By KIMBERLY ANDERSON
Kimberly’s blog focuses on a single objective each month intended to help her and her readers take baby steps toward better living in the spirit of New Southerner. You can keep up with her progress by checking her weekly blog, Baby Steps. She welcomes reader response and hopes you’ll share your stories and challenges in the comments section or by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September Objective: Sustainable Body
Baby Step 1: Buy more whole foods for meals this week than processed food in boxes, preferably from a farmer, farmers market or other local source—organic, if possible.
- Too hard? Buy better foods from your current local grocer.
- Too easy? Pick up a copy of Jordan Rubin’s The Maker’s Diet (for carnivores) or Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (for vegetarians).
This month, I’m focusing on the “Sustainable Body” for two reasons.
The first one is selfish: I carry an extra 40 pounds, have little energy and suffer more frequent depressive moods than when I applied more sustainable practices in diet and exercise. When I consumed more whole foods—organic, when possible—than processed foods, used honey and fruit juices instead of white sugar as sweetener and walked to neighborhood destinations rather than drove, I felt so much better than I do now. And it only two weeks of eating this way before my body started changing.
The second reason is that neighborhood gardens and farmers markets are still available.
In addition to improving our mental and physical health, this baby step is better for the community and the environment because we buy local. Buying local reduces transportation costs in terms of natural resources and pollution, strengthens local economies and reduces the amount of chemicals used for food preservation. There are also benefits to buying organic or from a local farmer who uses good practices. Either option ensures the food has better nutritional value, limits the amount of poisons, hormones and antibiotics used in production, and ensures better treatment of animals, which in turn improves health benefits.
Caution: I cannot guarantee a direct financial benefit of this endeavor because this kind of food will inevitably cost more. However, buying less and eating less are a key to the health benefits. Buy foods you like, but don’t leave your house hungry. Just buy what you need for the week.
Tips: Don’t consider this a diet, and don’t worry about calories. Just tuck in the back of your mind the fact that you can eat foods that have more nutritional bang per calorie. Don’t be afraid of healthy, essential fats. Eat raw foods as much as possible for better nutritional value. Cook with extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or a non-processed butter rather than vegetable oil, which turns into deadly fats when heated up.
Good luck! I look forward to you joining me.