Well, it’s been three weeks in the “Eating Poorganic” world and I have to say, I am learning a lot.
(If you don’t know what “Eating Poorganically” is, read about my little self-challenge to push my skepticism aside and eat real and organic foods on a budget. I’m trying to alternate posting between my normal “The Low Ryder” topics and the “Eating Poorganically” posts, but you may find this one has a bit of both.)
Okay, back to what I was saying, I’m learning a lot that I didn’t know about food, but honestly, even more than that, I’m really learning a lot about PEOPLE. Studying people is really what makes this experiment fascinating for me apart from my hoe-hum interest in whether or not my dinner is secretly poisoning me. On the Eating Poorganically Facebook Page (which you really ought to join if you haven’t; we’re up to 50 awesome fans!), we decided on a few little tongue-in-cheek definitions for the people we encounter on this journey into the “Organic World”.
A Schmorganic is a person for whom all things organic and natural are blah-blee-blah, “schmorganic-organic”. They represent my former view of “I love pus,” and my sister’s strongly held opinions about pesticide. When I backslide and offer my kids Ramen noodles, it is a schmorganic moment.
A Poorganic is a person who buys into some of the hype and might participate in moderate activities such as buying fresh eggs or washing their fruit, as long as she doesn’t have to take out a second mortgage for it. A poorganic probably will not be investing lots of time or money into a transformative lifestyle, BUT, never say never . . . right?
An Uborganic is someone who grinds her own wheat (or wants to), buys wild animal meat online, and has been totally Pollan-ated, if you know what I mean. This person cannot shop at the normal grocery store and has pretty significant complaints with Whole Foods too. This person wants to consume food within minutes of milking, harvesting, or slaughtering.
I’ve written a little play to illustrate some of my impressions about the characters that I’ve been observing in my research into the articles and blogs of the organic world. In this play, the schmorganic will be played by “Schmorgy” and the Uborganic will be played by “Crunchy Dude.” Jesus will play himself, and I’m not sure of his affiliation. You should ask him if you’re curious.)
Satire, Theatrics, and Soul Food –In Three Acts
Scene 1: A Wedding in Cana of Galilee. The wine has just run out, but then miraculously there is suddenly more.
Schmorgy Dude: (having just received a refill.) DUDE! This wine is A-MAZ-ING. Have you tried it? Wow?
Crunchy Dude: (disgusted) Uh, no thanks. I’ll pass.
Schmorganic Dude: What!? You are totally missing out. I heard this guy, Mary’s son, made it from water. (Takes big gulp) He’s just like, ‘Dudes, bring me some water,’ pours it in, and out comes this wine. Tah-dah!! (Takes another big gulp and laughs) Chahhh! This stuff is righteous!
Crunchy Dude: (arrogantly) Yeah, I don’t know him or his background. I would like, NEH-VER drink something from an unknown source. Plus, water to wine? That is like, total genetic modification. I don’t do–G-M-O. That’s like, totally irresponsible.
Schmorganic Dude: (clearly enjoying his wine) You are SO missing out. I mean this stuff is WAY better than that other stuff you drank earlier. This wine is a freakin’ miracle.
Scene 2: A year later. A Hillside near the Sea of Galilee ( A crowd of 5,000 people are gathered in the evening to hear Jesus preach. They are a distance from the town. Jesus’ followers have collected five loaves of bread and two fish from a boy, which Jesus has offered up for prayer. They begin to distribute to the hungry people.)
Schmorgy: (seriously psyched) Cer-UNCHY! Dude, they are STILL passing out that tiny basket of food Jesus prayed over. I’m, like, FLIPP-IN OUT! I cannot wait to taste it. I’ve been thinking about that wine he made for MONTHS. It was awesome.
Crunchy Dude: (skeptically) I’d rather starve. This is obviously some behind the scenes, total intensive food production. Gross! Do you even know where that kid got that bread and fish? (eyebrows raised knowingly) That’s right! You don’t!
Schmorganic Dude: (animated) He was a little KID! His mom probably gave it to him. Dude! We are all totally hungry and this is what Jesus is providing. Why are you so tense? (Schmorganic Dude receives his portion from a basket and happily begins wolfing it down.) THIS is amazing bread!
