Food Day 2012
Lets celebrate our health with real food.I am ashamed to admit that I just heard of this food day thing. Bad paleo blogger! Food day is a celebration of sustainable and responsible food. That is what I am all about and of course I have something to say!
As I mentioned on my last post, good food is about love. We eat the highest quality food and feed it to our families because we care about our bodies. We want to keep them in the best shape for as long as we can. We want to stifle the aging process, prevent disease and feel great. The best medicine to achieve these goals is the food we put in mouths. The paleo lifestyle strives for optimal nutrition. That means that whenever possible, we eat local, organic produce and responsibly sourced proteins.
Why local and organic produce?When eating paleo, we strive to eat the most nutrient dense foods available. With fruits and vegetables, the vitamins and minerals that we seek can be drastically diminished by several factors.
First, it is important to know that fruits and vegetables start losing their nutrients as soon as they are removed from the vine. That means, if your tomatoes are imported from halfway across the country, they have had a lot of transport time to lose the beneficial nutrients you seek. What can you do? Grow your own or find a farmer's market where you can buy locally grown vegetables.
Another reason to eat locally is that in doing so, you are also eating seasonally. Seasonal produce is at its peak flavor and therefore, nutrient density.
There are two reasons I prefer organic produce over conventionally grown. First, organic vegetables are free of the toxic chemicals and pesticides that have been connected with our nation's overall decline in health. Toxins that contribute to cancer, developmental problems in children, reproductive system problems and neurological damage.
Second, there have been studies that show that because pesticides reduce the need for produce to create their own natural defense mechanisms, they also reduce their nutrient density. Organic produce has to fight harder to survive and, therefore, build a stronger structure of vitamins and minerals.
What is responsibly sourced protein?
But eating this way is expensive.Yes it is. But would you rather spend your money on high-quality food or the doctor's bills you'll have after a lifetime of poor-quality food? Cancer is expensive. Diabetes is expensive. Alzheimer's is expensive. Medicine is expensive.
If you are on a budget (most of us are), there are a couple of things you need to know. Familiarize yourself with the "dirty dozen" and "clean fifteen." **See list below** The dirty dozen are the conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of toxic chemicals on their skin. Try to buy the organic versions of these or skip the conventional ones all together.
The clean fifteen includes conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that have a low occurrence of toxins and/or produce with thick, protective skins. These are okay to buy non-organic. My favorite is avocado. Buying seasonal produce will be less expensive because of abundance. That is just a bonus on top of the nutrient density of seasonal produce. A win-win! Wash your produce thoroughly. If you are not buying organic, your safest bets are fruits and vegetables with a naturally protective rind or peel.
Is there anything more precious than the health and well-being of our families? I can't think of anything. It is our responsibility to the ones that we love to feed them well and educate them on how to live a healthy life. Take your family to the farmers markets, introduce them to the animals at the local, sustainable ranches, take them fishing, teach them what real food is and where it comes from.
I want to close with mentioning a few resources on food quality and its connection with our health.
"It Starts With Food" by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
This is a book that I think should be required reading in middle schools. It is a book that outlines the health problems associated with poor-quality food and what we can do about it.
Food, Inc. This is a film about the factory farms and their disgusting environments. It demonstrates the importance of clean protein sources and local farmers. A must-see.