Organic, local and fresh

Aspiring to live a healthy lifestyle is something I truly pursue. I don’t workout hardcore, but I do exercise, and I do my due diligence when it comes to nutrition labels and organic ingredients. And with a little help from some of my friends and family, it makes it a little easier to follow through with healthy and clean eating.

My cousin-in-law (pretty sure that really isn’t even a thing), who’s more like a brother-in-law, has been running a small urban agricultural project for a private college in our area. He uses this farm – created from recycled and repurposed materials – to educate his students on sustainable farming practices, as well as performing community outreach to educate the general public on the same efforts, and much of the produce is donated to local charities. And sometimes, he realizes they’ve ended up with a hell of a lot more produce than needed, even for donation. That’s where family comes in 🙂

My “bro” – as I’ll call him for the sake of this post – showed up with a bangin’ assortment that included cucumbers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, green beans, pole beans and okra. And like I said, it’s all organic! Totally stoked.

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For dinner one night, I snapped the green beans and it took me back to when “BigDaddy” – my mother’s old man. BigDaddy had a pretty impressive garden while I was growing up, where he farmed all sorts of veggies – big, maze-like corn stalks, fresh tomatoes, patty pan squash, fig trees, and TONS more. My husband? Well, he refused to help snap the green beans because this dinner prep was a punishment he and his cousins endured as kids. So I let that slide and prepared the beans myself, bowling them in water with a big ol’ piece of bacon (have to, every time).

I also decided to take some of the zucchini and combine it with a sweet onion and some yellow squash I already had… and with butter (organic, unsalted butter though)!

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The next day I figured I’d use up a portion of the massive stockpile and mix up a tomato and cucumber salad. Didn’t have any red onion though, so I tossed it with plain feta, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

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I absolutely love and appreciate fresh grown veggies from a local garden. ESPECIALLY when they’re organic, and without all the crap that goes on so much of our food these days! It seems almost impossible to keep up with what we should buy organic and what we need to steer clear from entirely. 

Although I’m not a nutritionist or hardcore treehugger, here are some of the guidelines I follow to try to be and stay healthy:

  1. I always reference the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, especially when it comes to shopping for my kids. I have the app on my phone so I can check it while I’m shopping (since pregnancy brain became mommy brain).
  2. When buying packaged foods such as granola bars, crackers and more, I pay attention to sodium and sugar content. I also only keep Himalayan Pink Salt in the house. And man, does my body swell and do I feel like absolute $@&! now when we eat out anywhere! I was even able to maintain amazing blood pressure during my pregnancy – I reached 125 as my all-time high and that was at the very end of my 37 weeks.
  3. With two toddlers that aren’t really using utensils yet and can be picky some days about their food, casseroles are a huge hit in our house. The downside though? They’re usually super creamy, meaning they have a “cream of” soup, sour cream, tons of cheese, or all of the above – aka FAT, and not the good kind. I use the lowest sodium I can possibly find in Cream of Mushroom soup (because I just can’t make some of my grandmother’s recipes without it), then sub out the sour cream and sometimes half of the canned stuff for plain Greek yogurt.
  4. I only serve my littles organic milk and yogurts, and try to shop for all of their dairy to be organic. When I catch some good sales, the rest of us get organic stuff too 🙂

What are some of the ways you try to cut out the bad stuff and keep you and your family healthy? I always love a good recipe and advice!

 

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