Crunchy Dude: (shaking his head worriedly) Seriously, you don’t even know if that is whole grain. What if it is just a bunch of nutritionless endosperm with HFCS in it. You don’t know if that fish was wild caught or farm raised. Are you INSANE? I mean, are you INSANE? Seriously, consider your source, dude!
Schmorgy: (mouth full) Endo-what?!?
Scene 3: Another occasion . . . A mountainside. Jesus is preaching. Schmorgy and Crunchy Dude attending.
Jesus (preaching about worrying): If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
Crunchy Dude (to Schmorgy annoyed): I can’t believe he saying not to worry about what you eat. Does he just eat whatever? That’s crazy.
Schmorgy (wearily): I think he’s saying that we matter a lot to God, more than birds.
Crunchy Dude: I don’t think God’s taking care of us if we’re stupid and gluttonous–just eating crap and not even being sustainable.
Schmorgy (quietly): No, I think even then he still is taking care of us. . . .
. . . . .Okay, I will stop dragging this analogy out to the bitter end (before it breaks down miserably).
Of course, I will acknowledge that I’m being very tongue and cheek with this. Probably food in ancient Israel may not have had the same problems our food supply does today. I get that. Also, I don’t mean to suggest ALL food, by reason of its being derived from God’s provision, is GREAT for us. I just . . . I just . . .ugh, how do I say this and have it make sense? I just feel like being too extreme can actually reveal a lack of belief (if we claim to have a belief) in God’s provision and protection of us.
As I said, I’ve been reading A LOT of food articles and blogs lately, so there is no doubt this post is a bit reactionary, but I will tell you one thing I’ve noticed for durn sure. MANY of these Uborganics are a humorless bunch of legalists, living in a sad, sad, state of fear and worry. There is virtually no food with which they can find nothing wrong, whether it be pesticides, GMO, grain count, refinement, or the like. EVERYTHING is a worry. EVERY food manufacturer is part of a massive conspiracy to hood-wink and poison us. So many of them, even the Christian ones are OBSESSED, in a displaced- former- eating- disorder type way, with organic and real food, trying desperately to control and purify what goes into their bodies. The really popular writers are growing their own food, sprouting their own grain, buying all their food online at exorbitant prices ($43 for 1 lb of dehydrated strawberries!!!!!) and, assuredly making themselves immortal.
There are a surprising number of Christian Uborganics out there, and I’m still looking for anyone that has a smidgeon of what I’d call “balance.” Most of them are just LOVING the LEGALISM. They are selling the Organic lifestyle as an off-shoot of “WWJD.” It is actually quite tempting. I find myself reading for hours, thinking, “I could do this. I could start a farm, eat boar meat stew, drink raw milk at $10 a gallon, . . . !!!” WTH?
See, I actually have quite a little penchant for legalism myself. Legalism is WAY easier to understand than grace. Wouldn’t it be SO nice if there were just a nice, neat little list of things that we could do and eat that would get us into heaven faster and easier? Ooo, that makes me think of Scene 4.
St. Peter (Crunchy Dude checking in): Organic grass-fed beef. Awesome. You’re In.
St. Peter checks in Schmorgy: Bologna. Seriously, dude. Did you even try? Are you kidding me?
But there isn’t a list. I’m not going to discount the importance of food and its consumption in the Old Testament, but Acts 10 kind of blows that up for most people in the New Testament, when God tells Peter “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean”. Paul writes in Romans that they need to stop passing judgment on each other for what they eat. (The problem here was that some people were eating food that was sacrificed to idols. This was super offensive to others and made them judge the idol-eaters.) In both cases though, God doesn’t really seem to care about WHAT THE FOOD IS. He is focused on the people. My favorite part is when he says, “17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Even if you aren’t a Catholic, you know that the main references to food or drink are when God says that HE is our food, or at least the supplier of it.
