Like automated robots we shuffle through supermarkets filling our trolleys with boxes and packets of “food”. And with a heavy slant on convenience we’re steadily edging out flavour, nutrient density and planet health; our quest for ease being the root cause of dis-ease in our bodies and the planet’s stability. Sadly with each packet of convenience comes another little wedge in our relationship with food and ultimately our connection with the earth.
Here are ten ways to reinvigorate our marriage with food:
- Eat at the dinner table. At least once a day make a ritual of gathering at the dining table and sharing a meal. Set the table, perhaps light a candle and eat slowly, actually tasting the food; savour the bounty. We have such an abundance of nourishing food at our fingertips. Say a small verse of gratitude to Mother Earth for our sustenance.
- Read food labels. If it has ingredients that your Grandmother wouldn’t recognise, consider an alternative. The same goes for it’s origin. Can another product grown more locally (or at least in your own country) jiggle the budget slightly and make its way into your trolley?
- Make food from scratch. Ask little helpers to pluck basil leaves from the pot near the backdoor. Watch it dance with olive oil, nuts and parmesan cheese then savour the still “green and growing” flavour over pasta. Let go of the complicated recipes and their accompanying shopping lists and instead strive to keep things simple yet flavourful. Celebrate one star ingredient at a time and master a new dish before you try another.
- Use it up. Turn languishing vegetables into a nutrient dense soup. Simmered in “scrappy stock”, infused with garlic, onion and herbs and blitzed with a slurp of cream or plant milk. Freeze things, stew things,
- Visit a farmers’ market in your area and wander slowly amongst the colourful stalls. Choose a new fruit or vegetable to try and be bold and inquisitive with your questioning of the farmer. What is it? How does it grow? What’s the best way to eat it? Make every day an opportunity to learn something new about the natural world.
- Choose local options. If a supermarket is your only choice when it comes to buying fresh fruit and vegetables then become savvy about your food’s whereabouts. If it comes from Peru then you can assume that a) it’s out of season, b) its been sprayed with all manner of unmentionables to prevent it spoiling on its journey and c) it’s supporting a tantrum mindset of “I want it now!”. Be patient and celebrate and savour asparagus’ true arrival in Spring.
- Plant your own garden. It needn’t be grandiose, nor yours to keep forever just simply a a small patch of your world to watch a seed bathed in sun, soil and water, transform into food that nourishes your body.
- Hunt out a “pick your own” farm, grab some baskets and fill them with a sun warmed bounty. To see a blueberry in it’s natural home is to see a blueberry for the first time. Magic.
- Celebrate seasonality. By choosing fresh food when its actually growing and ripe means choosing food that is at its peak in flavour, nutrient value and affordability. Arm yourself with the knowledge of what should be in season in your area and use this to inform your shopping.
- Question the true “cost” of things. Our purse strings dictate much of what we purchase yet it is a sad reality that reaching for the cheaper imported version, laden with food miles and packaging for travel, will ultimately crush the local provider over time. We are heavily tied to a stringent budget so I empathise with this constant quandary. I’m yet to nut out the solution and have come to a peaceful compromise of doing the best I can, when I can and continuing to ask questions like, “Is this a need or a want?”, “Can we do without this?”, “Is there a better alternative?” On a side note, a happy outcome of creating a more simple pantry and a Whole Foods led meal and menu plan is the need for fewer items in the middle aisles of the supermarket.
Let us savour and revere the abundance of choice, flavour and nourishment that this earth provides and show our thanks with the mindful choices we make.