Growing up, my parents fed us pretty healthfully. Don’t get me wrong, we still ate Little Debbie Snack Cakes occasionally, but we always had fruits and vegetables readily accessible. Most of what we ate was made from scratch at home.
Through the years, I’ve taken Nutrition courses and done personal study. It was only in the last few years that I started looking into what “organic” meant. My study of the “organic” lifestyle began after watching Food, Inc. a couple years ago. I had no idea there were that many chemicals added to our foods: pesticides, fungicides, insecticides (notice the Latin suffix “-cide” which means “killer”). On top of the killers, we add growth hormones and excess antibiotics to our livestock. None of this is natural or necessary. After watching Food, Inc., we decided that when we bought meat, we would buy “all-natural” meats (aka, no hormones or antibiotics).
Then I watched Supersize Me, which really made me lose any desire to eat fast food ever again. We started eating less meat (even the “all-natural” kind) and filling up on fresh produce. This past winter, we found Milk and Honey Organics(a local produce delivery service) and switched to mostly “organic” produce.
I’ve tried various diets and studied a myriad of nutrition methods, read The China Study, researched Raw Diets, Vegan Diets, Vegetarian Diets, Lacto-Ovo-Pesco-Vegetarian Diets, and the list goes on. There are studies for everything, and you have to decide what’s right for you on this matter. One Scripture passage that keeps coming back to my mind is Acts 10 and 11, when God tells Peter in a vision, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat. …What God has made clean, do not call common.” Also, Jesus fed fish to the disciples in John 21 and ate fish in Luke 24.
I saw The China Study’s research and was intrigued at the seemingly direct correlation between vegan diets that allow seafood (not bottom-dwellers) and the decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc. I’ve seen people with diseases healed by eating Raw or Vegan diets; and I’ve seen those on Raw and Vegetarian diets recently switch back to eating a more balanced diet that includes meat because of lack of energy, anemia, cholesterol levels or moodiness.
The hard part is that there are too many factors to control in many of these studies. There are some countries that only eat meat and vegetables, especially starchy vegetables, and yet they’re not overweight or malnourished and they’re not seeing the rates of heart attack, stroke, and cancer that we see in America.
So, is there a good, better, and best with food and nutrition? It seems to me that a good rule of thumb is balance: “all things in moderation.” Though the phrase does not come from the Bible, the thought is there in I Cor. 9:22, “all things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” Also, in Genesis 9:3, God tells Noah, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” The key is eating a balanced, nutritious, sustainable diet, not following some short-lived fad diet.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching more and more documentaries about food and nutrition. I watched Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution and saw communities in France make steps towards 100% organic diets. As a result, they saw decreases in miscarriages, deformities, diseases, and other abnormalities. Then I watched Food Matters, and saw the nutritional research behind an organic lifestyle and the importance of vitamins and minerals.
The more I think about it and study it, the more I want to be 100% organic. I see some definite benefits to it. And since we’ve been eating more organic, we’ve noticed an increase in energy and a decrease in sickness and even allergies. Plus, say we’re wrong and organic isn’t necessary, at least the lack of chemicals in our systems won’t hurt us. So, I asked Bryan if he was ready to take this step with me and he said yes. We’re going to do our best. It won’t happen overnight; it may never be 100%; but, it’s something we want to try to do eventually if possible.
What does this practically mean for us?
- Only buying what we need (since organic products are more expensive)
- Not buying processed items (or genetically modified items)
- Not eating out as much (there are very few organic restaurants in our area; this will also help our budget)
- Only buying organic meat (this is one step further than all-natural)
- Possibly limiting our menu items (as not all things are readily available in organic yet)
- Making more things from scratch at home
- Ordering bulk organic flour, sugar, etc.
- Sticking to the meal plan and shopping list (studies show that “the average household goes to the grocery store 2-3 times per week, shops 90 minutes a week in the store, and spends $1.89 each additional minute he or she is in the store. They also know that because few shoppers use lists, 66% of purchases are unplanned, and often unnecessary” ~Brent Honshell, M.M.)
- This doesn’t mean that we will not eat non-organic food ever. We know that the Lord will protect us as we serve Him, so if we go out to eat with friends or co-workers, or are invited to share a meal in someone’s home, it won’t be something that is asked or even brought up.
- It’s certainly not something to be paranoid about. We’ll do our best to make informed choices, but we won’t flip out if we eat something that isn’t 100% organic.
- It’s not an alter I’m willing to die on. If someone thinks the entire organic movement is a big conspiracy theory, targeting individuals that are willing to spend more to get what they believe to be more nutritious, I’m not going to argue with them. It’s just not worth it.
It’s better to eat conventional produce than to avoid eating produce at all just because it might have been treated. Conventional produce still provides adequate nutrition levels. We just believe organic offers a higher quality of nutrition and, therefore, want to choose it as often as possible. I believe eating a balanced “organic” diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, is the best thing, even if it’s not always feasible. The first step was balance. The second step was nutrition. The next step for us right now is eating as organic as possible. We may or may not do this forever, but for now, we believe it’s a step worth taking.
Also, one other point I must make is that just because something says it’s 100% organic does NOT necessarily make it healthful for you. If you have to choose between a 100% organic triple fudge sundae or a conventionally grown apple, the apple is going to provide more nutrition. So, it’s not about eating 100% organic junk food. It’s about being good stewards of our bodies for the glory of God to the best of our abilities.
Which step are you on? Are these steps even necessary? Or are there other, better steps to take? Should we go 100% organic or just do our best to eat balanced meals? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.