I just can’t find a Scriptural place to rationalize (here I offend scads of people) what seems pretty undeniably the IDOLATRY of food. I’m sure that one of the main rationalizations for being a careful eater is1 Corinthians 6: 19-20, which says “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit . . . Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Even though the context of this passage is actually sexual immorality, I can see people feeling that it could mean not putting bad stuff in the temple.
My question is, Is your body a temple of the Holy Spirit–or is it a temple to the idol of ‘perfect’ food? How much time and effort and money is going to food-worship?
Okay, I’m done. I’ve purged my bulimic-like need to purge out this tirade against legalistic Food Idolatry. Maybe you have not observed this trend in the foodie world (watch out, you will), in which case, you can consider this my post to remind myself about not becoming legalistic and obsessed with perfect food.
Does this mean that I am abandoning Eating Poorganically? No, of course not. I just wanted you to know that if you follow me down this road, reading the articles that I link you to on the EP Facebook page, pitching in with recipes, sharing info about what is and isn’t a good choice, that I AM DETERMINED not to become afraid that all food is bad. Let’s help each other be balanced, wise, and SPIRITUALLY healthy–not crazy, obsessed, neurotic, and umm . . . presumably, hungry.
24 thoughts on “Satire, Theatrics, and Soul Food – In Three Acts”
Was Schmorgy inspired by Crush? I definitely was getting an Australian surfer turtle vibe 😉
I really like this post; it really struck a chord with some of the things I’ve been thinking about too, although not in such an eloquent way 🙂
Actually, I had more of a Bill and Ted thing in mind, but Crush works too. 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Amen and Amen. Well put, Katrina. ANYTHING that consumes that much of our time and attention is by definition an idol.
This is why I’m glad you’re doing this. I can trust that you won’t go off the deep end 🙂 Somewhat related: I needed OREOs for a presentation yesterday. I noticed they didn’t expire until January of next year (!). I ate three anyway. Balance. (And if you ever go back to teaching English, let me tell you about why OREOs are very important.)
glad you are finding balance…we can eat super organic here for some things and for other things like milk…we can only find in a box that sits on a shelf that doesn’t expire for 6 months…sometimes 8! what?? The super organic meat, as in sheep meat off the hills here tastes like the hills…dirt and grass! seriously the MOST horrible stuff. I have found Tyson chicken in a package and it’s halal and probably totally processed…but tastes NOT like the hills! So glad I can still read your blog and not feel bad for myself! =) keep it up poorganic girl!
See, this is totally confirming. As I’m reading a lot of these posts where they are SO anti-American and praising the “organic” way that other countries eat, I want them to actually VISIT these places and try a stringy chicken or a constant kau-kau diet, and then see what they say. If you have lots of money and time to kill, it’s FUN to play “organic-house.” It is like they never read “The Long Winter” where the Ingalls spent the whole time grinding seed wheat in the coffee meal and becoming sluggish from starvation. I just want to there to be a sense that God is in control whether or not you eat some Tyson chicken. Speaking of which, all I can say is, enjoy it girl, enjoy it. 🙂
btw, i am not anti american… but i do have different tastes, and i have lived overseas most of my life and eaten less than appetizing things. i don’t think it is anti-american to say that some other countries eat better than we do… just look at our obesity rate compared to Europe (although i think Belgium is up there too). It’s discouraging…
You are right! It is discouraging.
Great post. I feel like God has been showing me so many ways that He wants us (me) to be more balanced. I feel like the. Christian community could benefit from more balance in so many ways. Like the differences in all the different denominations out there are results of one piece of truth that a group of people took to an extreme, sort of unbalanced level. A little more balance would result in greater unity among all believers. This is quite off topic from eating poorganically, but your post got me thinking about these things.
On another note, whenever I go outside, I’m a maganet for Mosquitos. Nasty bugs love me. I’m wondering if the big, evil Monsanto could genetically modify me to make bugs not like me so much? That would be awesome.
