Buying non-gmo and organic food on a budget.

So here we are knowing a lot of our produce is genetically modified, that our conventional produce is filled with chemicals and pesticides. That our meat and poultry is for the most part today, very inhumanely raised and given hormones, antibiotics, and degraded food…… BUT we have limited funds for food.  

Click for guide to buy produce


Organic is so expensive, how do we make the best choices on our budget?  

Choices should start with the understanding you may have to eat less to get more, however once you get that part, no matter what you buy, you’ll be looking for quality and not quantity. You’ll also become more aware of which companies are delivering food for your HEALTH, and which are delivering food for PROFIT, regardless of how they do it, and how you may suffer from the degraded foods.  

Let’s keep in mind our body “REQUIRES” a minimum level of nutrition to FUNCTION, without it there are deficits, as the deficits grow, physical symptoms and dis-ease do as well. If you want to become empowered about your health you’re going to need to discern your food and water choices.  

Poultry & Meat Eaters: Eating less meat and poultry may help you take care of yourself: For example first thing on your list is to make sure you buy clean poultry and meat, meaning NO hormones, antibiotics, and that the livestock had a natural life, rather than be caged or in a pen, i.e., grown bigger, faster, yet fed inferior food, including corn to inflate their size before slaughter.  It’s also our responsibility NOT to buy from companies who do treat livestock so inhumanely, so you’ll be doing your duty as well as serving your health.  

By the way, Foster Farms and Perdue are responsible poultry providers, and both chicken and beef must be marked on the label “no hormones, no antibiotics”. Just indicating a grade or the word “natural” doesn’t mean anything. Meat is usually labelled “grass-fed”, which is optimal, or you’ll see free range (which is mostly grass fed), or organic (which is grass fed and grain fed). Laura’s brand is widely available. Turkey has a lot of regulations, but I’d still buy Foster Farms or Perdue. 

If you have questions, go to the websites of these companies, and don’t be taken in by the prettiness, read to see if the correct language is there – for example, on many you WILL NOT SEE “hormone free”, “antibiotic free”, and cared for without cages or pens, free range. You’ll find the more educated you become, that it’s more about what they don’t say than what they do say. 

Produce /Eat Less, Receive More: Organic food is naturally going to be richer in nutrition, thus less is more. Meaning if your body doesn’t have to fight the chemicals and pesticides (and get rid of them at the expense of your liver), they will be more easily digested and more readily accepted as food by our body, therefore, less organic food can be more nutrition.  

Remember, leafy vegetables are going to absorb more chemicals and pesticides than the more dense vegetables, so I always purchase organic lettuce, spinach, and alike, and when I can, I purchase organic broccoli, etc.  

We can’t always buy fresh, so flash frozen is my second choice. Costco has an economical organic broccoli we use throughout the winter, and it’s actually less expensive than anything at the mainstream market, including conventional. All mainstream grocery stores and even Wal-Mart carries organic frozen vegetables, so you have more than one option, and personally I’d buy organic frozen over conventional fresh.  

Soy absorbs more chemicals and pesticides than any other vegetable, and the majority of our soy is genetically modified, so ALWAYS buy organic tofu, and organic soybeans.  

If you don’t think soy affects you because you don’t buy it, think again, because it’s in almost every single processed food in the marketplace, and it’s genetically modified soy for the most part.  

Eat fresh or flash frozen whole foods rather than boxed or canned: Boxed and canned or processed foods are taken to very high heats for the most part, filled with additives, preservatives, and enhanced flavoring that is not real food. Boxed foods have fillers to expand the quantity, however nutritionally deficient.  

No matter which way you look at it, convenience is not worth good health. And this goes for baby food, children’s foods, health foods, and the list goes on.  

A 20-30 pound bag of basmati rice (make sure it’s from India) is about $20 at the big buy stores (and some markets). One big bag lasts us at least 6 months, and is a healthy rice with nutrition you can make like I do, twice a week, bagged and kept in the refrigerator. I  make a lot of low heat crock pot soups  in the winter and love the rice with it (don’t heat the rice, just scoop into the bowl, pouring the soup over it), for wraps (fresh salad with dressing, rice, a bit of real turkey breast or chicken breast if you like), and as a side or main course with stir fried or steamed vegetables.  

Pasta is a great choice when it’s not all pasta, add lots of veges the last few minutes of preparing your pasta. Use a powdered or liquid vege broth, cold pressed olive oil, fresh lemon or lime juice, seasonings, and toss – phantastic meal.  

