Nutritional Eating: What is most important?


The longer I live the less confidence I have in drugs and the greater is my confidence in the regulation and administration of diet and regimen. ~John Redman Coxe, 1800

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”
La Rochefoucauld

How do we discern what is most important, especially when we are on a tighter budget? The word “natural” can be quite deceiving!

The Deceitfulness of the word: Natural

“The word natural is one of the most abused terms in food marketing. Consumers will pay up to 30% more for products labeled “natural,” even though there are no regulations concerning which products (outside of meat and poultry) can be labeled as such. As a result, you can end up with groceries in your cart that you think are healthful, but are actually laden with high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. The term natural is open to interpretation, but here is what it means to me: Natural ingredients are whole-straight from the plant or animal – or they are made from whole ingredients, with as little processing and as few added flavorings, stabilizers, and preservatives as possible, thus keeping nutritions and original flavors intact…Take these natural foods with their super-nutritional profiles…and you have an expansive and exciting realm to explore!”

~Heidi Swanson, Author of Super Natural Cooking

When you buy food items in their whole state, they are actually a whole lot cheaper! More nutritious! Anything that has been processed to put in a box, container, or can, costs more and is far less nutritious. Convenience in our day has lead to much more harm than good.

Where to Start?

I have found this list to be the most useful in starting out on eating more natural and what are the most important foods items to consider. I have followed this list, one by one, as I was able, to incorporate a more healthy and chemical free eating lifestyle. This means that we do not eat alot of meat at our home. We eat farm raised chickens and ground turkey in majority. Quality beef, due to its outrageous cost, rarely enters our home. We actually don’t eat much fish either…which is probably not the best idea, as it is high in Omega-3, but we eat eggs and flax seed to make up for it.

This list was compiled by Greg Horn, in his book, Living Green: A Practical Guide to Simple Sustainability.

The Top 10 Foods to Buy Organic

  1. Meats: These are high on the food chain, and thus can concentrate chemicals from the animals’ diets in their fatty tissues. Check out: Eat Wild.
  2. Dairy products: Also high on the food chain and rich in fats, which is where harmful chemicals become stored. Homogenization and pasteurization processes cause lose of significant nutrients. Read more at:
  3. Fish: While not strictly organic, it is critical to buy wild fish and avoid all farmed fish, which can contain high levels of contaminants. Hint: all “Atlantic salmon” is farmed, as this fish is virtually extinct in the wild.
  4. Berries: All berries including grapes have a thin, absorbant skin that you eat. These fruits are heavily sprayed and tend to absorb more of the chemicals that they come in contact with during production. Ask local farmers in your area if they use pesticides. It doesn’t have to be organic, just free from sprays. You can also get great frozen berries from Azure Standard.
  5. Salad crops: Lettuce, spinach and celery are highly sprayed, and have no outer shell to protect the part you eat, the leaf. Local produce is a great alternative. Farmer’s Markets, CSA programs.
  6. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are highly absorbent, and conventional growing uses powerful fungicides between crops to keep stray species from invading the intended crop. I just skip these altogether, ad we don’t miss them.
  7. Root crops: Conventional potatoes, yams, carrots, onions and other root crops can be sprayed with fungicides as well as pesticides, and the parts you eat grow in direct contact to chemicals. Root vegi’s are actually really cheap to buy organic, so why not!
  8. Bananas: Banana plantations use up to 20 times more pesticides per acre than crops grown in industrialized countries. Conventional bananas are often grown with a blue plastic bag of pesticides placed over the soft, absorbent skin of the fruit. Enough said?
  9. Waxed fruit: The shiny apple has a wax coating that locks in the pesticides and makes them very difficult to wash off. Part of this problem can be solved by using a veggie wash, as described below.
  10. Coffee and tea: Technically not “foods”, but hot water brewing can concentrate residual pesticides used in the growing process while it is being extracting the “good stuff”. Remember to use an unbleached filter!

A few last thoughts…Keeping it balanced!

Do your best with what you got! Don’t make it a source of stress or worry. Trust that the Lord knows your heart and will honor your desires, if your motives are in the right place. I know of individuals that have become so consumed with eating right that they have become very legalistic and judgmental towards others…that is not necessary. I just believe it is important to be well-studied over the things that we eat, as we are responsible to be good stewards of our body, and keep it fit for the Master’s use! This is another reason we have chosen to live simply in other areas so we can prioritize keeping ready and fit for Him! But this is not to say you have to do the very same thing we have chosen to do. Please just take this information, and discern what would be best for your family. These quotes and verses sum it all up:

What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn’t much better than tedious disease. ~George Dennison Prentice, Prenticeana, 1860

Nothing is more fatal to Health, than an over Care of it. ~Benjamin Franklin

“Man does not live by bread alone…”
- Matthew 4:4

“Be not anxious for what you shall eat, or what you shall drink… or what you shall wear… Isn’t life more than food?… and the body more than clothing?”
- Luke 12:22; 29

More Resources

Try getting a fruit/vegetable wash solution to clean your vegis with! This is proven to remove most pesticides, chemicals and waxes. I used this for a long time! Veggie Wash is a popular one.

