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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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organic living journey toxic waste

The following is part of an Organic Journey Guest Post Series, written by Amy a long time helper behind the scenes of Southern Savers.

There are some of you who have blown past this series as not being for your family, but now, it is a new year, and you are thinking, “maybe eating better would be a good idea.”  Well, I’ve got great news for you, this is exactly the post I wish that I had started the series with. In fact, it is where I wish I had started my own journey.  The most common objection I hear to people buying organic food is not that they think it’s pointless.  It’s that since they can’t afford to buy everything organic, why mess with it?  A few weeks ago, my old college roommate and I were chatting about how to evaluate which items to buy organic first when you are on a limited budget (and aren’t we all?), and she threw out the phrase “toxic load.” I had no idea of what she was talking about, but here is what I have learned.

All living things have a toxic load.  It is the load, what we carry in our beings, of things that are detrimental to our well-being.  Now, we live in a pretty toxic world–from exterior toxins, like pollution that we are breathing in to toxins that we are ingesting in the form of pesticides on our produce.  We all know that these toxins aren’t good for us, but what are battles that we can and should fight for our families and what do we just need to let go of (gas masks in downtown Atlanta, anyone?)

Understanding toxic load doesn’t apply just to our own personal toxicity, but it is also relevant to what we are ingesting because if what we are eating has a high toxic load, then we are just adding that to our own.  Too abstract?  Let’s get concrete.  A great example of this is the World Health Organization’s explanation of what happens with a chemical pollutant, dioxin.  “Once dioxins have entered the body, they endure a long time because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, where they are then stored in the body. Their half-life in the body is estimated to be seven to eleven years. In the environment, dioxins tend to accumulate in the food chain. The higher in the animal food chain one goes, the higher the concentration of dioxins.”  This is huge!  This idea that when I go up the food chain, the concentration of toxins increases can be vastly helpful.  To put it simply, when presented with a choice of spending a little bit more on organic apples or organic ground beef, it would be better to spend the extra on the beef than on the apples.  Here’s why.

The toxins that cows (or any animal for that matter) eat get stored in their fat.  If they are eating feed that has been treated with pesticides, fungicides or herbicides, then those toxins are being stored in their fat.  We are also exposing ourselves to whatever residual antibiotics or growth hormones that they have been given as well.  Here is the real kicker.  If the meat we eat is eating other meat, we are getting a double dose of toxicity.  Sure, cows and chickens aren’t supposed to be eating meat, but if you have watched any of those lovely food documentaries making the rounds these days, you will be questioning that assertion as much as I am.

Understanding this is helping me think holistically about my grocery shopping.  Just as the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists help me to make good decisions about where to invest my produce dollars, toxic load can help me to decide whether or not to get organic grass-fed beef or organic apples.

I wish I could start my baby steps journey all over again with this knowledge in hand, but alas, I can’t.  Since we already spent several weeks looking at dairy products, let’s spend the next few weeks talking about meat.  We’ll look at everything from lunch meats, to chickens, to how to buy a cow.  Is all this as revolutionary to you as it is to me?

    • David Ballinger

      wow, thanks so much. this was one of the most eye opening post i’ve read om a lil while.

    • NonC

      good info!

    • Maria

      we buy half of a grass fed cow every year. It costs us a little over $1000, and that is enough for my family (three little kids, my husband and me) for the year. Since we have changed to mostly organic/natural/grass fed products I have lost about 25 lbs, and my blood pressure went from borderline high to low normal, my husband’s cholesterol dropped dramatically. We eat more meat, more bacon, more butter, than we ever did, but we are healthier because of the quality of product we are eating!

    • katkoupon

      Never thought about prioritizing along the food chain, but it makes sense. Thank you! We also buy our grass fed beef in bulk, saves up a lot of money. We’re able to get pastured chicken and eggs from the same farmer. My local Costco sells a few organic meats (chicken and beef) and that helps us fill in. My local farmer has limited availability of pastured pork, especially bacon, and it’s $8/lb! For now, we buy Costco bacon at $3-ish per lb. We eat a lot of bacon, and I can not find any that is in between the two, like organic. Does anyone know where to find an organic bacon?