Let’s see. I think that Monsanto would actually have to modify you so that you could be bathed in scads of deet and still seem fundamentally unchanged. I would STRONGLY recommend Mosquito Squad. It was $550 for them to spray our yard from April to Oct, which is a ton of money in my world, but IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT. My kids can play outside without being devoured and I can work in my garden without stinking like a camping trip. They gave me a guarantee of seeing 90% less mosquitoes despite the fact that out backyard is totally wooded with a stagnant creek at the back. Twice they’ve come back for an extra spraying when we saw too many mosquitoes. The only thing that I DON’T like is that I forget the whole world doesn’t have Mosquito Squad and I get really annoyed when I leave my yard and get bitten. (Plus if you say I referred you, I think I get a discount next summer. Whoot-woo!)
I agree with all that you said about unity among believers. I think there are TOO many churches and TOO many styles. I mean, would it really be so bad if we sang a hymn with the choir and then a praise song with the guitar? Couldn’t one guy wear a tie and another wear jeans? I just don’t understand why we all go to our separate “corners” over the least little things. Can a schmorganic and an uborganic be friends? I think so. 🙂
Well done, Katrina! I couldn’t agree more! Eating (food) is a gift from God – necessary for life, yes, but more than that – it is (should be) a pleasurable experience enjoyed with friends and family. When its purchase and preparation become stressful and an obsession, the joy goes out of it. I cannot believe this is pleasing to our Lord. “In everything give thanks! Rejoice! And again I say rejoice!” How can we do the former if we’re spending the majority of life reading labels and worrying if a granule of pesticide might be lurking somewhere. I (we/you) cannot trust and at the same time entertain fear. It’s one or the other – I choose TRUST! HE has proven faithful in all things (for 65 years!).
there might be a chance that some people would like boar stew, or mountain sheep that taste like the mountain. in fact, i would say i am one of those people. it is a matter of taste. i find much of the food in the US tasteless… it has been refined to a point of dull flavorlessness. on the grounds of taste alone, i prefer unrefined and organic food. but is it a religious thing? not really, except that i think that God did make mountain sheep, and didn’t make orange cheese sauce (which i do have in my fridge although it probably doesn’t require refrigeration), ad yes, i did read the label on that one. perhaps i am a ‘puborganic’ wait, that sounds dirty… i think there is another category though… something between the two.
Hahahah . . You crack me up with the “puborganic.” 🙂 What about ubpoorganic? Or More-ganic? (Oooo, that would be almost symbolic in your case–I just realized.) Even though you may think I’m picking on you, I actually agree with you Anita. I hope I didn’t come off as sounding like I think people shouldn’t eat what they want or what tastes good to them. (See my comments to Mary Beth below.) Of course, I’m not worried about you becoming crazy because I KNOW you are a balanced and sane person. If a person’s motivation for eating a particular way is based on taste or health, that is fine, but if it is fear or obsession, then I think it is dangerous–even if they are eating “perfectly.” I think you probably have found a balance that works for you all and that is what I hope to encourage. Keep us on track though . . . I need you sane and balanced “uborganics” or “Moreganics” to make sure that I don’t get too lazy again. (Maybe you can send Kristi your cheese sauce to go on her Tyson chicken and she will send you some mountain sheep.)
So good! Thank you for this. I agree that balance is something that we should seek in every area- our eating included. Great thoughts.
Melinda recently posted…lessons from broccoli.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll keep reading and keep me on the “balanced” path. Let me know if I go off kilter and declare coffee “pure evil” or other such heresies. 🙂
I just came across your blog and I can’t even tell you how much I love it!
My mom was a stay-at-home, everything-from-scratch mother & still is. She had gone to college in order to get her teaching degree for home economics but never ended up using it in a formal sense. She is practical and hard working and many of the things I see in you. I am …not my mom. I am a working mom with a three & one year old. My husband is a youth pastor and works a day job. We are busy people and I was plagued by guilt over buying convenience/fast food for the beginning of my adult life. Not because of the health concerns even, but simply because I felt like I was failing as a mom. (Good moms don’t feed their kids chicken nuggets from a bag! Good moms don’t buy pancake mix! Failure!)
