My favorite quote:
As we've industrialized, we've made food cheaper, but also diminished it nutritionally... there is no such thing as cheap food. The real cost of the food is paid somewhere. And if it isn't paid at the cash register, it's charge to the environment..to your body. ~ Fresh
Over the last few years I've tried to become more intentional about what I put into my and my family's body. I made the effort to go organic where feasible, and although I've been cooking home meals for quite some time now, I took it one step further and am eliminating processed foods where we can too. Here's some of the changes I've implemented:
Bread- on temporary hold
At the start of the year I made it my goal to be baking our own bread and not buying any bread products from the store. This takes a bit more work and has a shorter shelf life, but the difference in taste is phenomenal. I've successfully made soft pretzels (they're gone before you know it!), honey oatmeal bread, bunny-buns for Easter, and English muffins. Truth be told, since Penelope's arrival I have not had the time (or energy) to bake bread - but as she is getting older and a little less dependant, I'll be back to baking bread in no time.
Eggs - soon!
In the search for our next home, we're looking for a place with some acreage - between one and three. Growing up, I remember my parents keeping 2 chickens and a rooster. Fresh eggs are amazing. I would love to keep my own chickens and have Penelope's chore be getting the eggs. I've been doing some research on the benefits of farm fresh eggs vs. what we buy at the store.
- Pasture raised chickens are happy chickens. They peck, scratch and dig for their food - which varies by what is available in the earth and from kitchen scraps from their people. It's the same concept as grass fed beef - these animals are out doing their natural thing, not confined to cages or feed lots and fed manufactured food. They are healthier and don't need antibiotic treatments, which produces a better product.
- According to MotherEarthNews.com, farm fresh eggs boast:
- 1/3 less cholesterol
- 1/4 less saturated fat
- 2/3 more vitamin A
- Two times more omega-3 fatty acids
- Three times more vitamin E
- Seven times more beta carotene
If keeping chickens is not your thing, it's not hard to find someone else who does and might be willing to either share or sell their eggs. Adam's old co-worker kept friends on a rotation and would give away any excess eggs that her hens laid. And they came in all sorts of colors! Peach, green, blue, brown .. very rarely the white that we're accustomed to. Farmer markets or co-ops are a great place to find local eggs too.
Honey - maybe?
The honey bee shortage is making its way into the news more and more. Some blame pesticides, others the weather. Guesswork aside, honey is rising in prices and demand. Over the last several years, my family has been getting our honey from a local beekeeper. Just like fresh bread or eggs, once you try local honey, you'll never go back to the Honey Bear. Unfortunately, rumor has it that even our supplier isn't going to continue after this year. His bees aren't producing enough to make it worth it. So.. a thought popped into my head. Why not keep our own bees? Probably the most hare-brained scheme I've come up with in a while, but hey - the internet says it's easy to do too. I'm still a little hesitant about this, but who knows, maybe it will work out.
Will you join the challenge of bringing more food from the kitchen? In what ways would you change if time and money were no object?
And, for your viewing pleasure - Penny on her play mat.