How to Shop Organic Food Like a Frugal Health Coach in Vancouver

How to Shop Organic Food Like a Frugal Health Coach in Vancouver

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If you live in Vancouver, the cost of living is not cheap. Do you still want to eat organic food on a budget in Vancouver, but not sure how you can do it?

Don’t worry!

Buying organic food doesn’t need to be super expensive if you shop strategically.

Sounds complicated and time-consuming?

It’s actually the opposite if you know how to do it!

You may have read some articles telling you to go to a farmers market but I’m not going to talk about farmers’ markets in this article, because you may want to do something else on weekends!

In this article, I will show you how you can save time on organic food shopping, where exactly you can buy organic food on a budget, and share how much money I spend on food weekly!

Excited to start eating more organic food for your health?


Alright! Let’s dive in!

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1. Make sense of what you are paying

You may have hard all the fuss about organic food, but why is it better, really?

USDA’s organic crops stand for

✅  Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least 3 years before the harvest of an organic crop.

✅ Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops, supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials.

✅ Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used.

✅ Operations must use organic seeds and other planting stock when available.

✅ The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation and sewage sludge is prohibited.

If you are a food-conscious person, you are already aware of the pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables when it’s grown in a conventional method.

So is there any other reason to eat organic paying double the price?

Actually, there is.

Microbiologists gathered and measured the microbiome on the stem, peel, fruit pulp, seeds, and calyx of apples both grown in a conventional method and organic method.

Do you know what happened?

Interestingly, they found the same amount of microbiome but they found a difference in its diversity. I’ve been talking about the importance of microbiome diversity for your health and maintaining a healthy weight.

Basically, the more diversity of microorganisms you have your gut can lead to decreased risks of disease allergies, and boost your immune system!

Let’s continue talking about the apple experiment.

The researchers found a more diverse microbiome from organic apples over conventionally grown apples. What’s more interesting is they found more pathogens from conventionally grown apples!

What’s a micobiome? – It’s the system of all the microorganisms that live inside your body from the time you’re born. The variety and amount of microbes vary from person to person based on your environment and diet.

I care about pesticide residue on conventionally grown crops, but the biggest reason for me to buy organic is to support my gut health! Also, organic crops usually taste better!

If you want to know what vegetables and fruit you should buy organic, this guide is helpful 🙂

What does organic meat and eggs mean?

Did you know that standard eggs and meat you find in the grocery store are often grown with the use of antibiotics and hormones?

The reason for this is to promote growth and produce a larger amount of meat.

However, it has consequences for people consuming meat.

Eating meat that has been raised with the use of antibiotics can have a massive effect on your microbiome, killing microbes unnecessarily and totally disrupting the healthy environment in your gut.

This means less protection against disease and more difficulty digesting certain foods.

How about grass fed beef? Organic? Grass fed and grain finished?

What’s going on?

1. How to Choose Beef

100% grass-fed and grass-finished meat that AGA certified is the best choice when it comes to overall health. It is raised without antibiotics or hormones, is allowed to roam freely to graze, and is raised on family farms in the US. There is no detrimental impact on your gut microbiome.

Organic meat is the second-best choice.

The cattle are fed an organic blended diet of corn, grain, and grazed grass. There are no antibiotics or hormones added to their feed and they are only temporarily confined to feedlots which restrict their movement.

Conventional meat, AKA “grass-fed, grain-finished” meat, is the worst choice when it comes to gut health.

Why do you want to avoid conventional beef?

It’s because typically raised factory-farmed meat is raised with antibiotics in order to increase fat content and speed of growth. The animals are restricted, live in poor conditions, and are more prone to disease due to the antibiotics in their diet.

“Grass-fed, grain-finished” sounds like it might be better than conventional meat but it is literally the exact same thing – all cattle are raised on their mother’s milk and grass for the first year, “grass-fed, grain-finished” cattle are then transferred to feedlots where they eat grains and corn that have added hormones and antibiotics.

Don’t be tricked by the sneaky label!

2. How about eggs?

Here, your best choice is organic.

