By Jill Lin/Intern
Canyon Crest Academy Senior Bernie Gilmore accomplishes something on a daily basis that not every teenager is able to do: he cooks every single one of his meals himself. More importantly, though, he makes sure that the meals he prepares are organic.
Organic food is defined as food that is certifiably grown without pesticides advancing artificial growth. In other words, it is grown naturally without the use of any chemicals. For meat, it means that everything the animal eats is organic. Scientifically, consuming organic food has been proven to benefit not only the human body, but also the environment because it prevents the release of toxic chemicals.
For Bernie, his commitment to start eating organic food began in eighth grade.
“I was really overweight,” said Bernie, who displays no signs of excess weight today, four years later. “That caused me to want to know more about food. In order to lose weight, not only did I have to exercise more, but I had to start eating healthier.”
In order to find out more about how to improve his diet, Bernie started researching, reading books that focused on the process of food production. In particular, Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food,” which explores the procedures of how food is both grown and manufactured, made a big impact on Bernie. After reading the book and researching information, Bernie relayed his newfound knowledge to his family members, which encouraged them to also begin eating organically.
However, this doesn’t mean that they are inflexible to non-organic food.
“We’re completely open to non-organic food because it’s not always easy to eat purely organic food,” Bernie said. “We try to eat as much of it as we can, though. We just don’t have a rule saying we can’t eat anything non-organic.”
In the end, however, the most important thing may not even be his new lifestyle. In trying to eat healthy, Bernie discovered his love for cooking. What originally began as a desire to know all the components of his meal — through actually preparing it — has now Bernie’s passion.
“It’s important to know where your food comes from and how it is made into a meal.” Bernie said of cooking. “Be interested and be conscientious. Do a little research about what you put into yourself. You only have one body so it’s important to take care of it the best you can.”