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.


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. :)

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  1. 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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


  4. 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.


  5. 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


  6. 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!


  7. 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.


  8. 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. ;)


  9. 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.


  10. 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.


  11. 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? :)


  12. 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.


  13. Erin says

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


    Laura Reply:

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


  14. 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!


  15. 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.


  16. 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.


  17. 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…


  18. 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.


  19. 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!


  20. 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!


  21. 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.


  22. 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.


  23. 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.


  24. 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!


  25. 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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