Food Quality

The human body is an organic machine that requires food and water to perform its many functions. Like any machine, the quality of the resources provided affects the efficacy of the machine’s performance. One facet of performance is using a resource that is the machine was designed to use. For humans, that resource is whole food and pure water from the Earth.

Unfortunately, these resources are less nutrient-dense from agricultural short-cuts and poor soil quality, and often contain contaminants. We also have access to any type of food from any part of the planet, modifying our habits of eating what is available locally, based on the season. This has decreased the diversity of fruits and vegetables that we eat, decreasing a valuable resource, soluble fiber.

The human body has evolved to utilize soluble fiber as a resource to feed our digestive ecosystem, and complete repair work to the digestive tract. Our ancestors ate an array of fruits and vegetables, where the average person today does not meet their daily recommended intake of soluble fiber, impairing digestive health.

We’ve also changed our motivation for eating. Our ancestors either ate to survive, or ate to maintain their health. Today, the average person eats for pleasure and convenience. Our grandparents regularly ate organ meats such as liver. People then appreciated the fact that food was medicine, and eating liver was one of the best ways to avoid illness. Then penicillin came along and our parents turned their noses up to liver. “Why eat liver when I can take an antibiotic?” Luckily the baby boomers maintained one good food habit, eating a balanced family dinner consisting of a protein, starch, and a vegetable. But this is even disappearing. Generation X is the processed food generation. Refined foods with lots of preservatives that have been modified to increase desire. These foods have caused a further digression in our digestive health, distracting us from real, whole foods, taxing our energy systems for little nutritive gain, and lots of toxicity.

Luckily people have woken up to this fact and are moving toward eating organic,  pasture-raised, and local. CSAs are now easily accessible, and mindful companies like Thrive Market now exist.

How do you begin to reverse this damage?

Avoid processed, refined, genetically modified (GM) foods. Eat real, whole food. Here are key words to look for when shopping:

  • Animal Products

    Livestock are meant to graze in a pasture ingesting grass and bugs. Conventionally raised animals are force-fed grain. This grain may be organic or genetically modified (GM). Here is the order by quality:

    1. Pasture-raised
    2. Grass finished
    3. Organic grain-fed
    4. Conventionally raised
  • Fruits and Vegetables

    Fruits and vegetables would ideally be grown in mineral-rich soil that is rotated, without pesticides. The more robust the exterior of the food, the less susceptible it is to pesticide exposure.

    Reference: Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen

  • Grains

    Grains do not provide nutrients that you cannot get elsewhere, and are therefore often not advised, especially when working to repair your digestive tract. If you are going to eat grains:

    1. Whole grains versus refined
    2. Non-GM
    3. Properly prepared


Thrive Market is a membership community that uses the power of direct buying to deliver the world’s best healthy food and natural products to their members at wholesale prices, and to sponsor free memberships for low-income American families. YOU SAVE. EVERYONE THRIVES.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Their website is a great resource for assessing the quality of a product you are considering buying, or looking for a clean recommendations.

EWG Consumer Guide Scorecards:

The Cornucopia Institute engages in educational activities supporting the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through research and investigations on agricultural issues, The Cornucopia Institute provides needed information to consumers, family farmers, and the media. It is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public interest group.

The Cornucopia Institute is a great resource to see how your organic product scores within its category, or to determine which product is best.

Cornucopia Scorecards

Additional Resources