Thanks for checking out our latest effort to connect with you, our readers. We have talked about the concept of doing blogs for months, trying to figure out the appropriate timing for a launch, the ethical and legal issues involved, and best information to share. I admit that I was one of the bigger skeptics at first — after all, I thought, I should be an objective journalist — but I've come around to seeing our weekly installments as an excellent opportunity to get news and advice out to you quickly and for you all to get to know the editorial staff a little better. So here goes.

One comment I often hear from readers who are trying to embrace the natural lifestyle that includes eating organic foods is that it's too darned expensive. Sure, you can find ways to save and still commit to natural products. For example, I've found that buying brown rice and peanut butter in bulk is cheaper at the store I frequent than buying some pre-packaged varieties. But let's face it: Eating mostly or all organic foods almost always adds up to a higher grocery bill.

Is it worth it? Like most of you, I am on a budget. I have to pay a mortgage, student loan, car payment, utilities, and more, as well as try to save a little. When I am weighing whether to buy an iPod (no, I don't have one yet) or a new ski jacket (yes, I'm sure this super cute pink one will make me faster on the slopes), I think of three things: my health, the health of the earth, and Michael Pollan. I'm a believer that organic foods are likely better for me because they contain no or little pesticide residue and are better for the planet because the methods used to grow organics pollute less or not at all. As far as Michael Pollan goes, he writes in his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, that cheap food is heavily subsidized by our government and doesn't reflect its real cost. Turns out that we in the United States spend only one-tenth of our disposable income on food. By comparison, in the 1950s we spent one-fifth of our disposable income on groceries. According to Pollan, we spend less on food than any other industrialized nation, and this fact suggests to Pollan that we could probably pay out more for food if we wanted to. I've decided I can, which is why I don't yet have a fancy iPod or that hot new ski jacket, even though I want them. It's not always an easy path to stick to, and it has its tradeoffs. On the down side, my friends are appalled at my … er, "retro" CD collection. On a high note, I'm not the slowest skier at the resort, and, hey, maybe I'll live longer on an organic diet and thus ski more runs overall. So far I think the decision to eat mostly organic foods has been worthwhile.