It took me a long time to figure out who I am. Of course, as time does not stop, I do not stop changing either. Who I am is intricately weaved in with what I believe. What I eat. Who I spend my time with. What I do every day.
I really struggle with the one component of who I am: What I eat.
(Photo from Foodbuzz Festival 2009, in front of the Frog Hollow Farm stand.
I wish we had their produce available to us every day!)
Food is beautiful. We are so lucky to have these delicious meals we can make to nourish our bodies and our souls. A meal is not just about feeding our bodies the right nutrients; it is an experience to be cherished and valued. It is a way to bring people together. My favorite posts to write here on this little site are my menus. I really value my menus and I spend a lot of time thinking about what to serve when we entertain. Both my husband and I absolutely love entertaining, and I feel so happy and warm inside when we bring people together to break bread over smiles, laughs, and of course, a RhodeyGirl Tests’ approved meal. I try to match all tastes while staying true to my heritage. I try to make the meal balanced and tasty, yet fun and different.
So where do I struggle? I feel like my food dollar can be more of a political statement than anything else I do in my life. Who do I support? Who is right to support? How do I balance supporting what I believe while still nourishing my body and soul the right way? In my ideal world, my husband and I would live on a farm and eat fresh eggs in the morning and freshly picked berries at night. We would bake our own bread. Everything we eat would come off of our farm, and we would make our entertaining menus based on what our farm was producing at the time. In a more practical world, we would join a local CSA and supplement our weekly basket of goodies with small trips to the local market. We would go to the baker to buy a loaf of bread that he created early that morning in his kitchen.
In Florence we did that. Every day we would buy our loaf of bread from the bakery, our fruits from the fruit man, our nuts and raisins from our favorite nut guy, our vegetables from the old vegetable lady. We do not have that here.
That option does not satisfy our reality. We travel almost every weekend. I work 1 full time job and 3 part time jobs. My husband is an attorney with little free time. We don’t live in California where beautiful produce is available locally year round. Those options are simply not feasible.
I shop at Whole Foods every week in the winter, and Wegmans every few weeks or so. I support products made in the USA over any other country. I support small food producers. When the farmer’s market opens, I will support all of the stands again. We only buy organic meat, poultry and eggs, and when the local stand comes back, we will buy local organic meat, poultry and eggs- whether it is certified organic or not (certification is a lengthy and expensive process for a small farm). We eat lots and lots of vegetables and whole grains, and don’t mind spending the extra money for the occasional piece of organic, local filet mignon or chicken breast. We can eat healthy food on a budget because we make the choice to eat a mostly vegetarian natural diet in the home. However, I still buy packaged whole wheat english muffins. Bottled creamy salad dressings for PB- with ingredients I can pronounce. Canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes. Coffee. Avocados. Bananas. The list goes on. My goal is to spend our food money wisely- both in terms of supporting our beliefs as well as satisfying our desire for health and taste. There is no absolute. There is only balance.
Many of you know that I was once significantly heavier for my frame- 25 lbs to be exact (weight loss story here). The weight loss process was a very lengthy one for me, but I have seen such great progress in how I approach food. I love to eat. I always have and I always will. I am not afraid to use real butter, but I will make an effort to use a little bit of butter instead of a lot. I no longer diet when my jeans get a little tight, but rather try to embrace what my body needs and what my body wants. When we try a new restaurant, I order exactly what my body wants. I trust my body and know that I will stop eating when I am no longer hungry. I try to support local producers, but I know I can’t give up my beloved avocados, bananas, and more. I am ok with that. I have found the balance I need in my life.
To me, food is life.
I feel healthy and strong, and very happy every day. I am proud of how I spend my food dollar, and I am proud of what I put into my body every day, whether it be a local apple one day, or a delicious piece of chocolate the next.
What about you? What is your food philosophy? We already talked about local vs. seasonal vs. organic, but I want to know more…..