You are what you eat!
Since my friends know that I'm rather food conscious, I frequently get asked what one can do to eat healthier. Looking for ways to easily incorporate a more healthy eating habit without too much change or effort? You work all day and just don't have the time to garden or keep chickens?
Here five easy ideas:
1. Buy and eat as unprocessed as possible.
I think this is my #1 rule. If you can stay away from convenience food and ready-made meals, you are almost there. A good way to start is to read the labels of the products you are about to buy. If it is longer than let's say 5 - 10 ingredients and/or if it has ingredients you can't even pronounce let alone you know what they are, don't buy them. In the next step try to avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup.
Every October a growing number of food conscious people join "October Unprocessed". Check it out and give it a try.
2. Inform yourself
We all know that commercials are not necessarily telling us the whole truth. A very good example of how we are manipulated is shown by this short video:
The internet is a good resource if used with caution.
I can also recommend the following books:
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
From the Ground up by Jeanne Nolan
Omnivores Dilema by Michael Pollan
Food Rules, an Easters Manual by Michael Pollan
Do you know about the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen?
I think it is a good idea to be informed about the pesticide content of organic vs. conventional produce, published by the Environmental Working Group.
3. Buy local, know your farmer, rancher, dairy and poultry farmer.
I know, that is easier said than done.
Farmers markets are an excellent opportunity to meet up with the people who produce your food.
And if you live in the Kootenays, here are some locations to check out:
Winderberry Nursery and Cafe in Windermere
Kootenay Meadows Milk and Cheese in Creston
Fort Steele Farms in Fort Steele
Creston also offers a Tour de Farm. The yearly event was scheduled for this coming Wednesday, July 1st, but got postponed to early fall due to the hot temperatures. So plenty of time to make plans to attend...;-)
4. Meatless Monday
Sometimes I day-dream that everybody would be a vegetarian....but I know this is rather unrealistic. But how about just one day a week without meat?
Last October I wrote a blog about the health and environmental issues that come with eating meat and I would like to encourage you to have a look: October 2014 Conservation Tips
Here just a quick excerpt in regards to the environment:
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a very informative statistic:
Over a one year period,
-if you eat one less burger a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for 320 miles or line-drying your clothes half the time.
-if your four-person family skips meat and cheese one day a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for five weeks – or reducing everyone’s daily showers by 3 minutes.
-if your four-person family skips steak once a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for nearly three months.
For an in depth insight into our modern meat culture and it's history I can highly recommend the book Beyond Beef by Jeremy Rifkin
5. DIY and utilize your freezer
Our boys love their waffles in the morning and for years I bought the frozen waffles because it was so easy to just pop them in the toaster in the morning. After reading the list of ingredients on the waffle box I decided: no more of that!
But do I have the time to bake fresh waffles every morning....not really.
The solution? I triple my waffle recipe, bake a whole bunch at once every couple of weeks and freeze them...now we have the same convenience of just popping the waffles in the toaster but this time it's a homemade, organic waffle that is even cheaper than the factory made ones you buy in the store. The same idea works for toast, bread, buns, pizza dough etc.
Fruit and vegetable taste much better and are more affordable when in season. Stock up on whatever is in season and freeze it for the off season time.
Preserving summers bounty by the Rodale Food Center and Susan McClure is a wonderful guide if you need advice in storing produce for the winter.