My Grocery Store Visit – Compromising and Feeling Peace

This afternoon Elias, Malachi, and I made a trip to the store. Once we got home and the boys had unloaded all of our food onto the kitchen counter, I thought it all looked so pretty that I just had to take a picture. Plus, I thought you might enjoy hearing some of what went through my head while I was shopping today.

Well, at least you might enjoy the food thinking part of what went through my head while I was shopping. You don’t want to know all the vast amount of other thoughts that whizzed through my noggin as I pass from bananas to eggs like:  “Shoot, I kind of need bandaids, but they are clear on the other side of the store and I don’t want to go all the way over there, so I don’t think I need bandaids that badly today.”  Which quickly was replaced by, “Why must they have the lacy women’s undergarments displayed RIGHT BY THE FOOD???”  And upon seeing said lacy apparel to my right, I said out loud, “Look over to the left, boys!! I think that’s Phineas and Ferb on those boxes of mac and cheese!”  We then make it safely by the bras with my boys’ attention diverted because they are now focused on the idea of eating a cheesy Perry the Platypus. (Side note:  I kindly called the store manager about this issue once, and while they were very nice about it and listened to my thoughts on the matter, they are bound by coorporate policy to have the store set up as it is. At least I tried.)

Well, anyway. Back to the food.

I loaded our cart full of goodies today – and most of the items were not organic. I used to cringe at this. But here’s the deal:  It’s February. This is not the best time of year for me to obtain organic produce. After all, I live in Nebraska. It’s cold here.  I have an Azure Standard order coming next week, but in the meantime, we need fresh fruits and veggies at our house. So there you have it.

grocery_store_2

I typically at least try to avoid non-organic produce on the dirty dozen list, focusing on oranges and pineapple this time of year. But today? Well, today, I just wanted a bigger variety of fresh fruit for my family, and nothing organic was available. We wanted apples. There were no organic apples. So I got regular ol’ Galas. And then the boys saw a big display of strawberries. We all started drooling, even though really, non-organic strawberries in February aren’t much to drool over. Neither are blueberries. But I got them both. And we can’t wait to eat them with our breakfast tomorrow!

Also, I got some “Hormel Naturals” turkey for sandwiches for an upcoming out of town basketball trip. It’s better than the worst – and I bought it without guilt. And I got some Dole peach cups (100% juice) for the same trip. What a fun treat!

Here’s the deal:  We all should be striving for nourishment and good health. Not perfection. Not a guilt trip. Not fear. Not frustration.

We do the best we can. We compromise wisely when we have to. I didn’t compromise by putting poptarts and twinkies in my cart. I compromised by buying some fruits and veggies that were not organic, therefore “less than ideal”. I need not feel guilt. And even if the strawberries are completely flavorless because it is, after all, February – we are going to enjoy them as a special treat in the middle of winter and not worry one bit about it!

Those are my thoughts. Feel free to share your thoughts on this subject in the comments section. Feel free to suck down a strawberry every now and again that isn’t organic. Feel free to trust that God is bigger than pesticides. 

Oh, and one more thing:  While we were picking out our pineapple, I told the boys, “You have to pick it up and smell its bottom to see if it is a good one or not.”  Elias thought that was way too funny:  “smell its bottom…”  Hahahaha. 

Yeah, be thankful that most of this post shared what goes through my head – not what goes through the head of my eleven year old son. :)

Comments

  1. Angela says

    Thank you, thank you for this post. I needed the reminder that God is bigger than pesticides. I can drive myself so crazy over the compromise issue and when money is tight and non organic is cheap well…

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  2. Sandra says

    We had strawberries this week, non organic too, and they were fabulous! But, I live in Arizona so that might make a difference :)

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  3. Stephanie Dryden says

    I have enjoyed reading this post, (as I do all of your posts.) It is a good reminder. We have a hard time getting organic produce any time of the year. (Although it is getting a little bit better…but still extremely pricey) When I first started trying to make healthier choices for my families food, I felt guilt all the time. Guilt when they didn’t have any organic options, guilt that I bought cereal for breakfast when I knew we were going to have a very busy week ahead of us. (there is so much sugar in even the good cereal.) But thankfully I came to the realization a few months ago. I can try. That is all I can do. I have to let it go into the Lord’s hands. Even if I made all the right choices for our food, there would still be bad things that found there way in. (can we say Grandparents that love to give out candy?) I choose to believe that even when we don’t do our best, God is going to honor the fact that we are trying. And when we do have to compromise, at least it is good choices.

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  4. Terri says

    I used to feel guilty too.,…everything organic. Then I realized that I would rather my kids eat fresh fruit and veggies than organic crackers or cookies any day.

