Eating Well

I saw a blog post about new years resolutions. The blogger said she wasn’t going to make her usual “lose weight” resolution. Instead, her resolution was to change some eating habits that contribute to poor health and weight gain–things like “go on less outings that involve eating,””eat less white bread,” and “get more exercise.”

Her reasoning made sense to me. Don’t focus on body weight–focus instead on healthy living. The latter will take care of the former.

A lot of times a person will set a weight loss goal, and adopt some severe or unusual diet to reach it. But unless that person makes permanent lifestyle changes, any weight loss will only be temporary and it might not be accompanied by an improvement in overall health.

I’m no doctor of course, nor do I play one on TV. But it seems to me that a person who wants to improve his health, whether that involves weight loss or not, would do well to consider eating seasonal whole foods. The foods that are ruining our health don’t appear in nature–they’re created in factories and laboratories. The foods that nature has provided for us are rarely harmful to our health.

Because we grow our own, good food is readily available to us. Friday night is our once-a-week “pizza night” treat. Last night the pizza was topped with sauteed spinach, grown here, and wild oyster mushrooms we found growing on a tree in front of our house. I don’t know what an pizza topped with organic spinach and wild oyster mushrooms would cost at a restaurant. Here it was nearly free. Cherie usually has pizza, but last night she passed and just had sauteed spinach and mushrooms instead.

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Wild oyster mushrooms. Delicious and nutritious.

For those who don’t have the ability to grow their own food (an aside–for most of us, it wouldn’t be as difficult as we think), good food can be found at your local farmers market. Shopping there is a great way to both eat better, and to support the local farmers who are supplying the foods are bodies crave.

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We’ll be leaving shortly for our market, and today we’ll be bringing spinach, kale, turnips, radishes, lettuce, sweet potatoes and three varieties of Asian greens–tatsoi, mizuna and maruba santoh.

Just plan meals around foods like that and no special diets are necessary.

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19 comments on “Eating Well

  1. I so agree with “not dieting”. I spent YEARS counting calories, obsessing and planning the slightest morsel that I ate. Needless to say, it NEVER worked.
    When we switched the way we eat, the weight fell off…….no measuring or counting required.
    I think the most important change was going to all organic food, and grass fed /pastured animals.
    I think all the CORN the typical feed lot steer eats , all the hormones they are given, go a long way in making fat people. Processed foods are deficient in vital nutrients as well, and I think our bodies force us to keep eating because we are literally starving (even though we eat too much!)
    I now weigh 40 pounds less than when I dieted. I give full credit to an all organic and no processed food way of eating.

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    • PS–If you think eating all organic is too expensive, consider what a doctor visit and medications cost—all of which I don’t have for expenses any more…………….

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    • Bill says:

      There’s lots of truth and wisdom in your comment Susan. Thanks for sharing it. We’ve hear similar stories from many of our customers. It’s always exciting for us to talk to someone who was able to get off medications and improve their lives, just by changing their diets.

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  2. shoreacres says:

    I noticed Susan’s comment about the expense of eating organic. In truth, I’ve had to reduce my purchases from my organic farmers, simply because it doubles my food budget. In the grocery, a head of cauliflower is $1.79. From them, it’s $3.00. A bunch of kale at the store is $1.29. At the farmer’s market, it’s also $3.00. And so on. I still buy my eggs, tomatoes, carrots, butternut squash, spinach, and apples from them, because the taste is noticeably better — but with my lower cash flow in the winter, I have to make some choices.

    On the other hand, the point you’re making doesn’t depend on eating wholly organic foods. It depends on making smart choices about the foods we eat. I decided at the beginning of the year that I needed to take off some weight, and I’ve been losing a pound a week with this as my mantra: fewer calories, more walking. Every time I make a meal or have a snack, I ask myself, “Is there a better choice?” There always is. When you start substituting a handful of cherry tomatoes for a handful of raisins and nuts, you’re saving calories. There’s nothing “wrong” with the raisins and nuts, but they’re much higher in calories. The pecans, especially, are natural as can be — I picked some of them myself — but calories? Oh, my! A nice handful of pecans can easily be 200 calories. And, since one handful never is enough….

    I’ve already foresworn any fast food and processed foods, and rarely eat in a restaurant, so there’s that. But even a basically healthy diet has those extra calories lurking around, and can be adjusted, just as you say.

