I've had numerous discussions with moms, grandmothers, and young single women, wondering if the expense of eating organic is really worth it. Through those discussions (mostly among Christian women), the question was asked, “could eating organic be worshiping an idol?” A question that causes a serious pause for thought. Could you end up worshiping your food by eating organic?
Do You Put More Faith in the Power of “Organic” Than in God To Keep You Safe From the Potentially Harmful Effects From Eating Conventional
Do you idolize choosing “organic” and call it “wisdom about what we put in your body” rather than trusting the Lord to keep us healthy?
It's a topic many Christian women struggle within a modern world filled with deception, deceitful marketing practices, and the constant questioning of what Biblical wisdom could mean in today's barely functioning society.
While natural health professionals agree with eating healthy/wholesome foods, reducing processed foods, etc., many seem to ping pong back and forth on the topic of organic vs. conventional when it comes to foods like produce, beans, and meats. It begs the question: what am I really gaining with organic labels?
Surely the power of the Lord to keep you healthy is far greater than the power of conventional fruits and vegetables to destroy your health, especially when considering the story of Daniel, where he ate only vegetables and water and was healthier than those who ate the king's food. His faith in the Lord sustained his health, not rich food vs poor food.
I think if you lose sleep over not eating “organic,” — that's when it becomes an issue… But we are also responsible for what we consume.
The Truth: Anything Can Become an Idol
ANYTHING can become an idol. It doesn’t have to be a physical item; it can be a mental construct. So, in short, yes… in focusing on only buying organic-labeled foods just because there is a label on the food, it is possible someone could end up idolizing their stance in NOT buying organic.
However, that doesn't mean your healthy food choices are being idolized. There is a difference between shopping with discernment and informed consent compared to shopping out of addiction or putting the organic label up on a pedestal.
A Natural Mom's Perspective: Do We Idolize Food
Looking back on my life experiences and thinking through the lens of someone who God led to healing through functional nutrition, I don't believe I idolize organic foods, even though I usually seek them out compared to “conventionally grown” when shopping in grocery stores.
God made me and blessed me with children. It’s up to me to choose to eat nourishing food and care for the bodies He made me responsible for.
I know, based on my own thorough research and experience, organic food is less toxic than conventional. I believe (from personal experience) that purposely putting a bunch of added chemicals and pesticides in your body when you know better is, quite honestly, giving consent to enduring the damage those chemicals are known to cause.
God also gives us discernment. When we know better, we should do better.
A quote from scripture that sums up the topic beautifully:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…Hosea 4:6
The Problem With Eating “Conventional” Foods
If you've been following the natural wellness space for a while, you may have heard of various studies showing glyphosate and other common chemicals used in the agricultural industry were found in the blood of families and even in the umbilical blood of newborn babies. These chemicals can cause Parkinson's, dementia, autoimmune disorders, infertility, developmental delays, neurological harm, and cancer.
And now, in most places, pesticide, herbicide, and insecticide-sprayed fruits and veggies are less expensive than sustainably grown counterparts. So on top of harming health, it's disproportionately impacting lower-income families who fear their ability to afford healthier options. Not to mention the cheapest prepackaged meals use chemical-laden produce that is further sprayed and mixed with preservatives.
The Pros and Cons of Eating “Organic” Foods
Apparently, organic is less regulated, and we’ve been lied to about some of the advantages. Specifically, there is a list of approved pesticides and herbicides for organically produced foods that don't have a high level of safety studies completed.
The Downside To Buying Organic
The biggest downside to choosing organic certified foods (aside from the price tag hike in some areas) is that you aren't guaranteed which farming practices are used. While there are some pesticides and herbicides allowed, they aren't required. And unless you know your farmer, you don't know exactly what is and is not used.
Another downside, not all organic farmers are honest and ethical. Many larger organic corporations lie and cheat their way through the organic labeling process to justify higher prices to their consumers when their products aren't as good.
Also, there's been several legislation attempts to allow crowded, unethical methods of chicken farming to qualify for organic certification.
Deciphering the Different Types of Organic Labels
Another downside to buying organic (especially when looking at prepackaged foods) is that not all organic labels are equal.
The USDA has four different types of organic labeling, recognizing different levels of organic products.
- 100% Organic: All ingredients must be certified organic, including any processing aids.
- Organic: All ingredients must be certified organic, but up to 5% of its contents may include specific non-organic ingredients.
- Made with organic: These are typically multi-ingredient prepackaged products. At least 70% of the contents must be certified organic. Any other food ingredients included don’t have to be produced organically but still are required to not be made using prohibited methods.
- Specific organic ingredients These are multi-ingredient products where less than 70% of their total ingredients qualify as certified organic.
The Upside To Buying Organic
Upon talking with several organic certified farmers, I do believe these chemicals approved to use aren't as bad as glyphosate used in “conventional” farming. I also appreciate organic farmers' need to replenish their soil, making them much more sustainable. Another benefit is the regulations for organic farming disallow genetically modified products.
To be certified organic, a farmer must:
- Create a plan that addresses farming practices and systems, such as tilling, grazing, harvesting, storing, and transporting. The farm plan must also specify approved substances used during the growing or handling process, monitoring practices for organic systems, recordkeeping systems, and barriers that prevent commingling with nonorganic products or contact with prohibited substances.
- Implement your system, and have it reviewed by a certifying agent.
- Annual inspection (plus have the inspection reviewed by a certifying agent).
