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Health benefits may trump costs

Written By: Hailey Nelson

Hello Spectator readers; my name is Hailey Nelson. I am a VSU junior and I am the new writer for The Health Corner. This column is all about ways to live a happy healthy college lifestyle. I am very passionate about nutrition and the benefits of feeding your body well. As a new certified yoga instructor for beginners, I believe that physical activity and nourishing your body can greatly impact your overall health. My first column this week is about ways to eat organic foods on a budget.

         As a college student, the money we save up, earn and spend is important to us. This includes the way we spend our money in the grocery store. I believe how we take care of our body in college affects the way we perform academically. Despite the price increase of organic produce, there are ways to fuel your body well on a college budget. By putting money aside to buy organic fruits and veggies, it can benefit the energy and overall health of our bodies in the long run. Knowing how to live on a budget comes in handy but knowing how to be a smart shopper is essential.

         It all comes down to knowing what organic is. What are you putting your money towards and why is it so expensive? Basically, “organic” means that a specific food has not been processed in a factory or exposed to any harsh chemicals or additives. When you buy organic, you are buying food that has not been stripped of its natural nutrients and vitamins, which are essential for your body. So if you’re interested in eating organic, here are a few tips to help you become a smart shopper.

         Organic foods aren’t just reserved for health nuts, nutritionists, or workout enthusiasts. College students like you and I can know which foods to buy organic and which to get at the regular grocery store. Rather than purchasing your organic produce at a store, try going to a local farmers market, like Farm Days here in Valdosta. At these local markets, farmers sell their homegrown produce for a lot less than at a typical grocery store. Even though some of the farmers are not certified organic, it’ll give you peace of mind knowing where your food was grown and that it was not exposed to any harsh chemicals.

         Also, try buying organic foods that don’t have a peel such as strawberries, tomatoes, apples and bell peppers. These kinds of foods usually have high traces of pesticides, so it is better to play it safe than sorry.

         If you don’t have time to go the farmers market, growing your own fruits and veggies in the backyard or windowsill is the perfect alternative. For those of you that live in the dorms, find a place on campus that gets plenty of sunshine to start a campus garden. Gather your friends together and write a letter to the administration suggesting the idea of a campus garden. It’s a lot less money and more fun when everyone can join in and help grow fruits and veggies.

         Keep in mind that it also goes back to taste. When you taste the difference between a store-bought strawberry and a homegrown strawberry, you will never want to go back. Try to make a gradual transition to familiarize yourself with the prices and tastes of homegrown produce.

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