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  5. Nicole says

    You will be happy to know that the Sunnyridge blueberries you purchased are pesticide free!

    http://www.sunnyridge.com/products/organics/ states:

    SunnyRidge Farm’s pesticide free blueberries are certified pesticide free by Scientific Certification Systems through their certification program introduced in 1986 under the NutriClean® label.

    We consider it quite an accomplishment since very few blueberries have ever been certified pesticide-free due to the level of difficulty.

    Challenges are nothing new to us though. It took a lot of innovation on our part just to grow blueberries in Florida’s sandy soil!

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    Laura Reply:

    REALLY!!!!?!?!?!?? I am so going back to the store to get 12 more packages!! :) Thank you for letting me know! :)

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    Randi Reply:

    No, yours are not. Only the ones wit the “pesticide free” label/logo are. Sorry!!!

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    Laura Reply:

    Well shucks. Thanks for the info!

    Nicole Reply:

    I have been deceived then, because I actually contacted the company about a year ago asking them if that meant that all of their blueberries (pesticide label or not) were sprayed with pesticides and the response was, “No.” They are not organic because of the soil, but I was going by what the company told me…

    Ashley B Reply:

    Does this mean all sunny ridge products are pesticide-free or just the blueberries?

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    Randi Reply:

    No, not all of them are pesticide free. Only the ones with the pesticide free logo on them are certified pesticide free.

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  6. Paige says

    We always soak non organic in baking soda. I have been told, and I should google it but haven’t, that if you do that, some of the pesticides are removed. It makes me feel better when I can’t stand not having a strawberry in February.

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    Kim Reply:

    I read here that you can clean your produce by soaking it in a solution of water and vinegar. It makes me feel better about eating non-organic produce. :) http://www.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com/2011/06/kitchen-kapers-diy-fruit-veggie-wash.html

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    Nicole Reply:

    We don’t eat any conventional fruit without soaking it in vinegar if we absolutely can’t find good organic options.

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  7. Sara says

    I’ve been dealing with similar issues lately. I have to consider my time and my budget first, and do the best with what I’ve got at the time. I’m at a point where I’m tired, and I’m’ pregnant, and I happily bought disposable plates, cups, and plastic forks and spoons today, because I needed easy for at least a little while. I make homemade as much as I can, and am learning to accept that some days that’s just not feasible, and will spend my money as wisely as I can to get something a little bit more convenient, albeit not nearly as healthy. I budget our money to be able to buy organic when I can, and am learning to let go, when we just can’t afford it. For me, it’s about letting the guilt go, and accepting that it is what it is for the moment. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this!

    Blessings,
    sara

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    Mars Reply:

    This took me RIGHT back to my second pregnancy, when I had a 2 year old. That was a hard time for me, and a big time for compromising on time consuming tasks. Because I was so TIRED, and I had another child to pay attention to. To this day, I still don’t regret taking a few shortcuts during that time. It was totally worth it.

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  8. says

    I have really had to work on this… and I have. I was really feeling down this weekend because money has been tight. (and really you have no idea how tight! Like take the jar of change to Coin Star tight so we can buy peanut butter and jelly) Then this week our ladies Bible study was on Jehovah-rapha (from the fantastic book, Lord, I Want to Know you by Kay Arthur) the God who heals. We read tons of scripture on how it is God who wounds and heals. It is God who makes sick and makes well. Obviously, the fall of man has a lot to do with sickness. Of course, I want to do well and feed my family well. But when I can’t, I can trust that He will take care of us! My obedience to Him, in trusting Him should be greater than my fear of non-organic foods, ect. We haven’t been able to afford a lot here lately and I just cringed at getting Cheerios on our WIC last week(I normally just use it for produce, cheese and buttermilk.). But it was our only option. And you know what, it’s food and it’s good enough. God will bless it in our bodies. I trust that He will. :)

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    Sharla Reply:

    Really, I believe that God knew how our food was going to change and made our bodies able to handle it.

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    Birdie Reply:

    Dear Crystal: You have shared one of the best post I have read. You have blessed me with your honesty and love of God. Every thing you have said is what I feel. I pray that God will bring you better finances for you and for your family. Kay Arthur’s – Has Grace Set You Free helped me get out of a cult and stay out. It hasn’t been easy but God continually blesses me as well.

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    Crystal Reply:

    Thank you for your kind words and prayers! God has always been so faithful to us! He is our Jehovah-jireh as well! The Lord will provide! He wants us to trust Him for our daily bread, and for some of us, that is very literal at times! And I believe what bread He provides is the perfect nutrition for our family. I will continue to do my best, being obedient to Him in taking care of my family and always trusting in His provisions!, no matter what they are!

