Considering a change in your diet?  This seemed a little overwhelming when I began my journey.  Luckily a friend advised me to go slow, keep it simple and just do what you can to alter where you spend your food dollars.  Not sure where to start?  Below are some steps to consider when looking to increase the quality of food you are buying and consuming.  Consider these options on how to shop for a healthy diet as you begin your journey to better food.

Raw food

Shop the edges of your grocery store for the least processed foods.

A.  Fast food  part of your diet? 

  1. Start tracking the amount of money spent each week eating out.
  2. Internet search for fun ways to pack your (or the kids) own lunch.
  3. Decide what you would do with the money saved by eating out less.

B.  How to make better selections at your current grocery store:

  1. Shop the edges, stay away from the center of the store.
  2. When you venture into the center, check ingredients!  I try to avoid products containing:
    • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
    • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
    • Sugar (at least not as the first ingredient)

      store_center

      Be careful as you shop the center of your grocery store!

    • Ingredients listed as “enriched, refined or bleached”
    • Items you cannot read
  3. Look for produce displayed as “organic”, the price difference may be less than you think.
  4. Some stores may have an area devoted to a “health mart”, explore your options.
  5. If your current grocery store does not carry organic items talk to the manager or try another store.

Take your time with the changes suggested above.  Track your dollars and see the difference in food quality.  Consider keeping a log of how you “feel” from these little changes in your diet.

C.   Ready to adventure a little further?
  1. Look for a specialty health store in your area.
  2. Specialty stores labeled as “organic”, “natural”, “holistic” or “raw”.
  3. Again shop the edges of these stores, adventure in to the center more freely but keep checking ingredients.
D.  Seasonally watch for Farmer Markets or local farm stands.
  1. If you haven’t tried interacting with real farmers before you may feel a little un easy, but give it a try, the food quality is worth it!
  2. Quiz the individual sellers, learn their lingo and start to build relationships.
    • Ask them to describe their production practices.
    • Find out if you can visit their farm.
    • Ask how else they sell their products:
      • directly from farm, website, Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) buying option?
E.  Ask others for leads.
  1. Someone at church selling farm fresh eggs or know someone who does?
  2. Co-worker maybe buying his meat directly from a farmer?
  3. Watch for Fresh Eggs or Fresh Honey signs as you drive through the country.

F.  Search the internet.

Please share any other ideas you may have, and here’s to good eating!

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and you are ready to take on a new year!  As the new year begins, many of us will take a moment to reflect on our health.  Some of us may even be considering going on a DIET.  As Dr. Joseph Mercola, noted alternative health doctor says, 

     “We are all on a diet.  

Be on a healthy one.”

So what is a “healthy diet”?  The tag line of our website reads “Where soil, grass, animals and sunlight equals health”.  Sound like a weird equation?  Below I summarize and then list some quotes from the 2010 presentation “Healthy Soil, Healthy Farms, Healthy Food, Healthy People” by retired University of Missouri Agriculture Economics Professor John Ikerd.

Doug’s summary of “Healthy Soil, Healthy Farms, Healthy Food, Healthy People”:

Our current food system is broken as reflected by the current health of our family, friends and society as a whole.  The growing health problems such as cancer, obesity and food allergies are all symptoms of our current food system.  Nutrient levels in common garden crops has dropped significantly over the past 50 years.  Today’s industrial agriculture profits are driven by quantity rather than by quality.  Any kind of CHANGE for an individual is almost impossible unless we are convinced by circumstances that the change would be in our best interest.  To change there must be an alternative to what we are currently doing and a belief that the transition will be worth the effort to make the change.  The good news, there is hope; sick people are finding farmers with a passion for quality over quantity.  Surprisingly these “new American Farmers” in many cases grow better food at a lower cost because of their love for what they are doing.  These farmers focus their efforts on rebuilding health from the soil, to the plants, to the animals, to the entire farm, to the food they produce which is reflected in the health of their customers.  These “new” farmers fall under a number of labels, but a broad definition they seem to fall under is “sustainable farmers”.  Basically these new farmers are “creating farming systems that can meet the needs of the present without diminishing opportunities for the future.”

Some noted quotes:

  • “quick, convenient, cheap food has made Americans the most overfed and undernourished people in the world”
  • “today’s children are the first generation whose members are expected to live shorter lives than their parents”
  • “Health care in America already consumes more than 17-percent of our GDP, nearly three times as much as the 7-percent claimed by agriculture/food”
  • “their medical problem may well be a consequence of their eating food with chemical additives or agrochemical residues, or eating manufactured ‘food-like substances'”
  • “Animals and men are biochemical photographs of the soil”
  • “A truly healthy soil will produce healthy plants, healthy animals, and healthy people.”
  • “work in harmony with nature to produce healthy animals and healthy crops by maintaining healthy soils.”
  • “The links among healthy soils, healthy foods, and healthy people certainly makes sense; in this, there is hope.”

 Conclusion:

When a local doctor told me that a daily pill was basically the only option to treat my digestive health issues, I decided to research opportunities for change.  I went in pursuit of alternatives to our current health system of taking a pill.  At the time I wasn’t even considering a change to my diet but in the end, a change in diet was what I needed.  My health improved, no pills required!  As you reflect on your health and the health of your family at the beginning of the new year, we invite you to search out these “new American Farmers” where you live.  The love they have for what they are doing will be evident in the food they are producing.  As explained in the article, your health is a reflection of the food you are consuming.
Happy New Year from D S Family Farm!