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Organic Living

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Seems like I hear and see a lot these days about living organically. I am puzzled as to how one would begin making this transition. I also wonder just what organic living entails. What exactly does it mean? Are we talking mostly food, or all areas of life (what we use for housecleaning, e.g.)? It is impossible to walk through a store these days and not see tons of items labeled Organically Grown. I am not so inclined to simply buy it because it says it - how do we know it is honest labeling and not a company cashing in on the latest trend?


I guess I would just appreciate those of you who live organically to give me some tips or guidance here, or whatever you would like to share.:) I googled this topic and there were waaaay to many choices to muddle through.:tongue_smilie:


Thank you!

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I think the definitation of Organic Living can be defined differently by people.


For me, it means living life to take care of the Earth, as well as ourselves. Using products in our life that are not harmful to us or our world. Composting, buying from local farmers, conserving natural resources, etc


Cleaning supplies are one. If you use the normal household cleaners, they often emit toxic fumes, which are harmful to you and to the atmosphere. They have pollutants that are harmful to the environment as well as you. So to use materials that are more natural based, that are not harmful if they were to be washed down the sink, or poured into the dirt.


As far as labels in the store, for a product to be labeled "Organic" they do have to meet certain strict standards put out by the USDA. It is not a free word that anyone can use. A company must pay alot of $$ to go through the certification process to become "Organic". For the most part, it is a word that should can be trusted as far as product labels. It is the word "natural" that should make you leery. There are not standards on that word, no guidelines and anyone can put that on their product and it does not mean squat. BUT keep in mind, you must read the product labels to determine. Often, small local businesses can not afford to go through the organic certification process, but they DO run their business up to organic standards..but because they are not officially certified they can not use the word organic, but will use Natural.....in this case, it would be fine to use if you have read the label and trust the company.


If my area, organic living is also alot about "living local" as they say around here. It means eating food that is locally grown, that is in season. Buying from local farmers. Of course you can't do that for everything but you can do it for much. Eating food that is in season is something that is important. Most of us do not realize that most fruits and vegetables are not supposed to be available year round. They have seasons when they are ripe. But because of modern food practices, one being false food harveting (ie factory farming) and two, the fact that food can be trucked/shipped all over the world, we have the availability of fruits and vegetables all year long. It is one reason why canning was so vital back in the old days. Because you could not GET that food any other time of year, and it was not shipped in from Chile, etc. If you didn't get it locally, you didn't have it. Occasionally you might get a special treat if someone was able to bring something back from another area, but that was not the norm.


Organic living can also mean avoiding processed foods, those pre-packaged foods that have a shelf life of forever. That food can survive forever because it is mostly fake chemicals, and very little real food from mother nature.


So of my thoughts...

Edited by Samiam
omg, horribly types and grammar as I re-read but too tired to fix it!
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You do it slowly, as your budget allows. tackle one thing at a time. Start with how you clean because it's the easiest and cheapest. Then go on to how you eat. then how you store the food. You chew the elephant one bite at a time.


:iagree: The way I live organically is to use as few chemicals as possible: in my home, in my food, and in my garden. I buy local grass-fed beef (1/4 cow once a year covers my family of 4). I shop the Farmer's Markets if it's not growing in my garden. I compost.


For health reasons for myself and DS, my diet is incredibly restricted (no gluten, no dairy, no colorings, no artificial preservatives). It would seem difficult, but it has actually changed our lifestyle so significantly that I don't think I would go back to eating chemically processed food even if I could.


Now, I'm not as organic as my aunt, who lives in a house completely off the grid, grows all her own food, and drives a Prius. Or my dad, who grows his own earthworms for his garden. But I know I'm more organic than a lot of people, and I don't buy packages that say Organic in bright yellow boxes, because I don't have the option of buying food in boxes anymore. :tongue_smilie:

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For us, we focus on eating well. That means trying to eliminate eating pesticides, things like HFCS etc. We have a big garden and do it organically. We can't grow everything or grow enough for all year round, so we also buy from the farmer's market and buy organically from grocery stores. We eat very little meat - mostly from a grass feed side of beef.


We also try out and use various other organic products. I like to use phosphate free detergents.


We look for reviews of products to help us navigate the maze of products. This year we've changed the sunscreen we use based on the articles about how chemicals in sunscreen can cause skin cancer. My DH just pointed out an article in the local paper about a taste comparision of whole wheat pasta. I have a name of an organic peanut butter that won a taste test, but it is not in our local store, so I'll look for it at Whole Foods.


We want organic/local/natural/healthy, but we want it to taste good or work well. We are not interest in eating organic poor quality products or using ineffective organic cleaning products.


We aren't militant about it. We will get McDonald/Papa Johns occasionally.


I think there is many benefits for doing organic. I love supporting local/chemical free farmers.


Barbara Kingslover Animal Vegetable Miracle was very inspirational to us, but it is more local focus than organic per se.


It is a journey. Have a good journey.

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You do it slowly, as your budget allows. tackle one thing at a time.


:iagree: I was already there with cleaning products, since I used vinegar, bi carb and eucalyptus oil like my mother did, so the first thing I focused on was toiletries. It's easy to buy recycled loo paper, and not so hard to find chemical free toothpaste. It's quite a bit more expensive, but when I read the label saying "No Petrochemicals," I said "Argh! We've been cleaning our teeth with petrochemicals!" Then I felt way better about buying something triple the price of what I used to buy. It's toothpaste. It lasts a long time. By the time you need to buy more, you've got over the stress of having paid so much for the last tube.


I buy chemical free toiletries without fail. With food, it depends what's available. I don't buy organic any more, because we moved house and the closest organic shop is about 20km away. The only organics I've found at the supermarket, walking distance from home, are bananas and I try very hard to buy them organic after an essay I wrote at uni.


A good rule of thumb is to avoid buying anything if you can't read the ingredients aloud fluently.




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I think what you DONT do is start buying a lot of organic products that you dont need just because they are organic and supposedly doing the planet good :)

And to tell the truth, I have fallen into that trap myself way too much and because of setting up a budget for myself, I am realising how much money I have wasted.

Instead, I am in a minimilist phase and am getting rid of stuff, emptying out cupboards and writing basic shopping lists more thoroughly.

Rather than focus on organic...I am focusing on living more lightly and not buying more stuff. Especially more stuff just because it's organic. I mean, if some bicarb soda and vinegar or something else very cheap will clean most surfaces...why buy an expensive product, just because it's organic? Why buy it even to support a company that is ethical, if you don't actually need it? Isnt it time we stopped pretending that supporting our economies by buying things is supporting something unhealthy and rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic?

All the big companies are getting on the organic bandwagon, trying to sell you stuff you don't need.

I personally prefer local non organic to organic that comes from overseas.

Google 'voluntary simplicity'.

If you have and buy a lot less stuff...you can then afford (or more likely to be able to afford) organic where it really matters. And buy better quality items you really want and need. I am getting rid of 2/3 of my book collection. I don't reread books. I want to keep the ones I want to keep for various reasons, but the rest are taking up (mental, emotional and physical) space. And I want a Mac computer. So...I am selling my books and starting to save.

I think organic living is a middle class fad and it has many, many wonderful facets to it. I dont mean to put it down. I wish all farming was organic and hopefully we are heading that way. But if we come from a consumer mindset, I think we still have our priorities skewed.

I am talking to myself here- not yet walking my talk but starting to. I spend money too freely on stuff I later regret. Second hand stuff, organic stuff. Its still stuff I dont need, and it takes time away from the things that are free- free organic air, free organic sunrises, free organic walks along the beach, free organic afternoon naps :) .

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