I can’t believe that a year ago I jumped off the conventional food grid and into the wild and wonderful world of eating 100% organic. It has been a real adventure and as with most such quests, it hasn’t always been easy.
I made my family promise to continue to enjoy their favorite restaurants, even if the only thing on the menu I could order was a bottle of sparkling water. This hasn’t always been easy for them or me. At times they’ve refused to go where I can’t eat and at times I’ve sat and watched them enjoy wonderful meals only to grab an organic energy bar a little later.
I’ve lost a lot of weight and gained some of it back. At first I was without food fairly often, but as more and more of my friends and business associates learned of my adventure, I began to be treated to amazing organic feasts. At one meeting, two different parties arranged for me to have a special organic dinner brought in so I actually had TWO full meals (both delicious).
One of the huge side effects is that I feel great. I need less sleep, get sick less often, and (so my wife tells me) have very soft skin. In general, I’m more vigorous. As a study group of 1, I’m not going to make any scientific claims, but as an individual, I know I feel better, healthier, more alive.
I’m often asked what I’ve learned and so here is my top 10 list:
- 10. Fresh apple juice isn’t brown. That’s right, fresh pressed apple juice is the color of the apple it came from. I never knew that until I bought a Jack LaLane juicer (great little gizmo, by the way) and began juicing fresh fruits and veggies. Try 3 fresh apples of any variety, 1 peeled beet, one inch of fresh ginger (don’t bother to peel), and two stalks of celery — all organic, of course. Wow!
- 9. Pack a lunch. When I leave the house I might think I’ll have access to great organic food by the next meal, but plans often change and organic foods aren’t in every corner Jiffy Mart – though I think they should be!
- 8. Plan ahead. It’s much easier to locate organic food from my high-speed connection at home than it is to try to figure it out when I’m miles away – even a few miles away.
- 7. Read labels — very carefully. I’ve made a few mistakes over the last year and almost always I’ve picked up the “natural” version of a brand that has a strong “organic” line. The labels often look very similar, but the “natural” or “made with organic” brands don’t have the USDA Organic seal.
- 6. Ask. Restaurants may not have an all organic option on the menu, but if you speak with the chefs, they will often whip up a special meal because they are pleased that someone cares enough to ask for it organic. Many restaurants already have some organic ingredients on hand, but your luck will better if you ask a day or more in advance.
- 5. Enjoy meal time without guilt. It’s wonderful to sit down to a hearty bowl of vegetable soup and know that no one who helped make it possible for me to eat this way was exposed to toxic pesticides so that I could eat.
- 4. If at first you don’t find the organic food you want, keep looking. There are new prepared organic foods becoming available all the time. A year ago I couldn’t find organic pizza (something I love). Now I have a source of frozen and fresh at my local market and a wonderful pizzeria about half an hour from my home.
- 3. Simple, whole foods taste great. We’ve gotten used to the taste of highly processed foods, but simple ingredients can make a wonderful, delicious, quick meal. Organic apples and cheese with whole wheat French bread makes a delightful meal.
- 2. Don’t be afraid to talk about organic being important to you. For the first few months of my organic journey, I didn’t want to tell my family and friends because I didn’t want to inconvenience them. Now they all know and as a result, many of them are eating healthier, too – and not just when I’m around.
- 1. Give thanks. Every bite of food we eat is lifegiving. Healthy, organic food is especially full of nutrients that help our bodies maintain health. The farmers who grew it, the workers who harvested it, the truckers who hauled it, the employees that stocked it, the hands that cooked it all play a role in bringing it to me. I am blessed.