Monday, July 7, 2008

The Spartan Diet Perspective On Organic Food

Ancient Spartans ate 100% organic foods. So did other ancient Greeks. So did all ancient people, pre-historic people, medeaval people all the way up to the industrial revolution. Nevertheless, industrialized farming is called "conventional" by the people who want to sell you industrialized foods.

Organic foods are superior to "conventional" foods for the same reason that Spartans were superior soldiers: In order to become a Spartan soldier, one had to survive grueling hardships.

Pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilizers, ripening agents, genetically modified grain, the use of radiation and other modern innovations definitely improve yields -- they benefit the growers, transporters and sellers. And they bring down the cost of food. Garbage has always been cheap.

However, these methods weaken the food, and that weakness is passed on to the person who eats them. Organic foods are strong, and this strength is passed on to the eater. Science is now proving how this works.

A recent study conducted by Rutgers University and the USDA "shows that organic blueberries contain higher values of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) than conventionally grown blueberries." (Higher ORAC means higher cancer-fighting ability.) A previous study found that organic tomatoes are between 79 and 97 per cent higher in the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol -- both antioxidants -- compared with conventionally grown. Yet another study confirmed higher rates of anti-oxidants in organic produce, and also found organic produce has more vitamins than conventional.

Why is that?

The Spartan Diet perspective is simply the observation that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. "Conventional" growing benefits the grower because plants don't need to be strong in order to survive. Every organic fruit or vegetable is by definition a survivor. It has survived weather, pests and other hardships on its own, without made-made protection. These defenses show up (biochemically speaking) as antioxidants and other elements.

In other words, organic foods are stronger for two reasons: 1) weak plants and fruits die, and never make it to market; and 2) without man-made protection, plants must muster their own defenses to survive, and these "defenses" benefit human health when you eat them.

Again, organic foods are by definition stronger, and that strength is passed on to the eater.