Today Ed Orem is stopping by my kitchen, to talk about his personal journey from being a sugar junky to an organic freak.
Ed “Organic Freak” Orem is the data manager at Grower’s First, an organization that helps farmers and their families achieve a better standard of living across the world. Ed is passionate about his family, about helping the coffee farmers in Oaxaca and Honduras, and about sharing with everyone the importance of staying healthy by creating an organic lifestyle.
1. Why is living organic important to you?
Almost 2 years ago now my wife, Linda, had a mammogram that showed abnormal cells, and it was suggested that we have surgery to have them removed because they could be a feeding ground for cancer. Although the cells turned out to be benign, this really scared us. We took the entire year following the surgery to read and study everything we could get our hands on. We spent almost every day researching about what we eat, breathe, and put on our bodies that could cause cancer. Through our research we found out just how many chemicals and toxins we all take in on a daily basis. They’re in the air, in our homes, and in our food. There is just no way to completely eliminate all toxins from our lives, but we decided that we would do everything we could to eat the right foods and to take supplements to combat the diseases that wreak havoc in our bodies.
2. What was your favorite food growing up?
Wow, that’s easy! Anything with sugar! Junk, junk, and more junk is all I ate. My mother would go grocery shopping and bring home 10 bags of food and 8 of them were filled with junk food! My mom was an incredibly unhealthy eater and she passed that down to all of us kids. My mom died 3 years ago at 70. Some may think that is a decent age to live to, but the last 10 years of her life were horrible. It was filled with dozens of surgeries, both legs amputated up past the knees, emphysema to name just a few. That is another add-on reason that we are organic. I hear people complain that “Organic foods and products are so expensive,” and I tell them “Do you think that when you spend the last years of your life in hospitals having surgery after surgery because of your unhealthy lifestyle that you wouldn’t wish to go back and pay those extra few cents so that you wouldn’t be there?”
3. What’s your go-to comfort food now?
There are 2 that I enjoy. First is a main dish and it’s my wife’s brown rice tortilla pizza! I could eat that every night. The second is her baked oatmeal desert. You can find both recipes on her blog at AlwaysBuyOrganic.blogspot.com.
4. What’s the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn’t live without?
Our Vita-Mix! We mix our smoothies, soups, and fresh salsa almost every day. Linda uses our Vita-Mix for almost every one of her recipes in some capacity.
5. What magazine, website, book, album or products are you most obsessed with right now?
Sometimes I feel I am obsessed with too many things at one time, and that seems to consume my days and nights. So I will break them down into the mentioned categories.
Magazines: Any magazine that takes a common sense, non-pharmaceutical look at addressing our health and fitness.
Books: Some of our favorite books are Suzanne Somers’ Breakthrough and Knockout, Jordon S. Ruben’s The Makers Diet, and David Servan-Schreiber’s Anti-Cancer.
Websites: Here is my list of sites that are my daily website obsessions.
GrowersFirst.org, the non-profit that I work at, is dedicated to helping the indigenous coffee farmers in Oaxaca and Honduras by helping them create a more sustainable, healthier, holistic and ecofriendly lifestyle.
Twitter.com/OrganicFreak is my way of connecting to those that are organically like-minded, and those who would like to learn how to start living healthier. I also use my OrganicFreak account to promote the Growers First mission every chance I get.
And my last website obsession is in the process of being launched! It is a new co-branded coffee company that only has a twitter account right now: Twitter.com/GivingCoffee. GivingCoffee.com is not yet finished, but I hope to unveil it soon.) This new brand is a vision that I have that will help support Growers First and also help support local and worldwide non-profits through the sale of coffee. For every purchase, Giving Coffee will donate 25% of its profits to the personalized partner brand of your choice. Then Giving Coffee will also donate an additional 15% into a pool that all the non-profit partners will share, for a total of 40% of profits donated.
Products: Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil. We use it for everything. We use it for frying, baking, cooking, hair care, skincare. Here is an article on why we are so obsessed with coconut oil.
6. What’s the most important news story today that you think we all need to pay more attention to?
Health care! With the new health care push by the government, I believe that we will NOT want to get sick and have to rely on our health care system (or lack of), so the best health care that you can rely on is PREVENTION. I believe that it is so important to all those that your magazines reach. That is the main reason I was so excited when you asked if I would be a part of your community. I cannot stress the importance enough of taking your health into your own hands and the best way to do that is to take the time to read, read, read…
7. Where do you get your news?
Mostly from Twitter and Google. I actually scan and read tweets and follow the links for more details. I have found some healthy, organic gems by doing that.