One of my fears is that I turn to mush as I get older. Losing my mental capacity is scary. Losing my physical capacity is daunting. I’d like to be an old man that thrives. My fears about my future mental and physical condition, as well as my fears about undermining my daughter’s potential, have driven me to do a lot of research about food.
The great sabotage
It didn’t seem to matter what we did, our electric bill was over $400. My 2 roommates and I lived in a small, hot apartment that summer. Saving money was really important, but it didn't matter what we did, it seemed as though we couldn’t keep the apartment cool AND our electric bill was super high. We closed all the blinds during the day, checked all the windows for leaks, never left doors open, set the vents the right way, wore lightweight shorts and t-shirts, set the temperature on our HVAC higher so that it was running the A/C less when we weren’t home. All of these efforts and our next monthly electric bill was still over $400. The issue wasn’t our effort, the issue was that we were living in Florida. No matter what we did, the weather around us sabotaged our efforts.
Do you feel that way too? We are seriously disciplined, make rules for ourselves, abstain from so many things we like to eat, exercise rigorously, all in vain because the chemicals in and on our foods sabotage our efforts. No matter how hard we try, there is a merciless force restraining us from progress. We’re fighting to be healthy with one arm tied behind our backs.
Could it be that there are hidden forces, accepted by the general population, subversively undermining your efforts to be healthy? Someone might point you to Organic food as an alternative, but is there any fact to their claim that Organic is healthier?
How is Organic healthier?
No artificial flavors - An artificial flavor is a single word that covers the “proprietary” flavor ingredients used by companies. They may contain synthetic chemicals, solvents, MSG, preservatives such as BHA, propylene glycol, parabens, etc. There is no government requirement for companies to disclose what is actually in their “artificial flavors”. Each artificial flavor may include up to 100 ingredients.
No artificial colors -Linked to hyperactivity and increased allergies in kids, some are known to be carcinogenic in animal studies, there are ongoing studies about Blue #1 being a neurotoxin, multiple colors have been banned when thought safe at first. All products containing artificial food coloring require a warning in the European Union.
No artificial sweeteners - Known to affect brain function and to contribute to weight gain by encouraging sugar cravings.
No high fructose corn syrup - HFCS increases appetite, promotes weight gain, and can contribute to long term issues like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.
Only certain chemicals allowed - Organic food has a strict list of what is allowed to be added to foods. When you see the "USDA Organic" seal, it means a 3rd party has audited the company for adherence to the rules set up by the USDA.
No BHT - Used as a preservative, BHT disrupts the signals from our gut to our brains that tell us to stop eating. BHT is also an endocrine disruptor.
No BHA - Used as a preservative, BHA is an endocrine disruptor and banned in many other countries.
Organic produce is more nutritious - Organically grown fruits and vegetables have slightly higher levels of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Normal hormone function - Many pesticides and herbicides, such as the widely used herbicide Glyphosate (Round-up), are considered “endocrine disruptors”. They change how your body regulates your hormones, altering your body’s basic chemistry. Glyphosate stimulates the overproduction of estrogen. Glyphosate and other synthetic pesticides and herbicides are banned for Organic produce.
Better thyroid function - Pesticides and herbicides have been linked to hyper- and hypo- thyroidism.
Reduced risk of neurodevelopmental problems - Exposure to pesticides around the time of birth (in or out of the womb) disrupts the baby’s thyroid and neurotransmitter function. This is especially important for women in agricultural settings as they have a higher likelihood of significant exposure.
Large reduction in exposure to antibiotics from food consumption - Conventionally raised animals can exist in their conditions because of the huge amounts of antibiotics given throughout their life. Those antibiotics are in the meat we eat, destroying the good bacteria in our guts. This has all sorts of consequences including weight gain, hormonal issues, and impaired brain function.
No human sewage used as fertilizer - We humans put all sort of stuff in the toilet. Birth control hormones, prescriptions drugs, antibiotics all end up in our waste. On non-organic produce, this is allowed to be put on the fields and it enters our food. Reduced risk of Alzheimers and Parkinson's - Glyphosate (Round-up) has been implicated in an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's.
Reduced risk of ADHD for kids - Children with higher levels of organophosphate pesticides were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.
Reduced number of obesogens that you encounter - Factory farmed animals receive a synthetic estrogen implant that enhances growth by 40-50 lbs. While banned in the European Union, American agencies permit these implants because “no risk to human health has been proven yet”.
Reduced levels of herbicides and pesticides in your urine - Did you know that almost all of us have herbicides and pesticide in our bodies? What are they doing inside us? The good news is that within a few days of switching to Organic food, pesticide counts in urine drop dramatically. It doesn’t take long for you to get rid of it, so why wait?
So, just eat anything Organic and I'll be Healthy?
If we all went through life eating Organic Cheese-Its and Organic Gummy Bears, would we be healthy? Probably not. That isn't a diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Are Organic Cheese-Its and Organic Gummy Bears health-ier than their regular versions? Yes.
It's like water in your gas tank
When I put gas in my car, I'm not looking for a gas station that adds water to the gasoline, I just want gas. Water in the gas will cause my engine to run poorly. My car won't work right if I put soap in the engine oil. My transmission won't shift correctly if I put toothpaste in it. I'm using these examples to remind myself that what I put into my body will determine how well it functions. Chemicals have their purposes, but they are not nutritious.
When I look at all the things I'd like to avoid in my diet, chemicals are one of the highest priorities. To me, it makes sense that fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat grown/raised with the least amount of chemical supercharging would be the healthiest. The system is designed by God to work in a beautiful way. Water, Sun, Soil, Time, and TLC are the ingredients for growing something.
My body and your body are high-performance machines. They were put together by a skilled Craftsman. Our bodies, our minds, and our hearts are His temple and have been bought with a price. Let's care for these temples with high quality foods as if He really is taking up residence in us. Maybe we should be applying 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 to our eating habits as well as our sexual habits?
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Is Organic a Scam?
When you hear the message that buying Organic is a scam, that it can’t feed the world, that there isn’t any difference to conventionally grown food, think about who is paying for that message. Huge companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars continue to thrive because we believe the lies they feed us rather than believing that naturally grown food, the way God designed it, is better for us and our neighbors.
I don't think that farmers are trying to deliberately sabotage us. Farmers work hard, long days to provide good healthy produce. The ones I am skeptical of are the multi-billion dollar agricultural and food processing companies selling chemicals with promises of complete health, environmental responsibility, and increased productivity. They are the ones funding the research centers, the papers, the opinion pieces, the advertising, the lobbying, and the think tanks. Do they have profit margins to defend and earnings per share expectations to deliver on? You betcha. That makes me nervous. It makes me nervous that they might put profit above my health.
When people say they prefer Organic food, what they often seem to mean is they don't want their food tainted with pesticides and their meat shot full of hormones or antibiotics. Many object to the way a few companies - Monsanto is the most famous of them - control so many of the seeds we grow. -Michael Specter
If you found this post helpful, stay tuned for our future posts on tips to make Organic meals quick, affordable, easy, and delicious.