The experts don’t agree.  Dr. Oz will have a well known doctor on his show who says vegetarianism is the way to go and meat, eggs, dairy will cause you to become sick.  It may be the Mediterranean on which many people remain in good health.   The next day he may have another famous expert saying you can eat all the meat you want but please stay away from all grains.  What’s a person to believe and who is the real expert?  Above all, don’t use this confusion as an excuse to continue on a fast food track.

            How do these authorities come up with their ideas?  Can they all be right?  Maybe.  Seldom do you hear a nutritionist say we are individuals and not all people do well eating the same foods.  The one thing they do agree on (unless they are being influenced by the food industry) is that we all need to stay away from processed and fast foods which are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated fats and white flour—these are causing our health crisis.  A few people even get by with eating this stuff—but very few maintain good health when most of what they eat and drink comes in boxes, packages, bottles and cans.

            Perhaps we need to be more concerned about the quality of the food we are putting into our bodies rather than whether it is all vegetable all meat, etc.  There is a big difference between an egg laid by a hen that has been raised on a farm where it happily ran around outside with roosters eating grass, and the egg was gathered shortly before you ate it; than one that was fed hormones and pesticide-laden genetically modified (GMO)corn, and then the egg lays around in a supermarket for at least a month before it lands on your plate.  If you ever start eating farm raised eggs, you will see a big difference in taste also.  The farm raised egg tastes so much better.  

Fertile eggs (from chickens that run around with roosters) will support life. You can incubate them or put them under a hen and they will hatch a baby chicken.   Eggs laid by a hen raised commercially in a tiny cage, will not support life—they cannot make a baby chicken.  They are much like the dead processed foods that make up over 90 percent of what Americans eat. 

Grass is the natural food for cattle.  Meat from an animal that has been raised on grass is very different from the meat from an animal that has been fattened on GMO corn, which is in no way what it is supposed to eat.  The deadly bacteria, e-coli would not be a factor if cattle were raised on grass.  Again, grass fed meat is much tastier than what is eaten by mainstream Americans. 

We all know vegetables are probably the healthiest foods we can eat but there is a big difference in broccoli raised commercially and that raised in your own yard or by a local grower.  Commercially grown vegetables are exposed to chemicals and they are often modified in such as way they will not produce seeds that will grow another crop.  Shipping long distances, leaves them nutritionally deficient by the time you buy them at the supermarket.  The good news is people all over the country are starting to grow their own food.  Community gardens are cropping up everywhere, including Heber Springs.  Local growers are gaining support.    

Learning to grow your own food can be very satisfying and will definitely be beneficial for your health and that of your family.  Heber Springs has a community garden in which you can obtain a plot.  The most it will cost you is exercise and fresh air that may take you away from the television a few hours. 

Children are suffering the most from our movement away from real food.  In a world where we try to do so much for kids, helping them learn to grow their food may benefit them more than any lessons or schooling they could have.  It is very likely many of them think their food originates at a fast food restaurant where kids’ meals are the unhealthiest on the menu.

Fortunately, in our area, there are people who raise chickens, cattle, and vegetables as they are meant to be raised and they sell them.  It takes effort to find such people but wouldn’t you rather go out of your way a bit to find real food than to spend that time sitting in a doctor’s waiting room or lying in a hospital bed? 

If you don’t take time for health, you will have to take time for sickness.  It might be worth the effort to become health conscious.  Our very future may depend on it.

You can taste the difference and you can feel the difference in your health when you start eating as nature intended.

(Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, and wrote a weekly column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at