(Over)praised local and organic food – what is really healthy?

Home grown veggies are better than store bought and a free range pig is less bad than the one grown in overcrowded farms. However, if something is less bad, could we also call it good? If something is less good, does that mean it is all bad? See what terms like local and organic don't tell when it comes to food.
Home-made and local - so what?

The idea for writing this blog was born inside me after years of listening to my family members and well-meaning friends who were bragging themselves about eating only organic and local foods. They said that local foods can be the solution for the miserable health situation of our society. However, despite the fact that they were honest – they actually do eat 90 % of the food from this state – there was something that bugged me. 

If their way of eating was so great, why didn’t their bodies match?

They don’t look nor feel much better than the rest of the population that eats store bought foods. 

Most of them have excess weight issues, stomach problems, cholesterol, heart aches and also other food related trouble. 

I finally decided this topic needs coverage when one of the Facebook popular nutrition “coaches” published a contra verse storry on his personal wall. He was saying praise to a farm from our country where he buys all the natural produce from. He was encouraging people to spend a few more bucks on these type of local seasonal food than in the super market where most food is from overseas and most of the time it’s picked up not even ripened.

Of course I agreed with that completely.

»Wonders« of home grown food

What did bother me though was the following: On the photo that should sum up how greatly the healthy food affects one’s body was the lady who grew all those vegetables on her farm. However, she was not only selling vegetables but also eggs and probably dairy and meat. 

I always assume that people who sell their fabulous food also eat that food. At the end of the day, this is the most logical and inexpensive thing to do.

I am sure that the lady in the picture was eating mostly if not entirely home grown food throughout the entire year. However, the way she looked like, I highly doubt anyone would ask her for her meal plan.  Her face was dark red and her chubby cheeks were easy to notice and so was her chubby, massive body. She was on the picture besides the author of the post and on the other side was her son. He also had a belly sticking out of his shirt, despite the fact he was probably only in his 30s.  

I don’t doubt that the lady has some killer tasty veggies on her stand. I would probably buy it from her if I was ever in the neighborhood. However, shouldn’t this lady be the example of good health provided by the local and organically grown food? 

Local only means the food was raised locally

If the whole catch would be to eat home grown and local produce, this lady should have at least 20 kg less and her son at least 10 – 15. Yet, neither of them has ideal healthy weight.  And again, I don’t believe that is because they don’t move enough. Even is she spends her whole day working on a farm and picking up veggies to take them to the market, that is more than enough exercise to have a normal weight. 

Home grown grass fed pig is still a pig

I’m sure you also know somebody who has a farm where he grows vegetables but also pigs, cows and maybe even sheep. Maybe it’s just me but most farmers that produce dairy and meat and eggs in their farms and have those at their disposal all year, get severely fat over the years. If they work very hard physical labor, that doesn’t show so quickly, but as the years pass and they work less, the excess calories from all the “goods” start to show. 

You must know that the animal, despite the fact she was grass fed and was moving more and lived a “happier” life, is still and animal. As an animal, it mostly consists of big amounts of protein, cholesterol and saturated fats that aren’t supportive to our health and wellbeing. The dead animal tissues are also calorically very dense and they have no fiber that would make you feel full and satiated. They also keep our blood sugar high and make it harder for us to have good digestion. 

You must understand that the sole fact that this pig is healthy doesn’t necessarily mean it is your health food. Animals were more an adding to the diet in most big populations of the world. They were not a centerpiece on a plate. This means that you can eat the healthiest pig on the whole planet, but that won’t be a smart choice, because the animal is not primarily your food.

A pig is a pig, wherever it may grow.

Same goes for local and organic cheeses or eggs. Even if the chicken happily ran around and ate grains, their egg is still mixture of excessive protein, fat and cholesterol. The egg is an unfertilized product and its whole purpose is to feed the bird that could potentialy come out of it. It has so much caloric density because a bird has to live on it for 21 days.  If the egg doesn’t get fertilized it is just a waste similar to a women’s period. 

