People everywhere are trying to clean up their diets, eat better, exercise more and generally take better care of themselves. The alternative of illness and disease is a strong motivating factor and so is the expense of poor health. But if you want to improve your diet where do you start? First, with the way you shop for or purchase food. Second, stop eating out or at least significantly reduce the times in a month when you do eat out. Processed meats and foods, sauces, salt and sugar are the inticements that chain restaurants use to addict you to harmful ingredients.
Many who begin walking the natural path of our ancestors envision a day when they can raise their own food and live that sustainable life. The truth is there is a space of time between now and then, that time in transition where you are realizing your vision. During that time we have to be able to begin to make changes so that we have the energy and vitality to grow stronger, healthier and more independant.
If you are fortunate you can find Farmer's Markets or local growers where you can buy fresh meat and produce but if not there are other choices you can make.
Let us start with the grocery store. Shop the perimeter of the store, that is where they keep the healthy food. The produce section, meat, dairy and eggs are all on the perimeter of the store. When choosing meat make sure you know something of the provider. There are natural farm raised chicken and then there is the poor chicken raised in tight quarters with poor diets and even hormones and antibiotics. The same goes for red meat and especially pork. Having lived in many rural communities I have seen pig farms where the pigs live and die in tiny pens that are not even large enough for them to turn around. They are overfed and given antibiotics to get them to market quickly. Every day these farms have trucks come that are loaded with dead carcusses of those animals that could not survive in those conditions and taken to the incinerator. Not a good life for a pig and not good food for your body. The feed lots that dot the country side of rural communities are loaded with cattle that are fattened the last six weeks before market. The same thing happens to them, they are overfed, given antibiotics and sometime hormones to make them market ready quickly. There is a distinct difference in the flavor of meat from a grass finished cow and one that goes through a feed lot. There is also a distinct benefit to your body. The same is true of chickens.
Rice, pasta, grains and breads should be purchased with simplicity in mind. If you can't read the words in the ingredients you should not put it in your body. If you buy tomato sauce, paste or other canned products, look for organic. These products have been carefully raised and packaged to minimize harm to your body. The best option for vegetables, aside from fresh is actually frozen vegetables and if you live a distance from the source of fresh produce, frozen is actually better! When vegetables are harvested, washed and then shippied they may spend several days from the farm to the warehouses. Then they spend time between the warehouse and the store and then they spend time waiting on the shelf. The produce loses it's food value of vitamins and minerals between the time of harvest and consumption. Producers that send vegetables to be frozen actually do it at the farm. The produce is harvested, washed, trimmed, frozen and packaged. The same is true of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and so on.
When you start on the sustainable path you have to have mental clarity, energy and strength to fulfill your vision, which means your body needs to be properly fueled. Next time we will discuss other options from decks gardens to food coops. Stay tuned!