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  9. Jocelyn says

    I have to comment because my counter looked just like this today! My daughter asked for the blueberries and although they are not in season, I want a break from all the oranges :) Breakfast tomorrow is going to be so fun! And this all comes down to balance and not obsessing. We need to do our best and let God do the rest!

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  10. April says

    I have those same thoughts, but then find myself at the checkout counter behind a family with a buggy loaded down with every sugary confection imaginable and not a veggie one that isn’t deep fried and frozen. Not that I’m any better than this mom who probably just doesn’t know any better herself, but I have to remind myself not to be too hard on myself, I could be doing a whole lot worse! Just mix up a batch of homemade veggie spray and enjoy the fruits of your grocery shopping labors!

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  11. Robin M says

    While I love reading your blog, I think that some of this “organic” stuff is just plain crazy. I am 54 years old. My parents grew up on farms. They ate lots of Crisco, Sugar, Meat, fruits and vegetables grown when they were using DDT regularly… and they lived to be healthy until they died in their late 80’s and early 90’s. The health problems in this country have far more to do with the the lack of hard physical labor required of us than it does the food we eat. And when it comes to the food we eat – a diet high in processed carbs is far worse than eating non-organic fruits and vegetables. America would not have an obesity problem at all if people simply stopped eating so much bread, pasta, pizza, and sugar. And honestly, if God had intended for us to have a high grain diet and not one comprised largely of meat – we would have flat teeth and multiple stomachs for digesting grasses like cattle do. But we don’t – we have the same tooth formation as dogs and cats… heavy on the sharp teeth for tearing meat.

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    Andrea Reply:

    I heard an interesting speaker recently talk about a study done on cats.
    They’re the cats a non ideal diet. The first generation was fine, the second was a little weaker and susceptible to illness, but the third was infertile, lethargic, had confused sexual preferences, and had m
    ental issues. Anyway, I think our human non who food experiment is still in it’s early stages. In my opinion.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Sorry, that post was written on a “smart” phone.
    They FED the cats.
    Human non WHOLE food experiment.

    Absolutely no judgement on you or anyone. Just something to think about.

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  12. says

    Whew!!!! Love this post!!! It makes me feel so much better. It is so hard to find organics around were I live anytime of year!!!!

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    Sharla Reply:

    I just pinned this because I know I will need to read it often! :)

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  13. Jaclyn says

    Thank you SO much for sharing! I am always encouraged by your posts, but this one is refreshing as well! Thank you, Laura!

    Oh, and I like the look inside your brain. It sounds a lot like my brain sometimes! :-)

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  14. M. Lynn says

    I am new to your site and am immensely enjoying it! My family is enjoying so many knew recipes. I feel the same when it comes to fresh produce. If organic is available that’s what I buy, but if not, the non-organic goes home to be washed well and enjoyed by my family.

    I totally understand the intimate ladies section almost always being where you can’t avoid it. I, too, have 4 boys and we have even mapped out a detour in some stores. I can tell you we only hit the mall once a year on Black Friday, as there must be a Victoria Secrets in every mall in America. The fast thinking comes in as I look ahead for it and practically shout, “Look, over there!” As our boys are looking for what ever desperate object I picked out, we pick up pace and make haste past the shop that no young man’s eyes (mature men, too) should have to see.

    Your serving others by the great recipes, encouragement and humor is very much appreciated! It’s an extra encouragement to me that are writing and sharing from the perspective of feeding a household of boys. An incredible challenge! I’ve often questioned why it seems as if all my boys were born with one hollow leg and a tapeworm in the other ;-)

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  15. Shannon says

    You wouldn’t have found Twinkies even if you wanted them. Lol!! (Couldn’t resist) :)

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    Laura Reply:

    Ha! I thought of that while I was writing it, but I couldn’t think of anything else junkie. :)

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  16. Andy says

    It’s a good thing every now and then, but I’ve found compromising too often can lead us down a very slippery slope.

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  17. Beth says

    My opinion on organic, is that if you can afford it, fine. It probably is a little better for you. But they are a huge money-making industry whose number one interest is their pocket book, just like the “bad guys” they portray. More importantly, they aren’t as pesticide free as they would like you to believe. We have a friend who works for an exterminator company. They service organic farms too and use the SAME pesticides as other non-organic farms. They do use less, just enough that the organic farms don’t have to report it. So I suppose you are getting less pesticides, but not enough for me to justify spending twice or three times as much on their produce.

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  18. Rebekah Walden says

    I always enjoy reading your posts. In the last few months thanks to my daughter I have discovered Bountiful Baskets. They are food co-op and are in many locations. We are getting so many fruits, vegetables, breads and various other items. Te price is very affordable and the quality is amazing. Check it out!!!

