The longer I live the less confidence I have in drugs and the greater is my confidence in the regulation and administration of diet and regimen. ~John Redman Coxe, 1800
“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”
How do we discern what is most important, especially when we are on a tighter budget? The word “natural” can be quite deceiving!
The Deceitfulness of the word: Natural
“The word natural is one of the most abused terms in food marketing. Consumers will pay up to 30% more for products labeled “natural,” even though there are no regulations concerning which products (outside of meat and poultry) can be labeled as such. As a result, you can end up with groceries in your cart that you think are healthful, but are actually laden with high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. The term natural is open to interpretation, but here is what it means to me: Natural ingredients are whole-straight from the plant or animal – or they are made from whole ingredients, with as little processing and as few added flavorings, stabilizers, and preservatives as possible, thus keeping nutritions and original flavors intact…Take these natural foods with their super-nutritional profiles…and you have an expansive and exciting realm to explore!”
~Heidi Swanson, Author of Super Natural Cooking
When you buy food items in their whole state, they are actually a whole lot cheaper! More nutritious! Anything that has been processed to put in a box, container, or can, costs more and is far less nutritious. Convenience in our day has lead to much more harm than good.
Where to Start?
I have found this list to be the most useful in starting out on eating more natural and what are the most important foods items to consider. I have followed this list, one by one, as I was able, to incorporate a more healthy and chemical free eating lifestyle. This means that we do not eat alot of meat at our home. We eat farm raised chickens and ground turkey in majority. Quality beef, due to its outrageous cost, rarely enters our home. We actually don’t eat much fish either…which is probably not the best idea, as it is high in Omega-3, but we eat eggs and flax seed to make up for it.
This list was compiled by Greg Horn, in his book, Living Green: A Practical Guide to Simple Sustainability.
The Top 10 Foods to Buy Organic
- Meats: These are high on the food chain, and thus can concentrate chemicals from the animals’ diets in their fatty tissues. Check out: Eat Wild.
- Dairy products: Also high on the food chain and rich in fats, which is where harmful chemicals become stored. Homogenization and pasteurization processes cause lose of significant nutrients. Read more at: realmilk.com
- Fish: While not strictly organic, it is critical to buy wild fish and avoid all farmed fish, which can contain high levels of contaminants. Hint: all “Atlantic salmon” is farmed, as this fish is virtually extinct in the wild.
- Berries: All berries including grapes have a thin, absorbant skin that you eat. These fruits are heavily sprayed and tend to absorb more of the chemicals that they come in contact with during production. Ask local farmers in your area if they use pesticides. It doesn’t have to be organic, just free from sprays. You can also get great frozen berries from Azure Standard.
- Salad crops: Lettuce, spinach and celery are highly sprayed, and have no outer shell to protect the part you eat, the leaf. Local produce is a great alternative. Farmer’s Markets, CSA programs.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are highly absorbent, and conventional growing uses powerful fungicides between crops to keep stray species from invading the intended crop. I just skip these altogether, ad we don’t miss them.
- Root crops: Conventional potatoes, yams, carrots, onions and other root crops can be sprayed with fungicides as well as pesticides, and the parts you eat grow in direct contact to chemicals. Root vegi’s are actually really cheap to buy organic, so why not!
- Bananas: Banana plantations use up to 20 times more pesticides per acre than crops grown in industrialized countries. Conventional bananas are often grown with a blue plastic bag of pesticides placed over the soft, absorbent skin of the fruit. Enough said?
- Waxed fruit: The shiny apple has a wax coating that locks in the pesticides and makes them very difficult to wash off. Part of this problem can be solved by using a veggie wash, as described below.
- Coffee and tea: Technically not “foods”, but hot water brewing can concentrate residual pesticides used in the growing process while it is being extracting the “good stuff”. Remember to use an unbleached filter!
A few last thoughts…Keeping it balanced!
Do your best with what you got! Don’t make it a source of stress or worry. Trust that the Lord knows your heart and will honor your desires, if your motives are in the right place. I know of individuals that have become so consumed with eating right that they have become very legalistic and judgmental towards others…that is not necessary. I just believe it is important to be well-studied over the things that we eat, as we are responsible to be good stewards of our body, and keep it fit for the Master’s use! This is another reason we have chosen to live simply in other areas so we can prioritize keeping ready and fit for Him! But this is not to say you have to do the very same thing we have chosen to do. Please just take this information, and discern what would be best for your family. These quotes and verses sum it all up:
What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn’t much better than tedious disease. ~George Dennison Prentice, Prenticeana, 1860
Nothing is more fatal to Health, than an over Care of it. ~Benjamin Franklin
“Man does not live by bread alone…”
- Matthew 4:4
“Be not anxious for what you shall eat, or what you shall drink… or what you shall wear… Isn’t life more than food?… and the body more than clothing?”
- Luke 12:22; 29
Try getting a fruit/vegetable wash solution to clean your vegis with! This is proven to remove most pesticides, chemicals and waxes. I used this for a long time! Veggie Wash is a popular one.
You can also try making your own.
Check out more posts in the Natural Living on A Budget series. To come…Prioritizing your spending, monthly menu planning