So a lot of expense and effort goes into the process and expense involved, which increases the prices.
With that extra effort (and expense) to farming organically, the soil should be healthier, which then grows healthier plants.
Navigating How To Find Truthful Organic Companies
Everything was organic not long ago. In my opinion, this gross take-over of the food supply resulted in adding known harmful chemicals onto everything that should not be okay or a publically accepted practice, and then over the past few decades, the chemical industry took over the farming industry and, subsequently, the food supply. This gross take-over of the food supply resulted in adding known harmful chemicals onto everything should not be okay or a publically accepted practice, in my opinion. And eating chemical-saturated food isn’t the same as trusting that God will care for us in this life.
Our bodies are temples and should be treated as such. However, I totally understand and respect the concept that organic is expensive, and it's difficult to fully understand what you're getting when you purchase from someone else.
So, How Do You Find Organic Farmers?
When you shop at a grocery store, it's impossible to know exactly where your food comes from, thus making the research process to know their practices also impossible.
However, when you shop local by getting to know your farmer (or homesteader), understanding their processes makes the organic label obsolete. This is the ideal way to acquire healthy foods unless you can farm your own food, which was historically the primary way most families acquired their food.
Which Foods Should You Buy Organic
Foods you should buy organic (or locally sourced from ethical farms)
- Bell peppers, hot peppers
- Green beans
- Kale, collard greens, mustard greens
Why Should We Worry About Food Quality
Unfortunately, the formative years are the most important in childhood development. So, naturally, our parents will be healthier than us, just as their parents were healthier than them.
It is easy to forget our elders were raised on food growing in rich soil, eating mostly home-cooked meals for a significant portion of their life (especially during developmental ages), whereas today, many people eat fast food out of boxes now in their early years. Even the umbilical cords of babies have been found to be loaded with toxins.
To be aware of what negligent greed has done to our food industry in this country is not idolatry.
My Personal Experience With Food Quality
Throughout most of my 20s, I was plagued by seizures, low blood pressure, and 13 chronic autoimmune disorders that put me in a wheelchair and left me homeless. It was bad. Thirty-two doctors told me I was waiting to die, no one could help me, and I wouldn’t live to see my 30th birthday at my rate of decline. I hit rock bottom and lost my faith, career, social support systems, and everything I held dear in my life. I asked God for help or to take me from this earth. He responded by urging me to look into the chemicals and change my food habits. My husband and I grew all our own produce with the water hose on a timer so I wouldn’t worry about not being able to water the plants when my body wouldn’t cooperate. Growing our own produce allowed my husband to be able to afford better quality meat when he didn’t hunt.
When we started growing our own food on a modest plot of yard, I averaged six seizures a day when all this started. Thirty days into eating a Paleo diet using food from our garden harvest and higher quality meat, my seizures decreased to 2 each week, and for the first time in 5 years, I was finally able to walk up a flight of steps unassisted without falling. Ninety days later, I had my very last seizure and, for the first time in nearly a decade, walked 1/8 mile using only my service dog to help keep my balance. Because of better food quality and God's Grace, I’ve been completely healed since 2013. (You can read more about my health recovery story here)
So while some people could fall into the trap of idolizing organic foods (and I'm sure many have), I know full well that choosing sustainability-grown foods that aren’t saturated in harmful sprays and additives can significantly impact our health.
Through the lens of everything I went through, my take on it is when you buy conventional products known to be saturated with chemicals; you’re giving consent to enduring whatever those chemicals may cause.
But on the other hand, there is scripture referencing how nothing fashioned against you shall prosper. So this comes down to your convictions and where He guides you. We are all made in His image, but we are all also a little different. So where one person may be healthy eating the crud, another individual might not be.
How To Eat Healthy Foods While on a Budget
One aspect of eating healthy that makes me cringe is when someone tells me I'm “privileged” because I choose a healthy eating lifestyle.
When I started on my journey of choosing healthier nature-grown foods, I was homeless, unable to live on the $974 per month veterans disability income. Through that mess, I married, and we barely lived paycheck-to-paycheck with my husband's meager income.
He helped me set up a garden space in our yard (where he ripped up the grass so we could plant things) and then helped me harvest seeds from veggies we had previously purchased at the grocery store. We literally planted tomatoes, peas, canteloupe, peppers, and squash from our groceries. We then planted the bottoms of onions and green onions to grow more. We also saved a clove of garlic and a piece of ginger and turmeric to plant, as well as turmeric.
There are so many ways to turn your existing groceries into a whole new level of harvest to fill your pantry. Don't miss my post on Eating Healthy on a Budget: Strategies for Nutritious Meal Planning.
Final Thoughts: Is Eating Organic the Same as Worshiping Idols
God wants us to have eyes that see and not be deceived. Not seeing that the food they sell at grocery stores is poison is to be deceived. In our home, we try to eat what God has created and hasn’t been altered and poisoned by man. Unfortunately, as outlined earlier in this article, conventional and organic certified foods may be contaminated with unwanted chemicals. You need to use your own discernment as to whether either is ok for your family.
In my home, we grow our own vegetables, berries, and fruit trees to ensure the soil quality is kept and produce is free from harmful sprays. When my husband cannot hunt, we buy quality meat from local farms. And I feel wonderful!!
Choosing to eat foods my family grows or from farmers we trust feels like we are provided for directly by God, as He intended. And I try to encourage and educate others because I've felt called to do so.
This article was produced and syndicated by MotherhoodTruth