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    • Bill says:

      I understand completely what you’re saying about the prices. We try hard to keep our prices fair, but we can’t compete with industrial food so in general our prices are higher. I’m sorry that is the case, but it’s an unfortunate reality. Many of our customers are on tight budgets and they have to prioritize, as you recommend. One of our customers pays with food stamps and he’s told us that he will buy our greens even at our higher price because they last much longer than those in grocery stores (which will sometimes go bad before he can eat them) and because we offer greens he can’t find anywhere else (such as Asian greens–he’s vegetarian). He says that he buys tomatoes from us because the quality is superior, but that for butternut squash, for example, he doesn’t because he can’t tell the difference between ours and the ones he can get at half the cost (interesting to see that you can!). Etc. He also comes late to the market and tries to negotiate deals with vendors who have extras they’re going to otherwise throw away. I’ve learned a lot about food budgeting and smart shopping from talking to him. I know you take advantage of “you pick” opportunities, which is also a smart way to cut costs. But the bottom line is that even with setting our priorities correctly we’re going to have a limited amount of money to spend on food–so we have to make our choices wisely.

      One of the best ways to stretch food dollars is to eat out sparingly. I heard an interview recently with someone who has been studying the pork industry. He was recommending buying from folks who raise pigs the way we do and the interviewer brought up price, saying pork chops from naturally raised pigs were $12/lb in his area, far more expensive than grocery store pork chops. The person being interviewed then pointed out that even at $12/lb those pork chops were cheaper than fast food hamburgers. Where he lived a BK quarter pounder was over $3, making them cost more than $12/lb. I thought that was an interesting way to look at it. We charge $10/lb for our chops. What a deal! 🙂

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  3. Joanna says:

    My “diet” came about due to finding my body was not handling carbohydrates very well. Now I am about 14lbs lighter, not a huge amount but enough. I have to admit the winter weight has crept on a bit, but the summer will deal with that 😀 I need a bit of insulation, I was getting cold

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    • Bill says:

      I gotta say Joanna, I wonder how anyone could stay thin living so far north. If it was dark and freezing here for months on end I think I’d be tempted to just hole up, eat and drink. I’m glad I’ve gotten to know so many of you extreme-far-north farmers. It keeps me humble when I think we’re roughing it. 🙂

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  4. When I try to explain our lifestyle of which good homegrown, homecooked food is an important part, people either are interested… or look for an escape route! For many it seems food is a low priority, good food even lower. They are happy to let corporations & advertising make the choices & effort for them.
    I’ve always prepared a lot of our food but I’m particularly pleased that our shift from city to country, where I prepare 95%+ of our meals has seen the G.O. in particular enjoy a healthier diet, he has become less fussy, more willing to try new things, eats more veges & variety and less meat & sugar… becoming also a good food advocate, not just a sometime passenger.
    We eat in season, buy the best we can afford and offset the cost by homecooking & not wasting anything.
    When we have visitors, quite a few are surprised… some are impressed… that our food is all homecooked. It no longer seems to be the norm. It’s sad that homecooking is no longer an everyone-everyday experience.

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    • Bill says:

      Sadly you’re right about that. Here is the States we now spend more money in restaurants than we do in grocery stores, and of the food bought in grocery stores most of it is pre-cooked processed food. Making meals at home from scratch is now uncommon. Bizarrely, it is often associated with affluence. I find that weird since when I was growing up we thought it was the “rich people” who got to eat at restaurants and buy processed food, and us lower class people who had to eat homecooked meals from scratch!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, I have started to eat more at home. Sadly my daughter and grandson that live with me are not on the same food page as I am. It’s kind of been that way all my life. Way back in the early 70s when I first discovered organic growing, which seemed to me the way my Dad and Mom grew things when I was a kid, I started trying to grow and eat garden grown food. My family at that time rebelled, wouldn’t help, and laughed at my goofy way of thinking about food. However, they did like my home made bread. Sadly after a few years of being the butt of jokes, I gave it up but still remained a fan of Mother Earth News, Organic Gardening, and Prevention magazines. It’s really difficult to stick with quality eating when the whole family is against you. Life went on and the kids from that family grew up and left home. The wife passed on about 15 years ago. The interest in growing and eating good food flared up again. When my youngest daughter and grandson moved back home the resistance to eating well became an issue again. This time I continued to eat my way and they eat their way.

    My issue with organic food and eating well was never an issue of cost. It was always an issue of family resistance. When I was the only one that wanted to eat quality food, it was live in family conflict all the time or give in. I chose peace in the family. I really envy those that have like minded spouses that will support eating well.

    Nebraska Dave
    Urban Farmer
    dbentz24@gmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Well that’s a tough situation Dave and I think it’s probably common for people who are trying to eat well. Sometimes it takes time. We struggled to get our children to eat right and their diets were often terrible. But now our daughter is a vegetarian who is careful with her food choices. Our son still eats too much junk food, in my opinion, but he’s gotten much better. All we can do is do our best.

