- Heather Eiler
The “Fish It, Grow It, Butcher It” Rule
Let’s truly think about this: if we follow the “Fish It, Grow It, Butcher It” rule, we could possibly change the course of obesity and its related health issues for ourselves and our society. Could it really be this simple? And what do we mean by the “Fish it, Grow it, Butcher it” rule anyway?
The purpose of the FiGiBi rule is to emphasize the importance of understanding the true difference between processed foods and natural foods…and that our goal should be to consume primarily natural foods with only small amounts of minimally processed foods.
We inherently know items such as cookies, chips and pastries are not natural foods, and likely not very good for us…even if the marketing behind these items tout them with remarks such as “no corn syrup added,” “no artificial sweeteners,” or “gluten free.” But there are other items that the food industry with its marketing genies, as well as our own clouded judgement, skew to a very grey area.
We’re lured in by items such as multi grain bagels, whole grain crackers, seven grain muffins, and countless other products that have us thinking they must be healthy. And don’t forget about the delicious looking meatloaf, the crab cakes, the chicken nuggets and the tuna salad spread…they are made from natural proteins so surely they must be good for us.
But do any of these products really provide nutritional value without a cost…a cost to our waistlines? Are they really nature’s best?
If we think about it, we know there are no bagel trees, cracker vines, or muffin bushes. And we also have never seen a meatloaf walking the prairie, a crab cake or tuna salad swimming the ocean, or a chicken nugget roaming the farm.
Instead, all these foods are processed in some way, either by combining many processed ingredients together, or by taking a natural food and tainting it with processed ingredients. And we eat them primarily for convenience and taste.
Natural foods, such as poultry, fish, beef, vegetables, legumes and lentils, are simple, clear cut and consumed without excessive amounts of processed ingredients and condiments. They are fished from the earth’s bodies of water, they are harvested from farmland and flora, and they are provided to us through animal proteins…and then prepared and/or cooked without unnatural ingredients.
Must We All Become Hunters and Gatherers?
So now that we understand what “natural foods” are, are we now expected to go and fend for ourselves?
Are we expected to head off to the mountains and hunt for wild game and be versed at dressing our kill there in the field?
Should we plan on weekly fishing trips to nearby streams, lakes, rivers or oceans for our allotment of fish, being sure to filet our catch right there on the scene?
Are we to prepare a vegetable and fruit garden each year….and should we have the experience to deal with composting, watering, weeding, bugs, critters, fungus, and more all summer long?
Should we be foraging for wild berries and nuts, mushrooms or other fruits?
Should we all be tending to our own livestock and the tremendous amount of commitment that comes with this?
While these actions may seem extreme or simply unrealistic, not so long ago this was a common way of life of our forefathers. And due to this very active lifestyle combined with the absence of processed foods, obesity was an inkling of what it is today. Not to mention, this way of life likely slowed everyone down compared to our modern daily grind of hustle and bustle.
Applying the FiGiBi Rule in Our Everyday Lives
Then what are we to do? While we all could benefit in one or more of the previously mentioned self-sustaining, hunting and gathering habits, we are fortunate to be part of the most sophisticated food supply chains known to mankind.
With one trip to the grocery store – and we mean most grocery stores, not just the high-end, touted-as-all-natural chain stores – we can find unprocessed, natural foods from all over the world.
We have access to fish from all our oceans, and access to fruits, vegetables, starches and grains specific to certain climates all over the world.
Most grocery markets also provide plenty of choices at all price points when it comes to non-processed cuts of beef and poultry.
Yet with access to countless natural foods, we are the heaviest population ever to exist. Why? Because we cannot resist the temptation of savory, salty, and sweet – also known as the processed, artificially flavored, and modified versions of these natural foods.
Furthermore, even for the few of us that actually do hunt, fish, farm or forage, we often choose to drastically modify these natural foods or consume by-products in excess (i.e., we become the fat farmer).
It’s All About Choices
There you have it: applying the “Fish it, Grow it, Butcher it” rule is about making choices. It’s about recognizing the importance of proper nutrition in our lives, and then making the time for it as well as the right choices to support it.
Are we looking at our plates each day and really seeing the difference between natural choices versus unnatural, processed versions of those choices?
We are lucky to live in a society where we are able to choose…where good favorable options are available all around us.
No, they are not always the most glamorous or decadent choices and may even be considered boring compared to the tasty processed alternatives. But our own as well as our society’s state of health is dependent on it.