You are what you eat

Fresh Milk in a glass bottle, a chocolate syrup free of HFCS and other delights.I’ve been pondering eating less processed, locally grown food for a long time.  I’ve been reading a little here and there and taking micro steps to purchase food that is made closer to home.  The recent salmonella outbreak at Iowa egg farms really pushed the issue front and center for me.

It started when my husband was diagnosed with migraines and I discovered one of his triggers is Maltodextrin a sugar additive found in numerous dips mix, gravies, and seasoning packets. Once I started reading labels, I was overwhelmed by words I could not pronounce. I really started to wonder whether those were things I wanted to be putting in my body or the bodies of my husband and children. Ever since, I have been making an effort to eliminate processed foods from our diets a little at a time.  I’ve discovered food that is fresh and free of chemical sweeteners simply tastes better.

I stopped buying beef and pork from the grocery store years ago. Now I purchase my steaks and pork chops from a local butcher.  Per pound, it is a little more expensive, but the meat is well trimmed and they package the meat in quantities that will feed my family with only a little left over, so there is little waste.  There is most definitely a taste difference.

I’ve virtually eliminated convenience foods and replaced them with my own incarnations. I started making my own crunchy coating for my pork chops and chicken parts (something akin to Shake N’ Bake ®). Dips are made from greek yogurt and spices.

I have a bread maker and am striving to bake more bread at home. I haven’t made as much progress in this area as I would like and frankly, the bigger problem there is my picky kids. I’ve yet to find a white bread recipe that my son will take to school as a PB&J sandwich.  Once I conquer that, THEN I’ll work towards whole grain breads.

My most recent discovery is locally sourced milk, delivered right to my door in glass bottles.  We got our first delivery last Friday and I finally broke in to the good stuff this morning.  The fresh skim milk tastes like the 1% store bought. Yummmm!

My other recent discovery has been Trader Joe’s I am loving the fact that when I pick up an item to read the ingredients most of the time I recognize everything on the label. I also find that their prices fit within my budget. The downside is that the nearest Trader Joe’s is 45 minutes away (Hey Trader Joe’s Please come to New Hampshire!), so I have to make it stop on other scheduled trips to that area.

Buying locally takes more time and costs more money. I do not have a wide-open schedule or a money tree, but I have found with just a little bit of planning, I can make this work for our family.

Were you to open my cabinets, you would still see foods that contain preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup, it is like a said, baby steps. I’m not sure I’ll be able to eliminate ALL processed foods from our diets. We are like most American families, we lead an active life and time is a premium. I think it is about striking a balance and ideally I’d like the scales to tip in favor of fresh healthy food.

How about you? Do you have any foods that you will only buy from local sources?

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