Why eat off the grid?

There are plenty of documentaries and books out there about health and its relationship to our food system, and of course, some are better researched and better made/written than others. My favorites tend to be the ones that manage to give a balanced view of an issue rather than veering into polemic, those that avoid self-indulgence and self-righteousness on the part of the creator in favor of providing an education based on which the consumer can make their own decisions.

I recently came across this news story from PBS’s Frontline, and I think it fulfills all these criteria – it is on the long side, but if you have been hearing about antibiotic resistance and want to know more, I highly recommend it.


Because this episode is part one of a series and presents just the problem, it can be a bit overwhelming to watch – but please don’t throw up your hands and wail, “Oh great, now what am I supposed to do?” There are a number of small steps you can take to make a sustainable change in your own life – for starters, check out this article from Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website – it’s also long, but at the end you’ll find some easy, concrete steps to take.

On a personal note, my family eats “off the grid” for the most part: I would estimate that on average, 75-80% of our food – specifically our vegetables, dairy products, eggs, and animal proteins – comes directly from our local farmers, unmediated by a processor or middleman.

One of the reasons we choose to eat this way? I prefer to avoid the overuse of antibiotics because of what they do to our health and to the environment. Yes, they are probably still in the groundwater due to runoff, and no, I can’t avoid them entirely, but I am making the effort to do so.

Do we pay a premium for our food? Yes – and I know that we are blessed to be in a position to be able to afford to do so.

My point is not to flaunt that we can afford to eat this way, nor am I trying to convince anyone to do likewise based on my own experience – believe me, it is a lot easier and less expensive to do a one-stop shopping trip than to make multiple trips to multiple locations weekly! But I think that educating ourselves about the food we put into our bodies and how it is grown is one of the most important actions we can take – after all, three times a day we decide what to put in our mouths.

Our decision to eat off the grid and our subsequent effort (because it is an effort) to do so are made on a daily basis – but we have made the shift gradually and seen amazing changes in our health along the way. It may seem silly to think that a family of four can actually have a positive effect on the environment and on the local economy as well as on our own health, but we actually do consider the impact of every food item we purchase – it’s now just a habit.

For 2015, I’m resolving to extend that habit to other areas of our lives and start bringing the same amount of education and intention to our clothing purchases….