Invest in food for your health and community

Posted: Saturday, January 16, 2016 12:30 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? Is it nutritional? And how much of our tax dollars are allocated as subsidies for soy, wheat, corn and sugar hidden in processes packaged food?

 

People say GMO food will feed the world. I ask at what cost?

 

If the goal is good health, joy and happiness, peaceful sleep, fertility, effective digestion and nutrition absorption, as well as bodies that move well, think well, heal well, feel 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 organic, local, biodynamic, air-pollinated grass-fed and pastured good food.

 

What you cannot afford is to lose your health or get sick from food with empty calories that leave you over-eating, lethargic and fat.

 

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

 

There is a misconception that organic and local food is expensive, but what is the value of good health? And what do you pay for junk food?

 

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.

 

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 and sources — and that drives you to meet your farmer.

 

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 for more food when your body needs it. 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 what that is unless we send clear messages about what we want to eat by what we buy at the supermarkets and restaurants. We make the food choices that drive demand for production.

 

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 whatever it costs for food that is organic, local and good for you if the results are positive and the flavor outstanding? It’s called prevention and based in your food choices.

 

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 our food choices. Like you would honor your mom’s cooking, get involved with the people that make your food. And remember that the more you process food, the more profitable it is for the big business of factory feeding.

 

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 call outs are claims intended to bring your attention to the one good feature of the product.

 

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 you 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.”

 

And why would we rely on medicine to fix ailments that can be prevented with food choices from reliable sources?

 

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, dairy, fruit 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.

 

Agriculture builds community and commerce. It provides nutrition and economic development and in food it just tastes better. So here are some of my “Meet your Farmer” food rules (see related link) to get you started on a path to eating better — local, organic and honest food. Forget about the cost; pay forward for good health.

 

FarmOn! To contact Tess Edick, email tessa@farmonfoundation.org. Find her on Twitter @FarmOnFarmOn.

 

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