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    • Our eating styles have required quite a bit of compromise over the years… but I’m pleased to say while my inclinations have been borne out, I still understand and work around some of the G.O.’s. Big Food did some of the work for me, as junk food and supermarket meat aren’t what they used fo be.
      It’s funny what people’s perceptions are. We also have family members who could eat better, less junk but they think they are eating fairly healthily, and maybe in comparison to others they are. But It appears to me they are buying into food-diet marketing hype-fads rather understanding real food.

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    • Melonie K. says:

      Oh, Dave, you really gave my heart strings a tug. It is *so* hard when the others in your home don’t agree on food matters and worse yet, when they make the jokes or stinging comments. I feel you there!

      My first husband teased me relentlessly for wanting to buy organic milk for the children – this was right around the time that growth hormones were just making it into TV, I believe it might have even been Phil Donahue that had an episode (now that dates me) and a friend told me about folks’ concerns about it. So for me, it started with rBGH-free milk because we had little girls, and my friend scared me to death about them having problems due to milk with hormones. But whenever I’d look at organic food in the grocery store, oh, the “jokes” came like lightning, and he thought them ever so funny, while I just wanted to stand there and cry in my humiliation. When he left a few years later, I took all my hurts, went to the grocery store, and bought everything organic and “all natural” that I could afford. Needless to say, I couldn’t shop like that ever again 😉 but standing there in the aisle, just that once, I grabbed anything with that USDA seal that I could reach!

      You’ve reminded me to be grateful, Dave, as I remarried and my second husband is very health conscious. He absolutely refused to eat any bread that wasn’t whole grain and I introduced him to organic gardening. Now he is lauded at the doctor’s office because all of his numbers are in the excellent range – everyone has a good laugh when they ask how he does it and he says “I married a hippie chick”. But then he explains our whole foods shopping list, how we focus on local and organic items, with eating out at places as a treat now and then, not a norm. The doctors are very pleased and every single one has told him keep that up, keep going. My own parents tease me still about “Oh you can’t eat this, it’s not orgaaaanic!” but slowly but surely, my mom is slipping in more natural and whole foods into their house herself. Can’t help but chuckle, even as I rely so heavily on the like-minded folks I find here and elsewhere online. The community support is so vital, especially for those who don’t have it at home.

      As shoreacres rightly pointed out, we do have to decide sometimes between organic and conventional products because of our budget, but we use the “dirty dozen” lists and gladly consider each more expensive (by dollar) purchase to be an investment. Most especially with children still at home, diabetes on one family side and heart concerns on the other, plus my own autoimmune issues – the better food is a worthwhile investment toward future health costs, just as Susan said.

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  6. valbjerke says:

    I threw my scales in the trash about thirty years ago, and have only a very vague idea what I weigh. Regardless, I could certainly stand to lose some weight – my issue not being what I eat, rather it’s the lack of exercise. Odd considering my lifestyle 😊 Weight is something I don’t obsess about, but it is in the back of my mind. I already eat well, eat only off the farm, I really need to get moving.
    Stick to your pricing – we did our annual calculations/costs and had to put the price of our eggs up. Lost a lot of customers….no worries, I’ll just order fewer chickens. Ultimately, you can’t simply give the stuff away.

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    • Bill says:

      You’re not getting enough exercise?? How much more could one person do?! I think it must just be those long frozen winters y’all have. Down here we have the advantage of being able to sweat off some calories. 🙂

      We’re careful now with setting our prices. There is no point in charging less than our cost of production. As a friend told me, that’s like paying someone to eat our food. I enjoy doing this, but not enough to sell at a price that I know will cause us to lose money.

      Everyone loves farm-fresh eggs, and we’re fortunate to have customers who realize the cost of producing them and are willing to pay it. But many folks won’t pay what it costs. So we scaled back on egg production. We charge a fair price (and we’re just breaking even at it) but we limit our production to what we know we can sell.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ed says:

    I love farmer’s markets. I find that I plan meals around what looks good there but when I go to a grocery store, I’m picking up ingredients for meals already planned. I prefer the former to the latter!

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    • Bill says:

      Exactly. You’ve put your finger on the principal difference in how to shop for local seasonal food vs. how to shop for industrial food. Farmers market customers see what it’s season and plan their meals around that. Grocery store customers plan their meals first, then just buy the ingredients. Big difference.

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  8. Totally! Life is not meant for dieting, it’s meant for eating well:)

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