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  19. BetsyD says

    Thank you for this post! It was refreshing, grounded, and well-balanced, just like the diet you encourage us to strive for! A blessing to read this morning as I prepare my grocery list.

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  20. says

    I am new to buying organic. If I can find it I buy it. If I can’t I wash it as well as possible. Fruits and veggies usually depend on what it is. Fortunately, I have been able to find the basic fruits in organic varieties. Others, I just don’t worry to much about.

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  21. Nora D says

    I regularly buy non-organic oranges and bananas. We live in the Midwest and don’t have local options for certain things. Last night, I was recovering from the flu and ordered a pizza for dinner. We won a free one topping, thanks to Papa Johns. My homemade pizza rocks but I don’t feel guilty about it. I needed some rest and my family was fed. I always buy regular whole milk, we use it for baking/cooking. We try to get local/grass fed for drinking when we can. We garden and participate in a CSA. We buy local/organic meat. We don’t regularly eat out. If tomorrow, I become a millionaire- I’ll buy more organic. For now, I do the best I can.

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    Lana Reply:

    Yay for free pizza! Hubby has a code for a free one and I have one for 50% off. We have 3 of our grandchildren for the weekend all under 5 and that will be dinner Sat night!
    I seriously doubt I will have any energy left!

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  22. Fletcher R. says

    I really enjoyed this post. The comments about the ladies undergarment next to the food told me EXACTLY what store you were in lol! And I liked your son’s comment about the pineapple bottom – I would have thought that was funny, too.

    I’m just beginning our journey into organic and whole foods and I do the best I can on each trip to the store. Blueberry’s I don’t compromise on. I buy 20# in the summer from where my Mom lives in Michigan and put them into the freezer. I then become the blueberry tyrant everytime the girls get into them! We usually make it until spring with our frozen MI blueberries.

    Thanks for your website and all of the wonderful information you share.

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  23. Morgan says

    I just took a trip to the grocery store last night and the only organic option was apples (yea for that). I live in a small rural town with 2 places to buy groceries. There is no farmers market in winter (runs May to October only and there are 2 vendors). I also buy from Azure and I am part of a sorta kinda CSA but the only produce available from them is lettuce right now. We do have a garden and preserve but that is long gone. SO sometimes you HAVE to compromise. The nearest big city is 90 miles away. I am thankful for this post because not everyone lives near organic farms and Trader Joes. And I don’t think real food bloggers should look down on those of us who really don’t have the access-especially in winter! Thank you thank you!

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  24. Kristy says

    Thank you for this! Once you buy all organic, it is sometimes so hard to buy the “bad” stuff again. But, like you…I filled my cart last week with non-organic strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi because…heck there wasn’t any organic varieties available, and because the strawberries were $.99!!!!!!!! At first I felt guilty for buying produce I knew had toxins in it. But, then I realized that eating berries in any shape or form was a much better option than feeding my kids sugar-filled treats. So, I got over the guilt and moved on. And, ya know what? The berries tasted soooooo good!

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  25. Ashley says

    We try to eat as much organic as we can especially for our daughter. We shop at earthfare so they usually have some fruit that other stores don’t that are organic. It’s not just the pesticides that bother me, but the GMOs that have NOT been around as long as people think they have! Yes long ago people ate crazy foods, but they weren’t GMO! I have a great friend who is 87 who’s wife made him fried potatoes and biscuits for almost every meal for 20 plus years. He is that old has Alzheimer, but we really don’t know what causes that for sure.

    I have learned to let go and let God when my husband and I are having fellowship with other people from church or visiting the elderly ( I about had a heart attack when he told me had eaten a blue bunny ice cream sandwich). I have gotten a lot better, but with our daughter their is just not much I would compromise on. It’s one thing for us to eat garbage ( I don’t really mean fruits and veggies, but candy, cupcakes, gum), but she is growing, and all these pesticides, gmos, and fake ingredients are so bad on reproductive health, well our health overall.

    At the end of the day though I leave it to God he knows we are trying with what we have to work with!

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    Randi Reply:

    GMO’s are the only thing I absolutely will not compromise on.

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  26. Kelli says

    Thank you so much for this post. We are in Illinois and you just can’t get much around here either! The way I figure it, I’d rather my kids eat non-organic produce than organic cookies. We do what we can when we can.

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    Sally in IL Reply:

    This! Yes! Thank you.

