Here are ten steps that we should take to become mindful eaters.
1. Learn to Cook.Without basic cooking knowledge, none of this is possible. Learning to cook your favorite foods using local ingredients can really make all the difference.
2. Eat Locally.If you care about delicious food, health eating, proper stewardship of the planet, and supporting your local economy then you must source out local ingredients.
3. Eat Seasonally.This goes hand-in-hand with eating locally. Eat root vegetables and hearty greens in the fall and winter. Eat salads, fruit, and tomatoes in the summer. Even milk and eggs are more abundant during certain times of the year.
4. Preserve the Harvest.If you eat locally or seasonally then you’ll have to learn to preserve the harvest. Try canning, dehydrating, freezing, and lacto-fermentation. Look to Simple Bites for a helpful how-to series later in the season.
5. Grow Something… Anything.Start with herbs or lettuce. Radishes are really fast and fairly simple. Even if you rent you can create a container garden. Once you catch the gardening bug you will just want to grow more. Simple Organic had a great article for beginning gardeners.
6. Give Up Store Bought Convenience Foods and Make Your Own.You can make your own taco seasoning, yogurt, chicken stock, pesto, granola, tomato sauce… the list goes on and on. If you buy it from the store, do a quick recipe search and try making it at home.
7. Buy Fair-Trade.When you don’t know your farmer because you’re buying from a foreign country look for the words “Fair-Trade”.
8. Know The Cost of Cheap Food.Do you ever wonder why some supermarket food is just so cheap? You may not pay for it at the cash register, but the cost to your health, the soil, and the environment are there. I rambled about the cost of a nourishing diet not once, but twice. It really is important.
9. Eat Animal Products.I know this may be controversial, but locally grown animal products can be more sustainable than those grains and beans from the bulk bins. I have seen the “organic” bins be filled with bags from China. I know that not everyone feels the same way, but it is my personal belief that locally, biodynamically raised animal products are a better choice than monocropped grains and beans.
10. Be Willing To Give Up Convenience.This may be the hardest part of changing the way you eat. On the other hand, it forces you to simplify your food in a way that promotes health and flavor. The simple truth is sustainable food does not outsource it’s preparation.
Eating mindfully may take a bit more effort, but the rewards – for your family and their future – are too big to pass up.