Posts tagged farmers' market
Posts tagged farmers' market
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. To be honest, the winter months left me uninspired and a little sick of the repetitive nature of the citrus and squash options.
Well, the sun is back and so are berries, peaches, and lots of other delicious, fleeting options to shake things up. Went back to the market today and enjoyed cooking a bit as well. Two things I hadn’t done in a while…
Hope that June finds you well!
January with Supermarkets - Week 2 and 3 of the Self-Imposed Challenge
No, I didn’t make it a whole month without supermarkets. After somehow escaping the flu that had been spreading around my co-workers and friends for over a month, I finally found myself at home sick mid-January, missing the weekend farmers’ markets. I was craving fresh citrus and some greek yogurt to whip up an enlivening smoothie, but my kitchen was empty except for some wilting, earthy greens and roots. Oh, and nuts. So many raw nuts.
So, here we are after a quick trip to Safeway:
Personal lessons learned as part of the January resolution challenge
1) Sometimes, going to the supermarket will actually be the healthier choice. Yes, it may be a great goal to try to avoid supermarkets and focus on sourcing your food from farmers’ markets. However, when you run out of food and are starting to sustain yourself on raw nuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner, maybe you should give in and just go grocery shopping the now “normal” way. Nuts day in and day out do not represent any kind of healthy balance. I can’t wait to hit up the Whole Foods salad and veggie bar for lunch again, because health-wise, it’s bound to beat multiple slices of whole wheat bread with honey or nut butter on the days I ran out of time to cook…
2) Some things are worth buying instead of making. My “make your own nut butter” experiment ended in a total disaster and lots of money wasted on a cruddy machine that fell apart after a single use. Turns out, unless I want to shell out $200 for a fancy food processor, homemade results will likely be questionable and frustrating. Back to Whole Foods I go to grab the freshly-ground stuff there! Sometimes, convenience is key.
3) To get used to new foods, introduce them slowly. I bought fennel despite some initial apprehension, and rolled with it, making it a main ingredient in this recipe. However, another bulb of fennel arrived three days later via my CSA box. Dun dun dun. I was not happy. I live alone and thus cook for one, and there’s only so much I want to eat of a new food unless it blows me away the first time around. So, the second fennel is still sitting in my fridge rejected. Poor little thing. Again, that’s where something like the variety at Whole Foods comes in - I try new things all the time, but I just add a spoonful of new tastes onto familiar tastes. Less risk, less potential disappointment, and way more fun. It’s how I’ve vastly increased the variety of my diet over the past one to two years. It’s sustainable personal change. Going Full Monty on it, though, by eating 100% seasonally, was a little too much for me. That CSA-delivered avocado is still staring at me from the fridge —— it’s just TOO BIG.
So despite all of those shortcomings, what practical, more universal advice can I share?
These are the take-aways I’ll keep applying to my life:
1) Start your grocery shopping at the weekly farmers’ market, and only supplement your kitchen with supermarket purchases.
2) Try at least one new fruit or vegetable a week.
3) Don’t stick to any food rules too closely. Live a little. If you’re too limited, you’ll start making irrational choices. Too little salt, too little variety, etc. just because something is not in season. If a banana is a great on-the-go breakfast you know has worked for you, don’t shun it. Nope, it’s not local. Yep, it’s still healthy. How many mornings in a row can you eat yogurt with kiwi or oatmeal before you start missing variety? I WANT MY BANANA, and I want it now. Eat what feels right, fuels your body and is mostly natural, and you’ll be off the best. Balance, kiddo, balance.
My January Food Goal: Supermarket-Free Zone
I remember during my college days, which if I wanted to be cute I’d say weren’t too long ago, my roommates and I would carpool to the grocery store. Moving from the sweltering humidity of central Florida through the doors into the frigid air-conditioned cold, I felt like I was entering an alternate world. My eyes would light up: Disneyland!
Yes. You read that right. Moving to the US from Germany, my experience of American supermarkets was akin to a theme park visit. As my roommates patiently waited by the cash register, I combed through what felt like endless aisles of prepared foods. Deep-fried, brightly-colored, caramel-covered, frozen something on a stick. Super-natural ingredients that should come with their own cape. Bold lettering, cartoon figures left and right. An entire aisle of esssentially identical toast bread in different shades. What wonders! Wheee!
Now, mind you, despite my fascination, I standardly walked out with only a few products I knew from home that elicited the question: “Where did you find that?” It made me wonder how the Pumpernickel (dark bread) I had bought was, to my roommates, the strangest product in the store, but the moral of the story is —- there’s a lot of questionable things in American supermarkets that, while highly entertaining, should probably not be consumed.
Of course, to say I’ve always lived a healthy life would be a lie. I did end up indulging in the delectable stickyness that is Nutella by the jar-full, made meals out of a package of cookies or magically made a whole tub of ice-cream disappear. Ta-da! Such habits resulted in a hefty 20 pound weight gain that took intensive training for a few half marathons and eating a clean athlete’s diet to undo.
My mother still likes to tell the anecdote of how, as a child, I would somehow spy some non-organic food in the kitchen and spontaneously break out into tears. According to her, I would then refuse to eat the food. I find this organic robo-vision hard to believe given other streaks of genius in childhood such as hiding a candy stain on my sheets by preemptively cutting a giant hole into the sheet before handing it over for laundry. Nonetheless, it makes for a wild story.
So let’s pretend I really was destined to appreciate an organic, clean diet, and that my fatty processed foods phase was really just that - a phase. I still end up shopping out of convenience. My work day lunch, almost without exception, comes directly from the Whole Foods salad or hot food bar. All things considered, eating prepared or processed foods probably isn’t much healthier when they contain organic ingredients. I’m beyond sick of dissecting labels trying to find products with ingredients I can pronounce and envision before my inner eye. So…
This January, I will not shop at supermarkets.
One month of food sourced only from local farmers’ markets, or specialty stores like small, independent butchers and bakeries. I’ll run through the self-set rules later this week, but just know that though this goal will be a challenge to adhere to, I am giving myself a few sanity outs. Step 1 of good intention: Made veggie soup (above), so when I get up late on January 1, I don’t fail right off the bat. I even ended the year by learning something new.
And what are your food goals for the new year? Will you join me in this quest for health?