sugar to a minimum altogether. There are so many delicious raw treats available, everything from cookies to cakes, pancakes, ice creams and wonderful puddings and mousses. Smoothies can be sweetened with a teaspoon of raw honey, and if you are strict vegan agave nectar can be used. Be careful when you buy agave to get the actual nectar, not just lab synthesized fructose which is at least as harmful as white sugar.

3. Stop stuffing your stomach with nutrient-deficient bulk. Most of us who can afford a computer and internet, do not need to fill up on cheap white wheat bread & potatoes. When you buy bread, if you need it, buy whole-grain and make sure it does not have additives or preservatives. Have a thin slice once in a while, not half a loaf a day or for one meal. Finns have cheap rye bread which is 100% natural and organic (Perheleipurit): only wholegrain rye, water and some salt. Not even yeast. Yeast expands in your body the same way it does in warm water in a bowl. No wonder most of us feel bloated after having bread! Most grains, especially wheat, will turn into sugars in our body. If you can, switch to raw crackers and fruit. They may be the same price or even less than organic, wholegrain bread.

This is all preaching for now, feel free to comment. Enjoy your weekends!


Yaelian said...

Hyvä kirjoitus. Suomessa on kyllä aika kallista jos kaikki on luomua. Vihannekset ja hedelmät kun ovat muutenkin niin kalliita Suomessa. Luovuin valkoisesta sokerista parisen vuotta sitten,ja sen jälkeen käytänkin eri makeuttajia tarpeen mukaan,kuten ruokosokeria, agavea, taatelisiirappia tai taateleita,tiivistettyä luomuomenamehua,johon ei mitään muuta ole lisätty. Jokainen tuo oman makunsa siihen,mihin sitä käytetään.
Hyvä neuvo tuo,että kannattaa itse ottaa selvää noista eri superjauhoista ennen käyttöä,ei pitäisi ottaa niiden ns. vaikutuksia for granted..
Oikein mukavaa viikonloppua!

Aletheia said...

Onhan se, aika harvalla on varaa ostaa ihan kaikkea luomuna. Itse ainakin tunnustan että en vieläkään ole ostanut luomuavocadoja. Osittain ehkä siksi, että silloin harvoin kun ne ovat edes etäisesti kohtuuhintaisia (edes lähellä kymmentä euroa/kg), ne ovat jo menneet huonoiksi. Joku kaunis päivä kyllä niitäkin sitten luomuna!

Olet kyllä niin oikeassa siinä, että valkoiselle sokerille on niin paljon hyviä vaihtoehtoja. Ne lisäävät ihan oikeasti uusia aromeja ruokaan, eivätkä vain keinotekoista makeutta. Itse pidän myös täyteläisen makuisesta ruoasta, paljon mieluummin runsaasti muita makuja kuin kasoittain sokeria!

raist said...

Hi, thanks for the informative post!

You mentioned that you order your shea butter from Cocovishop.

The site is in Finnish and I can't really read it. Can you tell me how to navigate to the shea butter product? Thanks.

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