Wednesday 12 March 2008

Do you know your local farmer?

So I've been working on improving our eating - and shopping - habits for a while now. I had been buying nearly all of our food from a local organic farmer's market, but unfortunately when the deep winter hit I just couldn't keep it up anymore. Back to the supermarket (and, consequently, higher food bills) for us. Le sigh. I still tried to buy as much organic and unprocessed food as I could. I was thrilled when our supermarket started stocking "free from" meat, which claims to be raised without antibiotics, etc etc. I can't say I have a huge amount of faith in it, but it's an improvement nonetheless.

I've been reading as much as I can on nutrition in the meantime. I am amazed at the power of a simple change in diet to completely turn around one's life, particularly in children. So much of what is currently labeled as attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, learning disorders, and just plain misbehaviour could be entirely "cured" by a few changes in the way the child eats. It's sad to think how many children are put on medications instead.

One excellent book I've read recently is Grub (they have a website here), which really drove home for me the importance of not only eating organic and whole, but also local. As such, I've been scouring the local farmers' webpages looking for a steady source of meat, dairy, eggs and produce. I've been considering Community Supported Agriculture, but I'm not entirely convinced as that would only get us through the 17 week harvest season, leaving us with 35 other weeks during which we would have to find another supplier. I would prefer to find one or two farms and buy from them year-round.

Eating local would also mean eating more of what's in season and less of what is not. Up here in frozen Canada, that's not so much fun. I've been having long, drawn-out fantasies of moving to California and having an abundance of great produce "in season" year-round. But for now I live in Canada, not California, so the winter months will require a fair bit more creativity.

My priority right now is eating whole foods, mostly organic, and, when possible, buying local.

Aside from whole, organic, and local, I've also been working on eating more raw foods. I'm not (right now) interested in going 100% raw - I'm not even interested in becoming vegetarian or vegan - but I know that adding more raw foods is definitely a step in the right direction. And so I've started having a "green smoothie" for breakfast or lunch each day. My current favourite is (roughly) a cup of frozen sliced strawberries, one and a half bananas (my son gets the leftover half), a big handful of spinach leaves, and a half cup of water. Delicious.

Frozen blueberries with banana and spinach is also good.

And, just for fun, last night's dinner - crock pot carrots, potatoes and chicken. Yum.