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  27. Nel says

    Thanks for this post! I am very OCD and actually fear non-organic produce, meat, dairy, and other grocery items. So I buy mostly organic but it hasn’t been agreeing with my wallet. So I’ve been thinking I need to eat non-organic for a while so I can save some money. But the same old fear has stopped me from doing so. But now I know if you can do it, I can do it!

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  28. Kathy says

    OH MY!! What a riot! After the “smell its bottom” comment, who cares about pesticides and organic food?? I laughed out loud. (I’m still laughing.)My kids would have doubled over in the store at that one. Thanks SO much for sharing. My MIL says that all males (ages 0-150) think that any kind of ‘tush’ humor is hilarious. Ever notice? I think she’s right. God bless you this day.

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  29. Tina` says

    We had a similar issue with the kiddos walking through the checkout with the infamous magazines that you have to walk by. I had a panic moment, quickly directed my children’s attention, and then promptly went to talk with the people at customer service about their offensive material. They took note, and I have heard that a comment is all that’s needed. So I will be checking today when I head over there and see if anything was done. If not, I guess I will be bringing it to their attention again. I really like how the Duggars have a word that is said that automatically means boys need to look down. I’ve talked about it with our kids, just need to come up with our word NOW!

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    Birdie Reply:

    I just reach over and turn the magazine around. Sometimes it doesn’t work because the back can be worse than the front. I usually say, “Yuck, that’s gross.” Not sure if that will keep my kidlets on the straight and narrow. :-o

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  30. Dione says

    Laura, check out bountifulbaskets.org and see if you have a site close to you. You get a full bushel basket half veggies and half fruit. Conventional baskets are only $15 and organic are only $25. This is how I keep my family in fresh produce this time of year. Oh, a side note, if you coordinate a site you get a free conventional basket for your work. They are starting sites all over the US. South Dakota if full of them.

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  31. Kathy says

    I’m glad to hear that you called the store about the underwear display, but disappointed to hear that they can’t do anything about it. I’ve been thinking about calling our local store. There is only one set of dressing rooms for both male and female & it’s set right among the women’s undergarments section. You literally cannot get to it without walking down those aisles, and there are not only the racks of undergarments, but large pictures displaying women modeling them! I am mortified to take my boys or husband there to buy clothing, but we don’t have much other choice in our community. Well, I think I will, respectfully, let them know my opinion anyway, even if they can’t do anything about it.

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  32. says

    Thanks for the reminder that we don’t have to be racked with guilt because we can’t be perfect every minute of the day! How miserable I am when I start to think my choices are either perfection or failure — with nothing in between!

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  33. Stacy says

    This is why I like your blog so much! Your REAL and down to earth. We have been enjoying strawberries from Sam’s and we live in Missouri. I agree with your logic. We do the best we can and let the guilt go!! I’m also glad to know I am not the only one smelling the bottom of the pineapples. lol I always feel ridiculous smelling pineapple, grapefruit, cantelope etc. but if it doesn’t smell like fruit it probaly won’t taste like fruit either. :)

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  34. says

    I am glad to read this. I went grocery shopping yesterday and became very upset and overwhelmed. I am on a quest to changing our eating habits. We have just recently switched to whole and healthy foods (this past summer) and our budget is strict, prices are going up everywhere and I feel like I am just doing a horrible job at this. I had to make a decision on where to compromise some. I chose to not worry so much about the produce and concentrate more on my meat and dairy selections being hormone and antibiodic free. The produce pesticides are definately not good, but some of it can be washed off where as you can’t do that with meat and dairy. I felt like just giving up on the whole thing, had to sit in the car and just give it up to God because I just cant do this whole thing on my own at all. As I thought about giving up I saw what good has been done, and how I do feel some better than last year and I just cant do that to myself or my husband, so I realized that I can only do the best I can and leave the rest up to God. This whole thing is such a learning process and sometimes very tiring, but I think in the end I am closer to God and feeling better in the process. Its definately a journey worth pursuing. I just want to thank you for all the time you put into your posts. I appreciate you.

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  35. Leah says

    It’s strawberry season down here in Florida! We go to our local patch every now and then to pick fresh strawberries. They are so good! Not organic, but not too heavily sprayed either. We just wash and enjoy. I’d rather have my son eating strawberries than Pop Tarts. We also buy the Sunnyridge Blueberries. He eats two pints a week by himself. The budget won’t allow for so many organic blueberries. We do organic apples, carrots, tomatoes, romaine, and potatoes, as well as organic dairy and pastured meat from a nearby farm. We try to avoid GMO’s, too. We just do our best.

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  36. Audrey says

    Love this post! I compromise more than I’d like to, but I do it guilt free. The stress would kill me faster than the pesticides would!

