Are You What You Are Eating?
The first month of the year has become notorious for the highest spike in gym memberships, implementation of new diets, “Sober January” commitments, and fitness class attendance. As these activities wane into the new year, the new way of eating goes with it. Regardless of the new decade, it is time to take a closer look at how you are consuming food – or if it is consuming you.
It is a daily battle to decipher ingredients, know where your food is sourced, find the produce you are excited about (have you ever seen a box of perfect Brussel sprouts or celery from the farm and not in plastic)? What is that chemical we cannot pronounce on this bag? Isn’t rice already ’gluten-free?’ in the summer we are lucky to have access to the weekly market on the green, farm stands and our beloved Balsam Farm, so what can we do all year long?
There is a lot of talk about eating “food” as opposed to something out of a package. Our French friends famously say, you can go into many markets in the United States and not find any ‘food‘ to eat. They are not talking about the abundance of snacks, beverages, candy and frozen “food,” they are referring to actual food. The kind that goes bad when not eaten in a few days, that has real and not laboratory-crafted nutritional value and does not come in a box or package to be prepared. Eating real food is not only the best for you, it is efficient. No need to read a label or get pulled into the marketing and advertising of how healthy something is. Real food just is. It doesn’t need to shout.
We see a societal push toward “plant-based” diets, but that can still mean products that have to tell you they are healthy. Your average head of lettuce quietly waits in the produce section, and does not have to advertise a thing. This is why we should pay attention.
Embracing more plants in your life does not equate to ‘going vegan’ or being trendy. Perhaps they can become more central to your daily life. When you crowd your plate and your meals with fresh vegetables and fresh fruit, your health, nutrition and energy start to shift. Have you noticed the difference between the color of a farm fresh egg and one from the regular supermarket? What might be happening to your body when you consume something that has been sitting on the shelf for weeks and months versus something local and right from the farm?
Maybe it is time to set a goal of having a mini-garden, even if it is just herbs.
The more natural the food, the more you pay attention to what and how you are eating, and the more satisfied you are with less. With so many processed and packaged foods on the market, eating becomes a mindless and visually numbing activity. When you see bright red peppers, sun-gold baby tomatoes and hunter green bunches of kale, you instinctively know you will feel better when consuming these than something out of a package. While it is challenging in the winter months to eat with the seasons and eat as many whole foods as possible, your mind, body and spirit will thank you.