It’s been a long battle to grant myself grace (and I continue to fight it every day). With the continual realizations about whole/organic food & their health benefits, I could feel a mounting pressure to follow another set of food rules/legalism/religion. I love that – like me – you are a bit of a cynic and do the research instead of taking the spoon feeding of one agenda over another. I have made my resolution to do the best I can on this journey and just accept that I will not be able to feed my family the ‘best’ food but I will make every effort to feed them the best I can afford on our small budget. I will not count it a failure that I am buying some non-organic foods at a really great price point because it frees up more of my money to be spent on things that are organic or for giving to another area of our lives/to someone else. You are inspiring to me and I will be here often, I can already tell! Thank you.
My mom is the SAME! I totally started the “eating poorganically” gig as a bit of hype to prove my friend how “silly” it is. In the process, I found that there is a great need for some “real” real food advice that doesn’t throw the Cheerios out with the Cheetos. 😉 I was a working mom for a while and probably will be again, so I have to make sure that I don’t take on any domestic duties that aren’t sustainable. Also, just so you can give a right-hook to that “good mom” reciting a mantra over your shoulder, good moms love and feed their children–and sometimes it’s out of a bag.
Oh Katrina… the more of your blog I read, the better I like you!
I like that you posted a so-horrible-its-wonderful white rap video about Whole Foods. I live in Oregon and I am as white & uncoordinated as is humanly possible and I adore rap music. The snarkier, the better.
I like that I have read at least a half a dozen near swear words or phrases in this blog today – which is also the real-est that I’ve heard anyone speak about faith and God in a while. I am encouraged that there are people out there that get the big picture and what it’s supposed to really look like. (Not saving, but instead giving away? That gives me the radical feel-good tinglies!) I feel that too many (of us) Christians are fake to save face and there’s nothing I detest more.
I like that you make up your own words. (I don’t think I even really noticed it until I read an entry where you pointed it out. However, I also do this constantly. My brain understood your words – therefore they are obviously correct use of the English language.)
I like your sense of humor. (I have been squinting at my phone, reading snippets of your blog all day, while taking bathroom breaks at work. I am sure that my co-workers think the amount of out-loud laughing I’ve done on the pot today is indication that I’ve officially lost it.)
I like your honesty in entries like The Green Eyed Monster and False Guilt. They are transparent and real and comforting … because they are ME.
I like that you live in a small house and you CHOOSE to like it – even when it’s hard. I did the math and our condo is the same sqaurefootage per person as your house. That was very encouraging to me. Sometimes I can feel the GEM whispering in my ear and sometimes I am so contented that I am baffled why I couldn’t live in a smaller place, with less, if need be. (I call those the ‘headin’ to crazy town moments’…)
I so wish that we lived near one another in real life. I would certainly be that creepy reader that insists we meet for coffee… In the meantime, I am wondering if there are other entries (maybe old ones?) that you might recommend that I read, that are related to what you touchbase on in False Guilt. That is where I’m at currently/personally. It has been a conscious EFFORT to try and focus on the positive and not beat myself up constantly and let myself get lost in the feeling that everyone is doing life and the roles involved in it better than I am… But regardless – I want you to know how encouraged, uplifted and strengthened in Christ I have been today becuase of YOU. We have ‘known’ each other only a few hours and I already count you a blessing.
I really liked this post…and it really struck a chord in me. I try to eat fairly healthy. I eat too much…but what I eat…I like to know what it is. I want my eggs to be from my chickens…not because they are really SO much healthier..but I know my chickens are so much happier…and they do taste better. I am offended by chicken breast stuffed with saline, because it is a rip off, but I still buy it. I have much more issue with the chemicals and preservatives than anything else…I don’t have much problem with sugar…just use it in moderation. Your post struck me like that….God gave us so much..especially here in the U.S. Thanks for your insight.
@jason….I knew a guy that when he went to Minnesota, he would drink soda water for a week prior…changed his ph levels and he said he never got bit….worth a try if you can suck down soda water… (I’d probably just slather myself in Off)
Good tip on the mozzies! I will have to start drinking soda water now in preparation for the onslaught in a couple of months. 🙂
I just had to go searching for this post. I was reading the waste chapter of 7 last night and thought of you. You are like peas in a pod in the way you write. Thanks for the whitty, impactful writing. 🙂
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