What Does “Eating Locally” mean?

You hear about eating locally and eating better from everyone. It’s a craze that’s been going on for years. Everyone has their own interpretation of it; and everywhere you look new products are being made that are “healthier” or “more nutritional” than the last! Although who is telling the truth? Is it some marketing ploy to get you to buy the sugarcoated cereal just because it has 30% more fiber? Chances are that’s the case.

Now I suggest eating locally. To me locally means the towns or cities that surround where you live: to others that may include the few states around your home. Either way it’s better than buying food from across the country or even the globe. By eating local fruits, vegetables, and meats you help support your own community. By keeping the money circulating in your own area it helps pay your friends, neighbors, or even family. It of course also helps the environment. When you buy food at a supermarket it could come from Florida or California, which are days away. The shipping costs to get from there to here use a lot of gas and energy using up money that could be spent in your community creating jobs.

Another benefit to eating local foods is that you know the people who are growing your food. You can ask them intimate questions about their process: like if they use pesticides, what they feed their animals, what the animals living conditions are, how they harvest, when they harvest, and many other intricate details. The farmers are usually nice and will give you the answers. If your skeptical you could ask them questions before you commit to buying their products. The best part is that locally grown food is usually sold within 24 hours of being harvested meaning that it is at the height of it’s flavor and packed with awesome natural nutrition!

The CSA website  gives you all the farms across America so you can find one closest to you. To buy food from a farm you pay them all the money upfront in the beginning of the season. There are differently sized deals, so you can pick the one that’s right for your family. On pickup day you go there and grab your food, which you get to choose what you want yourself and then leave. Depending on the farm and where you live there will be different things (some even grow and sell beautiful flowers)! One thing you can count on is that the food will always be fresh, ripe, and in season.

The down-side of farmers markets are that they don’t last months in your fridge like store bought foods do, but that’s because the stores put a lot of preservative chemicals in your fruits, vegetables, meats, and boxed items, which isn’t exactly the healthiest. Although, if you have the time and are willing to try it, you can preserve them yourself! Pick Your Own has answered all your questions on preservation methods. The best part is that it could be something the family could try together!

The few things I would suggest to avoid are any foods containing high-fructose corn syrup. It’s pretty hard because it’s practically in everything now. It is just fake sugar containing empty calories designed because for the factories buying corn is way cheaper than buying actual sugar. By cutting this out you avoid highly processed foods, fats, salt, and eat a lot healthier! In all seriousness, no chef at a restaurant would ever prepare his or her customers food with high-fructose corn syrup. So why should you? Though, this means you’d be spending a little more time at home cooking and less rushing around. Which could mean spending more time with the family and creating bonds instead of wishing for that to happen.

Another thing I would suggest to avoid are animals that live in bad conditions. If you’ve ever seen Food Inc. you would know exactly what I’m talking about. These bad conditions that I’m talking about are harsh. Chickens never get to see the sun or go outside. They live inside closed quarters from the moment they’re born until they die. Some animals die in these conditions and can make the others sick. The dead animals can stay there among the living for a while until they are picked up and disposed of. The animals are fed with antibiotics in their foods to avoid sickness. Cows are often fed corn, which is harmful to their digestive tract because they can’t easily digest it. They actually have holes put on them where the farmer can stick their hand in the stomach and grab out the undigested food. It’s sickening, but true nonetheless.

On an ending note here are some tips for eating better by normal people just like you and me.

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