      • Lana

        Trader Joe’s has a better bacon but I do not think it is organic. Since pigs will eat absolutely anything including garbage and they only have one stomach so that what they eat goes straight into the body it would be hard to believe that there actually is organic pork without raising it yourself.

        • katkoupon

          Thanks, Lana! The closest Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods is 75 miles away :( I’ll keep checking, though.

        • Amy

          Trader Joes items don’t have preservatives and the hot dogs etc shouldn’t have sulfates and sulfites, and that’s what’s bad for us. The bacon might be the same way.

          • Lana

            Yes, Trader Joe’s bacon is sulfite and sulfate free but it is not organic as far as I know which means the pigs can be full of antibiotics, hormones and been fed GMO feed.

      • TheChapLeigh

        We buy direct from a farmer for both beef & pork. Since we shared a whole cow & pig both with another family, it meant only 8 packages of bacon for us, but lots of breakfast sausage. I would also like to know where to find good organic pastured bacon… since watching the documentaries, I am completely ruined for any standard beef or pork in the grocery stores, or fastfood. As you previously mentioned, Eatwild is a great resource. If anyone is near DC or Shenandoah Valley, you should check out JOel Salatin’s farm. He won’t ship, but if you are traveling through, he has a lot to offer!

    • Lana

      The toxic load issue is much larger than just what we eat! Everything that we expose the body to contributes to the toxic load. Our bodies are full of infections and toxins from every illness or injury that we have ever had. One of the most disconcerting things we are doing to ourselves on a daily basis is air fresheners and toxic cleaners. It amazes me how many people will only eat organic and use plug in air fresheners in thier homes.

      • katkoupon

        I agree. It seems the more toxins my husband and I remove from our lives, the healthier we get and the sharper our senses become. It’s like we were immune to all the fragrances we were using. I always tell people about the EWG database when I can. You can look up the cleaners (and personal care products) you have and see what toxic grade it gets. It took a little time, but there are lots of sites/blogs that share homemade cleaner recipes an ideas. Good ole white vinegar and baking soda seem to be good for almost everything! My favorite latest toxin removers: shower filter and 5-stage reverse osmosis system for the kitchen (including carbon filter to rid chlorine and fluoride)! Removing chlorine from my shower (and kitchen sink) has been great. My drinking water tastes great, my skin has never looked better, and I don’t have to breathe in those toxic fumes when I bathe!

        • BD

          Would love to know where you bought the shower filter and reverse osmosis system from? What type of investment does it require?

          • katkoupon

            I bought the New Wave Enviro Premium Shower Filter (still on sale for less than $30), comes with one cartridge, & another replacement cartridge (less than $20) from Vitacost. It only took my husband a few minutes, easy installation he said. The reverse osmosis system came from Costco. There are several online, but only one was available at my local warehouse, the Premier RO-Pure Advanced Filtration system. It was on sale last month, I think for $150 ($40 off at the time). We used the existing hole where our sprayer was, so we didn’t have to buy any special tools. My husband had to drill a single hole in the drainage pipe. He’s no plumber, he just read the directions and did a great job himself. Very pleased with both products.

      • amysanders

        you are SOOO right. :)

    • Mjack

      I would love to buy half a cow. I don’t know where to find a farmer who does this. Does anyone know where in the Greenville, SC area that I might be able to do this? email me jacksonmonicamjack@yahoo.com. Great article…

      • katkoupon

        Have you checked the EatWild website? That’s how I found mine!

      • Lana

        My daughter lives in Greenville and she buys grassfed beef at the farmer’s market. It is good to check out some of the farmers’ beef before committing to half a cow because their tastes can vary. You need to find a farmer whose beef you like.

      • Frances

        Have you contacted Bob Jones University? I was there a few years ago
        and think they had fresh meat. It was very expensive but at least they
        will probably have sources.

