We are two individuals, sister-in-laws, and friends who are striving to thrive and be our personal best as well as making our surroundings a better place to live! Connected by faith, family, friendship, photos, and writing, we just want to share our journey with you!
Monday, January 17, 2011
Buying Local...During Winter!
Okay, it's 7am here and I am anticipating that Noah will be up any second so I decided to just write a quick blog, but something that means a lot to me and I am very passionate about: buying local - food grown in our immediate community! I admit that in the climate we live in, there is a MUCH larger variety of local produce available during the Spring/Summer months, but buying in the Winter, depending on where you live, CAN be done! If I can't buy local, it's very important to our family that we look for the 'next best thing'! To us that includes buying organic, and looking at WHERE our food comes from. We try to stay as close to home as possible! We definitely don't always succeed (our edamame beans have come frozen from China), but we are making a conscious effort to keep the food we eat, close to our home.
Take a look at the amazing produce I was able to buy from Dan's Farm in Victoria B.C. this week: leeks, kombucha or 'sweet mama' squash, apples and parsnips! The apples are seriously the most delicious apples I've ever had! I ate two right away!!! I love the taste (and name) that the kombucha squash provides! I use the squash when roasting veggies, and making soups (Alicia Silverstone has a simple and beautiful recipe for kombucha squash soup in The Kind Diet). I love adding leek to soups and parsnips taste really great when boiled with carrots and sweet potatoes and then mashed!!! MMM!
Local produce not only tastes significantly better, but it's cheaper if you go directly to the farm itself (all the produce shown, was under $10 - apples were less than $1/pound)!
An interesting fact that I learned recently was that there is actually a term for individuals who eat local (try to maintain that 100-mile radius), that was donned by Jessica Prentice for the World Environment Day in 2005. She referred to individuals who eat local as locavores! The term caught on so much that in 2007, the New Oxford American Dictionary chose locavore as its word of the year in 2007!!! Isn't that sweet?! It gives me hope when our society is becoming more aware and accepting new ways that aren't necessarily mainstream or taught in our school system! Do you ever wonder why you walk into a generic huge superstore-grocery store and it's next to impossible to find organic OR local produce? Someone once said something brilliant to me. He said that we create the demand for the products we see in these billion-dollar grocery stores. So yes, it takes a little more time to initially educate and become aware of which stores carry the products that I want to put into my own and my family's bodies, but for me, that is precious time that I am willing to spend in order to insure that my family is being supplied and nourished in the most promising way possible! There are no 'guarantees' in life. Eat that and you will live longer! There are a lot of HUGE unknowns out there and life isn't predictable. What we do know however is that if we fuel our bodies in the best way possible and treat ourselves, and others (to me this includes animals), with the utmost love and respect, we will live the days we have ahead of us to the fullest. We will feel happier and healthier. We will look better. We will be able to think clearer. To me, eating a kind and healthy life while still ENJOYING everything that I put into my body immensely and exercising is a gift that I give myself and my future here :)
Here is an interesting and fun website that is geared for kids but aren't we all kids at heart?!!! http://calc.zerofootprint.net/youth/ is a fun way for children to calculate their ecological footprints! It also has a number of tips and ways that you can be kinder to the environment! I know that children are our future so what's a better way to educate them then to first educate ourselves about how we can be kinder to the environment?!
Ecology Fund also has a great site where you can calculate your ecological footprint by answering some quick questions and at the end it really opens your eyes by telling you how many Earths would be needed to support your current lifestyle if everyone lived that way - scary!
Dan and I recently watched a really sweet documentary called No Impact Man. It's about an author who embarks on a year-long journey with his wife and young daughter to live their life (they live in Manhattan), while making no net environmental impact! It's hilarious, insane and depicts the challenges (the wife has to give up her coffee-shop addictions, shopping pleasures, make-up and live with worms - used for composting in their apartment), and simple pleasures that come from living a life this way. It's totally worth watching. After Dan and I watched it, we were left with the realization that we could never do that but what could we do. We made a pact that we would ONLY get tea/coffee out for 2011 if we bring our own mugs. Dan was given a traveling coffee mug for Christmas and I bought a water bottle and traveling tea mug for myself. So far we have stuck to our promise! Dan is great at forgetting his but amazing at saying 'well I don't really need one then anyways'! We are also composting a lot more and have Noah involved! Noah and I made 'recycling box' out of a recycled cardboard box and labeled it We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers after the book by Lauren Child about Charlie and Lola who learn about how to recycle and earn their very own real tree to plant in their school after recycling and filling their 'tree counter'! Noah loves this book and he loves helping Dan and I carry out our recycling and compost! We don't use a lot of bottles that need to go to the bottle depot but we save whatever bottles we do have and Noah gets to take them to the bottle depot once a month, and the money he receives gets put into his 'spending' piggy bank for him to put towards something he really wants (right now it's a color-changer Doc Hudson from the Pixar Cars movie)!!! Noah was given for Christmas 4 piggy banks that are labeled sharing, spending, saving, and schooling respectively. Each week we give him his allowance ($2 because he is two) and he puts $.75 into his savings piggy, $.75 into his schooling piggy, $.25 into his sharing piggy and $.25 into his spending piggy! It's a great way for Dan and I to start teaching him the importance of money and how to divide your earnings!
Anyways, I am going to finish off my random-filled blog entry by saying that one more thing that Dan and I are really working at doing in our household, is not wasting as much! We are really making the most use out of the groceries we have in our house. For example, if I make too much oatmeal, we save the rest in the fridge and eat it later. I was really sick a few weeks back and ironically it was the day after I had bought a beautiful array of produce that was just waiting to be used. Well, I was so sick (Norovirus), for 4 days that by the time I had re-gained my energy and zest for life, the produce that had been looking crisp and ready-to-use was now flacid and rather sad-looking. I felt terrible having to compost some of it but realized that there are times in life when random, unplanned things change your original plans! I ended up salvaging some of the produce however and made this stir-fry! When it was finished cooking, it looked and tasted amazing! SO YAY! I may have just not used these items before because they didn't look good but now our family is trying to use everything that we buy and only buy what we really will use/need!!!
I am proud to say that we have been walking more and leaving our van at home! We have saved a lot of money on gas and had an amazing time walking around, breathing in the sweet, fresh air and Noah loves taking turns in the stroller and then we find random soccer fields or parks along the way for him to get out and run in! Even though the weather has been dreary and grey, we still have made a point to get outside more and use our legs opposed to driving! Not always realistic, but a lot more fun when you can make the time to do so!
That's all for now! Have a very happy day :)