How Much Of What You Eat Is Really "optimal"?

SkeletorSkeletor The Conqueror Worm ✭✭✭
edited April 2015 in General Discussion

Curious about this, especially from the more frequent posters.


Are your meats always (or mostly) pastured? Is your butter ALWAYS grass-fed? Do you ever buy conventional or potentially GMO produce because the store is running an awesome sale and you don't want to pass it up? What do you skimp on? Would you lose sleep over buying all conventional/GMO veggies if it meant you could eat substantially more fresh produce that way?


For the most part we can all agree that only buying the choicest produce is best. But is that what you tend to do? Or, like me, do you sometimes walk in to your local grocer, stare longingly at the big-ass ad that depicts CONVENTIONAL STRAWBERRIES-- $1/lb! or ENORMOUS BUT POTENTIALLY GMO ZUCCHINIS 2 for $1! and then bypass them for the organic stuff that's much smaller and very expensive? I usually want to buy that cheap stuff, but I forego it because in my head I'm like "Gotta stay optimal!" Of course, I end up with a lot less produce and even less money in my bank account by doing that.


Wondering what the rest of you do, how you really shop for meat, eggs, veggies and more in your day-to-day lives. We all know what's "optimal". But I'd like to know what the rest of you tend to do on a regular basis. Dave makes a huge deal out of food quality. I understand why, and if I could afford it I'd be right there with him. But, of course, that's not always possible.


The way I see it, eating some conventional or GMO produce is still better and more nutritious than eating, say, a bagel. But I'm not sure whether I'm taking this all too seriously or not seriously enough.


What do you do? What's a regular trip to the store look like for you and what do you bring home?

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  • SkeletorSkeletor The Conqueror Worm ✭✭✭
    edited April 2015

    My local places are always running sales on produce of decent freshness. Of course, it's usually conventional. The organic stuff isn't on sale as often. I've used the clean 15/ dirty dozen list in the past for deciding what to buy organic vs. conventional, but damn, sometimes I just want to get down on that super-cheap conventional produce swag like all the other shoppers.


    It occurs to me (especially this month, since $$$ is a little tight) that I could buy 2-4 TIMES the produce if I simply bought conventional varieties. As things stand, my family and I eat quite a lot of produce, but we could eat even more, and with greater variety, if I spent less and just bought mainly conventional.


    What do you guys think? Is it worth sacrificing organic-ness to just buy some veggies that might be GMO or sprayed with less-than-healthy pesticides? Are there some items you're willing to budge on but other bits of produce you refuse to buy conventional?

    "I know how to despise mere cool intelligence. What I want is intelligence matched by pure, physical existence, like a statue." --Yukio Mishima


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  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭
    edited April 2015

    In terms of eggs, butter and vegetables I have pretty solid options here so won't settle for a lesser choice. Grass fed beef is much harder to come by so I more often have cheaper products.


    But to be honest, everything can eventually become too expensive, if grass fed butter were to cost $100/lb I'll probably have to pick something else. I'll just get the best with the budget I have.

  • RekaReka ✭✭✭

    I eat conventional meat because there is next to zero way to get grassfed here, living in the capital, owning no car and having a normal sized fridge. There is just no way to go to the countryside, find a farmer, carry home half a cow and freeze it. So I don't sweat about it. With eggs, the situation is very similar. For veggies, I usually buy them frozen, except for carrots and peppers, tomatoes, onions, which are not BP in the first place. :-D I get fresh fruits, though most of the fruit I eat is bought by my Mum when she is visiting me, or the company I work at.

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  • SkeletorSkeletor The Conqueror Worm ✭✭✭
    Brainstorming alternative titles for this thread.

    "How Hardcore Are You?"

    "Does The Thought of Eating Conventional Celery Strike Fear Into Your Heart?"

    "I know how to despise mere cool intelligence. What I want is intelligence matched by pure, physical existence, like a statue." --Yukio Mishima


    Let's be friends on MyFitnessPal!

  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭
    I do Not Allways buy organic. I Try to buy somewhat of a mix of seasonal and regional and if i cant get that organic veg and fruit.

    I eat 99% grass Fed and wild caught meat and Fish. Once a week I eat chicken without Skin.

    Well Never Seen organic or regional Sweet potatoes in Germany though..... :D

    May you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be loved.

