Feature photo by brianglanz
After reading the book In Defense of Food and “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan and watching the movie Food, Inc., I am just amazed about how much I learned about real food. After the latest recall of over half a billion eggs because of salmonella, I just had to write an article.
The eggs became tainted because the farm was mismanaged. There, health officials found rodents, cats, an 8-foot stockpile of manure, unhygienic workers, and realized that these poor caged up chickens were eating their own feces.That is just disgusting! And, people continue to eat these eggs without asking questions and the government or media isn’t saying much.
I have tried convincing family and friends what they are really eating, but they choose to ignore me or tell me that it’s too expensive. I have been an advocate of organic and sustainable food and supporting local markets for over 3 years now. At first, I didn’t buy into the gimmick. I thought, organic food is pricier, and that Organic USDA label probably doesn’t mean much. After doing much research, I realized that the label and the people from the USDA do use strict guidelines. In order for the food to be organic, the land must be three years or more free of any fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics or anything unnatural.
Obesity, cancer and diseases are big in this country. I believe much of this is because of the food we eat. The main causes are the pesticides that are found in our fruits and veggies, and the high content level of processed foods (fake food). Cows are injected with hormones and fed processed MSO corn that causes holes and diseases in their stomachs, chicken are caged up and are fed chemicals and injected so they can fatten up.
With organic eggs, milk and poultry, animals are only fed a vegetarian diet and are free to roam the land and cows are fed grass.
Pesticides aren’t used with organic food. One strawberry can have up to 46 different kinds of pesticides. I called several grocery stores such as Valley Produce (Hoffman Estates) and they couldn’t get back to me and tell me what kind of pesticides is being used in their fruit. The more I kept digging, the less answers I got.
Many Latinos in this country unfortunately don’t have the money to buy organic foods, but it all starts with education from school and our government to promote healthier eating. Luckily, many Latinos do buy lots of natural food and avoid frozen foods and make their own sopita. Elementary schools are being fed food that is highly processed and full of sugars.
I feel bad for the people who think they could only afford $1 burgers at McDonald’s and eating processed food without knowing what they’re actually eating. Back in the 80’s we used to spend 25% of our income in food, and now it’s down to 10%. So, I say, in the words of Michael Pollan “Pay more, eat less”. The way I interpret this is:
1. Cook at home and eat with your family. Everyone has a busy schedule, but if you just spend 30 minutes with your family and eat together, your health and stress levels will be more balanced.
2. Eat more plants. Veggies are delicious and are so are fruits. Whole Foods, Trader Joes and many local markets have several organic produce and you can get some pretty sweet deals. Also many companies are with the Fair Trade Agreement and pay workers fairly and conserve the land.
3. Buy organic eggs. Don’t get confused with all the cage-free mumbo jumbo; just make sure it’s USDA organic and it says on the label that they are being fed a “vegetarian diet”.
4. I understand it can be pricey… so start slowly. Trust me. It’s worth spending $4 for 12 eggs; heck that’s a $1.50 breakfast you had this morning. Not that pricey if you really think about it.
5. Eat veggies and fruit that are in season. Don’t eat a tomato that isn’t in season; wait for it and treat it like a delicacy.
6. Read the labels of food that you are eating. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, then that means that the food is processed and filled with chemicals. Stick with less than five ingredients.
7. Don’t buy into the whole ‘diet’ gimmick. They substitute natural sugars, butter, with chemicals such as margarine (it’s not butter) and high fructose corn syrup (a made up corn sweetener made with the same ingredients of battery acid from your car).
8. Vitamins. Forget about them. Vitamins are made up by a bunch of nutritionists (seriously, they are); if you want more omega-3 in your body, eat more fish, etc.
9. Fruits that you peel don’t need to be organic, but other fruits like peaches, celery and strawberries should be organic because of all the residue of pesticides.
10. Don’t worry too much on how many calories you are consuming, etc. Balance by working out; eat when you’re hungry and not out of boredom and having a good social life.
How can you get involved? Check out these great 10 tips to help our children have better nutrition at their school, help out our farmers, and teach our family and friends to eat healthier.
In the next few weeks, I will be talking about more tips on eating healthier and what really is in a fast food burger. Well peeps… this is my “Organic Manifesto” and I encourage people to eat healthier and follow me in this revolution.