If the hen was a woman, we probably wouldn’t care how healthy she is and how much she moves every day on fresh air. If she was menstruating, we would kindly ask her to go to the toilet and release her period there. We certanly wouldn’t want to eat it. To us it smells bad, but not to the dogs though. And be honest, the all eggs (free range and baterie kind) also leave that weird sulphur smell when cooked, that many people hate when young. Why do we eat them then?

Of course cheese is no exception. It doesn’t matter if a cow was squeezed in a tiny stall or was grazing the grass on a big scales, her milk was always predominantly a food for her baby – calf. And both cows, the industrially raised and the grass fed, release the same nursing hormones into their milk. We have our own hormones that all play particular roles in our bodies. That is why we don’t need to take other animal’s hormons into our own bodies.

If a hen is walking around on the grass, that doesn't change the fact, that her unfertilized egg was merely a failed attempt of making a baby chick. Organic or not, it's her period.

Cow’s milk is also a source of saturated fats that are harmful for or blood vessels and has lactose (sugar in milk) that our body wasn’t built to digest. A consumer of milk must also face a bunch of milk protein that is a common cause of allergies, eczema and bronchitis. Milk also commonly induces phlegm that builds up in the noses and throats of those who like to drink it. Cheese is, no matter which cow or goat it comes from, a pile of concentrated saturated fats and protein. Again it contains no fiber that are essential for a good digestion and a bulky, soft stool. 

Is local organic milk less bad than the industrial one, where cows also get a lot of antibiotics, and are fed corn instead of grass? 

Sure it is. However, can we now claim the flesh or milk from organic cows is at the sudden healthy for us?  Of course not. This is like saying to somebody who asked us if he can break us one or two hands, that it is okay if he just breaks one. Which is stupid of course. The only right answer to this question is to tell him we want to keep both hands as they are.

I hope you understand how something, that contains less bad stuff, can’t be pronounced good. If you wish to figure out if milk is good, you should seek for its benefits that are essential for our body and that no other food can substitute.

Luckily, Mother Nature made sure that you can get all the necessary nutrients for a healthy and trim body from non animal foods, including those, bought in stores. 

Bought potato is still a potato

Just as people are more similar to monkeys and each other than tigers and lions, so is store bought potato more similar to an organic potato than it is to any meat. 

While the whole world is worried sick about the genetically modified organisms and people are going mad because of arsenic in the rice or are scared of soy, people miss to see the elephant in the room.

At least when Europe is concerned, genetically modified crops must be labeled as such in stores. However, manufacturers don’t need to state that if they fed their livestock with genetically modified crops!

Talks about GMO's are shadowing the actual problems of the western societies.

Even if food is genetically modified, that does not change the fact that it’s content is still more similar to its non GM cousin than any meat. Genetically modified corn is still corn. That means it still has fiber, long chains of starch, that give the body energy. It also has some much needed saturated fats and protein your body needs. 

Store bought apple is still an apple

A lot of people are deadly afraid of the pre-picked non ripe fruits or with vegetables grown on poor soil. Of course I am aware it is best to eat a ripe, nutrient rich apple from a home tree than the one from the store. The latter was probably riped in the cold room. 

But even that doesn’t change the fact that this fruit is still and apple, full of fiber, much needed sugars which our body uses for its functions. It also has some protein and fat, and of course vitamins and minerals. The letter may be less present there than they are in home apples, however that is a small problem in comparison to big problems people face today. 

You don’t get high cholesterol from bought apples. GM corn does not cause epidemic constipation or obesity. Last but not least, store bought potato didn’t increase your blood pressure.

I need to set you a provocative question on which you can answer yourself. 

How many people do you know that fight with excess weight, diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure etc.? Now tell me, how many of those people regularly consume soy beans or corn and other controversial foods in huge amounts?

According to my experience, people that suffer from mentioned problems don’t even know how soy looks like, let alone have they ever eaten it. 

