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Organicathlete.org Interview with Robert Cheeke

February 2005

1. How important are organic foods to you?

Organic foods are important to me based on the ethics from which they are grown and harvested. Organic growing practices represent some the positive values that still exist in modern agriculture. Supporting organic farms is important to the sustainability of our planet as well. I recently heard a comedian joking that in the future “water will be $20 a gallon but we’ll still have our $1.50 gas.” If we grow and buy organic foods than we can hopefully preserve the resources that we have left. If not then the direction we are moving is not an upward one and it will spiral down and will effect generations long after we’re gone.

2. What percentage of organic foods do you eat?

I’m not exactly sure what percent of my entire food intake comes from organic foods but it is definitely something I think about when I purchase foods. I look for organic labels and make a conscious effort to buy organic when possible. Some people I know don’t purchase organic foods because they are usually more expensive than non-organic foods, but when I’m at a grocery store and see the organic and non-organic foods side by side, the moral and ethical choice is easy to choose organic. I also make an effort to support local farms, farmer’s markets, and natural food co-ops, rather than patronizing corporate grocery chains. I always try to help “the little guy” and shop locally. It is just good karma to support people and businesses who have positive ethical practices.

3. Why do you eat organic foods?

I eat organic foods because I know they are produced naturally and they will contain higher amounts of nutrients than non-organic foods. As an elite athlete concerned about health and appearance for my sport of bodybuilding, I feel that organic foods give me the essential nutrients I need, without the stuff I don’t need, and provide an athletic edge over those who don’t eat organic. Organic foods are easy to find and readily available at reasonable costs. Choosing organic makes me feel better about myself and I think it speaks volumes about a person who makes the ethical decision to choose organic over tainted foods.

4. Do you grow any of your own food organically?

I don’t personally grow any of my own food. That is just based on my own situations and lifestyle. I worked on a cruise ship for years so it was not an option for me. Now that I am home, I don’t have a garden where I live but I buy organic foods I’m not able to grow myself. My mother, father and sister, on the other hand, do grow their own organic foods in medium-large gardens and eat the foods they grow and share them with me as well.

5. Should athletes be aware of the quality of their foods?

Athletes should most definitely be aware of the quality of the foods they are ingesting. There are so many supplements and fast foods these days that do more harm than good, and unfortunately many athletes are turning toward these foods due to peer and media pressure. Supplying your body with the best nutrients possible should be a very important aspect for anyone, but especially athletes. If you want to maximize your athletic and health potential, organic is the way to.