When I first acknowledged that there were parts of my lifestyle affecting my overall mental and physical health, not to mention the health of the environment, I leaped into the whole organic food movement. I was feeling pretty enlightened shoveling out the extra money for organic meats and produce. However my field of view was narrow on the issue, and unbeknownst to me I was being duped into a false jump start into holistic living.
The game changing moment was a trip to the farmer’s market. I was blindly walking around, only focused on stands that had bright shiny organic signs, when I came by a strawberry farmer. I glossed over the bounty and saw the most peculiar thing. They were selling both organic and non-organic strawberries. Interesting right?
Naturally, I could not just let this go. So I inquired, pray tell, just how that could be so. The answer was simple, they grew them on opposite sides of the farm. Apparently they had a lot of land.
It was as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes. I turned over the logic of this. Had they taught the water that flushed the pesticides from the non-organic crop into the ground to halt at the line dividing the organic crops? Had they modified the roots of the organic crops to not suck in communal soil resources? Was the soil tamed into holding back the mingling of organic and non-organic substances? Did the wind cooperate by not blowing when it was time to spray the non-organic crops? Needless to say I left without strawberries.
The questions that strawberry farmer had left me with were magnified when I visited my mother in California’s San Joaquin Valley. They grow a lot of food out that way. There are feedlots and free grazing cattle, orchards and vineyards. In fact, on the border of Lodi, I saw the most unnerving thing, a large plot of crops clearly labeled organic nestled between two common fields of crops.
Which brings me to the first sound advice I can give anyone who truly wishes to live a holistic and organic lifestyle. Do your research. Your quest will not be as easy as going to farmer’s markets and picking organic labeled foods at the grocery store.
While it is very possible to buy truly organic food, it is not just floating around in bulk like the common food you are used to buying. Truly organic food will be seasonal, stock will run out, it will most likely come from a small local farmer. Your selection will be limited, not the free for all we are all accustomed to.
Also, when it comes to organic meats, they will look and taste drastically different. For example, the so-called organic “free range” chicken you buy in the store is nothing of the sort. A true organic chicken is rather tiny, not bloated and inflated like the ones in the grocery store. The fat on a healthy free range organic chicken will be bright yellow, not white or clear.
There are many things I hope to cover with you in the future that will help you live a truly healthy life. What organic means to the FDA, is contamination acceptable, where to go for organic food, and most importantly the difference between the organic fads of today and true holistic living. However for today we will stop here, hopefully leaving you with a few thoughts as to if you are actually reaching toward your goal or simply shoveling out money for common food passed off as something else.
Todd Nelson, D.Sc. trained at the International Center for Natural Health and Medicine, graduating with both a Naturopathic Doctor degree and a Doctor of Holistic Health Sciences degree. Aside from heading the Tree of Life Wellness Center in Denver, Colorado as a naturopathic doctor, Todd is also a co-author of 3 books.