So what is a girl to do when her computer is sick
and there's limited computer access?Saturday, I spent the day doing a lot of reading and research. It was a kind of nasty day outside and David was gone so I used the quiet time to do some studying.
You know that eating healthy and making good choices on the food that we consume has been of particular concern to me. I've shared that with you on more than one occasion here. You, also, know that I don't always make the right choices and pizza and ice cream are consumed far too much around here. Although I still have plenty of work to do in making this healthy lifestyle a permanent change, I am making steps in the right direction. Some of the reading that I did this weekend, I think, will help me think very carefully about making those unhealthy choices in the future.
Not only am I concerned with the food choices that I make; but, I'm becoming increasingly aware of and increasingly concerned about the quality of our food supply and the impact we are having on our planet.
One of my Facebook friends from Louisiana is interested in these matters, as well. She has started an "Eating Local in the Land of Plenty" Facebook page. This is a 100 mile challenge where for one meal, one day, one week, one month or one year, to "Eat Local". In this challenge, we are only to use produce, meat, etc., that was grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of where we live. I'm ready to take that challenge. It's still winter here right now so I'm going to be slow going on getting started; but it's a goal to work toward.
We all know that it's much better to eat real whole food that is prepared from scratch without using packaged products. We all know that it's better to shop the perimeter of the store and to eat organic where you can. EWG has a Shopper's Guide that you can download here to help you decide which organic purchases are the most critical. It is very costly to choose organic products and I, for one, haven't been able to afford to do it completely.
We know that by shopping the perimeter of the store that it keeps us away from the pre-packaged processed stuff in the interior aisles which are, for the most part, not so good for us.
But what about canned beans and tomatoes, whole grains, frozen veggies and fruits? They are the exception, right? I've always thought so. I thought choosing the canned beans and canned tomatoes and tuna were good low-fat healthy choices. In my reading, I've discovered that most of the canned goods contain Bisphenol A (BPA).
Bisphenol what?? What is it anyway?
You can read what Mayo Clinic says about it here. It's pretty scary stuff. I could get into all of the information that I have read but I would risk putting you to sleep and your time is valuable. If you are interested in knowing more about this issue, I encourage you to do some reading on your own.
Suffice it to say that what I've read so far has been enough to concern me with eliminating canned beans, canned tomatoes and canned tuna out of my diet. Prevention Magazine lists canned tomatoes as the first on the list of things that should never cross your lips because of the BPA. You can view their list here. I don't know about you; but, I've used canned tomatoes as a staple in my healthy recipes. They are awesome when you can't get an abundance of great tasting fresh tomatoes. I have some in my pantry now. I haven't found a good source of jarred tomatoes yet so I'm praying for a good abundance of them this summer so that I can put some away for my own use. As for beans, Eden Soy canned beans are the only ones that I have been able to find available to me in the grocery store that does not contain BPA. I know that there are a few others out there; but those are the only ones that I have actually been able to find. At the rate of $2 per can, I have a hard time putting them in my cart. So I bought some organic dried beans at the store the other day. I will be making my own and putting them away for future use as I have been doing more and more lately anyway.
And what about our meat supply?
It's not enough that the beef and poultry are being treated with antibiotics and growth hormones. Now I find out that the cattle used for beef are being fed chicken manure. If that wasn't bad enough, I read one step further and find out that the chickens are being fed with beef products from meat and bone meal. So we have chickens being fed with cattle and produce waste that is then used to feed cattle.
Hmmm.....that doesn't sound so appetizing to me. How about you?
All of this brings me to the reason for my research and why I am looking at buying locally grown, grass fed beef and free range chickens. I want to meet the farmers. As silly as it might sound to some of you, I want to see their operation and "meet" the animals that will grace my dinner table.
I want to know that they are raised humanely and not just to make money off of them without regard to their quality of life or my health. I'm concerned with how the animals are raised and how they are processed. I like to think that the meat that I consume is from animals who experienced one bad day in their life.
I've made contact with some local farmers here in recent days and I am making plans to go out and visit them. They have offered me farm tours to see their operations and meet their animals. I think I've found local sources for beef, poultry, pork, vegetables, fruit, eggs, cheese and milk. I have, also, found a local source for bison and a local source for beefalo. I've never had beefalo but I'm willing to give it a shot.
Some of you have encouraged me to try raw milk. While it's not easy to find, I think I have found at least one source for that locally.
Lindt Chocolate is made less than 100 miles from my house. Does that count as eating "locally", as well? Maybe if I choose only the dark chocolate that will be okay. What do you think? Can I justify it?
It's still winter here in New Hampshire so there isn't an abundance of fresh local produce available right now. I know that will be changing soon as there is just a hint of spring in the air. I can feel it. Even if it still looks like this outside....
And even though there is still a lot of snow outside right now, soon this whole area you see will be green and beautiful and full of plants. That is my landlord's property in the photo. From what I understand, he is quite the gardener. I am looking forward to seeing what he will have growing when summer comes. He has already promised me rhubarb which I will gladly take him up on at every opportunity. In Louisiana, they offered rhubarb for sale rarely and when I found it, it was $9.99/lb. Crazy!
Since there's still so much snow on the ground, we decided to take a drive to a nearby Co-op Food Store to see what was available this time of year.
I had heard that this was "the" place to find the best food in the area short of buying straight from the farmer and I was not disappointed. I could have lived in there. What a wonderful place to buy local and regional products! We spent a couple of hours walking around looking at everything. There were signs on the products showing the ones that were local and the ones that were regional. I had no idea that there were so many products being produced in this area. I can't afford to shop there for everything; but, I can already tell that it will be a great resource. We were able to find quite a few local, healthy products such as bread, goat cheese, mozzarella, pea shoots, granola and honey.Not only was I able to find the local products but I was able to find some wonderful organic golden beets which I roasted for a salad for last night's dinner. Recipe to come...
I am really impressed with the number of resources that I've been able to find around here. Eating locally will be a challenge in the winter months as we are so accustomed to going to the store and just buying whatever they have available even if it's not in season. We have been putting up with some really poor produce too. I am eating strawberries now in my morning smoothies and I know they aren't in season. I think with some planning that I can retrain the way I think about food. Buying local and in season will help that. We plan to buy a freezer soon so that I will actually have room to put away the wonderful berries and produce that I hope to pick this summer along with local meat. We will spend the summer enjoying the bounty and thinking of putting things away for the winter so that we are able to consume good food grown locally and not waste our money on inferior and potentially unhealthy food at the grocery store. I'm excited about this new adventure. It's all about trying to make good choices and celebrating the small victories where we can.
I'm going to leave you with a really interesting video that I enjoyed and I hope you will, as well. I'm going to go read some more and think about my planting my garden.
Thanks so much for stopping by!