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  • I think this is a total function of budget and how "deep" into the BP lifestyle you are. 


    My take is, I'm already spending a good chunk on this BP thing, so why skimp? ---- I only eat 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef from a local farmer. Wild sockeye salmon and wild oysters, and basically 99.9% of the time green area veggies that are ALL organic.


    If you're gonna do this, go big or don't go at all. -- That said, like Dave indicates, this is a spectrum, or a roadmap...... and eating conventional real food is a step forward from Twinkies and muffins.

  • i stick to grass fed beef...i buy these huge bundles for a good price so why bother with lesser quality stuff?  only wild caught salmon, although sometimes i'll get keta instead of sockeye because it's so much cheaper. wild caught sardines. local pastured eggs. i'm still going through that stash of awesome butter i posted about last year. i get all organic veggies except sometimes i'll get conventional avocados and asparagus...they're on the clean 15 list ( and can sometimes be ridiculously expensive at the organic stores. i still eat the occasional quest bars but now that i'm getting these awesome raw grass fed whey bars i think i'll be getting less quest bars. still eating a decent amount of lindt chocolate. 

  • SkeletorSkeletor The Conqueror Worm ✭✭✭
    edited April 2015

    Organic produce does look less hardy than conventional sometimes. For that matter, organic cucumbers and zucchini around here are TINY. The conventional ones are 1/3rd of the price and three times the size. It's frustrating. I sometimes opt for conventional sweet potatoes, asparagus, avocados, broccoli and cauliflower. But carrots, celery, squash and greens are almost all organic.


    Another thing: While I've used that Dirty Dozen list before, I'm not sure how useful it really is. Apples are considered the dirtiest conventional crop, so they advise you to buy organic apples. But what organic item ends up getting blasted with the most organic pesticides? Apples. I guess it's just a matter of (literally) picking your poison.


    I've read that there's little difference in nutrition between conventional and organic veggies. Also, are the pesticides used on organic produce really all that benign? My understanding is that pesticide residues on both varieties of produce tend to be pretty minimal anyhow. While organic pesticides may not destroy the soil microbiome (which may be reason enough to buy organic) are there any other benefits to organic produce over conventional? I suppose that organic also means non-GMO as of right now, and avoiding GMOs is something I try to do.

    "I know how to despise mere cool intelligence. What I want is intelligence matched by pure, physical existence, like a statue." --Yukio Mishima


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  • I work selling dark chocolate at farmers markets so... life is good. 


    Meat is always grass fed, pork is pastured, eggs are pastured. Produce is local but not always certified organic (some farms dont want to pay the price)


    Dont eat much fish cause it is expensive compared to meat and eggs.


    Chocolate needs covered though.

  • yeah each year i try to rely on the farmers markets a little more. and of course my own garden. between those 2 things and thrive i think i'll be cutting down grocery trips a bit starting next month.

  • We tend to do conventional veggies in the winter, but organic from a local CSA in the summer.  We're lucky enough to have a local butcher nearby and get great quality and variety of grass-finished meats and pastured eggs. The CSA we're signed up to this summer offers "raw milk for pets" and I've never had it.  Looking forward to giving it a try!

  • Like just about everyone else, I do the best I can with the money I have.  I plan our menu around what I can find at the market.  Fortunately I have some great markets around me and can usually find almost everything that is in season.  I actually have a route.  When I go to this one town I buy these things bc they are less expensive there.  In the next town I buy these other things.  (we live between 2 towns) so I keep our freezer well stocked with organic veggies, Kerrygold, and grass fed/wild caught meat/fish.  Frozen organic veggies tend to be less expensive.  Costco actually carries huge bags of organic veggies and berries.  Butter and meat at Walmart (yes, they have grass fed meats).  Veggies at Trader Joes. 

  • SkeletorSkeletor The Conqueror Worm ✭✭✭
    edited April 2015

    Butter and meat at Walmart (yes, they have grass fed meats).

    Wal-Mart's grass-fed meat has been awesome. Their cheap Kerrygold has saved me some serious coin, too. The other place I love to shop at is Kroger; they carry grass-fed meat and decent "natural" pork and chicken. I stop by every few days and keep an eye out for their sale meats. They mark things down en masse when they're a day or two out from their sell-by date. Just last week I picked up 13 pounds of grass-fed ground beef for about $36. The week before that I came upon almost 20 pounds of their super lean, antibiotic/hormone free, decent-but-not-entirely-grass-fed beef. Bought it all up for maybe $40. It was awesome. I also pick up odds and ends there, like chicken breast, ground pork and more, when it's on super-sale.


