Good Eatin’ (Or Good Buyin’)

June 19th, 2013 | Rachel

Rabbit Plate

Bounty from the farmer’s market

I wouldn’t call myself particularly health conscious. My love of cocktails and pie should be beyond question at this point. I also sell fried chicken for a living.

The constant ebb and flow of fad diets and exercise routines in my Facebook newsfeed inspires an internal eye roll on a nearly daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a steady workout routine. I happen to love going to the gym, and I am currently getting into long distance cycling. I also am fully cognizant of the temporary nature of these fads that have been so clearly illustrated through status updates and photos.

I started thinking about all of this today as I sat down to eat a plate of local organic salad greens topped with local organic tomatoes and homemade hummus and pesto, the latter of which was made with herbs grown in my own garden.

Pesto Hummus Salad

Local spring mix with tomatoes, almonds and homemade hummus and pesto

When I moved to California, I instantly lost ten pounds. I credited it to the fresh air and need to drive to the bars (and not knowing anyone with which to spend time at said bars). Now that I live in Sonoma, I can honestly say I feel the healthiest I’ve ever remembered feeling. The contents of my daily meals has drastically improved from whatever I was eating two years ago.

For example, I eat vegetables. So what, you say? Well, I’ve never really liked vegetables. Some people talk about craving a big plate of leafy greens. I talk about how crazy those people are. I also eat a lot of fruit, something that usually did not appeal to me because the fruit sold in most grocery stores doesn’t really taste like anything and has a terrible texture. I don’t regularly eat meat anymore, and except for what I sell, I have just about stopped eating processed sugar and flour altogether (and even then I bake with organic flour and sugar). I’d even say a gross majority of the food I eat is organic.

All of these things fall into a number of the fad diets I chastised above. At various points in my life, I think I even consciously tried to adopt some of these principles but never followed through. Yet, somehow here I am eating homemade organic granola and local berries for breakfast and couldn’t feel more satisfied.

Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola With Rainbow Raspberries

First batch of homemade granola… so much cheaper to make at home!

So what gives?

The difference, and the reason I even bring this up, is the motivations behind not the food consumption but the food purchases.

Specifically, these motivations are my concern for and support of the local community and economy and the effect certain agricultural practices have on both a global and personal health level. I’m not going to go into these things in detail. They are all complex issues with no real consensus.

Suffice it to say, and without diving too deep, these are beliefs that I hold that are fundamental to my identity as a human being on this earth. I’d put this kind of motivation right up there with primal instinct and religion.

The motivation to fit into some societal norm or even to feel better or be stronger can certainly inspire change. But even those things are somewhat amorphous. On the other hand, these social, economic, global and personal health motivations were strong enough to convince me to leave a city that I absolutely adored and start my own business in a town of 20,000 people (and hopefully become mayor of said town one day).

What’s the point of all of this, you ask, other than sounding like a Northern Californian cliché? The point is, I know a lot of people out there struggle with eating “healthy” (which will mean different things to different people).

For me, once I made the conscious decision to buy local and organic (or otherwise responsibly farmed) and to start preparing more food at home, the rest took care of itself. I never thought to limit my meat or processed flour consumption (which probably would not have been successful because I really really really like cookies). It just happened without me even noticing. As an added level of inspiration, I find eating homemade and home grown food to be exceptionally gratifying. The most exciting radish I’ve eaten so far is the one I pulled out of the dirt myself and rinsed with a garden hose.

Radish

First pick from the garden

In my experience, the moment I tell myself I can’t have something is the moment that thing is the only thing I can think about. Had I cut myself off from beef, I would be dreaming of hamburgers and boeuf bourguignon. On the other hand, now that I’m trying to stick to locally sourced and responsibly raised meat, my beef consumption is limited by both price and availability. That is not to say I wouldn’t take a trip to Peter Luger in a second if I could. Mmmm….Porterhouse for two.

Anyway, if you are struggling to eat healthier, perhaps you should reconsider your motivation.

Thanks for reading…. Now let me brag about my garden :-)

This is a photo of my garden at the very beginning (note self-installed automated irrigation):

Garden

And here it is today!

20130619-162617.jpg

 

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