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  37. Casey says

    This is exactly what I’ve been needing to hear! I’ve been buying organic for the dirty dozen, but the strawberries have been on sale for the past couple of weeks & they are so tempting! I think we might get some as well for our pancakes! Thank you for being so down to earth! It helps to hear how practical you are. Also, my family loves your recipes! They are easy to fix & not to “weird” that they won’t try them and love them! Thank you!

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  38. Birdie says

    Thank you Laura, for another excellent post! Take your pineapple, turn it upside down into a jug, and wait a day or two. It will be juicy and full of yummy. MMM! My aunt and uncle went for a visit to Hawaii and a tour guide told them to try this. No more cardboard pineapple for us. Thank you for “setting us free” from guilt over every fork full of food we eat. I chop up my wooden fruit (room temperature), sprinkle it with icing sugar, and let it sit for a short time. You could also microwave it for a little to get those juices flowing =->.

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  39. Shaela Haney says

    What an excellent way to propose the idea that doing better is still better than not doing anything at all. Thank you for sharing!

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  40. Amy says

    Just wanted to let you know that strawberries are coming in season in Florida. Great time to start looking for U-pick farms. Yum!!!

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  41. Tracie says

    Thank you so much for this post! We have been devouring non-organic pineapples and pomegranates in our house, lately!Since the first of the year, we have noticed quite a hefty chunk of money missing from my husband’s paycheck, thanks to taxes. I decided I needed to just be thankful my husband has a wonderful job, and “let go” of my fear of not feeding my family “the best”. God will provide for us, and I just need to trust that.
    On a side note, at my pharmacy, we have to wait to pick up our prescriptions in the family planning aisle. I have gone back and forth about discussing it with the manager, I just don’t want to cause a stink, but seriously, it’s really ridiculous to stand there with your kids for sometimes more than five minutes waiting for your turn. I try to go without my kids, but sometimes, that just isn’t an option!

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  42. says

    I hear you about the inappropriateness of the store environment sometimes. I complained to the manager once about the song that was playing overhead one time – words and all. He totally agreed with me, once he registered what song it actually was, and said he’d be able to go into their system and set it to not play it again.

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  43. says

    We used to eat almost only organic food before we adopted our children, but with the expense of those adoptions we had to make some compromises. We are slowly adding some organic things back in, and since I run a CSA for our city…half of the year we do have wonderful produce. We eat grass fed, local beef. For us… that’s doing just fine! I would rather eat and feed my family as many good whole foods as I can that aren’t organic than go broke trying to ensure everything has a certain kind of label.

    I’m okay with it all, because I know God’s got this! :)

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  44. K. Ann Guinn says

    I love this post! I feel we have always eaten fairly healthily(?), but have been trying to implement small changes for more natural eating habits over the years. I agree wholeheartedly with your observation that we should try to do our best, but trust God and not obsess about everything. There are some nice, reasonable organic options now available at BJ’s clubs, but aside from that, I make do with “regular” produce. I try to buy and bake with 100% whole grains, but on occasion if we are “blessed” with any free food that is not totally healthy (like white bread), we gratefully consume it. I try to find a balance in order to eat healthy food without
    breaking our tight budget.
    Thanks for the reminder to have balance in our lives. And, by the way, in my quest to not be inundated with emails, yours is the only blog I will continue to receive right now. I find it very entertaining, practical and inspiring for my family life. God bless!

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  45. Kristin says

    Glad to hear you sometimes compromise and buy non-organic produce as well. Our grocery store is limited on what organics they offer. Plus quality and price can be an issue. I refuse to pay double the price for say organic celery that won’t even last a week, when the non-organic will last for 3 weeks. I also used to be a stickler about eating fruit in season, but my older 2 girls decided mid winter they didn’t like oranges so I had to compromise and buy some berries once in a while.

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  46. margaret says

    Honestly, I don’t buy organic. At all. The price difference means that our choice is either non organic or none. And I have never felt the slightest amount of guilt. I focus on the non processed because that is all I can afford. And sometimes, I buy a bag of chips when they go on crazy sale. Again, no guilt. A bag of chips every 3 months makes my husband happy and I don’t think it is at all unhealthy.

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  47. Randi says

    Thanks the new Green PolkaDot Box, I don’t have to compromise on decent food, nor do I even have to leave the house to buy it. All of their products are non-gmo, and most are organic. The food is shipped right to my door for free. I buy meat, cheese, milk, fresh fruits & veggies, and even special treats. If anyone wants to check it out, it’s http://www.greenpolkadotbox.com/invite/id/16778

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  48. Naomi says

    I live in western Kansas, i.e. very little population :) I never get to buy organic because the nearest Walmart is an hour away so I shop at our little grocery store here which sells absolutely nothing organic. And the nearest place Azure Standard delivers is an hour from me as well! Sometimes I get frustrated but mostly I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can never eat organic unless I grow it myself or someone I know around here.

