If a quest for better health triggered my journey to more sustainable ways of living, then eating natural and organic food was my ticket to making it stick. That's primarily because I absolutely love to eat, but also because it got me to connect the food I choose to eat with how it made me feel, think and even about what kind of food sources I want to help grow. To do that, I just began paying closer attention to what it is, how it's made, where it came from, and who produced it.
And that's when things got interesting. I tried out new foods, learned different ways to cook, and met some of the neatest people producing and growing some of the best food I'd ever tasted. And I felt good about what I was putting into my body and that I got to support these farms and businesses while doing it. Every bite really can be a vote for the kind of food, health, community and economy we want to be a part of supporting
Being something of a genealogy buff, I often think about my ancestors and their life experiences compared to ours. And I can't help thinking if my great grandfather, heck even my grandfather, plopped down in today's world and heard all the talk about natural and organic food and what it means, he'd probably scratch his head and say, "For goodness sake, what other kind of food is there?"
That natural and organic food has become a differentiated "sector" of food or a "status symbol" is poppycock. Plainly put, natural and organic food is food how nature intended it to be - from sunshine, rain, dirt, healthy animals, human hands; no added hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides, no artificial this or hydrogenated that. It is food, real food! Check out our toolbox of tips and tools for doing your own organic food shopping due diligence.
And here's a nice bonus - it really simplifies so much. By choosing natural and organic food products and letting it drive what we put in our mouth, our meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, eating healthier and even dining out become so much simpler, more straightforward and get this...pleasurable!
Example: grocery shopping. When we head out to our local farmers market or even the supermarket committed to choosing more natural and organic food products, we actually see the food we're going to buy and eat. It's not hidden in a box or behind packaging with three-inch long ingredient lists of words we can't pronounce.
And it's fun. Fun how? Ok...obviously eating tasty, flavorful food is enjoyable, right? But an added fun perk comes from really taking an interest in and learning about the food we're eating, checking out unusual foods and getting to know the people behind the food we choose for our family and, pardon the bluntness...ingest into our bodies! We are indeed what we eat - get to know where it comes from, how it's made. I bet you'll meet some really cool people doing really great things and love what you're eating and how you feel to boot!
And the possibilities for eating healthier, better and more sustainably and enjoying it are countless: Eating foods in season - one word...tomato! Buying locally produced food - anything picked, milked or squeezed yesterday from just up the road, YUM! Cooking from scratch and sitting down to meals together to enjoy it, priceless! Trying new or different foods - how about quinoa or ramps or kabocha? And getting to know a small food producer or your local farmer or rancher, find one near you here.
Whether you take baby steps or go leaps and bounds, start where you are (literally and figuratively) and just try connecting more with the food you choose.