I’m feeling another experiment coming on. But, for now it’s just going to be a trend toward changing some habits. I’m talking about food. Real food…not the fake shit we all buy in boxes, plastic and cartons.
My friend Suzy has long been an advocate of healthy eating. Her background is in nutritional science, and she’s worked in the field for quite a while now. She’s spent a lot of time working with overweight children and their families, teaching them how to make healthy choices and lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of health problems. And, when I say healthy choices, we’re not talking about low calorie, low fat, low sodium, etc. All of those terms represent food that’s been processed…often beyond recognition of actual food. In other words…PUT DOWN THE DAMN CHIPS!
No, I’m referring to food that is real. Whole. Unprocessed. Unmodified. More and more of us are realizing the items we pull off our grocery shelves bear little resemblance to the foods they started out as in life. The labels have so many ingredients…most of them words that I can’t even pronounce. I think this increased awareness is evidenced by the popularity of farmer’s markets all over the country. SLC has enjoyed a booming downtown farmer’s market for years, and it gets bigger each season.
So, taking the lead from Suzy, I have been researching options in my area. There are so many ways to eat healthier, and you can really get extreme if you have the time, money and inclination to do so. I really want to focus on a couple small goals first. I think by making some simple changes in the way I purchase and consume food, I can build a foundation that will allow me to make some bigger changes down the road.
For now, I have decided to source the meat I use in my kitchen from local, grass-fed, free-range choices. This includes beef, chicken and pork. Sure, it’s more expensive, but I think in the long run paying more for higher quality meat makes sense. First, it encourages more reasonable meat consumption. If it’s more expensive, then budgets will move you to eat meat a bit more sparingly and incorporate more fresh vegetables into the mix. Second, it contributes to better health over the long-term, which should have a positive impact on spending in the future.
Another advantage I see to this approach is I’m getting a bit closer to my food. I really started thinking about this when I read this article in the Salt Lake Tribune. The writer decries local hunters and insinuates they are out killing God’s precious creatures. Then he suggests hunters save money by purchasing their meat from the local grocery store. His logic was so flawed, it prompted me to write this response.
I’m realizing we are all so removed from the sources of our food, and as a result we make really bad choices about what we put into our bodies. We rely on mass food producers and the government to tell us what is safe or healthy, but those very sources are really just in it for the money…not our health.
I visited Utah Natural Meat this weekend. This snall farm supplies local, grass-fed beef and free-range poultry, and doesn’t use any hormones or antibiotics. They are also one of the few licensed sources of raw milk in the state. I met the family who runs the farm…the actual people responsible for raising the food I purchased. It’s an interesting experience to be that close to it. I hear people question the “organic” and “free-range” labels on meat in the markets; how can we really be sure they’re telling the truth? I think I found the answer. Get to know the people raising your meat. You’ll build a sense of trust, and you’ll know the quality they advertise is for real.