    For those of you looking to save money on good meat, see if you have a Kroger in your area. The mark-downs are awesome. Their produce (and most everything else) tends to be expensive as hell, though.

    "I know how to despise mere cool intelligence. What I want is intelligence matched by pure, physical existence, like a statue." --Yukio Mishima


    Let's be friends on MyFitnessPal!

  • Wholefoods is Not a place for deals.... but they do sell grass fed ground 5lb packs for $20.


    The awesome catch is that it is 25% fat.


     boo-hoo right?

  • i'm very low income and i'm really particular about optimal food.  i shop at the local co op, Natural Grocers, and the farmer's market.  i try to avoid Whole Foods.  times i've gone into conventional, large supermarkets, the organic produce looks terrible.  i don't buy the broccoli when it's 4.99/lb.  i buy something else vibrant, green, and on sale.  Kerrygold is $3.69/8 oz.  sometimes, i'll buy coconut milk that is conventional when they're out of the Natural Value organic one, but i don't buy the ones with guar gum or other additives.  chocolate needs to be fair trade at least.  one of my favorite chocolates is Tcho...they make a 99% that is spectacular.  eggs are usually $5/dozen.  grass-fed ground beef is usually $6.99/lb...up a dollar from last year.  i'm part of a raw milk co op.  a gallon of A2 milk is anywhere from $6-$9/gallon.  i am friends with some local farmers and sometimes volunteer or contribute in some other way for a partial share in their produce.  before i had a housemate, i would house interns or wwoofers and i would get beautiful collard greens and other local, fresh, organic veggies every week.  i don't want gmos or pesticides in my house/body/kid's bodies/world.  i get doses of those things when i visit my family or go to potlucks...

  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
    edited April 2015

    I sometimes buy non-organic veggies, but try to prioritize hormone-free proteins and fats, and good fat sources. On weekends I prioritize having a social life over eating perfectly to plan. 

  • John BrissonJohn Brisson The Legend Formerly Known as Ron Swanson ✭✭✭
    edited April 2015

    I think we should all strive to do the best we can and not be dogmatic when it comes to our food choices. Too much dogma can shut off most people to many different diets. Go big or go home is bullshit for a lot of people, it is a sad truth in our modern world.


    I eat grass fed beef (it is not 100%, where I live in the boonies of NC, 100% grass fed beef costs $10 a pound,) organic chilled chicken, natural pork, pastured eggs, organic dairy, organic oils, organic produce (dirty dozen list,) non organic produce (dirty dozen list,) Kerry Gold. My carbs consist of potatoes, organic jasmine rice, and non gmo corn pasta. When I eat at home it is mostly clean and always non GMO.


    I do not follow the BP diet as most of yall know. I follow a low FODMAP variation of the Perfect Health. When I go out to eat with my family I just avoid gluten.


    My local Mexican place is Californian based (screw shitty Tex Mex) and sells Sizzling Enchiladas (come out on a fajita platter) on homemade GMO tortillas and rice cooked in chicken broth. They put this tangy molcajete sauce on it and freshly made guacamole. I get extra guacamole. I know it is shit for me but it is freaking good. Better than the McDonald's I used to eat years ago.


    I also eat at my local Mongolian BBQ. I get fresh veggies and beef / chicken, and have them cook it in the back with my organic tamari and olive oil. So freaking good.


    I am not saying do not eat healthy. All I am saying is that we all end up in a pinebox, and for all we know it could be tomorrow while we are driving a car, not 25 years from now.


    Life is short people, enjoy it.

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  • I stick with Grass fed beef at all times. I would purchase wild caught fish but its expensive as F*** down here in Texas 28 bucks to a pound. I follow a modified Bulletproof diet, combined with Fodmap diet from Johns website. I do not eat low carb/low protein anymore as it wrecked my sperm levels, and made my adrenal fatigue worst. I eat a "balanced diet" consisting of equal & adequate amounts of protein fats and carbs. Im working on recipes. I already have a low fodmap meatball recipe on lock that brings out a days worth or nutrition and food so I dont have to stay at home all day and cook.

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