Going back to the farm for health

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 12:00 am
By Tessa Edick For Columbia-Greene Media

 

The single most important thing we do each and every day is eat. People question why locally sourced fresh organic food is expensive? The real question is why is processed food so cheap? What is the value of good health? And what do you really pay for junk food? Is it worth the taste to poison your body with chemicals?

 

If the goal is good health, joy and happiness, peaceful sleep, fertility, effective digestion, nutrition absorption and bodies that move well, think well, heal well and produce good skin, hair, teeth and strong bones that all contribute to a long life of wellness and energy, then the answer is yes, you can afford locally sourced organic, biodynamic, air-pollinated grass-fed and pastured nutrient dense good food.

 

Food with empty calories leaves you over-eating and hungry, lethargic, sick and fat. Why sacrifice good health with cheap food?

 

What does a doctor’s visit, a day off of work, kid home sick from school or a prescription really cost you? How much do you spend on remedies for stomach, allergies, weight loss or vitamins and supplements because your food lacks nutrition?

 

If you are cheap with your food, you are cheating your health. And maybe that’s the problem. We don’t seem to value our health until it’s gone. Is it possible we just don’t care? Or we simply forgot the connection to our food source — the farmer — and got tricked by the big business of food, poisoning us for profits while selling a now, now, now lifestyle.

 

We might be the only culture in the world that collectively makes up all kinds of excuses why we cannot eat better — we are in a hurry, it’s too expensive, it’s inconvenient, we don’t like this or that or have food allergies or a sweet tooth — but the truth is, no matter the reasoning, if we want to look and feel great, it starts with our food choices, sources and a commitment to nutrition first.

 

For most of us it’s a really simple formula that’s worked for centuries around the world. It’s based in wellness and from the farms that surround us. Eat good honest food that’s responsibly made, packed with nutrition and offers flavor that satisfies your taste buds and cravings. Eat calories that give back. Eat local. Opt out of processed food and drink water, not sugar.

 

Moreover, what we buy, our food choices indicate our demand — to the supermarket and the farmer. Farmers are ingenious — they will raise and grow what we want — but they don’t know unless we send clear messages about what we want to eat by what we buy at the grocery store and restaurants. We make the food choices that drive demand for production. Our healthy habits can eat into the packaged food industry if we all demand chemical free fresh food.

 

The truth is, we would all pay anything to be healthy, fit, energetic and good looking. We want to live a long life without being sick or have ailments. So why not pay it forward for food that is organic, local and good for you if the results are positive and the flavor outstanding? It’s called prevention and your food dollars support what’s available on market shelves.

 

As an agrarian society it seems we have lost our way. Our path to good, wholesome, homemade food has been blocked by a very convincing bully called convenience and the result is very disappointing; we are unaware, unhealthy and unsatisfied with what we eat.

 

We need to go back to the start, back to the farm, and re-establish our dialog with the people that make our food. We have been tricked by the big business of food and their big budgets and fancy advertising with “nutrtionism” (more fiber, real fruit, bigger is better) messages, which doesn’t make the food good for you just because the claims are savvy.

 

Food rules have gotten so complicated and the focus has derailed from seed and soil for nutrition and energy to quick, easy, processed and large-scale production that convince us that packaged food on the go is the right way, so we can eat more and then rely on supplements, diets, excessive exercise and pharmaceuticals to fill the voids in good wholesome real food.

 

If we are what we eat, then no wonder we aren’t feeling great. If we eat real food with real nutrition, our perfect bodies will optimize and run on the fuel they need that they get from a diet of plants, meat and natural sustenance. We won’t have empty calories leaving us feeling hungry, tired, moody and confused.

 

An ancient Ayurvedic proverb reads: “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is right, medicine is of no need.”

 

Michael Pollan wrote a book called “FOOD RULES — An Eater’s Manual” and it simplifies consumption for us with three categories: What should I eat? (Eat Food), What kind of food should I eat? (Mostly plants) and How should I eat? (Not too much).

 

If you can’t read it, don’t eat it. That’s generally my rule when looking at the ingredient list of anything I eat. The beautiful thing about eating direct from the farm is you eat pure goodness — meat, grain, dairy or vegetables — from people that work hard to feed you well. Farmers are honest folks and won’t trick you or dupe you with slick slogans and false advertising.

 

Nutrition tastes better. Agriculture builds sustainable communities and commerce. Economic development sustains livelihoods and rewards us all with healthy lives. So here are some of my “Meet your Farmer” food rules to get you started on a path to eating better — locally sourced, organically grown food, chemical free food. Worry less about the cost and more about preserving good health by investing in what you’re eating and your investment will pay you back tenfold. FarmOn!

 

To contact Tessa Edick, email tessa@farmonfoundation.org or on Twitter: @FarmOnFarmOn.

 

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