By Jamie Zink
I used to think that eating organically was a bunch of hokum. But as I was getting older, I was feeling more lethargic and needing more naps during the day. I started seeing an acupuncturist, who said that I had Liver Qi stagnation (blood flow problems). She gave me a laundry list of foods to eat and not eat and other household products to not use.
Let me preface by saying, I hated green vegetables - all of them! The only vegetables I would eat would be carrots and corn (when my husband let me “count” that as a veggie). As I liked to joke, I was a meatatarian. But it was time to grow up!
I figured that at first, I could try to switching to organic products on the foods that I did like - so I switched to organic milk, organic juices, chicken and beef, organic carrots, things like that. Some things, like milk and juices, were easy to find good organic substitutes. Some foods were harder - try finding a can of soup that just has pure ingredients! I know an organic canned product in itself probably an oxymoron, but I’m a realist and I had to have some easy on-the-go products. It was amazing all the products that I was used to eating, when I looked at the ingredients list - how I didn’t know what half of those chemicals were! Yes, chemicals! I used to worry about calories or fat content, but I never thought to look at the ingredients list!
Ascorbic acid, benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, butylated hydroxyanisole, sodium nitrate, were just some of the words that I saw in those ingredients. I had no idea what any of those were…but I was pretty sure that names from chemistry class probably shouldn’t be in my food. So I took to looking at every ingredient list of every food item I picked up. If words like those were on it, I put it back on the shelf. It was amazing that instead of buying orange juice with 15 ingredients in it, I could buy one that said: oranges!
Sometimes it stunk that for some foods, I couldn’t find a good healthy alternative…so I said, well, I guess I just don’t eat that. But I was amazed at the variety of products!
Per my acupuncturist, I was also to cut out coffee, alcohol, and soda. Now, I hardly ever drink alcohol, so that didn’t bother me. I was only a 2x a week at most coffee drinker. But soda was my life! I drank at least 2-3 cans a day and always with meals (and if eating out at a restaurant, it would be a 3-4 refill situation). But I told myself that I just had to have water instead. It was really difficult those first few weeks, but after awhile, when I would sneak a sip, I found that I just didn’t want it anymore. After a few months, I couldn’t even drink it at all!
I used to have a really bad sweet tooth - it was like my body craved the sugar! But after eating organically and cutting out a lot of sugar in my diet, I found that I hardly wanted anything sweet at all. And I was determined to start eating more vegetables. Suddenly, spinach, onions, broccoli, lettuce, kale and asparagus didn’t taste so bad. At first, I could deal with eating them. After a while, I started to like them. Now, I LOVE asparagus and broccoli rabbe. If my husband (who is the cook in the family) asks, what vegetable would you like for dinner - the answer, asparagus! And I really enjoyed putting spinach in many of my foods - pasta, omelets, potato chips made of spinach and/or kale.
Suddenly, I was feeling so much better! I didn’t feel lethargic at all. And I started losing weight, and not needing so much sleep every night. And everything just tastes better and fresher!
I don’t think I’d ever want to go back to eating how I used to, and I’m glad that I can impart good eating habits to my future children (and I’ve even converted some of my friends).