Organic gardening is important but organic living is even more important. Each year I put a version of this in the DIRT Magazine for members. In case you aren’t a member yet, here is the latest version of the:
The Natural Way is the Path to Health.
Without good health, little else matters. Genetics are important but environment and nutrition are at least as and probably much more important. Good health effects weight, skin quality, teeth, hearing, eyesight, reproductive abilities, how many flu and colds you have and enjoyment of life. It also affects your energy, controls your allergy sensitivities and helps prevent the degenerative diseases like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, MS and cancer.
Here is an update on the lifestyle I recommend. No hard and fast rules, just some guide lines that should help.
Dirt Doctor Recommendations for Nutrition and Health
• Water - Drink, shower and bathe in clean water. If you don’t know the source of the water, assume it is contaminated. Drink filtered water when possible. Distilled water is no good – has no trace minerals. Drink water from glass or stainless steel rather than water from plastic bottles. Plastic, especially the soft plastic bottles, outgases contaminants that accumulate in the body and negatively affect your health.
• Foods to eat – Eat food that was grown or raised naturally and prepared with little or no processing or toxic chemicals. Eating food that is still in its natural form is ideal. Fruits, nuts, fresh fish and shrimp, fresh vegetables, grass-fed beef, pork, chicken, lamb, goat, etc. taste good and are good for you. Eat un-pasteurized organic milk and cheese (if you can find it), natural whole foods, foods sweetened with honey and molasses, whole grain rice, whole wheat and other whole grain breads and organic soy. Eating a wide variety of foods is also important. Drink organic teas, coffee and juices.
• Foods to avoid – Avoid or at least limit eating and drinking artificial foods like colas and sodas, unfiltered water, pasteurized (regular) cow’s milk and cheese, processed foods, high-sugar foods, white bread, white sugar, white rice, candy and regular soy and tofu products. Also avoid foods that have been treated in ways (overcooking, microwaving and irradiation) that destroy vitamins and enzymes. Avoid processed fast foods such as chips, candy bars, instant foods and artificial drinks – especially the diet drinks. They actually cause weight gain while contaminating your body. Read the labels. Try to avoid all products that contain corn syrup. That’s not easy.
• Good fats/bad fats – Low fat diets aren’t necessarily good for you. Quality fats and oils are healthy and add taste. Fats that hurt your health and should be avoided include margarine, highly processed (hydrogenated) vegetable oils and other artificially processed oils. Fats that not only taste good but are also good for your skin and
general health include organic butter, lard, other grass-fed animal fats and extra virgin olive oil. Most food restaurants do not use the good fats but that may be changing. Quality restaurants tend to use the healthy fats and oils.
• Labels – Read the labels. Avoid foods that lists artificial flavors, natural flavor (can be MSG), preservative, BHA, BHT, or MSG. Try hard to avoid hot dogs, bologna, luncheon meats, instant foods, etc. These products are loaded with toxic chemicals and the bad fats.
• Stop Smoking – Ireland, Scotland and England have done it (which is amazing). Stopping smoking is the single most important change you can make for your health. Hopefully Fort Worth will join Dallas, and the other cities that have banned it.
• Don’t do drugs - and don’t overtake medicines. There are too many hypochondriacs.
• Drink alcohol in moderation only. Beer and wine are better than the distilled products – although I do love good tequila.
• Give blood regularly - it’s good for the people who need it and good to cause your body to manufacture new blood.
*Exercise regularly - Movement is the key. Stay active. Don’t be sedentary. Walk or do more vigorous exercise on a regular basis. Walk the dog, whether you have a dog or not. Park farther from the store entrance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Work out with a partner or join a yoga, fitness or martial arts class. Swim, jump rope, do your own gardening, etc. By the way, I’m not that big of a fan of running. I like walking better. Running is okay, but done to excess on hard surfaces can cause foot, ankle, knee and hip problems. Just use common sense.
• Don’t use aluminum cookware.
• Don’t use Teflon or any other coated cookware.
• Don’t store food in plastic bags or containers.
• Don’t heat food in plastic containers.
• Don’t use microwave ovens.
• Avoid perfumes, chemical air fresheners and aluminum deodorants.
• Avoid styrofoam containers.
• Avoid all chemically treated wood.
• Avoid chlorine and other pool chemicals.
• Don’t use products containing fluoride.
NOTE: Most food charts or pyramids show bread, cereal, rice and pasta making up the largest percentage of the recommended diet. Unfortunately that’s what most people eat and why so many folks are overweight. Avoiding corn products (chips, etc.) is one of the easiest ways to improve the diet. I realize that it’s virtually impossible to completely stop eating all the bad foods. Try to make it the rare exception rather than the rule. Use the following Quick Reference Chart as a basic guideline for what to avoid and include in your diet.
QUICK CHECK REFERENCE CHART
Anything with corn syrup
Bagels (unless whole grain)
Chemically preserved foods
Cinnamon rolls (sorry)
Colas and sodas
Cool Whip type toppings
Food in soft plastic containers
Most vegetable oils
Normal sandwich meats
Normal soy products
Refined sugar foods
Salt (sodium chloride)
Sugar free & most “lite” foods
All foods containing artificial sweeteners
Chemically preserved food
Diet soft drinks and foods
Beer and wine
Cookies, cakes, etc. made with natural sweeteners
Night shades if you are arthritic
Non-grass fed meats
Non-organic fruits and veggies
Non-organic milk, cheese and egg products
Organic soy products
Eggs from free range chickens
Extra virgin olive oil
Organic herb teas and coffee
Organic seeds and nuts
Real lard from un-pasteurized animals
Real whipped cream
Un-pasteurized milk and cheese
Un-preserved sandwich meats
Whole grain breads, pastas, etc.
Whole grain rice