Real food is all around us!
We just have to know where to look. From the little Korean restaurant on the corner to the farmer’s market down the road, we have access to real, nutritious food. Sometimes we have to look harder for it. Sometimes it’s there in our own backyards. Here are ten ways to eat real food right now!
1. Look in your own backyard.
Do you have dandelions growing in your backyard? I’ll talk more about foraging in a future post, but if you don’t use chemical pesticides you can eat the dandelions you see growing around you. The entire plant is edible from the flower to the roots. It packs a nutritional punch too! It’s cleansing to the liver and full of vitamins and even minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Eat them in a salad or sauté them with some garlic and onions. Mmm, mmm good!
Other backyard greens you can eat are plantain, chickweed, and nettle. All are very nutrient-dense.
2. Get to know you local farmers.
One of the best things I ever did was get to know the farmers in my area. Go around to the roadside stands you see and ask what kind of pest management they use. I have found that farmers are very honest and open about what they use on their crops, especially when I tell them I have small children and am looking for pesticide-free food.
If you are not sure what it in your area as far as food farms, check out Local Harvest.
3. Join a food co-op.
Do a little digging in your area to find some local food co-ops. I was shocked to find out how many there were where I live in New Jersey! I have to go across the bridge into PA to pick up my raw milk but it’s really not far.
Get a group together and start a drop point or take turns picking up from one. It’s amazing how much a group of like-minded people can accomplish together!
If you are looking for raw milk, check out Real Milk. It’s a great resource for finding raw milk locally at a farm or drop point.
4. Join a CSA.
What’s a CSA? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Many farms sell shares to the public in advance of the growing season. You then either pick up your box from the farm itself or from a local drop point if the farm isn’t local. I did this for two seasons and really liked it. The only downfall is that you may not get enough of something to feed your whole family or you may get a lot of something that you don’t like. In my case we would always get too much cilantro! It’s not my favorite herb.
5. Buy a whole cow, or a half a cow, or a pig, or…
Many farmers offer shares of their pasture-raised meat. You buy it all at once ahead of time and when it is ready, you take it all home and freeze it. There are programs to buy small and large shares. Philly Cow Share is one such program in the area where I live.
6. Grow your own food.
Backyard gardening can be done by anyone anywhere. If you live in the city, suburbs, country, or on a houseboat. You can garden! Put some pots out on your patio or balcony. Plan out a plot on the side of your yard and put in some tomatoes, peppers, herbs, maybe some lettuce and you are good to go!
Think about planting themed gardens. Do you love pizza? Then grow a pizza garden with tomatoes, basil, green peppers, broccoli, and maybe even a mushroom garden.
7. Find a Farmer’s Market.
Every town I have lived in has a Farmer’s Market nearby. They really are prevalent. Check with your township if you don’t know where the closest one to you is.
You can find such wonderful people and food at outdoor markets! Always ask the farmers how their food is grown because not all will be organically grown. Keep in mind that many farms do grow organically but can’t afford the organic certification.
Some markets even have pastured meats, eggs, and raw cheese available. Depending on what State you are in you may be able to get raw milk too!
8. Look for green, sustainable restaurants.
Skip the chain restaurants and look for the family-owned mom and pop shops in your town that source local, fresh food and cook using original, real food recipes.
Tonight we went to a Korean restaurant where everything is made to order and so fresh! We had fermented veggies galore including kimchi, bibimbap, and delicious fish row soup.
9. Be a label reader.
If you are shopping in a grocery store, be mindful of what you are putting into your cart. If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it. If your Grandmother or even Great-Grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t buy it!
We need to get back to natural, as close to the original food source as possible.
Need some help with deciphering ingredients. Check out this book.
10. Cook at home as much as possible.
Use your crock pot if you know you’ll be out all day. Plan ahead. You will save money and be more likely to eat real food.
Stay away from fast food places if at all possible. Limit your eating out to once per month or as a special treat.
Follow the 80/20 rule. Eat real food as much as possible or 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time it’s ok to eat out or eat something not organic.
Don’t beat yourself up if your child has a cupcake at a birthday party! This isn’t an everyday occurrence! I always tell my kids that we eat a certain way at home but when we are at someone else’s house we are to be polite and eat what we are given.
Obviously there are exceptions if you or your child has an allergy of some kind.
There are many more ways to eat real. These ten ways will get you off to the right start.
What resources do you use for finding real food that you can share with us?
Photo Credit: My Mom took this photo of Bibimbap from Eden Korean Restaurant in Cherry Hill, NJ. We ate there for my daughter’s 12th birthday. We love that they source their food locally and cook everything fresh, from scratch in their kitchen!
This post contains affiliate links where appropriate. Clicking on these links does not cost you anything but purchases made through them pays me a small commission. This helps me fund my blog. Thank you for your support!