Each month members asked about the greening of their households, issues and solutions. Members were asked: Do you find that your diet is changing? If so, how is it changing and do you see more changes for the future?
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My diet is certainly changing. I have just joined a CSA, and cannot wait to being receiving our weekly box. I decided to finally take the plunge and make the initial investment, which is hard for everyone, but I am thrilled to be able to support my local organic farmers and easily provide healthy food for my household of myself, my boyfriend, and our 2 tiny dogs. Here's a hint I want to share with others who aren't quite ready to join a CSA yet, SOME CSA's provide a weekly menu plan and shopping list for items not included in your box. This is what sold me on it finally, because including this simple information makes cooking sustainable, healthy meals THAT much more accessible. Like everyone here, I am balancing a household, 2 part times jobs, and a full time graduate program. Its a double blessing!
Serving the Triangle region of North Carolina, the Mid-Chatham Farmers Alliance is a collaboration among Harland's Creek Farm [Judy Lessler], Wiseacre Farm [Laurie Heise], Clayton Orchard [Andy Clayton], Pine Knot Farm [Stanley Hughes], Cohen Farm [ Esta Cohen], Chapel Hill Creamery [Portia McKnight], and Roberson Creek Farm.
I am trying to grow what my family needs first, then go to farmers markets second, and grocery stores last. I also have 4 hens that provide more than enough eggs. They are pets and get hugs daily. Most meals are made at home...but the occasional meal out is nice sometimes.
In the past few years, I have definitely noticed myself eating less meat. I can't say it's been a conscious decision, but it's a welcome one. Eating less meat helps me save on my grocery bill, and lightens my carbon footprint as well. I might eat meat once every week or two. I focus more on fruits and veggies, grains, dairy, and plant-based proteins. That's just what my body seems to want, so I listen!
I have been changing my diet over the last five years, first cutting back on animal proteins, in portion size as well as frequency of consumption. Gradually, I have eliminated nearly all processed foods, and focus on eating only whole foods. My fresh fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption has increased dramatically. Many of my foods are eaten raw or cooked in a simple way, with a small amount of healthy oils as necessary. I anticipate making even more changes in the future, especially since my husband is now "on board" with this way of eating. I used to be a "cookie-holic" and now only eat them when I'm doing Christmas baking. These changes in eating habits have had great health benefits for me, not only feeling better, but seeing results in cholesterol levels as well as weight loss.
Our family has had huge dietary changes. For more than 20 years we were vegetarians. When my husband's kidneys failed that all changed. Dialysis drains the body of much iron and protein. We were urged to add Meat protein to our diet and we responded. In Connecticut there is a growing number of small livestock farmers. Almost all our meat comes from one of three local farms. We know the farmers, we even know the animals in some cases. Livestock that eats grass (as opposed to grains) produce meat high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat. The animals are raised humanely. We give our thanks.
Our diet changed when I became pregnant and more aware of the toxins in food. Since we've had our baby, my husband has become very aware of how food is processed and what if ant chemicals are in our regular food supply, including some organic fruits like bananas, scarily enough. We've learned how a lot of cereal companies use GMO grains and corn, even though they are promoted as natural. The Cornucopia institutes website has helped us a lot in learning a great deal.
Our diet is changing in that we don't necessarily eat different, but try to eat what we can grow ourselves, at least some. Last year I tried potatoes that came out great, and will do again this year, only much more. I have the garlic, which hopefully will amount to something. The of course planning on the tomatoes and various herbs this coming season. I also raised broilers last year, that we had for the winter. They were great. There is nothing better than eating something that you've grown or raised, and cared for yourself. If you raise meat animals, you know there are no nasty chemicals or medicines in them, and they really do taste different than the store bought. Same with veggies etc that you have grown yourself. You know the soil, and the seed you used, and no nasty fertilizers. We very rarely eat any red meat anymore. This spring we will hopefully have goats milk, which will be used as drinking milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir and many other goodies.