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The Great Debate: Organic or Not?

March 25, 2013

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about whether or not organic produce and meat are really worth the price they’re able to charge.  Do you think the up front costs of organic produce will really counteract the cost of medical care in the long run?  Or do organic, cage free, free range foods taste better than your average produce or food product?  Or is it all just a gimmick?

Well I decided to do a test and use Hubby and I as the lab rats 🙂 I’ve created a weekly meal plan and we’re going to eat this same meal plan, use the same grocery list, and re-create the wheel for three weeks straight.  The catch?  I’m going to do my grocery shopping at three different stores, one new store each week and take notes on the costs of foods, the availability and selection, the quality and lastly the taste.  At the end of the experiment, we should have enough data to see where we get the most bang for our buck (not just monetary bang, but health, quality and taste bang as well).

Here is the meal plan, comprised of some of our favorite foods 🙂

Monday:  Baked Mustard Lime Chicken with Steamed Brussels Sprouts with Ginger and Almonds

Tuesday: Easy Coconut Shrimp with Roasted Zucchini

Wednesday:  Almond Crusted Salmon with Collard Greens

Thursday:  Chicken Carbonara with Asparagus and Spinach

Friday:  Hungry Girl’s Slow Cookin’ Mexican Beef with Salad

Saturday:  Wing It/Leftovers

Sunday:  Stuffed Acorn Squash with Steamed Broccoli

And the shopping list:

  • 4 Free range chicken breasts

  • 3 limes

  • Brussels sprouts

  • 3 lemons

  • Ginger root

  • 1 lb shrimp

  • Cage free Eggs
  • 4 zucchini

  • 2 salmon filets

  • Fresh cilantro

  • 3 onion

  • Tomato 2

  • Kale

  • 1 spaghetti squash

  • Asparagus

  • Crushed tomatoes

  • Jarred roasted red peppers

  • 1.5 lbs top sirloin grass fed

  • Canned diced green chilies

  • Spinach

  • 1 acorn squash

  • 1 lb ground beef grass fed

  • Bacon organic

  • Fresh rosemary

  • Blueberries

  • Raspberries

  • Grapefruit

  • Mushrooms

  • Hummus

  • Bananas

  • Marinara sauce

  • La croix

  • 4 sweet potatoes

The first place I’ve shopped is Dorothy Lane Market, notoriously expensive, but they are definitely a gourmet grocery store and they have a great selection of natural and organic grass fed meats along with many local produce options.  They are my first choice for shopping, but they are, as I previously said, quite pricey.  I expect to wince when I make this purchase, and if it is worse than I predicted, I’ll probably dry heave as I hand over my credit card 🙂

The second place I’ll shop is Kroger Marketplace.  They have an awesome selection of both organic and regular produce along with a special organic market inside the store!  There prices are reasonable at times and other times they match the prices of DLM.  The bonus is the store is right down the street from my house and on the way to and from work.  It is super convenient and probably the easiest place for me to shop regularly.


The final place to shop is the base Commissary.  This is my LEAST favorite place to shop, but the cost savings is usually pretty good.  The produce is TERRIBLE and the meat is extremely affordable.  The only thing that worries me is WHERE the meat and produce come from.  Yikes!  It is not convenient to shop at, but if I find that the tastes are imperceptible and the cost is significant, then it may win overall.

And I’d like to congratulate Leslee at Her Happy Balance for winning the Lara Bar Giveaway!  Send me your name, email, and phone number so I can get those shipped out to you (

What do you guys think?  Where is the most bang for your buck?  In price, in convenience, in taste, in organic food? 



4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2013 10:05 pm

    I love your experiment idea for this and can’t wait to see what you find out. I find myself going to 3 different grocery stores on a weekly basis because I had favorite products at each of them. I don’t know how much money I really save doing this though.

    • March 26, 2013 10:44 pm

      It drives me crazy to go to so many different places! Am I saving money or spending more on gas?? I’ll let you know our verdict!

  2. March 30, 2013 12:46 am

    What a wonderful idea! I’m really excited to see your results 😀

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