This Article is About
fruits and vegetables
life energy
organic foods
nutritional value
key concepts
grocery store
vitamin c
mexico
How To Know What To Eat - Part 3
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How to Know What to Eat   -   Part 3

If you are choosing more whole and organic foods for yourself and your family, that is very well done! These are definitely the two key concepts you need to know about deciding what to eat. This next concept may be a stretch for some of you--I know it was for my husband when I showed it to him. All I can say is hear me out and don't take my word for it. That's right! It would be far better for you to try these concepts out for yourself and see for yourself how important they are.

Step Three: Choose foods that are locally grown and in season

By "locally grown" I am not necessarily saying the food has to come from your garden or the farm down the road. Although, that would be fantastic, wouldn't it? When I say locally grown I'm saying it is best if it at least comes from your immediate region even if that is 100 or so miles away. There are several reasons why buying locally grown food is beneficial and I'm going to give you the main reasons here.

One reason locally grown food is best is that it is going to be fresher and will have retained its nutritional value better from the time it is picked until it reaches your kitchen. For example when you go into a typical grocery store and buy a head of cabbage, it's usually going to look whitish green and the outer leaves will be taken off. That is because the outer leaves, which are a darker green (and perfectly fine to eat) will have already gotten wilted and maybe brown so to extend the shelf-life of the cabbage the outer leaves are taken off.

Check and see where that cabbage was grown. California? Mexico? Where do you live? Michigan? New York? That cabbage wasn't picked yesterday or even last week. It was picked and shipped to a warehouse and stayed in that warehouse until it was delivered to your store. It could have been picked as long ago as a few months! Did you know cabbage is a good source of Vitamin C? Well, not when it was picked months ago and has sat on a warehouse shelf.

Fruits and vegetables lose their life energy and sometimes nutritional value when they sit around waiting for you to buy them. Food producers sometimes hybridize their products to withstand a longer shelf life and that is another alteration of the food that some people feel weakens the food. But that is nothing compared to the genetic modification of food that is prevalent today. And in the case of our head of cabbage, it can sit around and look okay for sometime all the while losing its "oomph."

Another reason to buy at least somewhat local is that other countries do not have the same laws and standards of practice that the United States has. If you live in the U.S. and you are buying food that was grown, say, somewhere in South America, are you aware that they may use pesticides there that we don't allow in our country? Also do you know what their standards are for labeling something as "organic?" That too varies from country to country.

The next reason I recommend buying locally grown food is to strengthen the economy in the area where you live. When you spend your food budget buying from your community farms, local food artisans and even locally run restaurants, you are investing in the area where you live and not handing your money over to a corporation in another city, state or country. When you buy local, more of your food dollar actually reaches the farmer who grew or raised that food rather than going toward transportation, packaging, marketing, refrigerating and warehousing.

There are all kinds of additional benefits to buying locally such as better food safety, more variety of available foods, reducing the "carbon footprint" left by food production and creating a stronger community. After all, which is more desirable---a single distant relationship with a mega grocery chain store or a friendly acquaintance with those who are growing and raising the food you eat?

These benefits lead right into the idea of buying food that is in season. If you choose to buy foods that are grown more locally, you will also be able to buy food that is in season. Foods that are in season are naturally in balance with the environment they're grown in. Eating these in season foods help you to be in balance with your environment too.

Besides, what is more delightful than buying fresh corn on the cob on a summer day and taking it home and cooking it and eating it right away? You should be able to get local corn that is not genetically modified and is organic if it is in season. Corn is sweet but not if it's been sitting around long after it's picked. Then the natural sugars turn more starchy and you lose that wonderful summer flavor. The taste of fresh-picked, locally-grown food that is in season is far superior to anything else.

If you are not sure what foods are in season, you can learn that by simply visiting local farmer's markets and stores that feature local growers. And what about when it's the dead of winter and nothing is going to grow in the garden? There are traditional ways that food is kept and preserved that is far superior to just shipping something from half-way around the world just so you can eat it. That is the topic of the next step of How to Know What to Eat!


Street Talk

Good info Patty

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks Shawn!

Reply
  about 5 years ago
Joan S  

Try to eat locally grown foods, but it's difficult in the winter. Much of the produce comes from Florida and California. I'm seeing a lot from Mexico. During the summer months, we have produce from local farms and nearby states. My dream is to have my own vegetable garden where the soil is rich and there are no pesticides. Monsanto is destroying the seeds. Wonder what we can do about that?

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Joan, there's a good website for a group called "Just Label It." They are pushing the FDA to make food producers label their food GMO if it is. Then at least we don't have to buy it. And there are still some companies selling what are called "heirloom" seeds that haven't been hybridized or genetically engineered.

Reply
  about 5 years ago
Joan S  

Thanks Patty. My niece in Vermont has a resource for heirloom seeds, but I wonder if the genetically modified seeds are used in a nearby farm, can pollen contamination from their crops ruin the heirlooms? I don't know enough about botany, but am alarmed about fooling around with Mother Nature.

  
  about 5 years ago

Yep, that's where some of the food we buy is grown and I live in Australia! It's a worry! ;-)

Reply
  about 5 years ago

ustrailia! So your growing season is just getting over with now?

Reply
  about 5 years ago

There are different growing seasons here but pretty much we grow all year round. Winter is best for strawberries and apples. In summer we enjoy all the stone fruit like apricots, nectarines and peaches. It's the best time for mangoes too. We pretty much have it good here but we still import a lot despite growing it locally as well. I think it has something to do with trade agreements but I'm not sure how it all works. We often get oranges and grapes (and other stuff I'm sure) from California!

  
  about 5 years ago
Barbara9  

i enjoyed this article

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thank you Barbara!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks Kevin! You are very smart to grow your own food. That's the freshest!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Good info and advice Patty...I grow a good bit for the table but really like the farmers markets...their about as fresh as you can get..

Reply
  about 5 years ago
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