Saturday, December 26, 2009

Changing the Way We Eat

Over the past year and a half or so, we've really been trying to eat healthier foods - less of the processed/pre-packaged stuff, more healthy vegetables/fruits/grains, and more local foods. We've been part of a fantastic CSA for the last 2 summers, and benefitted from some amazing produce. We had a small garden this past year, and plan to have a much larger one this coming spring.

I've heard a lot about eating locally, and the benefits for both myself and the community certainly outweigh any inconveniences. Our progress here has been gradual, but once the new year hits, I plan to go full steam ahead with it. Looking in my pantry and fridge, I've frequently sacrified quality for quantity or convenience, but at what cost? I would describe my health as fair-good - not phenomenal, but not awful. What can I do to improve my own health outcomes, as well as that of my family? More importantly, how do I develop a sense of healthy eating in my child, so that he craves fruits and vegetables, and not cookies or soft drinks?

Yesterday I received the book The Jungle Effect by Dr. Daphne Miller. 30 hours later, I've read it cover to cover, and it appears to be life-altering. Inspired by patients with chronic diseases, Dr. Miller traveled the world to visit disease cold spots - places where there were incredibly low incidences of the diseases we face in our modern world - heart disease, diabetes, various cancers, colon issues, etc... She found interesting things in the diets of all of these cultures, and shares them in this book. She shares recipes and tips for finding good quality products.

The best part? None of this sounds terrible. None of it sounds boring. In fact, the types of food are exciting and full of flavor and nutrients. I can't wait to start trying the recipes, and then working with the knowledge from this book to find other native recipes and to create our own recipes using these principles and ingredients. She also focuses on the importance of buying local products whenever possible and really reading those product labels to ensure what you're buying isn't full of chemicals.

All that to say - if you're interested in eating locally and eating quality food, this book is a fantastic jumping-off point. Next up - something by Michael Pollan, although I haven't decided what yet.

What do you do to buy locally? Especially in the winter when the Farmer's Markets aren't necessarily available. Also, if you're in the MidSouth area, where do you buy free-range meat?

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