One of the reasons I started blogging is because I want to make a difference in my corner of the world. Write about things that are important to me with the hope that it might influence someone else. One of those areas I’m really passionate about is food.
To be honest, the world doesn’t really need one more foodie blogger. There are plenty of people out there writing about food in ways that are much more passionate and elegant than me. It’s tempting for me to put a post a bunch of links to those writers who are already doing this work.
But then I’m not being true to me and that’s why I started writing. I want to see change happen in how people view food and to help educate others on why it’s important to pay attention to our food system, to see how it’s broken, and to do something to help, one small change at a time.
Food is a huge topic and before I can write too much about it, I want to be clear on what my food beliefs are. So I’ll be writing a series this month that explains my food beliefs to act as the backbone for other entries I’ll write about food. So be sure to subscribe by email or check back frequently to get an out-of-the-box look at food.
My beliefs about food stem from the last 10-15 years of learning and making small changes; failing, learning some more, changing some more; failing, learning and changing, and finding some success along the way (sound like a pattern?). There’s so much to know when it comes to food and so many opinions out there. But when it comes to my basic beliefs, the core of what I believe about food remains consistent.
So here are five of my core beliefs that I’ll be hashing out a bit more in the coming weeks.
1. Eat real food
Sounds simple enough, right? I think that most people think this is what they are doing. But it’s been shown that much of the typical American diet is processed food (31% more than fresh), or what many call “food based products.”
Real food is as close to the source and original form as possible. It’s food that God created to be eaten as food. It means whole fruits and vegetables, raw dairy, whole grains, natural sweeteners, and grass-fed and pastured meats.
Eating real food doesn’t lend it self to low-fat diets or fads. It simply means to eat what was created to be eaten as food.
2. Eat organic
I think there’s this premise some people have that eating organic makes you an earth-lovin’ hippy or that somehow you’ve mastered some secret of eating that makes you better than someone else.
Eating organic food ensures that your food was grown without the use of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. It means that the farmers use practices to maintain healthy soil and treat their animals properly. It means that your food was grown in the purest way possible, ensuring you get the most nutrition from your food. Organic practices are how food was intended to be grown.
Over 80% of food found in a typical grocery store contains GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) and large corporations are fighting the need to label this for consumers! There’s never been a better time to switch to organic when possible.
3. Use traditional cooking practices
Food production has come along way from the time my grandmother was born in 1910. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you don’t have to! If you want to have food right now, you can! Just stop at a restaurant, fast-food chain, grocery store, gas station and wa-la! Instant food!
The problem is that food is not meant to be a switch you can just pull and make it appear. It takes time to grow and time to cook well. Our bodies digest certain foods better, like grains, when they are soaked and fermented, which takes time. Our bodies need good fats like butter, lard, egg yolks and animal fat. Patience in food prep allows us to slow down and appreciate what we are eating, to think about where our food comes from, and why we are eating in the first place. Fermenting and soaking foods allow our bodies greater nutrition and promotes the growth of good gut bacteria.
4. Support small farms and local artisans
As much as we want to believe that buying some eggs at the grocery store is supporting some farmer somewhere because there’s a cute picture of a farm on it, the truth is that most of the food and food products you buy at the store are owned by several large corporations. Meat and eggs come from CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) where the animals are treated worse than you’d treat a stray cat. (seriously, come back and read more if you want to see what these are really about).
When you support local farmers and artisans, you are supporting a real family. You’re supporting local business and local economy. You’re supporting a family that believes in the importance of farming and spends their life committed to growing and sustaining our food system. You can talk directly to the farmer and gain a real connection to the food you’re eating. It sends a message that you want to know where and how your food is grown. Plus it tastes much fresher and hasn’t traveled the globe to end up on your plate.
5. Do the best you can (and then some more)
Lest you think I’m not perfect when it comes to eating, you’d be mistaken. I don’t think perfect exists. And I don’t think that we should strive to eat perfectly because we’ll end up feeling bad and giving up when we don’t do things the “right” way. Eating well isn’t always the easiest choice and requires some sacrifices, but it’s worth it.
The best thing you can do is make small changes, one at a time. Educate yourself (come back and read my blog…wink, wink) and find something you can do, something you can change. Give yourself a pat on the back, but then, find something else to change. Don’t get overwhelmed by what you can’t do; instead, focus on what you can do. Find a friend who wants to make changes too and do it together.
So that’s it! My five main core beliefs about food. Now, I will say that each of those beliefs is much more detailed than what I wrote. So if your interest is peaked at all, check back all month and I’ll break it down for you even more, as well as give you some practical steps if you’re ready to get started.
Comment below and tell me your core beliefs about food. Or what you want to know more about.