Ceres’ commitment is to use foods that are the healthiest for the person as well as for the planet. These healthy foods are fresh, organic, nourishing, nutrient-rich, seasonal, minimally processed, grown sustainably, and local whenever possible.
Ceres uses organic and local foods to insure that the freshest and most nutrient-rich whole food is available for our clients as well as to nurture a healthy local food system by supporting our local growers and producers.
The nutrients in fresh whole foods are rich and alive. Having been spared from commercial processing, fresh whole foods are steeped in healthy minerals, vitamins, enzymes, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and the protective phytochemicals. Phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients, are natural components of plants which support the immune system and cellular health.
“A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best bet for preventing virtually every chronic disease. This fact has been established time and time again by scientific studies on large numbers of people. The evidence in support of this recommendation is so strong that it has been endorsed by U.S. government health agencies and by virtually every major medical organization… Fruits and vegetables are so important in the battle against cancer that some experts have said that cancer is a result of a “maladaptation” over time to a reduced level of intake of fruits and vegetables.” 1
A note on phytochemicals:
The action of phytochemicals varies by color and type of the food. They often act as antioxidants, which are nutrient protectors and prevent carcinogens (cancer causing agents) from forming. With all of the toxins we are exposed to in modern life (air pollution/exhaust pipes, chemicals in water and food, electromagnetic from electronics, cosmetics, household supplies, and so on) we need more antioxidants than ever before, and the only way to get them is by eating a whole foods diet. This toxic exposure creates free radicals in our bodies (just breathing also creates free radicals, but because of modern life we have a lot more of them than we can easily handle). Antioxidants are the only molecules that inhibit oxidation and neutralize free radicals. Antioxidants are like the big brother that embraces a “loner” trouble kid and keeps him from causing trouble. When we have more of these loner trouble kids, we need many more big brothers. When left alone, free radicals are likely to start a fight, which for us means disease. Neutralizing them with antioxidants is the best method for preventing disease.
The reason why Ceres starts with whole foods rather than canned or processed foods is simple; they offer the highest nutritional values and still have a life force. Life force may seem to be a fuzzy term, but life force is now scientifically recognized as enzymatic reactions that sustain life. Enzymes: These are very necessary proteins that catalyze, or start, the thousands of biochemical occurrences in the body necessary for life. Enzymes are needed for every action in life, from digestion to building new tissues to creating thoughts and movement. Living whole foods have enzymes that we can use and they will support our health and healing. And we produce our own enzymes, which are made from proteins and minerals. Enzymes also need coenzymes to work, such as vitamins and minerals. Hence a good diet becomes the foundation for health.
To create healing meals, Ceres embraces the American Institute of Cancer Research’s healthy plate format, with 2/3 of the plate consisting of plant-based whole foods, creating a meal that is composed primarily of vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
This emphasis is also widely supported by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, American Cancer Society, the Institute for Functional Medicine, The Center for Mind Body Medicine, and other institutes and physicians that have researched the relationship between food and health.
At Ceres we also put an emphasis on the quality of the food, based on how and where it is grown, so that it isn’t only about what foods we use, but where they come from. This is why we use organic, seasonal, nutrient-rich foods that are local and sustainable as much as possible.
In The Optimum Nutrition Bible, Patrick Holford further elucidates the need for quality foods: “the body is composed entirely from molecules derived from food… Macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrate) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) are absorbed through the digestive tract, whose health and integrity depends fundamentally on what you eat… If your environment is nourishing, you have a greater resistance to disease and are more likely to experience health and vitality.” 2
Our choice to use organic foods is also based on the fact that “in the United States, more than 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on or added to [non-organic] food crops each year. That’s roughly five pounds of pesticide for each man, woman, and child.”1
This widespread use of chemicals in our food supply has been linked to a significant number of cancers, and it is now known that their compounds can damage our bodies’ detoxification mechanisms, so we are not only getting more toxins, we can’t get rid of them. Using organic ingredients which are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers is a way to better support our clients in their recovery from illness, to support organic farmers in their vital work, and to educate our clients, teens and volunteers on what real food tastes like, feels like, and how it affects our health.
Another important aspect of our meals is that they are balanced for appropriate intake of all macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) and we create them with a low glycemic load, so that they will not cause a spike in blood sugar (high blood sugar is linked with cancer growth, and blood sugar spikes have short-term consequences such as fatigue and long-term consequences such as diabetes and cardio-vascular disease). We do not use refined sugars for this reason.
Aligned with our commitment to support the health of both people and environment, Ceres values the well-being of animals and supports farm and ranch practices that reflect this value. Ceres Community Project currently procures 100% of our goat dairy and turkey from farms that achieve an animal welfare certification recognized by REAL Certified and ASPCA® Shop With Your Heart.
Our goat dairy is from Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, which is a Certified Humane farm, and our turkey is from Diestel Farms, which is certified at Global Animal Partnership Step 3 (or higher). We also source pasture-raised eggs from Green Star Farms (a Certified Naturally Grown farm whose practices go beyond organic), procure chicken from organic sources with a strong commitment to animal welfare, and cow dairy from sources who are either American Humane Certified (Clover Organic) or abide by the highest standards of organic certification and are committed to environmental sustainability as well as animal welfare (Straus Creamery).
For more information about why we make these choices, please read our white paper, "The Power of our Food Choices" here. To learn more about our other suppliers, please click here.
1. Murray, at al. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Atria Books, 2005.
2. Holford, Patrick. The Optimum Nutrition Bible. The Crossing Press, 1999.
Read more about our Food Philosophy in our newly-released White Paper.
“Cooking, I found, gives us the opportunity, so rare in modern life, to work directly in our own support, and in the support of the people we feed... For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”
~ Michael Pollan
We LOVE preparing these meals for you!
“Our current American diet is a problem both for what it contains - too much sugar, processed fats, salt, additives, hormones, pesticides, and genetically altered inflammatory proteins and for what it (the Standard American Diet - SAD) doesn’t contain—Omega-3 fats, fiber, magnesium, zinc, B and D vitamins, antioxidants and more.”
~ Mark Hyman, MD