A few years ago I began the process of cleaning up my diet and lifestyle. I started buying organic produce and sustainably caught fish, I started making my own deodorant, lip balm and cleaning products and I started thinking more carefully about everything I brought into my home and put into or on my body. Some things truly saved me money – making my deo and window cleaner, for example. Others, cost me more. Buying organic food was the biggest adjustment in that category for sure. Like many people, I thought, “ugh, why are organic veggies so expensive?” but then I learned a really important fact that changed the way I look at my food and the way it fits into my budget. In the 1950s, the average North American spent about 25% of their household budget on food. Other than housing, it was the single biggest expense for most people. Now contrast that with today, when most people spend only about 10% of their household budget on food and far, far more on toys, gadgets, clothing and other material goods. What that boils down to is this: organic food costs what food costs. Non-organic food is cheaper than food, it has been made cheap by factory farming, genetic modification and wide use of pesticides. As with most things, there are compromises that must be made for going the cheap route (eating pesticides that can cause cancer, GMO products that have not been thoroughly tested in terms of their impacts on health or environment, etc.). In other words, organic veggies aren’t too expensive, non-organic veggies are too cheap. This is an issue of priorities. If you think about the things that are most important to you and your family, does eating good, clean food come before or after electronics, the latest fashion or entertainment? If you make food and overall health a priority in your budget, suddenly the organic produce doesn’t seem that expensive after all.
Ok, ok, so eating well is a question of priorities, so what? What does that have to do with paying for a doula who wants $1000, $1200 or $1500 of your hard-earned cash to do her job helping you prepare for and supporting you through childbirth? Continue reading →