        • Mary S

          BJU sold their farm a few years ago. I think the company that bought the farm was Happy Cow…you could try googling them.

      • lj

        I may know someone. He does it as a hobby, and you would have to have it processed yourself. I don’t know if he would sell it to you, but I can check and see what he says. Another idea is to find a friend to split it with you and go to the livestock auction and buy a whole, live cow. I would imagine you could find out if it was grass or grain fed. In my opinion, it wouldn’t matter. It’s still better than the meat in the stores. Because you can pick where and how you want it processed.

      • Amy

        I would google a butcher and ask them. People who own dairy cows will have them occasionally as meat. There has to be a network out there.

      • mjack

        Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

    • Holly Clark

      Great site for Detoxing your body products…


    • Jeffy Walker

      Is purdue and butter ball good and ok to eat?

      • Casandra

        No, the animals are treated badly and pumped full of antibiotics.

        • Jeffy Walker

          On purdue it says natural, and no hormones, etc..

          • Elizabeth

            It also says “cage free” but the chickens are still very inhumanely treated.

          • katkoupon

            I’m not advocating Springer Mountain Chicken, I just remember reading this on their website a while back when I was trying to figure this stuff out…
            “the USDA defines “Natural” as a “Product containing no artificial
            ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed.” This
            definition has nothing to do with how the chickens are raised or what
            they are fed. It only applies to the processing facility and not the

            Also…” Companies also make the misleading claim that their chickens have never
            received Steroids or Hormones. What they do not tell you is that the
            USDA & FDA strictly PROHIBIT the use of Steroids and Hormones in
            poultry entirely; therefore, all poultry companies can make this claim.
            They put it on packaging to mislead consumers into thinking that
            Steroids, Hormones, and Antibiotics all fall into one category, but they
            do not. Steroids and Hormones are prohibited by the USDA & FDA, but
            Antibiotics are allowed. Eventhough they are allowed by the USDA &
            FDA, Springer Mountain Farms DOES NOT administer Antibiotics.”

            Your best (healthiest) choice for poultry is local and pasture-raised. Next would be free range, organic. Then cage-free, organic. All else would be your baseline.

            Hope this helps?

            • amysanders

              good info! and “natural” is a label that isn’t regulated by the FDA (from what I remember reading)-so, it really doesn’t mean anything.

    • I love this post. I have been watching all the Netflix documentaries about food and have to admit that I have been completely ignorant to what is going on around us in regards to food. I am now on an organic juicing detox fast. I am going to a local (South Florida) farmer’s market to buy my produce. I feel horrible that I have fed my children the things I have fed them!

      Anyone who wants to get a better understanding of why organic and local grown food matters should start out by watching the following on Netflix:

      -Food, Inc

      -Food Matters


      -Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

      -Forks Over Knives

      As a couponer I have started to question whether I will still extreme coupon because I don’t consume hardly any of what I used to and almost all coupons are for products that aren’t really good for me…Idk…Anyone else going through this crisis?

      • Kristin

        Please note, most of the documentaries
        mentioned are also on Hulu for free. Again, just don’t want people to
        miss out for thinking they can’t afford to.

        And, CommonKindness.com has some great organic and hard to find coupons. Plus, I’ve found that when I sign up for the newsletters from organic companies, they’ll often send coupons for products.

        Thankfully my 1-year-old is allergic to dairy or we may have never made the transition to healthier eating!

      • vikie504

        yes! I was a great couponer and my pantry shelves were fully stocked with highly processed name brand foods that I got for pennies on the dollar and often many were free. 1 1/2 years ago we watched Forks Over Knives. I threw away several large lawn trash bags full of processed junk. We track all of our spending on Quicken and I was certain that our food spending would have increased significantly. However, I found we only spent $67 per month more on average in 2012 than in 2011. The great thing about eating almost 100% organic plant based foods is that it doesn’t take as much to fill us up and we almost never go to a restaurant.

        • amysanders

          isn’t it amazing! i’m finding the same thing. my spending isn’t really increasing all that much, but the quality of what we are eating is increasing ten fold!

