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What’s on the Menu? April 27, 2008

Posted by Laura in Faith, Farm.

The last frost of the season will soon be behind us. Will you be planting a garden this year? We’ve got some cool season things like potatoes, spinach, lettuce, and peas in the ground and we’ve hardened off our tomatoes. We are looking forward to digging in the dirt again soon.

(New lettuces coming up, right alongside some unwanted weeds which will be soon hoed out).

We are trying to be very conscious and careful about what we are eating. And I don’t mean how many fat grams or carbs etc. Our main goal is to eat nutritious real food. That may sound simpler than it turns out to be.

(Yukon Gold potato before a rain).

As Christian agrarians, we tend to think of things in terms of God’s design. He gave us the plants and animals for our sustenance and enjoyment. He provided a lot more plants than animals. That should probably be a clue to us in what proportion we should eat the fruits and veggies versus meat. He gave us a wide variety of colors, tastes, and nutrients in the various plants, probably to keep it interesting and to provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals. He gave us wonderful spices to enhance the flavor of all the rest, and the system is perfect.

(Spinach after about 3 weeks).

And then human beings come along and try to invent “better” things than God. We take corn apart, get rid of any fiber, concentrate the sugar, combine it with artificial flavors and additives, add some preservatives to give it shelf life, and we think we’ve made a wonderful invention! The grocery store shelves are crammed full of such “improvements “of God’s design.

And so we don’t actually have to eat any vegetables, now we can just take a vitamin pill or buy that box of food that says it’s vitamin fortified. There are health claims all over packages these days. But our rates of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and so on are climbing. Something isn’t working.

Taking a couple vitamins or minerals out of a natural food and adding them to a package of something concocted in a “food science” laboratory won’t do apparently. God made foods the way He did because He understands them as a whole. Sure, I can swallow a supplement of the nutrients we humans know about, but what if their true absorption and benefits are possible only in conjunction with the fiber or some other elements of the foods in which they are found? For instance, we’ve discovered that calcium is not well absorbed without vitamin D. How many more links are there that we haven’t discovered? To be safe, we think we’ll just try to eat as close to nature as possible.

I wish I could say that we only ever eat really healthy food, but we haven’t quite arrived there yet. We do our best. There are times when we travel or are otherwise away from home at meal times that we eat what is available, though often with regret. Joe and I frequently feel queasy after eating fast food of just about any kind (and after food poisoning from “Chinese”, I’ll never do that again). Is that truly from the contents or from just knowing it’s so far removed from real food that we feel ill? Hard to say.

As part of our eat real food plan, we are looking forward to growing and raising as much of our own food as we can. Eventually, we’d like dig a root cellar and maybe build a greenhouse. All in time. We’ll do what we can for now and keep working toward the goal, which is ultimately good health.

If you are interested in this topic, you may enjoy reading Pollan’s In Defense of Food. He makes a lot of good points and lists lots of supporting evidence, but he totally misses God’s hand in it all. I would heartily recommend it to everyone if he hadn’t completely missed that crucial part that ties it all together. Maybe I’ll write more on related topics in the future. Happy gardening!



1. Marci - April 28, 2008

I am currently reading Pollan’s book – “The Omnivores Dilemma” There is so much out there that is SO bad for us. Did you see my post on McNuggets?

2. Laura - April 28, 2008

No, I missed that. How long back? Time to sit at the computer is so scarce that I let nearly a month go by without posting myself and then when I get a moment to read, I have to try to make up for lost time.

I read the Omnivore’s Dilemma a few months back. The book I mention is kind of a “sequel.” Very interesting, but missing the most basic element like the first: God. Even without my other Biblical beliefs, the arguments he makes for a more natural way of eating and such would lead me to believe that there was an intelligent designer who set it all up that way.

If you haven’t seen the movie Supersize Me, it’s very interesting too. Not for children as it covers the effects of a full month of McDonald’s food on every aspect of his life (including love life with a live-in girlfriend) and there is some unnecessary language in it too. It will make you think 3 times before eating fast food.

3. -Kev - May 16, 2008

I just LOVE your blog. It’s so fun.

Pollan is one of my favorite authors and I’ve also read the “Omnivore’s Dilemma”. I recall recommending it to Joe some time last year. I also recognize a lot of Joel Salatin’s philosophy in your farming, which I think is totally awesome. That guy is a true Christian philosopher who’s not afraid to go against what the majority thinks.

One interesting thing about Pollan is that a) he is Jewish, and b) his sister is married to Michael J. Fox. Weird, eh?

Your blog post reminded me of a friend who has a corn allergy. She’s tried to get corn out of our diet. But because corn is SO CHEAP, it’s in everything. Bean counters in the industrial food business now use it for almost everything they can. You wouldn’t think a candy bar, for example, contains corn but it has dozens of ingredients that are derived from corn not the least of which is high fructose corn syrup. It’s one more example of how failed ethics have damaged our health because people don’t see the weblike connections throughout our food chain.

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