Posted by: suzan | August 19, 2010

Living organically and naturally

Even before the words “natural” and “environmentally-friendly” became part of the common vocabulary, they were once considered almost taboo. People didn’t know about eating naturally and organically and using natural products let alone how to preserve the planet for future generations. It was almost exclusive to a secret society that no one wanted to go near unless you received a special invitation or it was publicized on national television. So what does organic mean, you ask? It basically means products that limits the use of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Imagine all of those toxic chemicals in your body and in the environment!

The ironic thing is, organic and all-natural food and products have been around for many years but because of certain “movements” I should say, people became more aware of the benefits of organic and all-natural products. And several years ago when scientists freaked everyone out with the term “global warming”, people started jumping on the bandwagon of trying to purchase more responsibly. Now personally I don’t know how much of global warming we are in danger of since it’s an ongoing exploration but I am elated that more and more people are trying to be more responsible about what they put in their bodies and in their trash. I’ve tried for many years to convince my family and friends to reuse, reduce, and recycle and to be careful of what we eat. I think part of the reason for becoming a vegetarian (besides the humane aspect of it) is that eating meat leaves behind too much carbon footprint – hence also contributing to destroying the precious planet we live on. And let’s not talk about the negative health ramifications associated with eating meat.

Vegetarian or not, for many years and even before my son was born, I’ve been trying to use all-natural cleaning products in the home and eating as much organic food as possible. I’ve made it imperative to buy and eat only organic food whenever feasable and to use products from environmentally-forward companies. But I tell you, buying organic food isn’t necessarily cheap and a few years ago, they were practically an arm and a leg (or a petal and a stalk  – if you’re a vegetarian :)). And when we’re dining at other people’s homes or eating out, I don’t have much control over what they put on the table. I do however limit eating out and the overly-laden-with-pesticides type of food. There are what they call “The Dirty Dozen” where 12 main fruits and vegetables have proven to contain the most pesticide residues. And when you imagine what these pesticides can do to the insects; they’ll most likely do to humans.

I know it’s virtually impossible to eat organically 100% of the time, but there are certain types of food that I DO NOT devalue no matter the cost. I simply shop at the stores where I can get a better deal. I’m just relieved not only for my sake but for my family’s sake that organic produce has become more readily available.   The selections are great so far and the prices have become more reasonable. And nowadays you can find almost anything organic from organic bedsheets, to stuffed animals, to soaps.

Buying organic produce is very important in keeping my family healthy, especially my son who doesn’t yet know the difference between bad and good food. But knowing that I’m putting organic or chemical-free food on his plate and into his tummy has made it easier on my parenting skills. I can worry less about what he’s eating and concentrate more on enjoying him and being a mom. And most importantly, I want to teach my son to eat responsibly and buy responsibly so that hopefully these life lessons will stay with him throughout childhood and adulthood.

For those of you who would like to learn more about what type of organic and natural products to purchase, I’ve listed below the companies that I frequently purchase from. Please note that not all products contain 100% organic ingredients and it’s always best to read the labels carefully. My number one rule is to always read the ingredients before buying something new.

*This list will be updated as I discover new brands! So please check back often.

Amy’s (www.amys.com) organic and all-natural food. They sell a deliciously-wide assortment of products ranging from frozen pizza, soup, beans, frozen meals, etc. They also have a great assortment of non-dairy products.

Annies Homegrown (www.annies.com)- organic and all-natural food. They sell snacks for kids and adults, cereals, and pasta.                                         

Annie’s Naturals (www.anniesnaturals.com)- organic and all-natural food. They sell mostly dressings, sauces, and condiments.                                                       

Alexia Foods (www.alexiafoods.com)- organic and all-natural food. They sell frozen french fries, sweet potato fries, etc. My son loves their waffle fries!                  

BabyGanics (www.babyganics.com) – organic and all-natural products for the home and body. They sell products that are extremely gentle for babies and children. They also sell cleaning products that have worked really well.                                                                                                                  

Back to Nature (www.backtonaturefoods.com)- organic and all-natural food. They sell mostly cereals, granola snacks, cookies, and crackers.                             

Barbara’s Bakery (www.barbarasbakery.com)- organic and all-natural food. They sell great-tasting cereals, snacks, cookies, and crackers.                                     

Burts Bees (www.burtsbees.com) – organic and all-natural personal products. They sell everything from toothpaste to shampoos to lipsticks.                   

Cascadian Farm (www.cascadianfarm.com)- organic and all-natural food. They sell frozen fruit, frozen vegetables, cereals, granola bars, cookies, crackers, etc.  We devour their products on a regular basis! So much to choose from too.                                          

Cleanwell (www.cleanwelltoday.com) – natural products for people. They sell anti-bacterial hand soaps and sprays and use botanical ingredients like thyme and lavender.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Earthbound Farm (www.ebfarm.com) – organic produce only. Great selection of fresh produce!                                                                                                                                                                          

Eden Food/Eden Organics (www.edenfoods.com)- organic and all-natural food. They sell everything from pasta to dry goods to organic tea. We love their products!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Earth’s Best/Hains Celestial (www.earthsbest.com) – organic and all-natural food and products. They sell food and diapers for children and they have an organic and all-natural baby body care line by Jasons. They’ve been a household name for us ever since our son was born.               