    • Jenni P.

      I continue to be so grateful for this series!

    • Lori


      • amysanders

        i felt the same way!

    • Lori

      Wow! I love this series and need to really spend some time reading, researching and returning to it, but I don’t always have the time to keep up to date with it. Can someone create a permanent link on the southern savers main page so that your followers can return to this series of posts time after time? I would find it very helpful as I am sure other readers would as well.

      • amysanders

        i’ll pass the request on to jenny. :) for now, you have two options. there is an “organic” permanent link on the side bar that these posts are filed under, or you can click on the first sentence of this post and all of the previous posts should pull up. hope that helps! (and glad that you are enjoying the series!)

        • TheChapLeigh

          I don’t see the organic sidebar? I also notice that many times I am not able to see all the posts for organic living when I either search for them, or click on the above underlined link… I do have an old computer & am in the midst of making the change to Windows 8 though, so perhaps I will see the sidebar on my laptop next time I”m on that….

          • amysanders

            it is a tab with latest articles, categories and videos on the right side. categories will get you organic. if all else fails, you can google the article you are looking for. sorry!

    • cherie111

      I applaud you for this post. It is never too late to change our thinking and/or lifestyle choices. We should always strive to do better and be better. I actually posted to your blog years ago about problems with couponing. First, the foods we are getting for free or next to nothing are the same foods that are detrimental to our health. It’s mostly processed garbage! The majority of us are parents looking to save a bit on our grocery bills. Let’s be honest, the cost of food is expensive! With a family of 6, I almost spend more on food than my mortgage. What are we doing? Getting our kids addicted to all this processed food and sugar. Haven’t we all heard the expression that nothing is for free? These companies know what they are doing. Also, as a busy Mom, it takes time to put healthy food on the table. You can’t just open up a box and call it dinner. You actually have to take time to COOK! I’d love to see the day that we get a coupon for a bag of organic apples. I’ve actually stopped couponing all together because it has put a bad taste in my mouth.I also don’t want to be tempted to buy something that I normally wouldn’t because I get a great deal on it. Who needs 18 bottles of BBQ sauce? I don’t.

      • TheChapLeigh

        Dont be discouraged… Earthbound farms now offers lots of coupons — a few links a week it seems. In some grocery stores, Earthbound farms can include carrots & apples, not just the greens. You do have to get creative… but put your good “couponing the sales” skills to practice in all the other areas you can, and when you see the Muir Glen, Cascadian Farms & kashi Qs, stock up! Get your friends to print them for you, trade with other die-hard couponers who aren’t interested in those items… that’s how I”ve been able to gain access to those Qs and build my organic stockpile. I”m also noticing that my two grocery stores are carrying more and more storebrand organic options, and they market those to me via my store loyalty card. I’ may not be using as many coupons, but I”m still able to get what I need at cheaper than Whole Foods, for sure.

    • TheChapLeigh

      As always, love this post :) Thank you so much for all of your time researching & conveying to us all what you are learning. As Laura stated below, those are some great documentaries to start with. What I keep telling others around me, who are interested in the changes we have made to our food choices, “Just one better choice at a time”. You’ve gotta start somewhere… we have had to pray for wisdom in what changes to make next, as we have made radical choices in the past few years… as in, adding livestock to our property! It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and also to over-extend yourself, so you really have to choose what’s most burdensome to your heart, implement that change, and then when that seems like it’s no big deal in your lifestyle, then add another new change. Heh heh heh, I tell eveyone that I “evicted our chickens!!!” one day when I was too overextended to take care of them anymore… only they kept coming back “home” to roost and lay eggs, even though I wasn’t able then to properly take care of them. After a few weeks, I realized that fresh eggs & poultry was worth it and have since been able to make it work for us. It’s real easy to burn out, to stop being so intentional in your food choices and slip back into “convenience”… I’ve seen it happen in my circle. I notice that if people start with what they are strongly internally convicted about, then they will likely stick with it for the longhaul.