Being healthy means eating smart. Once upon a time, that simply meant choosing something from each of the four food groups, but now it also has to be unbleached, raw, organic, fairly traded, free-run, all-natural, whole-grain, obtained in a socially conscious manner and grown within a 100-mile radius, while also being low in sodium, trans fat, preservatives and empty calories.
Label-reading is a must—you can never know what’s in that cream soda you’re drinking (apparently it’s benzene, from the combination of citric acid and sodium benzoate present in the ingredients. Who knew? And don’t even get me started on the aspartame debate …)
Add our own household requirements (Weight Watchers- and diabetes-friendly, can’t take more than 30 minutes to make and is something the Doodle will actually eat) and you can see why I get so stressed out shopping for groceries now.
I’ve been reading up on the current “locavore” trend – encouraging sustainability and minimal environmental impact by purchasing as close to home as possible. This is easy to do in the summer, with a plentiful selection from the various farmers’ markets. It’s fun to take the Doodle out on Sunday mornings for a home-cooked breakfast and a tour around the open-air stalls laden with the day’s harvest.
But what about in winter? With both of us working and taking care of a (very picky) two-year-old, I don’t exactly have time to hunt-and-gather, preserve, cook and stock up, and quite frankly, I’m not a fan of the resulting mush. So when it’s dumping 50 cm’s of snow out my front door and I’ve somehow still managed to get out to shop, there are some corners that inevitably get cut.
I consider it an achievement if I can do my shopping all in one spot – less gas used, less emissions, right? I tend to stay away from over-packaged, pre-cooked, frozen stuff as much as possible and load the cart with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. But then I find myself buying garlic that’s been shipped in from China. So much for being environmentally friendly; suddenly, my carbon footprint is the size of Lake Superior.
So here’s my challenge: how does the average family with kids, working parents, limited time and a budget meet the “locavore” standard, while still eating an enjoyable, healthy, balanced diet year-round? Hire a chef? Now, that wouldn’t be such a bad idea … think Blackie or Moffat would mind coming over to my house a few times a week?
Farmers' markets can be tricky beasts: you aren't always getting "local" produce.ReplyDelete
We have the (in)famous St. Jacob's Farmers' Market practically at our doorstep. While half the time it's no better than a Quebec flea market, throughout the warm months there is an abundance of fresh products from allegedly local sources.
Being our market is so high profile, a common sellers' tactic is to load up at the Toronto Produce Terminal, truck the food down here, and have a "local" sales staff (often Mennonite for that extra charm) and pass the goods off as locally grown. Most sellers should have no problem telling you where the items come from if you ask. As always, buyer beware.