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  49. says

    Years ago I kept tabs on what we consume the most of and targeted the top 5 or so to convert over to healthier choices (organic, free-range, etc). For my family, it was bread, milk, peanut butter, butter, chicken, and cereal. I had a problem finding healthy breads from our small grocery store (that don’t contain hydrogenated oils or dyglycerides (sp?). But aside from that little set back, breaking it down like this made ‘eating healthier’ easier. Over the years, we’ve made a concerted effort to eat mostly whole foods. I feel good about the direction our family’s diet is heading, and Laura, we can’t thank you enough for all of your recipes and helpful suggestions on products and other things in general. We adore you! XO

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  50. Laura M says

    I love, love, love this post. After finding your blog and also being given Nourishing Traditions around the same time a few years ago, I’ve totally changed what I buy and how I cook for my family. It was also very overwhelming! But I am just now getting to the point where I can compromise without feeling like I’m retreating back into the framework through which I used to make food related decisions…which was low fat dairy, processed foods, conventional produce, etc. Thank you for being open about your feelings about compromise. I definitely look up to you and the way you make decisions about food!

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  51. Sarah says

    Glad you posted this! I just got back from the store and my list looks much like yours. Lots of fruits and veggies but none of which are organic. I am not against organic but the store I went to does not have them and I have no other options at the moment. I just try to keep eating whole foods and trust God with the rest.

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  52. NicoleS says

    I don’t read too many blogs, and this is why you’re on the list! This is great encouragement to more celebrate what we DO do and not worry that every compromise or thing we DON’T do is going to be the beginning of our doom. I’m still baby stepping into real food, so I need to hear it’s not all or nothing. Thanks! And I did laugh about the pineapple. We have three boys and the oldest is five, so I have a feeling I have a lot of similar conversations headed my way. ;)

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  53. Rebekah says

    I agree completely. We have a growing family and a declining income so sometimes it’s hard just to be able to buy fresh produce and I just have to realize that at least it’s fresh produce even if it’s not organic.

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  54. says

    Thank you for posting this. I’m in transition from processed to real food, and I can’t stress about my choices. I am so proud of every little achievement we’ve made in our kitchen. So when I’m tempted to feel guilt, all I have to remember is where we came from and know it could always be worse! The perfect kitchen is a myth to me.

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  55. says

    I NEVER thought someone else was going through this, too. I have finally let myself have this exact shopping trip (minus the undies) without guilt. NOT organic??? PACKAGED??? I’m over it, when it’s a pinch. I don’t need the guilt!

    I’m glad you put a voice to this experience! I hadn’t thought that far into it, but it’s a real thing, huh? :)

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  56. Tara says

    My trip to Costco was very similar! We had a budget and the oranges and apples looked so good! The children were drooling and I couldn’t resist. We walked away with a lot of fresh produce, all under budget, and when we got home they tore into the oranges. The oranges are not organic, nor are the apples, but I don’t feel guilty either. Like Laura, I have teenage athletes who play basketball, lift weights and EAT!! Keeping them full is a real challenge. Keeping them full of wholesome healthy food is my goal and sometimes it means we can’t afford the organic produce.

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  57. Erin says

    Is there a healthier alternative to Hormel Naturals? My family eats it quite a bit.

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    Laura Reply:

    Well, not really, unless you make homemade roast beef or turkey at home for sandwiches. :)

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  58. Ashley says

    Oh yeah at food lion they have organic cereal for 2.50, organic tea, and organic milk ( pasteurized blah but it is organic/hormone free) oh and organic Bertolli Spaghetti Sauce it’s cheaper at walmart though.

    Our walmart doesn’t really carry anything organic, maybe a couple of cereals, but that’s it.

    Oh yeah and what is up with all the harlot ads nowadays? Target is the worse!! The underwear isle is ridiculous!

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  59. says

    I can’t tell you how comforting this post is. We are family who buys very few organics. I try but the dirty dozen bought in organic is mostly out of our price range. (This year I’ve been able to buy some organic apples, because the price of conventional apples is so high that it actually makes organic apples only a tad more). I want to be able to be guilt free when I purchase what I must for my kids. My daughter loves blueberries. I know that even conventional blueberries are healthy but they are also expensive. Yet when I splurge and buy them I feel guilty because I wonder if I’m poisoning my daughter. I think my husband wishes I had never discovered the organic/real food blogosphere. He is totally in favor of real food vs. processed or packaged. But it’s tough for him to accept paying twice as much for an organic produce item when we have a hard enough time buying fresh produce at all. I’m definitely do to write a blog post of my own on “healthy” living burnout. Thanks for keeping it real and helping those of us who can’t live in a perfect world feel like our efforts are still worth it.

