Lead (the Way to Real Rood) By Example
In my day to day life, I’ve become a bit of a “real food evangelist”. I’ve got several t-shirts that are great conversation starters, such as “Butter Was Framed”, “Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal” and “Pesticides Suck”.
The butter shirt, in particular, has drawn a lot of somewhat confused but interested comments, giving me an opening to explain that quality saturated fats are essential to good health. I wore it regularly at our booth at the farmers market last year.
The change in my personal appearance since I changed my diet has also led to inquiries from friends who have noticed the difference. I’ve lost over 30 pounds, and my skin and hair are softer and smoother. No more fat pants! I’m also working on a program with the folks at Herbalix to address some long term health issues, including rashes, hip pain and thyroid problems, and the initial results are promising.
When people visit my home, the huge garden and piles of produce can’t help but draw the eye in summer, and even in winter, there’s always something or another fermenting under a cloth in a quiet corner. Most folks are curious, or at least will inquire politely, so I try to share the bounty and offer tasting whenever possible.
Sell Them on Taste First
Let’s face it – most people are not ready to deal with the concept of chicken feet or other offal on their plates, unless it’s ground up into “mystery meat”.
Since I mentioned that I was using feet in my chicken soup, my mother-in-law has refused to eat it, even though she enjoyed it previously (before I told her). Of course, it’s all a matter of what you’re used to, as evidenced by my youngest’s response to my telling him there was bone broth in the homemade broccoli soup, “I like bone broth. It’s yummy!”
In most cases, the taste of real food will sell itself. Most of us know that “fat free” products are either loaded with sugar or artificial flavorings, or taste like cardboard, or both. Full fat real food dishes, on the other hand, are rich and satisfying.
Even simple items, such as nuts, taste different when they are fresh and properly prepared. During the first food class, I brought out bulk crispy walnuts. One of the attendees commented, “I never knew nuts were supposed to taste this way.”I had purchased at the local hardware store, and walnuts I had harvested at a neighbor’s place, cured, shelled and made into
Focus on the Positive
The industrial food system is downright criminal at times, but showing folks pictures of industrial mega farms may be more likely to turn them into vegetarians or vegans than real food believers. Instead, discuss how small scale farmers and backyard homesteaders raise healthy, well cared for animals, and often help to preserve genetic diversity by protecting heritage breeds.
Local food equals local jobs, too. I much prefer supporting my neighbors and other farmers in the region, than sending money off to parts unknown where the actual farmers and farm workers get only pennies on the dollar for what they produce. When you find a great source for local food, tell people about it.
from Katie: Here are my local Grand Rapids real food resources, if you’re in the West Michigan area.
Read Labels and Encourage Others to Do So, Too
I could kick myself for all the products I’ve bought over the years because I assumed it was “safe” to eat, only to get home and read the fine print and find out it wasn’t what I thought at all.
Latest case in point: I purchased some frozen baby shrimp on sale, thinking it would be nice to have them around to toss into simple summer salads. On the front of the bag, it said, “No Preservatives Added”, so I figured it was just shrimp. Well, buried in the tiny print on the back were the ingredients. Ingredients – in shrimp? Yes.
The bag contained: shrimp, salt, natural flavorings (vegetable protein hydrolysate, soy protein, oleoresin of nutmeg, paprika, ginger and bay), and Red #40. Plus, even tinier print at the bottom said, “May contain bisulfites”. Great. Thanks for the dose of MSG, GMO soy and cancer causing artificial colors with my shrimp.
I find myself buying less and less prepackaged anything, but when I do, I really try to make a habit of reading the labels, because it inevitably bites me in the backside when I don’t. Encouraging others to truly look at what’s in the food they eat every day can be an eye opener for many. I think many of us have assumed that if food is on the market, it must be safe to eat, but unfortunately, that isn’t always true.
Many foods contain ingredients that are “GRAS” – Generally Recognized As Safe, which haven’t been subjected to long term health studies. Take for instance, genetically modified corn, which is in over 4,000 items in your typical grocery store.
In the post “Would You Feed Your Kids Pesticide Chips?”, I discuss how over 65% of the corn crop grown in the United States is now classified as a pesticide – not as food. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer not to feed my kids pesticides. They’ve done the same thing to potatoes and other crops, too. Not a yummy.
Keep it Simple
Finally, don’t overwhelm folks with too much information. It’s really easy to go on about real food when you’re truly passionate about it, but we foodies have to take a deep breath and pace ourselves when introducing the concept of real food to others. (I’m assuming if you’ve made it this far, you are real food “kin”, who haven’t been overwhelmed. 😉
She blogs at Common Sense Homesteading.