I have found that the switch to organic food has been the easiest way to begin the journey towards sustainability. Although some challenges do exist, such as cost and more time spent on food prep, I have found that I use less food and have a gain in energy and health.
Since switching to mostly organic food (I’m at about 90% as of this post), I have noticed a number of changes with my body and mind, such as:
- Weight loss
- Increased muscle density
- Increased sex drive
- Better concentration and memory.
- Instead of putting off meditation, I strive to do this now.
- Faster workout recovery.
- More power in my workouts.
- Few cravings.
- Fewer allergic reactions.
- Healthier overall (I haven’t had a cold or any other bug in the almost two years since beginning this journey).
You Can Still Eat Meat
The stereotype out there is that if you go organic you must be a vegetarian or a vegan, and this is simply not true. As a type “O” blood type, meat needs to be a part of my life. What ended up happening to me was that I bought into the stereotype and avoided meat, but after a few months was wondering what was wrong with me. After some research I discovered Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s book “Live Right For Your Type”, in which he outlines his research into the different dietary needs of each blood type. Type “O”’s like myself are of the hunter/gatherer classification, meaning meat could and should not be cut out of the diet.
On learning this, I added fresh, pasture raised lean meats from the local organics store, which helped my body but stressed my debit card. Enter in the local farmer’s market. I had heard of these, but finally decided to go after hearing of some of the great prices that could be found in buying directly from the farmer. That was a game changer. Most of my meat now is purchased from a farmer or herder, and I pay less than what I would pay in a conventional grocery store and I get fresh, sustainable organic meat. In most cases, the meat sold at farmer’s markets are processed quickly after an animal is harvested, and sold typically within 7-10 days (after being frozen post-processing). And yes, this does include bacon.
Going Vegetarian or Vegan
For those of you that are and want to remain vegetarian or vegan, going organic is much easier. The costs associated with non-meat foodstuffs are still more expensive than their conventional counterparts, but you will also find that you purchase less food. But again, the farmer’s markets discount still applies here. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables can be had at most farmers’ markets.
Noteworthy though is that many sellers and farms cannot label their items as being USDA organic simply because it is too expensive to do so. Ask questions of the farmers at the market as well as at your local co-op/organic food store. Otherwise, there are telltale signs of organic vs. non organic foods that once learned, can help you to identify if your food is organic or not. I will cover this in a latter post, but the methods can be researched online if you don’t want to wait.
Plan Your Meals
Once you have found a good farmer, farmer’s market, or grocer from which to get your organic food, the next step is food preparation. Boxed organic foods can still contain ingredients that are should be avoided, as well as the typical high fat and sodium contents that their conventional equivalents traditionally have. Preparing your own meals from scratch is going to be your best bet when going all organic. Here are the things that you will need to consider when planning your menu.
- How much time in the morning or evening can you spare to make your meals?
- What are your favorite foods, and how well or fast can you prepare them in a meal?
- If you are making a brown bag lunch, can you make it the night before or the morning of?
- Even salads can take time to make considering washing and chopping times. Figure out what all of the steps are to prepare the food for your meal.
I have found that most meals take about 30 minutes to prepare, including cleaning and chopping time. One trick I do is to buy three or four base foods for the week that most of the meals will revolve around. This why, you can put in a little more effort into getting everything washed ahead of time, leaving you with one less step to do in your meal preparations during the week.
Going Organic Is Easy
Moving from conventional to organic foods will bring with it some growing pains as you adjust your shopping and food preparation routines. All in all, it is important to plan your meals to fit into your lifestyle. Doing so means enjoying a great organic dish with every meal while minimizing the amount of time it takes to prepare it. Meat eater or not, it is important to learn where your food comes from and to not be shy asking your food vendor of choice about where the food they sell is sourced, raised, and harvested.