Food can be a very confusing topic. What to eat and what not to eat?
The real-food revolution is about fresh, sustainable and local ingredients—good food made in a way that’s good for you. Delicious and satisfying. Real food is whole and minimally processed, true and authentic. They are nutrient-dense whole foods, in their original form; plant foods in their natural state, animal products from their natural environments, eating their natural diets.
It’s not hard to make real food. It all starts with really good ingredients. Fresh, whole foods from Mother Earth. When you have eaten foods that are real and fresh, other foods become less interesting. Real food nourishes the body and is good for your health and well-being.
You can source fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, and meat products locally. Local produce is fresher and easier on the environment. By purchasing local foods you support small farmers, and your money stays within the local economy, close to home where you’ll see it return the most value.
The basic sourcing and shopping for real food has become much easier. So instead of “Where do I find it?” the biggest stumbling block for most people today has become ”Where do I start?”
Eat where you live! The commonly accepted standard for local food means it was grown, gathered, or raised within a 150 mile radius of where you live. Another added benefit of local food is that you will know where your food comes from and can literally visit the source.
Sustainable food is produced in ecologically principled ways that cause little or no harm to the earth or its inhabitants—plants, animals or humans.
Whole foods exist as close to their natural state as possible, and represent the simplest nutrients, unrefined or unprocessed, such as brown rice. Whole foods arrive in their natural packaging, such as a peel, skin or shell.
Seasonal foods arrive in abundance at a particular time of year such as pumpkins in fall, parsnips in winter, asparagus in spring, and strawberries in summer.
These include fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, milk, and cheeses that have been produced without the use of chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. If a food items bears the USDA’s organic label, it must meet certain standards. Transitional Foods
These have been grown under conditions that meet organic growing standards but lack either the required length of time for the land to be free of chemical usage (36 months) or the process for proper certification has not yet been completed. These products are not allowed to be labeled as organic, but labeling them as “transitional” allows you to support farmers who are moving towards certification.
Getting food at a farm means going directly to the source. Some farms offer an option called “u-pick”, where the farmer sets a price per pound on what you can harvest yourself. You can find farm stands seasonally, usually in the same spot year after year. If a farm isn’t certified as organic, that doesn’t mean its not sustainable. Talking to the farmer they will give you an opportunity to learn more about their practices.
Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)
You can become a member of the farm by buying a share in the upcoming harvest. For a fee, you receive a weekly portion (a box of produce) during the growing season.
An open-air market where farmers, other food producers and artisans gather to sell foods and other items they have grown, raised or produced. Most producers are organic and sustainable though some are not. Many markets are seasonal while some are regular weekly gatherings.
A food cooperative is a member-owned club or store. Members buy food in bulk at wholesale prices from cooperative warehouses or retail distributors.
Many stores are starting to carry and label products that are local, organic, or transitional. You are more likely to find them at regional grocery store chains and not the mega-stores.