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What I ate in January: cooking from scratch, seasonal vegetables, and sustainable options

This January I really started to focus on making most of my food at home. I would say I probably made 90% of what I ate, at home in my own kitchen this month. I started to do this last year, and it has helped me physically and mentally, and even financially!

No, my eating isn't perfect, but what even is perfect eating?

How working at a farm changed how I view food.

Something I started to notice while working at a farm in 2022 was how disconnected we are to natural growing seasons. I started to realize how weird it is that we go to the supermarkets to buy imported fruits and vegetables, when we don't even know what is growing around us! That is insane! Maybe we should only be eating strawberries when they pop out of the soil around us. Maybe we shouldn't be eating pineapples and mangoes when it's snowing outside.

When I started to see what grew seasonally, I started eating what I saw available because I could literally see it being hauled off from the fields behind our farm stand after being picked by my coworkers. Seeing them come off the fields drenched in sweat or rain, covered in dirt, and exhausted, I began to see food differently.

Our foods change with our seasons

I started to see the seasons living through the food. We knew it was the start of summer when the strawberries would pop up, in the thousands!!! But, you had to get them while they lasted because they would be done growing in just a few weeks. Same with blueberries. Same with asparagus!

Then the summer watermelon... oh the watermelon!!! Gorgeous, sweet smelling watermelon grown right out back. You'd want to get them at peak season to avoid the mushy dry ones.

Then, the glorious corn. People were crazy about the corn! We would have to tell people to wait, giving them estimates on picking dates. People would buy dozens and dozens once it was out on the table. The sweetest corn, the freshest corn I have seen probably since my grandpa grew it in his own back yard.

How could I forget the peaches? The sweetest peaches you've ever eaten - straight from the same orchard as the guy who gave us our apples at a nearby orchard when they dropped in the fall.

What would last when the cold came in? Only the hearty, strong plants. Kale, pumpkins, squash, cabbage, potatoes, onions...

Working there was amazing. So, so amazing.

I would get to take boxes of food home. Most of the summer I was eating for free - all the best and freshest food - all leftover from the harvests. I had so much energy and felt so happy.

It taught me about growing, and how important it is to be connected to the food you eat. I saw it firsthand. It was so clear to me. I could say so much about how awesome my time was there.

Eating sustainably

Though I don't work there currently, I still use everything I learned. Last summer, I made a point to shop at our farmer's market in town. I also started shopping at our local farm stand. I started eating what was available, fresh and local. I also started my own garden.

Our food is the centerpiece of living. When we do it right, and we get community involved, and our own hands involved - change can happen fast.

But, lasting change, can take time.

Healing our relationship to food is going to take some time. But, we can start now.

How to start eating sustainably

Here is how I started to eat more sustainably.

Eat seasonally

Pay attention to what is in season for your area. Here, nothing is growing (except meat), so I tried to eat what I would have if I had a root cellar. I also focused on meat - I always tend to eat meat more in the winter now. I also ate a lot of spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut squash (soup!), and canned vegetables.

Educate yourself

Start educating yourself. There is so much information out there. I am a huge fan of YouTube for stuff like this. Some of my favorite creators right now on gardening are Roots and Refuge, Epic Gardening, and Garden Like a Viking just to name very few.

Start making most of your food at home

This is huge. When you start making your food at home, you're in control. You're in control of where your money goes, you're in control of your waste, you're in control of the nutrients you're getting, you're in control of how much or how little you eat, how good it tastes, home much of it, what kind - yeah YOU are in charge. It might be daunting at first, but YOU are in charge of you! That's freedom! Freedom to take care of yourself, nourish yourself, have fun, feel good, take care of your family, create memories... it is endless. It is an open door to new possibility, and saving loads of money.

Stick to it

We're all learning, and it's going to be an adventure, but taking baby steps is how we get there, and by helping each other!


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