The beginning of each New Year has a certain magical quality to it. It’s an opportunity to hit the reset button, reflect on the previous year, and resolve to do better—be better—feel better. January is like a blank page in a new chapter of a lifelong book we get to write!
Topping the list of New Year’s resolutions every single year is diet. Losing weight, staying fit and healthy, and enjoying life to the fullest all make the Top 5.
The foods we choose to eat are fundamental in this equation. We can resolve to make conscious choices that nourish and sustain our bodies OR slide back into comfortable old habits that may not support our health and wellbeing.
My recipe for eating well can be summed up in this simple acronym: SLOW.
S= Seasonal & Sustainable
Follow Mother Nature’s lead and use the bounty of each season. Don’t buy tomatoes & melons in winter! Not only will you save money by eating what’s fresh and readily available, you also reduce your carbon footprint by avoiding imported foods that come at a cost to our environment in fuel.
Get in the habit of shopping at a farmers market near you, and establish relationships with the people who actually grow your food. In other words, Know Your Farmer; Know Your Food. Be open to exploring foods you haven’t tried before, and you may discover a new favorite (like this Spigarello I found last year!)
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and inquire about growing practices. Farmers are also a great resource for ideas on how to prepare the produce and meats they raise.
And check this out: You can gift someone fresh food from farmers market! Agricultural Institute of Marin offers these awesome gift boxes with reusable wooden gift coins that may be redeemed with purveyors at any of their seven Bay Area farmers markets! Cost: $20/box for twenty $1 coins. Available at the market information booth.
Whenever possible, buy organic produce. In the long run, it’s worth the money spent. In addition to avoiding the “cides” (pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides), and controversial GMO’s, those who farm organically take stewardship of the land and its long-term sustainability seriously.
It is important to note that meat labeled organic is a different animal. Many consumers mistakenly assume that organic livestock are field raised. In reality, it only means the animals eat Certified Organic feed. It does not speak to husbandry practice. Sadly, Organic meat animals may still come from crowded factory farms where livestock do not have access to pasture or freedom to roam. If you eat meat and eggs, look for designations that specify pasture-raised, free range, and grass-fed in addition to organic.
W= Whole foods
As esteemed food advocate and author Michael Pollan would say, Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. Strive to eat food that is not packaged, processed, or filled with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. If it contains ingredients a third-grader can’t pronounce, it doesn’t qualify. Real food has a shelf life. It should be eaten fresh and ideally enjoyed sitting at a table in the company of good friends and family.
That’s it! Pretty straight-forward. Oh and one last thing. I’ve also resolved to add more fermented foods to my diet—particularly homemade sauerkraut, kombucha (more on this in an upcoming post), and pickled veggies like these gorgeous radishes. Fermented foods are an antioxidant-rich source of probiotics that promote optimal gut health, and keep the train running on time so to speak 😉
What intentions will you set for 2016? Wishing you, dear reader, a SLOW food year filled with hope, optimism, and flavor to savor!