Did you make new year’s resolutions? What do they entail? Weight loss? Better money management? Improved health? A reduced carbon footprint? The following 7 food resolutions have you covered.
1. Eat real food you cook yourself and avoid fad diets.
If you cook everything from scratch, you can pretty much eat whatever you like (unless you make only cookie dough ice cream and homemade plum wine). With all the ferments I eat, my diet may seem like a fad. Seventy or 80 years ago however, when organic food was simply called food, my diet would have been considered normal. I eat pretty traditional fare—sourdough bread, fermented vegetables, pastured chicken, pastured butter, raw milk (but not exclusively raw) and so on.
2. Cut the processed food.
When I went plastic-free in 2011, I quickly realized that I had stopped eating processed food. By cutting the plastic, I inadvertently cleaned up my diet. My older daughter lost her extra pounds, we started eating better and, although I haven’t done the math, I do spend less on food than I used to, even though I buy quite expensive ingredients.
3. Shop at the farmer’s market.
The food tastes better and you support your community. Because your local small farmer has recently picked the food, it retains more nutritional value than the produce that travels 1000 miles on a truck (after being picked unripe and gassed), sits in a warehouse and then ships to your supermarket. Yes, farmers’ market produce will generally cost more money than food from a discount grocery store or Walmart. These resolutions are a package deal (i.e., you’ll save money overall). However, when you buy produce in season (that’s all you’ll find at the farmers' market), it does cost less than out-of-season produce.
Farmers' market produce and two freshly baked loaves of sourdough bread
4. Eat at mealtimes.
By cutting the processed food, I also inadvertently stopped snacking. I don’t have time to make from scratch all the snacks I used to buy at the store (although I do bake sourdough crackers every week or so). When you eat at mealtimes, your cupboards don’t burst with snacks. You snack less. Learn more about how to create your ideal eating schedule.
5. Take all you want, but eat all you take.
According to the NRDC, in the United States, we waste up to 40 percent of the food we grow. That squanders precious resources, such as the water to grow the food, the oil to run the tractors and the labor to plant and harvest the food. When all that wasted food starts to rot in a landfill, it releases methane gas, a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide. When I have excess vegetables, I make soup or another vegetable-heavy dish or I ferment them (see #7).
6. Eat ugly fruit and vegetables.
Some of the 40 percent of the food we waste in this country never actually makes it to the store. Why? Because most grocery stores reject ugly produce—kinky carrots, oblong apples, misshapen potatoes. But people have begun to rediscover that produce that doesn’t fit into the supermarket image of ideal beauty tastes just fine—and costs less.
Ugly organic avocados on sale at the farmers' market
7. Learn to ferment food.
Since I cleaned up my diet in 2011 and started eating more fermented food (I eat at least one fermented food every day), I rarely get sick. Filled with gut-friendly probiotics, fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, etc.) boost your immunity. They aid in digestion. They make nutrients more bioavailable for your body. By fermenting foods myself, I save a ton of money. Click here for more reasons to prepare fermented foods.
Naturally fermented apple-ginger sauerkraut
The last time I made new year’s resolutions, I broke at least one by 10am on January 1st. They were all “don’ts”: don’t do this, cut out that, deprive myself of whatever. These resolutions focus more on gains rather than sacrifices. I don’t feel I have denied myself anything by adopting these habits. In fact, they have enriched my life.
I wish you a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2019.