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.