Let me say first that I don’t have a degree in nutrition or health, or agriculture, or even science of any kind. My degree is a BA from a liberal arts college, so you know how useful that is – just kidding, I am well-rounded. The things I am going to write about are things I’ve learned from living it and reading extensively on the subject, not school. I just wanted to say upfront that this is my experience and therefore, really my opinion – not scientific fact. Take it for what it is. Use what you can, forget what you can’t. But please, don’t take me to task for the accuracy of every detail. I’m no expert. I’m a mom.
It is a myth that living organically is hard and expensive. It’s actually simple and easy and the way everyone used to live before all our “progress”. I’ve had lots of people tell me “I’m so impressed that you do all this organic stuff. I could never do that.” Yes, you could. I’m truly of average intelligence and I’m as lazy as the next person, and I need at least 8 hours of sleep every night to function well, so if I am doing this – so can you. It’s really a matter of priorities and the conviction that eating better is good for you, your children, and this planet. There is nothing miraculous, difficult, or complicated about living an organic lifestyle. It’s truly simpler, much less complicated really. It’s going back to basics and using less “stuff’ overall.
Maybe I’m misleading you when I say I’m writing about organic living. What I’m going to write about is healthy, responsible living. I do lean towards the organic, because I believe that’s how all food should be grown, but I’m not strictly organic. I believe in local, responsibly grown and/or manufactured products first, organic if I can get them. It would be incredibly expensive, and in my opinion limiting, to buy and eat only certified organic items. We pay at least 30% more to get that little USDA green and white circle. Many farmers who would like to be certified organic point out the difficulty and cost of getting that rating. I live in Amish country, and while most Amish farms are truly organic and have been for centuries, none of them are certified organic. It helps if you can meet the farmer and you live near the farm, but sometimes you have to take a company’s word for it and not insist on the little green and white circle.
I opt for local whenever possible. My thought is this – if it doesn’t have be stored and shipped for long distances, chances are it will contain fewer preservatives and pesticides. It also didn’t require a huge output of energy to get to me. If I can get it without packaging – in bulk or loose – even better. Local products are generally cheaper too – that’s a bonus!
Here’s a little trivia for you - For several centuries, US adults had the tallest heights in the world, thanks to our plentiful food supply. This is no longer the case. According to federal surveys, American men rank 9th and American women rank 15th in average height, shorter than many European countries. We still produce plenty of food and most people are eating lots, but the kind of foods we are eating may not be the most healthful choices. Many factors contribute to this loss of height, but diet is certainly a crucial one.
So we’re shrinking and expanding and we’re sicker than ever. Some days I think our country needs a bop on the head (to borrow a phrase from little bunny fu-fu). How can we be so smart and still be so stupid? Here’s the only statistical evidence I have (and it could be blown out of the water tomorrow by a persistent flu strain) – my kids don’t get sick. In the past two years since we’ve gone organic, we’ve been to the pediatrician only once between well visits (for a sore throat that turned out to be just that, not strep). In fact, if we weren’t constantly pulling them out of school to visit relatives, they’d get perfect attendance awards.
OK – I’m way past my word limit (I’m aiming for 500 words or less), so I’ll stop. I told you I had a lot to say.