Selecting Fish


Fish, again, less is more. Purchase cold water wild fish, less toxins, less mercury, serve with your rice or pasta, or just steamed or stir fried veges:)  

See shopping list and more tips at  

See pure water options much less expensive than bottled, and for many reasons including the quality of bottled water, we should all STOP BUYING BOTTLED! You can do a countertop or undersink for muchless than you perceive, add a shower head and you’re set. Have a little more $$, do a whole house plus enhanced drinking water. Everyone can do clean water, it’s a choice!

About Maralinehttp://www.pHBodyBalance.comMaraline is internationally recognized as a pH Body Balance and Nutritional Products Specialist, and has written many related articles, appears on radio and guest speaks at many events. "Small Changes That Make The Biggest Difference" in the quality of your life. AND...."Let's not "substitute" but let us "replace," with better tasting foods and drinks that are better for you, and most importantly, provide better results!" "Your body has intelligence, point it in the right direction, and YOU will follow!"

13 thoughts on “Buying non-gmo and organic food on a budget.

  1. ‘Foster Farms and Perdue are responsible poultry providers, and both chicken and beef must be marked on the label “no hormones, no antibiotics”. ‘ !!!

    How can you possibly recommend Perdue chicken as a good organic choice??!!! This big producer was featured in the movie “Food, Inc.” Just doing a simple Google search on “perdue chicken, gmo’s” gave me enough information keep me far away from Perdue, Tyson and the other poultry giants. PLEASE INFORM YOURSELF SO YOU DON’T LEAD OTHERS ASTRAY WITH SUCH RECOMMENDATIONS!

    • Hi Gloria,
      I agree with your assessment, and thank you for taking a minute out and giving us your thoughts. Also, forgive me for not being more clear. This article was specific to those people who may not be able to afford organic or free range, and to offer them the best options from mainstream poultry.

      According to a conversation I had with Perdue, and Perdue’s website, they do not inject their chickens with hormones or antibiotics, and according the packaging label, they do not use artificial preservatives or additives either.

      Their chickens are fed corn, soybeans (almost all soybeans in the U.S. are genetically modified, unless they are organic), grains and vitamins and minerals. These chickens are not free-range, but are bred and grown at large farms contracted with Perdue. We can assume from the fact that the poultry is not injected with antibiotics that their living environments and food are relatively clean and safe. However, this does not mean that they are necessarily raised in open barns or farm yards.

      Having said that, if the family budget does not allow you to purchase free-range and/or organic poultry, Perdue is at least a better option than other commercially-raised chicken.

      Lastly, while Foster Farms would be my first choice, it is unfortunately not available in many parts of the country, including mid-atlantic states (other than some limited frozen options).

      Please share your wisdom, your opinions and your options for people on a budget, I think we can all help each other.


      • Hi, I agree with Gloria; Perdue actually DOES use antibiotics, and even mentions it on their website. They don’t use steroids or hormones. And as for being “cage free” and more humane than other non-organic brands, this is also not necessarily true. They breed their birds to be “meatier” than normal which causes them to have difficulty walking, breathing, and is hard on their other organs as well. In addition, those birds are so crammed into their “cage free” houses that they can hardly move, are forced to wade through their own waste, and often die surrounded by hordes of other birds. My point is that it’s probably not the best thing to “assume from the fact that the poultry is not injected with antibiotics that their living environments and food are relatively clean and safe.” My feeling is, if you can’t buy organic poultry, don’t buy it. It’s not worth it once you know how these animals “live” in their short lives, AND knowing that they are being fed genetically modified foods.

      • Thanks for the input, I will contact Purdue and ask them all of these questions, because quite frankly I agree totally with you. Last time I called them I did not glean this information, however, things change and money issues are prevelant in all companies. Unless you are in the city your options are usually limited to local buying (which is probably best for organic anyway), and to the best of the worst, but in this case I would not eat hormones or antibiotics. Recently I did discover some chickens that are bred are lethargic as you stated, and I will do what I can to find out more about this aspect of cross breeding. Thanks so much for your comments.

    • One other thought on this is I would rather spend money on creating and developing organic vegetable meals. The truth is I’m not sure any poultry or beef processing plants (organic or not) could live up to my standards.

      However, as much as I agree with Gloria, in that you can find undercover exposure to almost every commercial provider, I also know most people don’t agree with me.

      Most people do enjoy eating poultry and beef.
      So to them I suggest for good health and in support of “HUMANE” treatment of animals…there is always the option of “eat less and receive more nutrition, when you buy locally from organic and natural providers”. On other posts we’ve included link to where you enter your zip code, and you will be guided to your local farmers and ranchers who are providing organic and natural products.

