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Healthy, Local, Organic Food Made Easy

Most of us want to eat better. Once I was out of college and my husband and I had schedules that allowed for regular meals, we wanted to start doing more cooking and less eating out of boxes. Most adults make this transition at some point. I can think of a few pre-packaged meals that I can never eat again just because I ate so much of it in college. The biggest problem with eating healthy (at least here in the good ‘ol USofA) is that it’s uncommon. Most grocery stores carry little to no whole foods (that means foods that are not processed).

Here’s a breakdown of the issues you’ll run in to if you think you want to start eating healthier:

1.) Cost. In college, I ate ramen noodles and TV dinners every day because they were quick and cheap. Now I have a bit more money to spend on my food budget, but I still can’t go nuts. There are a lot of times that I balk at the cost of organic food with good reason – Whole Foods was recently sued for over charging customers.

2.) Availability. I used to live just down the street from a Whole Foods store, which I still love even after the whole getting sued thing. I probably love it because there’s pretty much no alternative, though. When we moved and they closed that location, I started researching and found that there were no “healthy” stores around. None. Zip. Zero. I could drive 30-45 minutes to the location downtown or to the Sprouts in the next town over, but that’s just not practical. So I looked up a list of mainstream grocery stored ranked by how much organic, whole foods are available per chain. The top three choices were stores that don’t seem to have Texan locations.

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But lower on that list I found a name I recognized – Albertsons! And there was one just a couple of blocks away!

Here’s what’s really tragic though. This is one of the top 5 “healthiest” stores in the friggen country and the selection is just pitiful. There’s a little corner in the massive produce section sporting a sad selection of organic and local fruits and veggies. Think a small pile of apples next to two boxes of cherry tomatoes. That’s it. It’s downhill from there. Sure, if you walk up and down every aisle with a hawk eye, you might find a package of Albertson’s organic brand of granola or fair-trade coffee. Sometimes. But most of the store is Kraft, Betty Crocker, Lil’ Debbie, and meat oozing with antibiotics and artificial hormones.

I don’t think of myself as a huge health food nazi, but believe me, if you haven’t had organic chicken then you don’t know what chicken tastes like. Chicken has a taste. A great taste. Just ask my favorite food blogger (who I was following before I converted to a “healthy eater).

That episode of King of the Hill was 100% accurate, as King of the Hill often is. There is just nothing quite like free range organic meat. I’m drooling right now just typing about it. Sorry vegetarians.  But hey, the Hills dig organic veggies too:

Bobby Hill:  “These tomatoes are delicious!”
Hank Hill: “Bobby, you know tomatoes don’t have any flavor” (then Hank takes a bite…)
Peggy Hill:  “Hank, if this is what real food tastes like, what have we been eating all these years?!?”

But I’m rambling.

3.) Cooking. I love cooking, but I certainly do not have time to really cook every night. We’re big fans of pasta and eat that a lot, but I find that often fruits, veggies, and even meat, no matter how organic or expensive it is, can wind up going bad just because we never have the time to “do it up right.”

BUT HARK, A SOLUTION!

Thanks to a Groupon sale, we discovered Greenling.com. By the by, you should know I was in no way paid to write any of this, I am doing this simply because I truly deeply madly love this website. Greenling, if you would like to thank me, I wouldn’t say no. 😉

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I had heard about co-ops and other websites where you could sign up to get fresh, local, organic fruits and veggies once a month, but Greenling has totally spoiled me and completely solved all three of the major problems with wanting to eat healthy.

1.) Cost. You know what’s awesome? Shopping at Greenling isn’t that much more expensive than shopping at a normal grocery store for sub-par tasteless processed gunk. PLUS it delivers straight to your door. FOR FREE. There is ZERO delivery charge – you just have to order at least $25 worth of food, which isn’t hard.

2.) Availability. When I first checked out Greenling, I just ordered their “Local Box,” which is kind of like a traditional co-op. You get an assortment of whatever is local and in-season. But I didn’t really like that. It was heavy on veggies that I wasn’t sure what to do with or how to prepare (this was before the Home Schooling Doctor’s AMAZING posts on what to do with out of the ordinary veggies). Plus we’re a household of two – and it was not humanly possible to eat that much kale. The site said that their Local Box is the most popular order, so that’s why I went with it. When I went back, I found that they have a wide variety of not only local, organic fruits and veggies, but organic meats, breads, snacks, drinks, literally every section you’d find in a traditional grocery store – but BETTER because it’s delivered right to your door!

We experimented with weekly and bi-weekly deliveries and scheduled vs non-scheduled. We decided that we like weekly deliveries best, and we don’t use the “scheduling” feature – each week we “go shopping” online and order what we want that week. However, they do have the option to set certain things to be delivered every week no matter what. I like to go with the flow and mix it up a bit more, but to each his own. I can tell you that every Friday (our local delivery day,) coming home is like an early Christmas. I can’t wait to see all the beautiful food waiting for me in that box!

Eating more fruits, veggies can make young people happy, energetic

I get that happy.

Full disclosure – I don’t get THAT much fruit. I’m not a pig.

3.) Cooking. The number one thing that sets Greeling apart is the meal kits. You can choose 100% organic, vegetarian, and even vegan meals that come chopped, measured, and ready to cook. No food goes to waste, and if you’re not a chef with new recipe ideas each week, it’s a great way to keep meals exciting and healthy. Each recipe is also really quick – I’ve never gotten one that took more than 30 minutes to prepare. They’re also FREAKING DELICIOUS. My husband can tell you that I go on and on about the curried chicken and quinoa recipie. I had never even had quinoa before but WOW, I have been missing out.

