There has been a lot of attention about eating more healthily. The Hippocrates quote, “Food is Medicine” is surfacing in all media. But, opinions differ on what constitutes healthy food.
I’m going to start by admitting that I consider myself a “clean eater.” I mostly prepare and or cook all my own meals from scratch and I use the best ingredients I can find. Organic local produce. Pasture raised, grass fed beef when I want it which is about once every two weeks. Organic free range chicken and eggs. Organic milk, yogurt, & butter from grass fed cows. Heavy on the organic raw nuts & seeds and organic herbs and spices. Read more about the importance of nutritious food.
Why is eating organic food important? Because nonorganic fruits and vegetables are grown using pesticides, namely Roundup™ which contains glyphosate. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the USA and is a known carcinogen. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) namely most of our plant food, are created “Roundup Ready” so they can withstand the toxic overload. But, our bodies cannot. Toxins are stored in our fat. Endocrine disruptors like glyphosate can cause miscarriages and birth defects in pregnant women and other hormone disruption in both males and females. It’s important to me not to knowingly eat these toxins so I make it a point not to ingest them by knowing exactly what I’m putting in my mouth when I eat and drink. Organic foods are a healthy choice for you and your family. Read more about GMOs.
How do I know what’s really in my food? I am sure to buy organic produce when it’s in season at local markets that I trust. In the off season, I buy from states that I know live up to their organic promise, such as Vermont and California. That’s if I’m not growing it myself from organic seeds or seedlings. There are some fruits and veggies that are unsafe to eat unless they are organic. Known as the dirty dozen, only buy organic strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. The clean 15 are those foods that are safe to eat even if not organic. They are avocados, corn, pineapples, cabbage, sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and cauliflower. The Environmental Working Group, or EWG @ewg has great charts and a food guide that you can find here.
Now, let’s talk about flesh foods. I’m going to be honest. I was vegetarian for 18 years for moral reasons because of the cruelty of the factory farm industry. It is the number one reason why I do not patronize fast food franchises. Their food is cheap for a reason. It comes with a price. A price paid for by animals and by the compromise of your health. Factory farm animals are not only treated cruelly, they are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones and other nasty things that I’ll save you to research yourselves. But, suffice it to say, it’s not what you want to put into you or your child’s mouth. If you’re going to get your protein from flesh foods, do so responsibly. Know what you are eating and who your farmer is. These days, there is a growing movement of small farmers who are socially conscious and environmentally aware. Search them out in your local area and patronize them. Or look for them in your local supermarket. Almost every grocer has a section of organic meat products. Do they cost more? Yes. Are they worth it? Yes. Your health is worth it and so is your diet. If you can’t afford to eat meat every day, consider whether eating meat daily is really what you should be doing. I eat it infrequently and responsibly.
When buying nuts and seeds, be sure to buy raw and organic seeds. There are many supermarkets that carry them or you can order them from a reputable distributor online. Some seeds like chia and flax need to be ground before use to make their nutrients more bioavailable. I use my Vitamix™ but you can also use a coffee grinder to grind small batches. All nuts and seeds should be stored in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. I like to store my nuts in quart sized Mason jars. I store the ground seeds in pint or ½ pint sized jars. I also reuse empty mustard and olive jars if I’m short on jars. Recycle, reuse, repurpose.
I also use all organic herbs and spices. They are all readily available. If price is objectionable, try growing your own organic herbs. They are easy to grow and you can cut and use them right in your kitchen as needed. They are also available at farmer’s markets in season.
If you are wondering, “Who has the time to shop for organic foods?” It does take time to stop at the grocer for your basic staples and comb through farmers’ markets and specialty butchers, etc. I would like you to ask yourself a different question. “How important is my health?” and “Am I willing to make sacrifices to make my health a priority?”