Bringing it Back Home – How Eating Slow and Local Can Shrink Your Waistline
The days are slowly getting longer and it seems like an end to winter just might be in sight, at least here in Colorado. Naturally, the mind turns again toward anticipating the coming summer's fresh fruits and vegetables. When thinking about providing yourself with a season of healthy eating this year why not keep in mind the following:
There has been much hype the last year or so about the slow food movement. Eating whole foods that are grown locally is better for your health-food that doesn't have to spend weeks travelling to get to you are more nutritious and fresher, and better for the economy of your town-small local farms put money back into the community and usually pollute less than agribusinesses. Buying direct from farms is also almost always a less expensive alternative than stocking up on organic food at the grocery store.
Besides the local farmer's market there are several options available to get local healthy products-not just fruits and vegetables but also seeds, honey, soaps, cheese, meat, milk, and crafts. To find Community Supported Agriculture and what farms are in your area try exploring the Local Harvest website. If you can't find what you need locally, they have a great store that profiles wonderful products from small farms around the country.
We all know that home gardens are the best way of giving back to the Earth while reaping the bountiful reward of fresh veggies. Now is the time hardcore gardeners start drinking in the beautiful seed catalogs and planning what to plant and where. Know, however, that where you get your seeds truly matters. There is a difference between quality-not just in the success rate of what you sow but also in the nutritional quality of the food that grows and also the resposibility the seed company shows to the community. Two great organizations to buy seeds from are Seeds of Change and Native Seeds. Both these companies work to save heirloom seeds from going extinct and both provide inexpensive, organic, and highly unique seeds.
If you have a garden and are looking for more of a challenge, or you want to bring it on home just a bit more, consider adopting chickens or ducks for their eggs. Not only are fresh chicken and duck eggs highly nutritious, the project of owning poultry is a great experience for children and adults alike. Not only are they fairly easy to care for, chickens and ducks require hardly any space-many people successfully take care of them in the suburbs. Check with your city ordinances and for more information look here.
If suburban chickens are a bit much for you, it is still possible to experience fresh and raw dairy by buying a local share in a cow, goat, sheep, or chicken. Many local farms have it set up so that you give a certain amount each month, effectively buying a share in an animal. This entitles you to a certain amount of fresh milk, cheese, or eggs each month. Many people use this in order to get raw milk, which is banned from being sold in many states. By owning the cow, however, you circumnavigate this and the results are wonderful, healthy, unprocessed dairy. This is also a great way of showing children a healthy and holistic alternative to factory farming while still keeping your consumer dollars local. To find a milk or egg share near you and to learn more about the health benefits of raw dairy, check out the Real Milk website.
All in all, now is the time to start thinking about the effects that a local, nutritious diet can have on your diet, community, mental health, and pocketbook. Living more simply and closer to the Earth may be just the tonic you need in this economically overwhelming time.