By Joanna Nowak, Natalie Leoni, Carissa Townsend, Gino DiVittorio/ For CU-CitizenAccess.org — University of Illinois research shows that “one in 12 seniors do not have access to adequate food due to lack of money or other financial resources.” This unfortunate phenomenon is called food insecurity. Seniors with food insecurity have a higher likelihood of certain health issues, including diabetes, high cholesterol, gum disease and high blood pressure.
Supermarkets are often a go-to when shopping on a budget, however, some of these conventional markets lack in organic options. It is entirely possible for senior citizens to shop organic, get the necessary nutrients and not break the bank.
Thankfully, elders can readily obtain health food at The Food Co-Op or Strawberry Fields. Both of these stores can be easily accessed by bus, so one does not need to have a car or driver’s license to access these food items.
Shopping organic for the first time can definitely be overwhelming. There are a lot of tips and things to consider when shopping organic. Check out our walkthrough at Strawberry Fields for some basic tips, but also remember to consider the following:
- Not all food is created equal! Some food should be bought organic, but some can be bought conventionally. (This is mentioned in the video, but you can check out additional information here.)
- When farmed conventionally, some foods have a lot more pesticides than others. Try to avoid these chemical additives.
- If you choose to buy something conventionally, check the ingredient list. If you can’t pronounce the items on the list, do you really want to be eating them? Try to avoid these “filler” items as much as possible.
If anyone feels the need to get some hands-on help in terms of shopping and eating organic, there are also resources for that. Common Ground Food Co-Op offers a variety of classes about organic food.
Ultimately, when shopping organic on a budget, it is important to do some research. You can cut costs by buying some items conventionally, but make sure you carefully consider when doing so. In the end, organic food provides more benefits–especially for the elderly–and decreases the intake of unnecessary additives.
This story was produced by University of Illinois students in Assistant Professor of Journalism Janice Collins’ multimedia class. It is part of Elderly Watch, a project of CU-CitizenAccess.org that focuses on elderly issues in east central Illinois. The project is funded by the Marajen Stevick Foundation.