Like every busy mother with a full-time job and small children, I used to run to the grocery store every Saturday morning. You know, throw the kid or kids in the cart and maneuver through the store for an hour or so, wait in long lines and quickly rush home to get to the next thing.
But in the last few months, things have shifted drastically for my family and me. I've always eaten in a fairly healthy way but always felt as though I was rushing in the way I shopped and cooked and everything always felt like I was on my way somewhere. I just had to get through this thing to get to the next. Sound familiar?
I'll leave my personal story for another post but needless to say, when I was forced to make some significant changes in my diet, I had to cut gluten and dairy out entirely. Though I've been a nutrition and health junkie for many years, it was just a few months ago that I stumbled upon the Weston A Price Foundation. Some of the concepts and principles the foundation is based on, echoed my upbringing as they align entirely with how I was raised. After all when I was 5, I remember eating liver pate and raw onion on fresh baked bread. This was Romania in the 1980s. So the more I dug into the history of the foundation and researched the principles the foundation is based on, things just clicked for me.
I don't necessarily believe in strict diets. I don't like being dogmatic one way or the other as no two people are alike. What may work fantastically well for me, may not work for you and vice versa. Extremes of any kind are not sustainable and good for the body or mind. Flashback to high-school when I would eat 3 bagels a day, because "low fat". But I digress... Learning about the work of Weston A Price sparked a need for change, to step away from the standard way of eating and standard way of shopping for and relating to food.
Through the foundation, I was able to find local farmers and local markets that sell whole, organic produce, grass fed meats and eggs and raw milk for my son. Once I finish breastfeeding, I plan on starting my daughter on raw milk as well. The benefits of raw milk are undeniable. Topic for another post.
So this bring me back to the rushing bit. Here is the thing; we all need to eat, this is true, but how we eat, can affect everything. The experiences tied with not just the act of eating but sourcing the food is how memories are made.
We found a local USDA Certified Organic and grass fed farm, where cows and chickens roam freely. Going to pick up milk, eggs and meat has become an adventure for my family. The fact that my son is learning where his food comes from is extremely important to me as a parent. I have a deep, humbling appreciation for the nourishment we receive from animals. I've always had a strange relationship with meat, as a former vegetarian, but eating meat from an animal that's ethically raised makes a big difference to me.
The other change I've made is shopping at our out-door farmers market that opens for the spring and summer. It's full of unique regular vendors that you get to know week after week. The experience of being outside in fresh air, looking at beautiful fresh food cannot compare to shopping at the grocery store. During the colder months, I go to one of the indoor farmers markets. We're lucky enough to have a few in our area.
The great thing about farmers markets is that vendors actually care about the products they put out and are truly passionate about them. Again, there is nothing wrong if you love shopping at the grocery store (I love Whole Foods when I can get there), but I don't find the personal interaction that I do at the farmers market. The love for food and the respect for the product they're selling can be infectious.
In my opinion, there's an extreme satisfaction when it comes to supporting local business, buying fresh food, that's sourced with care and passion. Plus the quality of the products they sell has to be good. After all, they want people to come back week after week.
Aside from produce, meat and dairy, there are many others that take part in our farmers market. Most markets have a variety of products available, ranging from Kombucha stands, which is my personal favorite, to flower stands, wine, cheese, and many more.
I used to dread food shopping but these days it's something I look forward to. I hope you'll consider at least trying to find a local market and see if you can turn the dreaded grocery shopping chore into an actual experience.