    • Question. I just read on Perdue website that their chickens are USDA certified organic or non GMO which I assume is not a genetic crossbred animal however their chickens are fed a GMO grain diet. Isn’t that the same thing. If so called organic chickens are being fed a GMO grain diet, isn’t that pretty much the same thing as GMO meat? I mean ultimately the GMO DNA gets passed down the food chain to consumers. See below.

      • Perdue indicated to me chickens are not fed a GMO diet, so I think this requires more investigation – consumer beware always because things change. Thanks.

  2. Thank you Maraline 🙂
    I have been looking for budget friendly options for many months and a lot of people forget that it’s almost impossible to live 100% organic if you are in the city and especially a college student at that. Your article helped a lot.


  3. One frustrating thing I’m encountering is that tryng to eat non-gmo AND humanely does not always go hand in hand…sometimes it’s an either/or situation, and depending on what you can find out about a particular thing or product, it comes down to making a choice with limited options…even some organic companies (like Horizon, I’ve heard) still espouse factory farming practices that are not particularly humane. I wish it mattered to more people…then, hopefully it would be easier to include both criteria in the choices of products available. I’m with you…eat more local vegetables, eat less processed foods, read labels, know which foods have not yet been messed with, and steer toward those. Thanks Maraline, for helping us try to navigate this increasingly concerning issue.

    • The most disturbing news we have this year is Genetically Modified Soy in U.S. is in the upper 90%, therefore if vegetarian food (tofu, soy cheese, etc) is not marked organic we are in serious trouble. There is an article under Links at (I believe, and I may have posted it here, I’ll check and make sure it’s posted) that identifies which “Organic” companies are owned by “mainstream corporations”, and which are held by true organic companies. That’s the dichotomy, organic laws and rules are changing as big business owns and operates a lot of organic food , becoming less restrictive. For example, originally it was three (3) years the ground had to rest and then another year of growth, before a farm could be considered chemical free, now I believe (and I could be off on this) it’s a year and a half to two years. The impact of this is that the “organic” grass the cows eat, or the “organic” food we buy may not be “organic”, but simply chemical free. Which does bring to mind yhr good guys in chemical free, the many small natural farms who cannot afford to become “certified organic” anymore because of costs. You will find their labels either indicating “grown chemical free” or they will have various natural association seals (there are a few natural organizations specific to this purpose)- see for the seals. Thanks fo ryour comments,

  4. Not sure that Perdue would actually answer honestly about the condition of how their birds live, etc. My information came from the documentary “Food, Inc.,” where an independant grower for Perdue was interviewed and videoed to show all the things Perdue people DON’T say when touting their good points. I emailed them an inquiry probably 3-4 weeks ago to specifically ask if they feed their birds gmo-grains, and whether they had any plans to change it, since it now matters to growing numbers of people. Despite their claim that they will respond to ANY customer inquiry within a few days, I have yet to hear anything from them. Not really surprised. Good luck. Hope they don’t give you the run-around.

    • Below is contents of an email I received from Perdue in response to concerns you addressed – let me know your thoughts:

      Dear Mrs. Krey:

      Thank you for your recent e-mail. Based on the forwarded portion of a consumer’s post within your blog, we were able to search our system and located the 5-11-11 email that was sent to Christy Massey and are in the process of re-contacting her in an attempt to satisfy her inquiry. We want to assure you that we do reply to all consumers. You had an additional concern about the movie Food, Inc, and especially how the independent grower was depicted.

      The poultry house conditions shown in film do not represent Perdue’s standards for poultry welfare. Carole Morrison, the former Perdue producer interviewed in Food Inc., has a long history as an outspoken critic of the poultry industry. However, her opinions are not representative of the more than 2,200 farm family partners who contrac t with Perdue to raise our birds. Many of our producers have been with Perdue across multiple generations. They take pride in caring for the birds and the environment.

      We also recognize that concerns about antibiotic use are discussed in the film. Perdue does not use antibiotics for growth promotion in our chickens. Our use of antibiotics is limited to the treatment of ill or at-risk flocks and only when determined necessary by one of our veterinarians. That care is part of our commitment to poultry welfare. Thanks to the advancements we’ve made in the way we raise our birds, the instances in which we need to use antibiotics are very rare. Perdue has never used hormones or steroids. In fact, the use of steroids and hormones in poultry production has been illegal since 1952.

      Should you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to call us toll free at 1-800-4PERDUE\ (1-800-473-7383) Monday through Friday 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM ET, or email us at\ .

      Kindest regards,

      Mary Beth James
      Consumer Relations

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