I have had it with the whole, organic, raw foods movements.  Had. It.  I started watching a documentary called "Food Matters" on Netflix tonight, and I got so angry at what I was seeing on the screen I had to turn it off.  Besides being very poorly made, it was so full of half-truths and short-sighted self-righteousness that it was nearly unbearable.  Much like most of the whole, organic food proselytizers.  You believe in your cause, great.  But shut UP about it already.  We get it.  You're so smart to see the light about food, and it's your mission to save us all.  I, for one, am not so concerned about being saved.

Let me be crystal clear: I know I do not eat as healthily as I should.  I eat processed foods.  I love sugar.  I eat fast food, and sometimes I love it.  I know that the way I eat isn't particularly healthy. I need to improve my diet significantly.  I need to eat fewer calories.  My eating habits are directly responsible for my weight gain over the last several years.  And that IS unhealthy.  I also do not believe that we should be raping the land and drowning our food with antibiotics and pesticides unnecessarily.  But I simply can not support so many aspects of the crusades being launched on the food system.

Nearly every one of these crusaders (who I believe are less interested in better health or saving the environment than they are in sapping all of the enjoyment out of life) proclaim that, "we have lost our way.  We should return to the ways of our ancestors, who truly understood our relationship with the earth, with mother nature, and between the food that we eat and our bodies."  Many of these zealots are the same ones who believe that modern medicine is broken, and if we only ate the way people used to eat–with natural, organic foods that are locally grown and harvested by communes of love children who hold hands and sing to the plants while harvesting–then we wouldn't need modern medicine to the same extent we do now.

Well, you know what?  I don't buy it.  You know why I don't buy it?

 

Humans by Era Average Lifespan at Birth
(years)
 
Upper Paleolithic 33  
Neolithic 20  
Bronze Age[5] 18  
Bronze ageSweden[6] 40-60  
Classical Greece[7] 20-30  
Classical Rome[8] 20-30  
Pre-Columbian North America[9] 25-35  
Medieval Islamic Caliphate[10] 35+  
Medieval Britain[14][15] 20-30  
Early 20th Century[16][17] 30-40  
Current world average[18][19]

70 (2008 est.)

 

Now, I don't know about you, but I would really rather not go back to the good old days of eating only what's grown locally and organically if it means that I also have to go back to an average life span of 30-40 years.  How many people do you know who have died of natural causes between the ages of 30 and 40?  Our average life span has INCREASED by 40 years over just the last century.  We can't have lost our way all that badly if we're living an average of 30-40 years longer than we used to. Now, I know that there are many, many factors that go into these numbers.  Children died young, or women died in child birth.  Treatments for major diseases weren't as readily available.  But I am 100% certain nutrition played a significant part in those numbers as well.  And, to be frank, I would also take pesticide laced, inexpensive food over slaving all day long over a farm, going hungry during the winter, and still dying 30 years earlier.

Even at an average of 70 years, life is short.  I'm not advocating that everyone start eating Hostess Fruit Pies for breakfast, McDonalds for lunch, and a steak for dinner.  We should be eating more vegetables, and we should be eating more locally grown vegetables.  There's a reason why I go to the farmer's market every Saturday for six months out of the year.  But you know what isn't going to happen?  I'm not going to start eating all of my food raw because it's more healthy.  I'm not going to start spending 300% more on my food every month just to say I can have something that's "organic," whatever the hell that means.  No, I'm going to eat what I can afford, and what tastes good.  If I can find healthy options within those two criteria, then great!  If not, then I don't need to buy organic.

And to those people who are worried about genetically modified food, perhaps you should go back to your high school biology classes.  Humans have been genetically modifying our food for GENERATIONS.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  In fact, it was a certain monk in the 1800s with an affinity for pea plants who introduced the world to Genetics.  (P.S. He died at the age of 62.)

I love heirloom varieties of foods.  I purchase my tomato plants from Seedsavers.org.  I generally go for the heirloom varieties at the Farmer's Market. But I don't love them because they're not genetically modified (because, as I mentioned above, they are) but because they taste better.  THAT is what I care about.  Taste.  It's why I spend $13 on a wedge of Parmeseano-Reggiano from the specialty cheese shop instead of getting the green can of white powder.  It's why I spend the extra dollar for the locally made fresh mozzarella instead of the flavorless waxy block wrapped in plastic.  It's why I buy the more expensive heirloom tomatoes or apple varieties at the farmer's market.  I'm not making a stand against genetically modified food.  I'm making a stand for taste.

If you want to freak right the hell out over preservatives or antibiotics in your meat, go ahead.  But as for me and mine, we're going to celebrate flavor, no matter where it comes from.  And that will be the last time I watch such a ludicrously lop-sided and biased "documentary" about the food system ever again.

  • April

    Awesome. Oh and my Matt (you know the PhD in Nutrition) would tell you that organic is an environmental issue and in no way a nutritional one, that sugar is sugar is sugar, and chemicals are in everything (break down the “ingredients” in broccoli for example and it looks like a whole food quack’s worst nightmare). The key to health is simply to burn more than you consume and eat things in moderation. In short, the Word of Wisdom really was on to something (oh and the majority of the members of the church are guilty of breaking it with their over consumption of meat and their under consumption of grains and veggies).

  • Brettbartel

    Wasnt there a Simpsons episode where they went to Whole Foods and it cost them ~$700 for a weeks groceries?

  • Brettbartel

    Yeah, there is.
    http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/12/video-the-simpsons-go-to-whole-foods-wellness-foods.html
    So the Simpsons clan go to a “Whole Foods” type place where the family discovers healthy, overpriced food. The bill comes to $790. But the cashier forgets the blueberries, bringing the total to $830. Then, as the cashier tells them, without preservatives, the food won’t even last a day.