Your Great-Great-Great-Great Grandparents Ate Organic: Why Don't You?

For over 200,000 years, modern humans (homo sapiens sapiens) have been feeding themselves with nature’s bounty.

Around 10,000 years ago, we got sick of gathering our veggies and invented agriculture (aka farming).

And ever since then, farmers have been obsessed with finding ways to improve their crop production.

Using different crop production techniques:

  • Tillage
  • Pest control
  • Crop rotation
  • Composting
  • Nutrient management – manure, fertilizers
  • Water management – irrigation

Modern farmers are able to produce food in quantities that our great, great, great great grand-farmers would find unbelievable.

And it isn’t just the farmers.

In the approximately 10,000 years that we have been raising domesticated animals for food, we have also made significant advances in our production methods. In countries that have adopted these modern food production practices, a shortage of food is no longer a problem.

In fact, it is our relative surplus of food (calories) that has given rise to a whole host of new and improved metabolic problems.

So, where did we go wrong?

In my humble opinion, it is our focus on the quantity rather than the quality of food that is the cause of our current problems.

  • Our focus on calories instead of nutrients.
  • Our never ending desire for giant steroid & GMO corn-fed steaks.
  • Our demand for oversized and perfect looking produce.

Back in the day, your great-great-great-great grandparents ate nothing but organic food.

  • They ate foods that were in season in their area of the country.
  • They ate grass-fed steaks and chickens that weren’t fed other chickens in their GMO chicken feed.
  • They drank more water and less juice, pop and frappucinos.

And they looked good doing it.

Actually, they looked a little serious, but they still looked better than their 21st century cousins. Perhaps it’s time that organic (aka real) food became the norm and food loaded with chemicals became the aberration.


  1. This post somewhat reminded me of something I read in South Beach Diet Supercharged: “[We are] a generation overfed and undernourished.”
    As you said, we have to eat quality food that are high in nutrients.

  2. While we’ve probably gone too far with the “quantity over quality,” the fact that it’s probably kept millions of people from starving keeps me from completely condemning the production advances the world has made.

  3. @Brit

    Cheap food is a blessing….but in rich countries like the US, finding enough food isn’t as big a problem as obesity, diabetes, etc…

  4. I know it isn’t NOW, but if we’d never tried to increase the quantity of our crops, who knows how many people would go hungry. And don’t we still help the world now by sending excess crops to other countries that need it? I just think there needs to be balance, not doing away with it completely.

  5. But my great-great-great-great grandparents probably died in their 40s. Did it really benefit them then?

  6. Allan,

    Our improvements in average lifespan are due primarily to technological improvements. Our jobplaces are safer, fewer mothers and babies die during childbirth, we’re less likely to die a violent death, pharmaceuticals, surgical techniques, soap, etc…

    On average, our ancestors died sooner. But if we were to look at when they died, we would see that if you survived into your 30s, you had it made and could live a nice long life as long as the next generation kept you fed & sheltered

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