Just last night we had mashed red potatoes with garlic butter and chives along with 100% organic chicken strips breaded with the most amazing crunchy crumbly goodness I’ve ever had on a chicken strip. But they add new meal kits all the time, so you can always get something new and exciting to make.

I realize this is starting to sound like an ad, but it’s all true. I’m in love. I’m excited about dinner every day, and I truly enjoy this food more than going out to eat even. If Greenling doesn’t deliver to your area, I know there are a lot of websites like this out there. I was actually inspired to write this post after reading The Allergista’s post on a similar website, Door to Door Organics.

Is there another website you use to get good organic non processed local cruelty-free flavorful yummy whole food goodness? Share it in the comments!

I know we all keep a few guilty-pleasure boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese in the pantry, but we also all want to eat a little better whenever we can. Especially with IBS (aka we-don’t-know-what’s-wrong-with-your-tummy-but-it-seems-to-hate-food disease) on the rise. My tummy is very prone to attacking me and causing me to live on the toilet on and off, but eliminating pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and as many chemicals as I can from my diet has helped more than any pill so far.

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Just another reason it’s a health hazard.

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About rachelmeeks

My name is Rachel Meeks. I have endometriosis, an incurable pain condition, IBS, a digestive illness, and PCOS, which causes irregular periods and infertility. After keeping my illnesses a secret, I started to get upset about how my fellow sick people were being mistreated because of ignorance. I knew that I'd need to stand up, make some noise, wear my heart on my sleeve, and admit that I am not well to make a difference.

6 responses to “Healthy, Local, Organic Food Made Easy

  1. Claire

    Sounds great!!!
    I’m super lucky in that my Guy does all the cooking and cleaning, but I am crossing everything and hoping that my new air filter will start the path to recovery. Once I’m feeling a bit better, I am going to get COOKING!! I can’t wait – and neither can Guy 🙂
    I think it’s a bit easier here in Australia to find organic – the big food chains have a few limited choices, but there are heaps of other places to get your organics! I eat primarily whole foods, but haven’t made the switch to organics yet – it is significantly pricier!!

    • Eating whole is a GREAT start though, I think that already puts you ahead of the curve. Really, just making the switch from easy/mainstream to anything more health-concious is the hardest part.

      If you’re considering switching one thing at a time, I recommend switching to organic meats first. Not only are the hormones one of the worst things for you, but that’s where I notice a significant difference in taste. With fruits and veggies I honestly don’t notice a big difference in taste, and even though that’s a small detail health-wise, I always feel better paying more for something that is legitimately more enjoyable to eat. 🙂

  2. Good morning! Thanks for the mention! I like US Wellness Meats for meat, if you can’t source it locally. Sometimes, if you’re willing to drive out of town a bit, you can find farmers who sell chickens, beef, turkey, eggs, lamb, etc. But if not, US Wellness Meats has good service: http://www.grasslandbeef.com/StoreFront.bok.

    And for fruits, my husband, who loves fruit of all kind–likes Local Harvest: http://www.localharvest.org/store/fruits.jsp.

    Although we sometimes go out to eat because I need a break from cooking and cleaning, we stick to “whole foods” when we go out. The food is never as good as our meals at home (well, rarely, unless we pay our right arm for it). We know that going in to it! Eating real, whole foods (and watching for food intolerances and taking those things out of our diet) has made a huge difference in our health! I am so happy you’re an advocate, Rachel!

    • Thanks! I’ll have to go through and check out that site. Like I mentioned above, to me the biggest noticeable difference taste-wise is in the meat. I think the hormone-pumped stuff is tasteless by comparison. Soooo good, a whole new world!

      And as far as eating out goes, we don’t do fast food, and I just kinda trust that restaurants get nice food – especially at a nice sit down place, right? Haaaa I know better, but eating out is rare for us anyway just because we got married in college – there was NO money for eating out and it just became habitual to eat at home.

  3. GOOD TO READ YOUR BLOG POST— YOU KNOW WHAT A HEALTHY EATING FREAK I AM—-WE EVEN PLANT MUCH OF OUR OWN FOOD– IN CONTAINERS-& RAISED BEDS & – WITH OUR OWN COMPOSED SOIL & ONLY HEIRLOOM SEEDS– NO GMO’S OR CHEMICALS USED!!!! WE HAVE OUR OWN HENS (SIX BANTAMS HENS WHO FREE RANGE IN OUR BACK YARD) FOR OUR OWN CHEMICAL FREE EGGS– I DO LOTS OF MAIN MEALS COOKING AT ONE TIME– SO I DON’T HAVE TO COOK EVERY MEAL– WE SHOP AT LOCAL FARMER’S MARKETS– & KNOW THE VENDERS– & KNOW WHO DOESN’T USE ANY TOXIC CHEMICALS!!! YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT— & SO MANY PEOPLE JUST DON’T GET THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Totally agree! I have a friend who raises chickens and I’m lucky to get my own chemical free eggs from her without doing all the hard work! Haha! We’re starting to try to grow our own food – so far only one pepper has survived haha, but we’ll get better! (P.S. – it was a good pepper!)

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