I am no stranger to the difficulties of buying organic and high-quality food. I place a high importance on feeding my growing family — and myself — good food. However, I have a husband in college and we are attempting to get him through without going into debt. This is a challenge to say the least.


But I am all for challenges and it seems that I am not the only one taking on the challenge of eating organic food in financially hard times. Two recently released studies show that organic food consumption is actually on the rise. The 2011 U.S. Families' Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study found that 78 percent of U.S. families buy organic food. The organic food market is growing, despite a sluggish economy.


While we can't naively assume that eating an organic diet is in reach for everyone in the U.S., a growing number of people choose to buy organic food. I can only speak for myself. Why does someone choose to eat an organic diet when following a strict budget, and how do you make it work?


Because I am concerned about my children.

In some ways I hate to admit this, but if I didn't have children, I might not care so much. I have a deep sense of responsibility to my children, and while I don't want to be the food police, I do want to be filling their bellies with nutritious, toxin-free food as much as possible.


Because it has helped me heal and have a better life.

Eating organic, high-quality food helped me recover from adrenal fatigue. I was so tired I had a hard time functioning with everyday life. While I can still get tired out, I would say I am 75 percent healed. If I can't function when eating an inferior diet, I am willing to make the necessary sacrifices to eat better.


We make it possible by switching our priorities.

My husband and I don't own a TV. We just recently bought the newest car we've ever owned; it's still 10 years old. We don't own a house, and don't plan on buying one until he is finished with school. We love our children and love to buy them playthings, but we don't feel obligated to spend huge amounts on new toys and books. We use our library a lot. We have never had an expensive vacation in seven years of marriage. We also have spent very little on furniture. But we don't feel deprived. Sure, there are things we want to buy and places we want to go, and maybe someday we will get those things. Meanwhile, we eat well, love much and concentrate on having healthy bodies and minds so that we can enjoy what we do have.


We make it possible by cooking at home.

Let's face it; cooking at home is the best possible way to eat frugal, healthy food. So while we love to eat out, we keep it to a minimum and I cook simple, frugal-but-healthy foods at home. I make my own pots of broth, soak and cook beans, stretch out my organic meats, and fill in the gaps with produce and grains. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work; other times I have such a rhythm going I don't even notice or think about it. But regardless, I have found it a beautiful thing to cook many of our meals at home to nourish my children.


Do I consider myself an elitist because I buy 95 percent organic foods? Hardly. Do I feel that I am very blessed to be able to afford what I can? Definitely. I am well aware that there is poverty and starvation around the world, and I am so thankful that I can afford to fill my babies' tummies with good food. So while I don't think you need to make an extraordinary amount of money to buy organic food, sometimes it does take sacrificing other things to make it happen.


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Is organic food for the elite? I don't think so.
Organic food consumption is on the rise despite hard times for many. I share why and how we buy organic food while on a strict budget.