I didn’t think too much about food until shortly before I became pregnant for the first time. I just ate food. Sometimes too much, sometimes not enough. Sometimes I cooked, and sometimes I ate prepared foods. Food was just a means to an end.Until it wasn’t.Several years before I became pregnant, I visited one of my first friends to have a child. She had very clear ideas about what to feed her daughter and made much of her food at home. Emphatically, she told me to only buy organic dairy products. Mind you, this was over 15 years ago, and like most Americans at the time, I didn’t know anything about organic food. I hadn’t seen any in our local grocery, nor did I hear anything about it from the media.My friend explained all she knew about hormones and antibiotics in the milk that we were drinking, the very milk that we were giving to children, and what she said resonated with me. Maybe it was the doctor in me; maybe it was because I hoped to be a mom someday and wanted to do right by my future children. Whatever the reason, in one of the few draconian decisions that I have ever made about food, I went straight down the line that day and stopped buying non-organic milk, butter and yogurt.MORE: Healthy Lunches for the Whole FamilyFlash forward a few years, and a few children, and I began to expand my organic horizons. Initially, I didn’t know whether all the food that I purchased had to be organic—or local, or sustainably grown. There were so many labels. A little research was in order.As with almost every medical decision, as well as lifestyle decision, that I have ever made—be it for a patient, myself or my family—moderation is my governing principle. I soon realized that only eating organic was not going to be possible, and perhaps wasn’t even necessary. So I started out by consulting the information provided by the Environmental Working Group. They publish a list called “The Dirty Dozen,” which calls out the fruits and vegetables that harbor the most pesticides and therefore should be eaten organic whenever possible.In addition, I try to purchase organic meat for our family. This is difficult for us to do on a routine basis, both for convenience reasons (our local grocery store only sells some organic meats) and economics (organic meat is usually more expensive).As my children have gotten older, and I’ve learned more, I have discovered several shortcuts that have helped me to make eating organic foods easier:1) Frozen vegetables are just as good, and sometimes even better, than fresh vegetables. They are often flash frozen and retain a lot of their nutrients, so I often purchase organic vegetables, such as peas, frozen and just keep them stocked in my freezer. (No excuse for not having a green vegetable in the house!)2) I try to shop seasonally. The fruits and vegetables just taste better and there’s a greater chance that they are local, rather than having been shipped halfway around the world. Trying to get a child to eat a bland-tasting vegetable doesn’t go over too well usually, but try a fresh sweet strawberry or a carrot with its green stem still on top, and your odds go way up.And finally, 3) I’ve started going frequently to our local farmers market. I’ve discovered that if I buy again and again from the same farmers, farmers whom I can actually speak with, then I don’t always worry about the “organic” label. Getting that label can be too expensive for some of these small farmers so they don’t do it, but when I speak with them and learn how they farm, I am often pleasantly surprised to learn just how safe and sustainable many of their practices are. Also, I can buy smaller quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market, so we end up wasting less—another cost savings.My ideal meal is organic, local, sustainable and all of the other yummy buzz words that we read and hear about so much today. With that said, reminding myself that perfection is the enemy of the good, I do the best that I can and I don’t worry about it too much. I don’t want anxiety about organic foods to get in the way of preparing delicious and healthy food for my family and myself. That would defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?QUIZ: How Healthy Is Your Diet?