At the same time those same people use liters of extra virgin olive oil, they eat sausages, steaks, chicken thighs, cheese, milk and eggs on a regular basis and on a big scale.

Why do we always panic around things we mostly don’t even eat and not check our actual plate instead? Maybe because that would mean, we should change way too much. Usually to change your ways of living is much more difficult than to be the smart guy who knows everything but “just hasn’t set up his or her mind”.

Easy home test

All of you who claim local organic foods are the solution and you have problems with excess fat or different western world diseases because of sugar and grains, do a short test. Take a piece of paper and write down everything you ate yesterday and then underline all the calorie rich animal foods with green pen and all the foods you think are to blame (the sugary and fatty sweets and salty snacks) with red pen. 

Some of you will have more of the red spots. However, those of you who have more of the green ones, might get to the same conclusion my mom did. She swore she didn’t eat much animal foods, and that she was gaining weight from not getting enough exercise (yet she is a sports teacher with minimum of 1-2 h of exercise per day). .

Despite her claims the test showed those animal, protein and fat rich foods were present in her every meal while she ate modern rich foods like Nutella only once a day and maybe not even that much. 

When it comes to your food evaluation, be fair

I honestly hope that after reading this blog and the evaluating of what you eat in comparison to how you feel, you will understand my point of view. 

My purpose is not to mock your eating habits or to make fun of devoted local farmers. Just please start to be critical about the “jiber jaber” that the media or overpriced “experts” are serving you for a high cost.

Food market
Even the most poor food we were born to eat is better than the "first class" dead animals or anti-foods.

People that figure out which is the food we were designed to eat, don’t need specified menus or expensive monthly guidance, personalized food programs and counted calories.

When you eat a human diet, your stomach will be able to evaluate the adequate amount of food you need to eat, after you’ve had enough. Even if you eat too much of it, that will only mean you will be full for longer. The proper food will fuel your body and make or keep it thin, because that is the food you were designed for. 

Even if there were pesticide in it, it will do you less harm than any animal foods. 

Law of bio accumulation

People often forget that animals can also eat contaminated food. This can even happen by incident or through degraded drinking water. If people gradually consume products with chemicals, herbicides and pesticides, those slowly accumulate in our fatty tissues inside our bodies and don’t do us too much harm. 

Now have in mind that the pigs and cows may also eat (even by accident) that same potato and pumpkins you could eat. Before the pig is big enough for slaughter it will eat tons of those pumpkins and potatoes and all the chemicals will accumulate inside its fatty tissues (a pig eats about twice as much food as a human being or even more) in much larger concentrations. 

Chemicals that an animal cannot excrete bioaccumulates in its fat cells

If you buy sausages or parts of this pig, you might eat 600 times the amount of chemicals than you would, if you just ate the potato. 

This means that the likelihood of actual poisoning is much smaller even with store bought vegetables than it is with eating any milk, dairy or eggs. 

Besides that, your stomach can’t really tell which cheese is store bought and which one is local and organic. All it knows is that he has to digest a difficult pile of highly concentrated fats and caloriesIt can make a wrong evaluation of the calories way too quickly and makes you to systematically, yet unknowingly overeat.

Message to take home

My goal will never be to promote supermarkets. 

I am very well aware of the fact that it would have been better for the planet to eat as much local fruits and veggies, that grew on a fertile and nutrient rich soil, and was picked up when ripe. This way we would certainly decrease the amount of plastic waste and a lot of pollution that comes from transportation of that food from other countries. Plus we would make our local agriculture and economy stronger.

On the other hand I wished to inform you about the topic that is pushed under the carpet in our European space. Every store is bragging how its products are local and fresh just to increase consumption of those foods.

Pictures you don't see on billboards

Those same stores and media that promote local meat don’t tell you, how much potatoes, pumpkins, oats etc. free range pigs ate. They also don’t tell you how much those animals poop, how much water they drink and how much water is needed to grow all the crops they consume. 

