A friend of mine sent me this article last week: Do you have the balls to really change the food system? There are parts of it where I could see it coming off as condescending, though I think this article is well targeted towards the faux-real foodies, the ones who – like she said, watched Food, Inc and were horrified and then talked big about eating real food, but don’t really go the distance or who tend to completely forget about it during the week.
I’m quite proud that I do most of these. In fact, two days ago was the first time I’d stepped foot in a grocery store in over a month. I’ve been getting all my(pastured) eggs & dairy from farms, I get our meat from local farm that sells only grassfed and pastured meats, our produce is from the farmer’s market. And chickens! We’re definitely getting chickens at the start of Spring. Felix has been going to farms since he was 5 months old and once he’s older and I have more free time, *I’ve already talked to a couple farms about being able to volunteer or intern.
*I have this idea in my head of being a full service type of postpartum Doula – we can’t afford for me to go full time to Bastyr University right now, so I’m planning on getting a certificate in herbal medicine and if you know anything about Bastyr, you’ll know that even a certificate from there will look pretty good in my arsenal of knowledge. I want to use farm & food knowledge to be able to offer real nourishment to new moms and I’m also, further down the line, thinking to do some sort of massage training course – again, with the idea that it’s something I can offer to new moms.
Anyway – back to the article – the few times we go out to eat, we’ve only gone to restaurants that use local ingredients and actually… the one we keep going back to, Tilth Restaurant,is one of only two restaurants in the country to receive organic certification from Oregon Tilth. Her ingredients are local, sustainable, and in season whenever possible. I, myself, have just gotten my membership to Seattle Tilth and I’ll be taking their “City Chickens 101” class before Spring. The only ice cream we’ve had all year is from Molly Moon – a famous Seattle ice cream maker that also uses local, in season, organic ingredients. (There’s some really interesting flavors there, but my favorite, by far is the salted caramel. Interestingly, that’s also the only cupcake I ever get from Cupcake Royale, who also uses local ingredients.) Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, my chocolate comes from Theo – “the only organic, fair-trade bean to bar chocolate factory in the United States.”
AND, on top of all that – we’ve not only been using cloth diapers for the past many, many months, but I’ve just fully converted us to the cloth and flannel wipes. (I used to only use them once in awhile.) I have to say, it’s really not that difficult – even on days when I joke about cleaning something up that’s made me question my dedication to cloth diapers. It saves money and I feel a lot better about not contributing diapers & wipes to landfills. I especially like when I get into discussions/debates or arguments with people about “being green” and I can truly say that I walk the walk.
(Ahem. You can always get on me about the fact that I do still go to Starbucks a couple times a week. It’s not something I’m proud of even though I’ll make excuses about the fact that they treat their employees really well regarding health insurance, etc. BUT the point is, I do know the inner workings, practices, and politics of EVERY SINGLE COMPANY from whom I purchase anything. Seriously. Every time I find a product I might try, I look up information about the company first. There are certain companies that I won’t go near either for “environmental” or “political” reasons – anyone associated with Johnson & Johnson, for example.)
It’s not easy, by any means. Or rather, it’s not easy at first. It’s taken me a few years to get to this point and now it’s all so routine that I just don’t think about it. Also, it’s gotten to the point where my morals and values are important enough to me that what most people consider “inconvenient” is, to me, a small sacrifice for the greater good. Nugget will not grow up with parents who preach about being “green” and eating sustainable foods, but then take him out for fast food or throw a processed, frozen meal in the microwave for him when I don’t feel like cooking. (Ahem. The microwave here shorted out when we had an electrical surge just as we were moving in. It’s never been used. We haven’t replaced it. We have not used a microwave in 7 months and I don’t intend to – ESPECIALLY for anything that Nugget eats. No way, no how.)
Also – when I go to the Farmer’s Markets, I don’t use up plastic bags. I’ve bought some really nice, reusable and washable mesh bags for putting all my produce in.
I’ve become quite knowledgeable and proficient at making baby food. (Another reason to go organic, for example – it’s best if you first cook apples and pears with the skin ON, because you keep more nutrients that way. Way until they cool off, remove the skins, then puree.) We had started slowly introducing pureed solids, to let him practice, but we’re now at the point where he gets really, really upset if we’re eating and have nothing to share with him. He’s had nothing but REAL, ORGANIC, FRESH food – pastured egg yolks (no whites yet); his raw goat milk from goats that we said hello to; farmer’s market apples, pears, yams, carrots, beets, broccoli, etc; pureed, pastured chicken with curried lentils (he enjoys spice); pureed white bean and kale soup; split pea soup; and on and on and on. I really haven’t found anything, yet, that he doesn’t like. He’s not a huge fan of broccoli, but he’ll still eat it. He’s had tastes of various spices & herbs in his foods. He loves it all. And the kid can EAT.
And to those who chastised me about the raw goat milk, saying it wasn’t “nutritious” enough, not enough vitamin D – well, he just had his vitamin D levels checked a month ago. Because we live in Seattle and because he was getting the raw goat milk, our naturopath pediatrician gave us vitamin D supplement to give him – which, actually, most babies should be getting these days because even breastfed babies aren’t getting enough (because their moms aren’t, either.) I might also add that this has been a VERY sunny summer and he & I go out walking, rain or shine, several times each week. I do NOT slather sunscreen on him immediately – only if he’ll be out in direct sun, all afternoon. I make sure he gets at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight, no sunscreen, each day. (Whenever possible with the sun, that is.) Well, his D levels were TOO HIGH, so we’ve had to cut back on the supplements. (However, with Fall & Winter coming, we’re going to experiment with a small amount of fermented cod liver oil every day & vitamin D supplements only a couple times a week, to see how that goes.)
Speaking of winter, my challenge now will be to continue with all of this during the Winter. Being local & seasonal is easy in the Spring & Summer, so I’m looking forward to the learning challenge in the next few months. I’ve just started canning this year, so it’s definitely not enough to get us through – but that’s my goal for next year, to can enough tomatoes to last the entire winter. I definitely have enough strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches to get us through until next summer. (Seriously. You should see my chest freezer.)
I feel incredibly lucky. Not only do we have all this room in the house, but one of the downstairs rooms is the perfect pantry/storage room. Our house is split-level, so the downstairs is pretty much a finished basement. It stays cool no matter how hot it is upstairs. There’s a bunch of cabinets in the room, already full of crushed tomatoes. I have a couple of cardboard boxes full of onions, shallots, garlic and varieties of potatoes. There’s my chest freezer. A bowl of blueberries & basil soaking in vinegar for making… well, blueberry basil vinegar that needs to be canned this week and possibly given out at Christmas (which can then be used for making salad dressing!)
Truly. All this home birth/living off the land stuff… my calling, without a doubt.
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