Earth Friendly Products  (www.ecos.com)- organic and all-natural products for people and home. They sell 100% sustainable ingredients ranging from dish soap to floor cleaners to laundry care. This is one of our favorite companies. Their products contain only the purest of ingredients and completely non- toxic!                                                                                                                                                                                   

EO (www.eoproducts.com) – organic and all-natural personal care products. They use only essential oils in their products along with other natural ingredients. We absolutely fell in love with their stuff when I discovered this company last year!                                                                   

Erewhon (www.usmillsllc.com) – organic and all-natural cereal. They sell organic and gluten-free rice cereals. Great snacks to munch on even without the milk.

Hansens (www.hansens.com) – all-natural beverages. I used to drink Hansens juices and sodas a long time ago but then I stopped drinking sodas all together. Recently I rediscovered their delicious and effervescent beverages!                                                                                                   

Happy Baby Foods (www.happybabyfood.com) – organic and all-natural food for children. Most of their products include pre- and probiotics to help children’s sensitive immune system. They also promise to use only BPA-safe packaging. My son loves their yogurt melts and so do I!                      

Honest Tea/Honest Aide/Honest Kids (www.honesttea.com) – organic and all-natural beverages. The Honest Kids line is great for children since their drinks are blended with water so it cuts down on all that sugar found in other “healthy” kids drinks.                                                         .                         

Horizon Organics (www.horizondairy.com) – organic  dairy products. They sell milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, etc. We love drinking their organic milk!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Ian’s (www.iansnaturalfoods.com) – organic and all-natural food for children. Their specialty is gluten-free food so if your kids are sensitive to gluten/wheat, then try their delicious assortments. Gluten-free products are made mostly with corn and they have everything from pasta to fish sticks to turkey corn dog bites.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Kashi (www.kashi.com) – organic and all-natural food. They sell a delicious assortment of cereals, cereal bars, snacks, cookies, and crackers.  Most of their products contain their signature blend of 7 whole grains.                                                     

Kiss My Face (www.kissmyface.com) – organic and all-natural personal products for children and adults. I love their name! They sell everything from shaving products to moisturizers to kids bath products. And their products smell great – naturally of course!

Late July (www.latejuly.com) – organic and all-natural food. They sell a delicious assortment of organic cookies and crackers with wholesome goodness!

Lightlife (www.lightlife.com) – all-natural soy-based food. They sell all sorts of veggie meat. The veggie dogs are great!

Lundberg Family Farms (www.lundberg.com) – organic and all-natural food. One of the best rice-made products out there! They sell rice cakes, risotto, soup, rice chips, etc. My son loves their ricecakes and so do I – it has a nice delicate crunch and great flavors! Their risottos are also easy to make and extremely flavorful.                                                                                                                                                               

Mrs. Meyers (www.mrsmeyers.com) – all-natural cleaning products for the home and a baby line. They use all-natural ingredients that are completely non-toxic. We use their dish soap frequently.

Nature’s Path (www.naturespath.com) – organic and all-natural food. Wide assortment of products ranging from cereal to granola to cereal bars. They have a great “kids” line called EnviroKidz where the boxes also include fun activities. Also another environmentally-conscious company.

Newman’s Own (www.newmansown.com) – organic and all-natural food. Great assortment of products ranging from pasta sauces to wine to salad dressing. They have a broad assortment of products if you’re trying to find a good place to start.

Newman’s Own Organics (www.newmansownorganics.com) – organic and all-natural food. A wonderful assortment of products ranging from organic chocolate to dressing to pet food. Their organic line was founded by Nell Newman as the organic counterpart of Newman’s Own.

Organic Valley (www.organicvalley.coop) – organic and all-natural dairy products. They sell everything from milk to eggs to yogurt. We drink their milk regularly and love their yogurt!

Popchips (www.popchips.com)- all-natural “chips”. They make really delicious chips that are not fried or baked but “popped”.

Seventh Generation (www.seventhgeneration.com) – all-natural personal and  household cleaning products. They sell everything from diapers to dishwashing detergent to feminine care. They don’t use any kind of non-toxic ingredients in their products.

Weleda (www.usa.weleda.com) – organic and all-natural personal care products. They sell everything from facial cleansers to moisturizers to toothpaste. They have a really great baby line that is ultra-gentle on a baby’s delicate skin.

So if you’re thinking of starting to buy organic and all-natural or you’re a long time fan, one other great thing to know is that most of these companies support and sustain local farms and are completely 100% animal cruelty-free! These companies are small companies so their philosophy in providing high-quality ingredients while maintaining the integrity of the planet are very important to them. Try one or two brands at a time and get to know the products and soon you will have a few favorites of your own.

By eating and buying organic and all-natural products and food, you are not only helping yourself and your family, but the environment and these smaller companies. The organic and natural companies strive hard to maintain their high standards of quality products and all companies who use and farm organically go through a strict certification process and must recertify every few years. They also try to use sustainable farming and production processes and most donate a portion of their profits to help the environment. Bear in mind though, that when choosing organic and all-natural products for the body and home, you’re best bet is to also make sure these products do not contain harmful synthetic ingredients such as parabens, phosphates, phthalates, synethic fragrances and colors…..and the list goes on.

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Responses

  1. I think it’s important to not only consider organic foods, but foods that are minimally-processed. A box of cereal may be touted as “organic”, but it’s still not as nutritious as a bowl of steel-cut oats and fresh fruit. Organic is a good place to start… but there is so much more!

    • True – however most organic produce are minimally processed due to its origins. My main issue is the use of chemically processed foods that people are so accustomed to(because it’s the mainstream “American diet”) instead of reaching for something without toxic chemicals – including oats and fresh fruit. 🙂


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