Q) What is a 'Cleanivore'?
A) A person who sources their dietary needs from the cleanest available food.
Definition of Cleanivore:
1) A person who sources their dietary needs from the cleanest available food
2) A person who sources any type of product from the cleanest, most energy efficient, sustainable options available, including but not limited to: clothing, furniture, appliances, personal care products, home cleaning/care products, lawn or yard products, automotive products, home building or remodeling, etc.
The term means ‘clean consumer’. ‘Clean’ meaning free from polluted or dangerous substances, responsibly and sustainably produced. ‘Vore’ from the latin word ‘Vorare’ meaning to devour.
Cleanivores are opportunistic, general consumers. They source their food products from the cleanest available food, preferably complete, whole foods, including (although not necessarily all) plants, animals, animal by products, nuts, seeds, fungi, and algae. They are not obsessive or extremist in their sourcing, although they prefer to source from authentic organic, CSA, pasture raised, local farm-to-table type opportunities. If options are limited, Cleanivores will often grow some of their own food.
What do I do if I can’t afford organic?
There is no doubt 'clean food' tends to costs more then 'chemical food' and for good reason. Conventional foods are cheaply produced and often subsidized by the Gov. Organic foods have stricter requirements, as well as costly Organic certification fees. But a savvy, budget conscious consumer can still buy organic. Terrific article by Robyn O'Brien, that fully covers this question:
Is there really a difference health wise, between Conventional and Organic food?
Conventional food, thinking and experts have stumbled with the bigger truth of organic superiority. But as more and more studies are conducted, especially outside the US where scientists are not funded by companies related to conventional products, the results are getting louder and clearer: Organic is superior for not only human consumption but for the health of plants, animals and most importantly, the planet.
Isn’t non-GMO and organic the same?
No. Not even close. If Non GMO was an elementary school kid playing hoops at recess...Organic would be LeBron James playing in a championship game. Yes it's great to have non GMO as an option, but the only difference between non GMO & GMO crop growing, is the seed. One is non GMO, one is GMO. Everything else about the process of growing is the same mono cropping, pesticide treated, depleted soil farming.
Non GMO & Organic - why you need to know that they're not remotely similar
Differences between regular seeds and GMO seeds
How US food companies go GMO free in a GMO world
List of countries that have banned GMO's
Aren’t cage free chicken & eggs the same as pasture raised?
Not even close. 'Cage free' means that the chickens are not in an individual or shared cage. It does not mean they roam free in a big, grassy field, scratching & pecking at bugs. Cage free chickens live their lives out jam packed in a barn.
Are Chickens raised without hormones the same as organic?
This is actually a trick question since USDA regulations do not allow hormones to be used in poultry farming. However, antibiotic use is allowed, but lacks an inspection process to truly validate authenticity. Chickens raised without antibiotics are not remotely the same as organic chickens.
I've heard that not all organic is truly organic, is that true?
This is a excellent question, and highlights why consumers need to be diligent about what products they spend their money on. Not all organic is created equally. Luckily we have watchdog organizations that will help you be sure you are buying the best, most authentic organic available. Cornucopia.org is a great place to reference. By utilizing their food scorecards, you can have confidence in the products you buy.
Aren’t GMO’s the only way to feed the world?
It's a wonderful idea, futuristic crops that magically grow enough food to feed the world. Unfortunately it's just not the bigger truth. Like most things where profit is King (top food commodities & Ag companies on the stock market are heavy on GMO), GMO's don't hold up in the 'feed the world' truth. Some time in the past, I'm sure original scientists were looking for a way to feed hunger around the world. But GMO crops are predominately sold to the livestock industry, not shipped around the world to feed the hungry. And as we now know, this kind of farming is making humans less sustainable, not more.
More and more independent studies show (studies not affiliated with, sponsored, or instigated by any GMO related entity) feeding the world with GMO's just isn't realistic. There is no magical answer to end world hunger. But the question of what kind of farming can feed the world, is clear. Organic farming continues to demonstrate it's long term sustainability, ability to yield larger harvest time after time, improve soil health, and is typically community driven, building strong relationships between locals and small farmers that led to a win-win for both humans and the environment.
Instead of organic shouldn’t we be focusing on a plant based diet for our health and for the sustainability of our planet?
Planet sustainability is a complex and misunderstood issue that vegetarians, paleo's, vegan's and other food religion groups have been debating furiously in the past few years. Each claiming their way is the best, using cherry picked data (because to use the big picture data is complicated and time consuming) to prove their stance. So what IS the bigger truth? Researcher Paul Fischbeck sums it up the best: “You can’t lump all vegetables together and say they’re good. You can’t lump all meat together and say it’s bad.”
Most studies on the impacts of food on the environment start with a 'position' or 'theory', that depending on the anchoring idea (i.e. to what extend is meat production contributing to emissions?), comes the perspective of the study. Thus you can google 'food impacts on the planet' and get 20 different results...and likely, they all hold truths to a certain degree. So which one do you believe? When you put all the information together & look at the big picture facts with unbiased and non-agenda driven eyes, it becomes clear: Permaculture, biodiverse, rotational, humane, organic farming, typically on smaller farms (that are growing all over the country), are proving to be the healthy, long term, sustainable answer.
Which, when you think about it, makes total sense. This how our ancestors farmed successfully for centuries, before big business agriculture stepped in and took over our food systems with mono cropping, pesticides, GMO's, feedlots, antibiotics, hormones, inhumane animal practices, manufactured/processed & fast food, chemical food additives; all in the name of profit. Conventional food is cheaper to produce = big profits. There's no sugar coating the fact that long term sustainable farming costs more to produce.
Ironically the price we're paying for our cheap food is the high cost of health care, global warming and species extinction among others.
Life is diverse and interwoven, so living in any way that takes away from the biodiversity of that, is screwing shit up. Depleted soils rendered useless from mono cropping, chemical/pesticide/GMO use. Disappearing Amazon, habitats, water, used for consumption, products & human expansion. Polluted oceans rising in temperature, emissions edging higher, global warming and climate change. These won't be 'fixed' by going to a plant based diet. This is not a one diet fits all fix. This is going to take every one of us; meat eater, paleo, Mediterranean, raw, vegan, fruitarian, regular, not regular, product consuming human, to source in ways that address the 'chemical' and 'mono' styled farming culture we've been perpetuating with how we spend our food dollars.
We can reclaim our health & that of the planet, by reinstating our place in the food system: conscious consumer, clean eater, organic farmer connected through CSA, Farmers Market, and buying direct from local Farmers. When you become a cleanivore and spend your money on organic/pasture-raised products, you're making a stand for longterm sustainability, no matter what diet you choose to consume.