Starting a business is always an adventure. Dealing with vendors, purchasing choices, cash flow (ugh, I hate that one) and weather are just a few areas I've learned a lot in the last year. But the real surprise is how much I’ve learned about food and what we’re putting in our bodies.
Food science has been important as our population grows, as we expand to more rural areas, and discovering ways to make our food safer. It truly is amazing that we can create food that is shelf stable, get a greater variety of food in whatever area we live and saves us time. Unfortunately, all this advancement is creating products that are so filled with additives and fillers that we’re eating so little actual food. People eat with their eyes so we want bright red tomato sauce, super crunchy crackers, and food we can throw into the oven to prepare. All of these desires are not achieved by adding more natural products but chemically created ingredients that mostly add salt, fats, and sugars.
My son said he was hungry the other day and I told him to eat an apple. He replied “What is this? The 1960’s?!” What? He said people used to have to eat apples for snacks but now we have better stuff like goldfish and chips so we don’t need fruit any more. Oh my goodness! What have I done?
How can you eat healthier without being overwhelmed? Here are a few suggestions:
Shop for local produce – There are still plenty of seasonal fruits and veggies around so find a farmers market or look for “local” signs at the grocery store. You can decide later whether or not you want to go organic or not but start with finding fresh food. Shenot’s Farm in Wexford is a great place to find a bunch of farm fresh items. We also have been stocking local produce for a few months now and it is a joy to see what's in season and meet all these great farmers.
Buy local products – Take a quick look at labels and you’ll notice that local food has much less chemically created ingredients and other additives like gluten and soy. People who have a passion for their families pasta sauce recipe are not adding tons of extra things, they are trying to make it like grandma did. Mama Rosa’s Sauce Kitchen in Butler, PA is a local example of a family making great food.
Make your own food – Yes, it takes more time but sometimes it’s not as much as you’d think. Spice blends make a huge difference in creating something easy for dinner. My husband made chicken one night for dinner (which scared me). He got out chicken, put Steel City Salt Co. Sriracha salt on it, and the fans went wild. That’s it! 2 whole ingredients. So much better than a frozen something in a box.
Eating without a bunch of added gook can seem overwhelming when you stand in the pantry and think “if we don’t eat processed food, what will we eat?!” Take baby steps. Find 1 thing to change first. Discover what is important to you and run with that. Your insides will thank you.