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  60. Mary S. says

    Just thought I would let you know that the strawberry season started in FL already. That is why they are so cheep and look so pretty right now. So they are kinda “in season” now.

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  61. Amanda Y says

    I needed a reminder that sometimes non organic is probably better than not having any fruit and vegetables! I’m currently having a protein crisis similar because we have a possible reduction in hours coming for my husband’s work but I can’t bring myself to have the really crappy chicken at the store, so currently we’re just super stretching the free range that we buy locally, but that is much more expensive…

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  62. says

    Sometimes we just have to be happy we got them fed and were able to get fresh healthy produce. It can always be worse. Thanks for letting us see your just like the rest of us.

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  63. Angela says

    Thank you so much for posting this! We try to eat clean, real food but it is not always available where we live. Plus feeding four growing kids all organic produce gets really expensive. I often feel the benefits of a non organic apple outweigh the risks. I’m just glad my kids ask so often of fruit instead of junk!

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  64. janel says

    This was the perfect post for me. I struggle with thinking if I can’t eat, cook and shop perfect then I why bother (which is silly, but my issue is an all or nothing mentality I struggle with). I would LOVE to eat all organic, or at the least the dirty dozen, but at this time my husband and I absolutely cannot afford it so lately I find myself skipping foods we want (which are fruits and veggies). I wanted strawberries and blueberries but though “isn’t that horrible of me?!” lol

    Such a good point in this post!

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  65. Christine says

    Love your post! Here’s an insider’s view of Strawberries. The best ones come from Watsonville, CA. My parents hauled produce from CA to the Ontario, Canada markets. The soil in San Diego is too sandy to grow flavorful berries. Remember this and you’ll be less likely to be disappointed.
    :)

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  66. Janet says

    Great post. A few years back I heard a doctor speak. He said that 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar in some water and then soaking your non-organic fruits and veggies will kill most of the pesticides. So with that in mind a purchased a gallon jug of white vinegar at Costco. When I buy, say apples, that are not organic I can taste the pesticides but soaking them in vinegar water seems to remove that taste. I have convinced myself that this really does help. So especially when buying non-organic dirty dozen I always soak everything.

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  67. Katie says

    Thank you so much for this post. We have changed sooo much in the last year or so and are still working on it. Our grocery cart is now filled with tons of fruit and veg but most of it non-organic because of the cost. I buy from our farmer’s market during the summer but to keep our budget low we buy produce that is on sale and most of the time that is the non-organic option. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a process and thanks to your website we are eating sooo much healthier but I know we still have a long ways to go. We have been eating venison for the last year and my husband got his first deer this season. So excited to get really good meat for this next year. Sometimes I have a hard time doing things if I’m not doing it 100% perfect. Thanks for showing us that it is better to eat healthy than to eat perfect.

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  68. Maribeth Uhlenhopp says

    Laura, well over a year ago I ran across your blog. I find your info, resources, and recipes invaluable! You are the reason we started shopping at Azure Standard 14 months ago.

    Since we made the switch to Real Food, I have been shopping less and less at the conventional grocery store. When I have needed to shop there, I notice that I am overcome with feelings of creepiness and yuckyness. An increased mistrust of the store and the food I’m purchasing.

    My mother in law brought conventional apples into my home and I felt like there was poison in my fridge. And being fed to my babies!

    My paranoia is quickly taking over. Crazy, right?

    I read this blog post a few weeks ago and I keep mulling it over in my mind. I am really grateful that you wrote this. I need to let off this part of my “mom guilt”. I feed family REALLY well most of the time. I need to TRUST that God will protect them from the evils of GMOs, pesticides, and fake ingredients every once in awhile.

    What I’m trying to say with all of this, is THANK YOU! Thanks for reminding me that buying a loaf of bread every once in awhile isn’t going to kill them and doesn’t mean I love them any less.

    Thanks for using your platform to make a difference!

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  69. Ann says

    I love this, especially “Here’s the deal: We all should be striving for nourishment and good health. Not perfection. Not a guilt trip. Not fear. Not frustration.”

    Growing up, my family was so obsessed with organic and ‘perfect’ eating (in an age where you could not buy organic in the grocery store at all) that in the winter we were reduced to some shriveled home-grown carrots and beets that had languished for months in the root cellar, some sprouts that we grew in jars under the sink, and not much else until the early Spring weeds came up.

    I’m sure we would have been healthier and happier if we had compromised!

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