By Jamila Holder

Last November, I began my clean eating journey.

Along the way, I have discovered what I call the “underground food world”. I define clean eating as a lifestyle of making conscious food choices. As it stands, the quality of our food has been compromised; the use of chemicals, pesticides and preservatives are a few of the practices that should raise red flags.

Although chemical preservatives and pesticides have been around for ages, they were not used to the degree they are now. I think the numerous videos circulating social media about plastic rice, plastic chips, wax cabbage and chemically enhanced powered milk are all indicators of a food crisis.

As a youth leader, it breaks my heart to know that my mentees can recite the McDonald’s value menu but cannot identify vegetables found in a grocery store—fast food is king, especially within the North American context. Although fast food is quick and cheap, it’s not worth it, given how vital food is to our bodies and overall health; it’s time to leave the cheap-and-quick excuse behind.

The correlation between what we eat and how we think, feel and ultimately how we function needs to be clearly established; there is a popular saying that “we eat to live”, but dare I take it further in saying that what you eat to live may determine the quality of life you live. Even scripture admonishes us to “be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually]” (3 John 2:2).

On my clean eating journey, I have been fortunate enough to find others more advanced in the journey to guide me, and I hope to do the same for you. Like many, I did not understand how and why some foods were classified as organic and others were not—what I did know for sure was that organic food was more expensive than non-organic food. I held the belief that organic food was a scam designed to get the consumer to pay more. However, food labelled as organic has been labelled that way due to the agricultural practices used during the growing and processing of those foods.

Depending on which part of the world you are from, the practices differ, but for the most part, organic produce is grown without the use of GMO’s (bioengineered genes), synthetic pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Shocking!

Pesticides and sewage sludge-based fertilizers are the last thing we would associate with what goes into our mouths. In all honesty, I stumbled into the world of organic food through Instagram—while scrolling through my feed, I noticed an ad for a company that delivered organic groceries to your home. I wasn’t really interested in buying, but I wanted to prove to myself that I would never be able to afford it. To my surprise, a week’s worth of organic fruits and vegetables to feed a family of 4 came up to $44, which also included the delivery to my house. Convenience does not get any better than that, not to mention the price is very affordable and the fruits and vegetable are sourced locally.

To my further surprise, there were several companies out there doing the same—organic meal kits and grocery deliveries right to your door! I got my first delivery in January and I have never been disappointed with the quality of my food; I have even tried new types of fruits and vegetables that I would not buy at my grocery store, but because it was presented as an option, I tried it.

Since signing up to have organic groceries delivered to my home, my food IQ has risen and I am now confident to shop for my own groceries. With a higher food IQ, I ventured into the world of organic grocery stores. I was surprised to discover the variety of foods I could get at an organic grocery store; as I strolled down the aisles, I had entered a whole new world. In my opinion, organic grocery stores have a much wider variety of foods than regular grocery stores. Everything was organic! Even the chocolate cakes from the bakery section and the pizza in the hot food section; don’t even get me started on organic meats, which I also get delivered right to my doorstep. Since discovering the underground world of organic food, my stomach has never been more satisfied and my health and wellness has improved dramatically.