As you walk in a grocery store, you are inundated with an array of bright colors and shapes. Words like ‘Natural’, ‘Pasture-Raised’, ‘Organic’, ‘Free-Run’, ‘Grain-Fed’, ‘Local’, and ‘100% Canadian’ scream at you. Does it really matter if the pears you picked up for cobblers were organic or just regular? The regular ones were cheaper!
A great many of life’s principles can be derived from Genesis – specifically Genesis 1-11. When we look at the first home for the first people, we find that God placed them in a garden. The first job on the earth was gardening, and the first housing complex was a garden! As we read through the Bible, we meet many people who were farmers or herdsmen. Cain, Abraham, Rachel, Jacob’s sons, and Amos were all people who farmed or raised animals. In an agrarian society, you grew food, or you starved. In the days of mass production, we have lost the skill of growing our own food. Building from both the creation account and the dominion mandate, we as human beings must seek to steward the bountiful garden of all God’s creation. Maximizing it according to the natural principles He has instituted in creation being guided by the light of His sufficient Word. Certainly, these principles bring up many questions as it pertains to thinking through what we eat to fuel our bodies.
Although organic or natural food is often times more expensive than regular food, it is better for you in the long run because your body is healthier. 1 Corinthians 6:19 states:
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” -1 Corinthians 6:19
If our body is God’s temple, shouldn’t we treat it with care?
Farmers use chemicals to fertilize, eliminate pests, and eradicate weeds. We all enjoy the blemish free vegetables and the shiny, symmetrical fruits. Although it is attractive, it comes with a hefty price tag to our overall health and wellbeing.
Organophosphates are the most widely used group of pesticides. They work by breaking down the neurotransmitters in the insects. It does the same thing to humans as well. Eighty-one percent of conventional crops are sprayed with organophosphates. (Good, 2021) Workers on farms who spray this chemical and people who live nearby are at a higher risk of developing symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and difficulty breathing. However, as these toxins build up in your body by just ingesting this chemical-laden food, you can develop these same symptoms. (Good, 2021) More research and study have also discovered that organophosphates are linked to lower IQ’s, learning disabilities, developmental disorders, leukemia, and cancer. (Glass, 2014)
Are you familiar with the herbicide Round-up? Perhaps you are one of many people who spray it on their lawns. Round-up, also called Glyphosate, is commonly used as an herbicide in fields. Plants are genetically modified so that they can withstand the chemical spray. Residues are left on the plants; in addition, it also contaminates groundwater and water systems. Just like organophosphates, Round-up is linked to depression, cancer, allergies, and neurological problems! If that isn’t enough, Round-up also leeches vital minerals and nutrients from the crops, so we aren’t getting as many nutrients as we are expecting! (Glass, 2014) The crops most likely to contain high levels of these herbicides and pesticides are sugar, corn, wheat, and soy. Soy is a big one. If the package does not say ‘non-GMO’ or ‘organic’, you can safely assume the soy is GMO.
The saying ‘You are what you eat’ is now making much more sense!
But I Can’t Afford It!
Before you claim the above excuse, just take a step back and evaluate your spending. Are there any places where you can cut out unnecessary spending? Maybe you can cut out your daily Starbucks latte and make your own at home? How about that $15 lunch you purchase everyday? Why not pack your own lunch? When you look at it from that angle, buying organic food takes on a different perspective. You can spend your money wisely, or you can choose to waste it.
If you truly can’t afford to buy organic or you are wondering where to start, here are some general principles that you can follow to eat healthily without breaking your budget.
1. Follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Chart
A handy chart lists the top 12 crops that have the most pesticides, and the 15 crops that have the least pesticides. Just remember that this is not including the corn, wheat, soy, and sugar we mentioned earlier. It is highly recommended that you purchase the items on the Dirty Dozen either organic or non-GMO.
2. Support Local Farmers
Finding local famers in your community and visiting farmers markets are a great way to make a connection with your food. However, be careful with whom you trust. Just because they are farmers doesn’t mean they aren’t spraying harmful chemicals on their fields. Build a relationship with them, ask them lots of questions, look them up online, and visit them if you can. You will taste the difference between GMO produce and naturally grown/organic fruits and vegetables. An added benefit is that your children will learn to love vegetables because now they have flavor and taste good!!
3. Go Natural/Organic where you can
Once purchasing the Dirty Dozen naturally or organically, buy as many things as you can with either the non-GMO, natural, or organic label on it. This includes things like crackers, dried foods, and sauces. (Top tip: Since tomatoes are on the dirty dozen list, tomato sauces are also ‘dirty’.) Meats and dairy are also things to be aware of, but they are beyond the scope of this article.
4. Grow a Garden
Growing your own food is a sure-fire way to control what goes into your body. It is easier than you think! You can plant in a few pots on your porch, a window box in a window, or in raised beds in your backyard. This activity invites involvement from the entire family. What is better than serving a meal where everything came from the garden just minutes before!
5. If you must…
What if you can’t do any of the above? The best thing to do it to wash fruits and vegetables well in running water. Peel them (if possible), for there will be a higher concentration of chemicals on the skin. Take quality supplements to fill in the missing vitamins and minerals you aren’t getting from your food. Finally, drink plenty of water to keep your body working well.
A more detailed article on gardening will be coming in the near future, so look out for that!
Meanwhile, take charge of your health. God wants us to eat well in order to keep His temple in optimum condition.
Oh, remember those pears you picked up? It does matter that you picked up the regular ones, for they are on the Dirty Dozen List!
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
-1 Corinthians 10:31
Jazmyne G. is an undergraduate student majoring in Elementary Education. She lives with her family in Canada where they raise animals and tend their large market garden. Jazmyne works as a part-time writing teacher in addition to being a small business owner. In her spare time, you can find her curled in a corner reading, trying something new in the kitchen, or drawing scenes from creation.
Good, K. (2020, December 29). Toxin alert! common pesticides used on produce and how they impact humans and the environment. One Green Planet. Retrieved from https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/pesticides-used-on-produce-and-how-they-impact-humans-and-the-environment/
The clean 15 & dirty dozen list of foods (2022 update). The Giving Assistant Blog. (2021, September 8). Retrieved from https://blog.givingassistant.org/shopping/food/dirty-dozen-clean-15-list/
Glass, E. (2014, April 23). Understanding the effects of pesticides on your health. One Green Planet. Retrieved from https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/understanding-the-effects-of-pesticides-on-your-health/