Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Healthy Living: Bountiful Baskets


I adopted a healthier living lifestyle the day after Christmas. At that time, I cut out eating all red meat, chicken, fish, and pork. I continued to consume dairy, a few cheeses, and butter. Because I was well on my way, I quickly realized that our food budget was going to increase because of all of the fresh produce I would need on hand. I also became adept at creating delicious meals using only the aforementioned ingredients.
Thankfully, I had discovered Bountiful Baskets a few months prior. We have feasted like kings/queens on delicious produce full of bright and inviting colors. This past weekend, I conducted a test of an organic basket versus a conventional basket. First, I guess I should back up.
What is Bountiful Baskets? Well, it is a food co-op, delivering local-ish (regional and parts of Mexico) produce weekly for a price far less than what you would spend in the store.
You do not get to pick and choose which food items you get. They do offer add-ons like AMAZING bread, grains, additional fruit/veggie packs, cookies, etc.
How much does it cost? It is $16.50 for a conventional basket, $26.50 for an organic basket. We also add on 5 loaves of organic whole grain bread once a month, which is $12. This is seriously the best sandwich bread I’ve ever had.
The website confuses me and it seems really complicated. What if I don’t like what I get? Well, you have to have an open mind with the fruits and veggies you get. If you are picky about eating only a few items, then this probably isn’t for you. The website shouldn’t confuse you. You need to create a login (free). They open up ordering on Mondays at noon. You click Participate Now, choose your Location, choose your items, pay, then print off your receipt. (They mail you one. If you don’t have a printer, you can show them your receipt on your mobile device if it connects to your email.)
What is the difference between an organic basket and a conventional basket? Aside from the cost, you get different items. The organic items are just that, organic. (I love it when they have organic potatoes.)The baskets are similar, but different. See my example of the items I received in each during my comparison below:
Conventional* Organic
  • 1 Pineapple
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 bunches of kale
  • 9 bananas
  • 9 oranges
  • 7 apples
  • 1 bunch of green onion
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce
  • 7 Anaheim peppers
  • 15+ red and yellow peppers
  • 3 large cucumbers
  • 3 boxes of blueberries
  • 1 box of strawberries
  • 5 oranges
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 hearts of celery package
  • 9 apples
  • 7 bananas
  • 1 butter lettuce
  • 2 bags of carrots
  • 1 bunch of bok choy
  • 1 bag of snap peas
*This week, the conventional basket was overflowing with more goodies than I’ve ever seen in all of the times I’ve participated. Just needed to state that. Not complaining, it was just amazing. Also, the first picture in this post was the conventional basket.
Just for grins, here is a comparison of oranges. The first one is a store bought orange. The middle one is an organic orange. The one on the right is an orange from the conventional basket.

Also, this is all of my fruit stacked up.

To accommodate all of the produce, I have re-arranged our refrigerator to allow the greens to live on a shelf. I also keep my tomatoes and peppers on a separate shelf. We have such little meat in our fridge nowadays. Our restricted meat change couldn’t have come any sooner! Here’s a sample of our leafy shelf:

I have already made apple-blueberry muffins and kale chips. Usually, when I pick up my order, I do an inventory and then menu plan accordingly. They have nifty ideas on their Facebook page. I also use my Everyday Food magazine for ideas since they usually have recipes for vegetables in season. Of course, Pinterest is a wonderful and valuable tool, too!
What are you doing to get healthy? If you don’t think you have the time, then try to make it. 1 hour a day is only 4% of your day. Also, if you need further inspiration, check out Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s on streaming Netflix and definitely worth watching!
As if I didn’t have enough greens, I scooped up some fresh chard from my neighbor! Look at all of that.

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