And of course, the mere fact that the animal was raised in your country doesn’t mean the animal was brought up in good conditions. Every country has overcrowded stalls, where animals are squeezed and are being abused and malnourished. Slovenia also has a cruel way of raising cows, pigs, chicken, etc. 

So before we point our fingers to people, who use plastic bags to bring home fruits and vegetables in to their small apartment, let us see first, how our habits affect the environment. Let’s compare the amount of dirt different people produce.

Life cycle of a “bad” carrot and a “good” pig 

The last you need to understand why no purposely grown animal, that will become meat, can be called ecological in my opinion. 

Here is why: In order to be able to buy a salami from our friend the farmer, he will have to do the following: First, he will have to feed the pig for at least for a half of a year, which means he will need to also produce or buy feed for that pig. That potato and those pumpkins will need water and they will take up a big part of useful fertile land.

The effect of raising animals goes beyont their cages

The pig also needs space so it also takes some additional some land. In its lifespan the pig was peeing and pooping. The farmer had to do something with his excretion, so he makes sure they all go into a special tank. The shit and the puss he later spreads all across the local meadows. Maybe it was that same exact shit that made your drinking water stink and become undrinkable for a few days because it was dripping into the groundwater.

After the pig is big enough, they take him to the slaughter house where they kill it, take off its skin and internal organs and then they either pack his pieces or make products. Your friend then sells you this meat and you are proud to support local agriculture. 

At the same time, the “industiral” carrots have been planted. They might have been sprayed with pesticides on the leaves but not the root. Once they grew enough, they pick them up, pack them and send them to the shelves of the stores where you can buy them. 

In half a year that the farmer needed to slaughter a pig with 3-4 kilos of vegetables per day, the same amount of feed could sustain 2-3 people for 6 months. The pig that was only raised for slaughter drank 4 liters of water per day, which is twice as much as one human, he pooped and smelled like a pig and took space. All this, just so he was slaughtered and chopped up by pieces and put into the bag, just like carrots. 

I might said some figures wrong (math and raising livestock is not my strong suit) but I hope you see the process and the waste behind your steak. It is not as “clean” food as it seems on a plate. It contains suffering I haven’t even mentioned, hormones and nutrients your body doesn’t even need. I wanted to make sure you understand that before you  put the blame for all your problems on the pesticides and herbicides and GMO’s in your vegetables. 

Best solution for all

Of course there is a solution that could solve a lot of issues of pollution and also your own personal health problems almost in an instant. Even those of you on a tight budget will be able to buy foods on local farmers markets, if those foods became the base of your plate. Potatoes, rice, and other natural starchy foods are energy rich and moneywise cheap foods that you can make to taste wonderful with a few fruits and veggies. 

If we eat cheap, nutritionally rich foods, we can do many good things for us, the animals and the environment.

I don’t monthly spend more than 60€ to 80 € in the store for my food and I think I wouldn’t spend much more in the farmers market. Thankfully I don’t have a particular need for the market because I’m gonna have home grown veggies this year from my own garden. 

I still buy some produce in a package, yet whenever I can, I try to at least take a bigger packaging and I always bring my shopping bags to the store with me. 

We can do a lot for our health and planet by realizing which was the food, we were made for and protest in stores against the packaging. We determine the offers by our consumption. 

Of course whenever you can, pick organic local food that supports the farmers but it also supports non-violence and saves money.

If we buy foods we were made for, we will spend less money, feed more people and we will make a statement that we will not tolerate systematical violence among other living creatures and pollution. As a reward, we will become healthy and trim. 

Can we even hope for anything more?

If this blog has dragged you towards trying out in practice, how the local or non-local human nutrition with wonderful results looks like, by all means, apply for the 21 day starch challenge. You can do that by sending me a message and by joining a supportive Facebook group. You can also “spy” on me by following my Facebook and Instagram accounts. You will see, how yummy and diverse this planet friendly diet can be. 

You will also quickly discover, the results are well worth it!

You have nothing to lose, except a few waist inches!

The decision is yours and the luck is at the tip of your fingers!