You can also try making your own.

Check out more posts in the Natural Living on A Budget series. To come…Prioritizing your spending, monthly menu planning

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

15 Responses to Nutritional Eating: What is most important?

  1. Tonita December 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Hi, I just found your blog today and am really thankful that I did. I have provided a holistic lifestyle for the dogs that I have rescued over the years. I use homeopathy, herbs, a raw food diet and no pesticides. I now want to start taking better care of myself and with all the great information on your site I think I will be able to do just that. Thanks for such a wonderful and informative blog. Many Blessings-

  2. Jamasina July 20, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    I think that being frugal, and going organic and natural are honorable goals. I’m all for being healthy and taking care of the bodies God has entrusted to us. But I also think what you said about balance is important, for “…which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? (Matt. 6:27). We should do the best we can, and then trust in God to take care of us. :-)

  3. Lacey February 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Where do you get your information that farm-raised fish is more harmful than wild? In the wild, you have serious risk of accumulation of environmental toxins up the food chain, which is why wild tuna is not recommended for pregnant women and children.

    • Lindsay March 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

      Michael Pollan discusses this thoroughly in his book, In Defense of Foods.

  4. the inadvertent farmer January 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    Having been raised in Eastern Washington I have seen what they put on the apples…tons and tons of sprays, it is sad really. Just so the consumer can have the perfect looking apple. I would rather have real food thank you! Kim

  5. cheryl May 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    Thank you for having a healthy balance with all the natural things you can do. It is sometimes overwhelming when you see all that we can change in our lifestyle to live a healthier life. It can easily become consuming, and I don’t think that is what the Lord would want. I totally agree with you that we need to do what we can, and what the Lord is asking of our individual family, and trust the Lord to protect us from the rest.

  6. Sherree March 31, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    Lindsay, we have not used much organic meat either until recently when we decided to take the plunge and purchase a half grass-fed organic beef. It turned out to cost us about $3.50 a pound, which is a great price for that quality of meat. It’s leaner and you get all the expensive cuts as well as a lot of hamburger and stew meat and bones for making stock. I think it was a wonderful investment. If you can’t afford a big chunk all at once, maybe a couple friends could go in together and get a smaller amount. It’s worth it – believe me.

  7. Kelly February 17, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    What kind of salmon do you recommend? How can you tell if fish is wild or farm raised?? For example, if I saw “Atlantic Salmon” I would assume it was wild.

  8. lylah ledner February 4, 2008 at 9:04 am #

    i love what you said,” When you buy food items in their whole state, they are actually a whole lot cheaper! More nutritious! Anything that has been processed to put in a box, container, or can, costs more and is far less nutritious. Convenience in our day has lead to much more harm than good.” Tis true. You go girl! Roses to you!
    blessings ~ lylah

  9. Tia February 2, 2008 at 10:47 am #

    Hi Lindsay (my daughter’s name btw). You said you husband has high cholesterol…maybe you should cut back on the eggs? Unless you are eating strictly the whites, the yolk is high in cholesterol, not to mention bad fats.

    How old is your husband that he already has high cholesterol?

    Fish oil is also a good supplement.

    • Lindsay February 2, 2008 at 8:38 pm #

      We actually buy our eggs from a local farm, and they are free range, which makes them very nutritious for us! We only eat a dozen a week, so I was kind of exaggerating anyway. ;) High cholestrol actually runs in Aaron’s family, and we are keeping it at a safe level with the changes we have made now(Apple cider vinegar, lecitin, exercise). He just has a desk job, so it wasn’t helping that much.

  10. Peggy February 1, 2008 at 11:19 pm #

    Thanks for this great info! I’m really enjoying your nutrition posts! I’m currently reading “Nourishing Traditions” and I’ve already soaked my oatmeal and rice this week!
    I had quit buying bananas organic, but after reading this, I’m going back to organic even on bananas!

  11. Amy February 1, 2008 at 1:58 pm #

    Very educational post! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Mrs. Taft February 1, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    Good thoughts! :) I agree with you. We’ve been following that list for a long time :)


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