This means the hens are fed a totally organic diet, are raised in a free-range system with outdoor access when weather permits, and are raised according to organic standards set in place by the government.

The second best is free-range. Although these hens may be fed conventional food including non-organic, antibiotic food, they have access to outdoor space when the weather permits.

The third best is free run. These hens have access to the entire barn floor but do not go outside.

The last place is conventional. These are hens raised in small groups without outdoor access and fed typical antibiotic and hormone-laced food.

Best buy

2. How to shop organic food on a budget without going to a farmers market

Even if you are a health-conscious person, you don’t want to spend all your money on healthy food, right?

Or you may hear “Wholefoods? More like whole paycheque, am I right?!”

Don’t worry. I will show you how you can shop organic food on a budget step by step!

1. Where should I shop?

If you are a busy person like me, you may not have time to go to a supermarket every other day. Or you may want to do something else rather than going to the farmers’ market every weekend.

So where can you shop?

I always shop from! SPUD is an online supermarket focused on organic, local, and sustainable items. It delivers to your door from Monday to Sunday!

Why did I choose SPUD?

When I was living in Japan, I was using an organic online supermarket and it was super handy and reliable. So I knew the convenience of the online supermarkets!

The good things about SPUD are;

  • You can get plenty of all organic vegetables and fruits for around $40-50 for the whole week!
  • You can buy imperfect produce (Like 1.4kg of apples for $9!)
  • You can contribute to local business by buying through SPUD
  • Their frozen foods are AMAZING
  • You can buy pretty much everything
  • You don’t need to spend time at a supremarket and carry them back to home!
  • You can buy some special products you never see at supermarkets
  • They refund 100% if you are not satisfied
  • Their customer service is awesome and reliable
  • You can order a day before and they deliver to you the next day
  • SPUD is way cheaper than Wholefoods
  • They offer special discounts
  • You can save up points and use it as credit

I got all these for $130!

But how do you keep these vegetables fresh for a week

What I do is to search “How to store XX vegetable”, because each vegetable prefers a different way to be stored and if you store them properly, you don’t need to go shopping for the entire week!

Not only you can get affordable vegetables and fruits from SPUD, but you can also save tons of time if you use SPUD wisely.

If you go to Fresh Harvest Box, SPUD can pick vegetables and fruits for the whole week for $40 for two people!

If you are tired of thinking about recipes every day, ordering a fresh harvest box is a great option for you.

Why is that?

Because you can choose what to cook based on the vegetables you get each week!

Here is what I do.

  1. Choose “Send me only Organic fruit and vegetables”
  2. Check what vegetables and fruits they have for the week
  3. Swap if I don’t like some item
  4. Try to buy new vegetables each week!
  5. Once fresh produce arrives, you can look up recipe like “recipes using carrots and potatos”.

Believe it or not, you will save tons of time!

I used to think about recipes every day, but now I decide what to cook for the whole week once I get all the items from SPUD delivered.

Apart from fresh harvest boxes, I always buy organic long-grain brown rice, organic coffee beans, organic rolled oats, organic whole wheat flour, organic eggs, and meat!

If you are interested in starting SPUD, you can use my referral link and get a $20 discount! (order for over $50).

2. Budget whole foods shopping guide

Apart from SPUD delivery, I do go to Wholefoods once a week.

So how can you go to Wholefoods and not overspend?

Well, you should decide what to buy before you go to Wholefoods and stick to it.

Why is that?

It’s because if you like healthy foods, and wander around the shop, you will end up facing unexpected painful payments (which I got the first time I went in there).

I limit my Wholefoods visit once a week
, and I usually buy fresh meat, seafood, pastry, onions, and garlic!

What I found useful is I set a weekly budget for SPUD and Wholefoods so that I don’t run out of money at the end of the month! ( I usually keep my SPUD budget for $130 and Wholefoods for $50-60 for two of us!)

Hope you found my organic shopping on a budget in Vancouver guide helpful!! Vancouver is an expensive city to live in, but if you shop wisely, you can still eat almost all organic food!

Found this article useful? Share with your friends who are also health-conscious and looking to eat more organic food!

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