Monday, June 11, 2012

Eat Sustainably | Eat Local

Olympia Co-op | Westside  

Zissou-in' | Shelton, Washington

Recently this article came out with studies trying to prove that organic consumers are "snobs"and I've been thinking a lot about the titles we give ourselves and how they seem to define and restrict us.  I've had many discussions on "foodie elitists" from all types of diets and have been thinking about the different reactions to people choosing to no longer be vegan .  I must say, I have always been for Boise consumers buying local as much as one can, but I didn't have that "Aha!" moment until I did some deep thinking while up for the Mother Earth News Fair.

Eating local, seasonally grown food is the most sustainable way of food consumption and demands for the most sustainable practices for growing/producing food.

When I say "eating local food" I am referring to the act of eating in season, organic (for ourselves and the environment), locally-produced food.  I add in organic because this is very important, although it is often left out of the definition.  I think eating organic goes hand in hand with eating local because it helps sustain our land, encourages you to get to know your farmer and build trust within the community.

This doesn't mean my vegan beliefs are gone with the wind.  I still support the idea that if everyone eats a mostly vegan diet that they will have optimum health.

"Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly Plants." - Michael Pollan

Herbs from our local organic Purple Sage Farms! 
On the water in Shelton, WA
 I believe that the smaller and closer the farm, the better.  Ideally, growing your own food is best and although most of us run out of room and time to fully grow everything - small steps towards being more sustainable are better than nothing! As Joel Salatin explained at Mother Earth News Fair - you don't need money, you don't need this or that - you just need to start participating!

Back in Oly!
The first weekend of June, I was in Washington for Mother Earth News Fair.  We were staying in Shelton, Washington on a gorgeous, lush 5-acre plot of forest that hasn't been touched in about 25 years.  It was no more than a 5 minute hike down to the water where you could fetch your own oysters from the bay waters.  There were even salty sea greens available which I added to my polenta breakfast one morning.  One evening, deciding on dinner, we drove all over searching for the Olympia Co-Op so that I could prepare a separate vegan dinner for myself while my friends had fresh shellfish from the bay!

I ended up buying packaged gluten free noodles and organic frozen peas and grapeseed veganaise to go along with some veggies we brought up from our farm for a pasta salad.

Since leaving Washington, I have wondered why I hadn't just enjoyed what was available right then and there.  An oyster dinner would have been the most fresh, most nutritious option at that time.  That's when it started to make sense to eat fresh, local, food - whatever it is, wherever you are.

I had a very similar situation when I started finding out about juicing and the power of raw foods.  I believe that yes, raw foods are best for you - as cooking often depletes the nutrients.  However, I came to the conclusion that here in Boise, Idaho - I want hot foods, especially in the winter.  I shouldn't be eating all raw produce from California through the months when I only have potatoes and squash available right here in Boise. 

Go with what nature has to offer, when it offers it.

Locally-made goat cheese crumbles
 We're all guilty of running to the nearest grocery store to grab a _______ (fill in the blank) - an avocado in February, tomatoes in November and bananas throughout the year.  These things, when out of season, are trucked up from the places far, far away from us where it is fresh and grows locally.  Over the days on the truck and the next few on store shelves and even more in your fridge - your food has lost a lot of the nutrients it had from the moment it was harvested.  The quality is compromised tremendously over the journey your imported, out-of-state food must go through.  One thing to keep in mind:  Is it really worth it to eat low quality food with dramatically less nutrients?  The whole point of eating, after all, is to nourish our bodies.

Educate yourself at Farmer's Markets - see what is available!  It teaches you to eat seasonally - as you should! No matter what your diet is you can see what is fresh and within a low traveling distance to get to you.  This includes meat that has been raised nearby, vegetables that are grown in a community garden and dairy that when you purchase the product, you are also supporting a neighbor organic farmer.

You can print off your own Idaho Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables calendar here!

At Mother Earth News Faire with my good friend Leslie
of GMO-Free Idaho
I always advise people to listen to your bodies and do what's right for themselves.  Forget the titles that are thrown around for status purposes.  I've learned a lot being a vegan and it has led me to consume a smarter, local and organic, plant-based, whole foods diet.

We are here on earth for our own journey and for our journey as a whole.  May this stimulate thought and inspire education!


BONUS! This article won The Ecthicist Contest put on by the New York Times and judged by some big names including Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan.
Harvesting Peas at Earthly Delights Farm!

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