How Organic Is Your Food Really? The Importance of Becoming Your Own Food Advocate
In 2001, the USDA food pyramid was cited for portraying an imbalanced food plan grossly influenced by the dairy and meat lobbyists. This pyramid instructed decades of nutritionists, medical professionals, and school food plans. As a result, it wreaked havoc on the average American body. The new pyramid, while slightly improved, sadly still reveals an unclear and unhealthy approach to diet and lifestyle and is influenced by big business.
It’s no secret that food is big business, but the far-reaching effects on our health as a populace is just now becoming clear as we witness increased illness and obesity within our nation. Americans have come to expect rapid deterioration and disease as the given way “out” of life. But this need never be, and as the Body Ecology Diet teaches, a healthy inner ecosystem will not only keep us healthy, but keep us young inside and out.
Often on the go, with easy access to seemingly infinite food choices, we sometimes lose track of how these foods came to be available to us 24/7, year round. But if we take time to get informed, we may find our food and lifestyle choices change as a result. We may find that what we thought was an abundance of healthy options packaged with labels reading “whole” and “natural” are really masked empty calories, chemicals, and nutrient-raided fare similar to fast foods. By taking the reins out of the hands of others, we become our own best food advocates.
Did you know that many so-called “organic” foods actually contain levels of harmful chemicals approved by the FDA? For fresh and flavorful foods that are also safe, shop locally at farmer’s markets, and do your research when purchasing commercial foods!
Least Footprint Eating
“Least footprint eating” means growing and buying as much local, seasonal, non-packaged, non-processed foods as feasible. It means the closer the food is to its original form and natural casing, the better.
- Shop farmer’s markets when possible and find the best food co-ops or organic markets in your area, preferably those that support local food procurers and farmers. You’ll generally find that employees working in these markets actually know about whole and healthy foods and can do more than point you down the donut aisle.
- Do your best to avoid large food chains that offer little organic fare and avoid organic brands that produce solely for large scale commercial chains. These brands have a history of recall for items that do not meet USDA Organic standards.
This is a sign that management educates its employees, taking seriously the business of healthy eating and not just the business of food. Remember, bigger is not always better. Unless a food store shows true response to product inquiry and concern and implements programs that illustrate the use of third party checks and balances to verify the quality of their foods, steer clear of its aisles.
While “least footprint eating” is a good guideline, some packaged and prepared foods are hard to avoid. That said, always choose organic when available, though keep in mind the term “organic” has become grossly compromised over the years. Today, for example, under the label “organic”, certain levels of arsenic in organic chicken meat are permissible according to the FDA. Non-organic casing for use with organic sausage was recently approved; you will not see this on the label. The list of infractions goes on and on. A modicum of familiarity with the product lines from which you buy and the quality of their ingredients is advised.
If you’re unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask.
If you question the use of an ingredient or food preparation method, don’t be afraid to call or email the company directly to investigate.
Responsible food producers will respond with honesty; Chino Valley Ranchers recently confirmed by email that yes, their eggs were washed with bleach before making it into the marketplace. But don’t fault Chino Valley Ranchers, this is an FDA mandated measure for all pasteurized eggs sold in markets. Learn about egg purity and benefits, and see if you can locate a local farmer that has pastured, unpasteurized chicken eggs from chickens who are non-grain fed.
Some years ago, Ben and Jerry’s was faulted for stating their ice cream contained dioxin. Unfortunately, dioxins (toxic or carcinogenic hydrocarbons that occur as impurities in herbicides) have proliferated our lands and migrate in the fatty parts of animals. They are in every animal product, organic or not, so applaud Ben and Jerry’s for disclosing this fact, though the general public misunderstood their good intention, and some boycotted their product in reaction.
However, does Ben and Jerry’s use the supposed latest in technology: “edible antifreeze”, a protein called gelatin hydrolysate, designed to thwart ice crystals that form on ice cream that sits in the freezer and does not requiring labeling (the FDA does not mandate labeling of genetically modified foods)?
Again, going back to the “least foot print eating” approach, make your own ice cream. A delicious recipe combines raw milk from grass fed cows, seasonal berries, and BE stevia. And a dairy-free option can be made with coconut milk. It’s simple and fun to make, and the best part about it is that you can remain confident of the ingredients you’re ingesting.
My food is from where?!
Beware also that many brands may read organic, but this does not bar the foods from being produced or packaged in other countries. Alaskan Wild Salmon sold at Vons is packaged and sauced in China. Consider this: the shipping time, the many hands on the foods, the varying temperatures…
In the end ask yourself: What value am I really getting from eating a food that’s been through this kind of handling? Aside from fumigation or other food safety shipping regulations effecting foods shipped across borders, there’s the simple concern for food that travels this distance; this is not what nature intended, and it certainly steers far from a “least footprint eating” methodology.
Being your own food advocate is the gateway to an abundance of health and well-being. Whole, enzymatically intact, real and delicious foods that the Body Ecology Diet recommends are thankfully available to us if we only take the time to identify them!
WHAT TO REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THIS ARTICLE:
Being informed about the foods that you eat can make a world of difference in achieving optimal health. Even supposed “natural” foods are often full of harmful chemicals and devoid of nutrients. Body Ecology encourages “least footprint eating” through buying local, seasonal, and fresh foods as often as possible. When shopping for packaged or prepared foods, it is essential to research your organic choices to determine how safe they actually are. On top of that, you can use one of the many healthy Body Ecology recipes to make your own natural, safe, and fresh food at home!