Why you should choose SLOW (Seasonal, Local, Organic, Whole) Foods

Why you should choose SLOW (Seasonal, Local, Organic, Whole) Foods

Consuming S.L.O.W foods; that is seasonal, local, organic (or at least sustainable), whole foods, is the simplest way of eating as close to what nature intended as possible. These foods provide your body with foods it recognises, foods to keep you and your family healthy and well.

I really don’t want to overwhelm you here, but perhaps just consider some of the small changes you can incorporate, which will be of benefit to your health in many more ways than one. This post is designed to help you to make informed decisions when sourcing your fresh produce.

The benefits of eating SLOW foods also extends beyond your physical health. Purchasing SLOW foods protects the environment, defends food biodiversity, promotes sustainable agriculture and supports small-scale food producers (keeping your money within your own community).

How and why you need to make sure it is seasonal and local

Fruit and vegetables that are ‘in season’ are always the freshest and most nutritious foods. If sourced locally, this means that they haven’t travelled far and you can be rest assured that the nutritional content is as good as it gets. Long periods of storage results in a loss of nutrients. Once more fruit, vegetables, meat and fish that has to travel, is routinely treated with a variety of chemicals, to extend their shelf life and to make them look fresher and more appealing. You may be getting a whole lot more than you’ve bargained for if your not eating locally.

The farmers market is obviously the very best place to get to know what foods are in season and locally grown. Find a farmers market near you by checking out my health resources guide. There are also many ‘farm to you’ businesses, as well as fantastic organic and local butchers and fruit and vegetable shops selling great local and seasonal produce. Once again, see my resources guide for a store near you.

Remember you are always entitled to ask your retailer about the produce they sell as sourcing local, seasonal produce alone can make such a massive difference to your health. If you are shopping in a supermarket, then choose the produce that is marked ‘new season’ and only ever buy ‘Australian’ produce. Buying imported produce exposes your body to potentially dangerous chemicals. This is especially critical to be mindful of when choosing produce to feed children, whose body mass is so much less than adults. If your children like grapes for example, but they are from overseas, I would urge you to reconsider buying them (they’ll like them even more by the time the local season starts again!).

Why Organic?

This is a post in itself. But briefly, my reason for trying to consume mostly organic produce is simple. I know that organic produce is more nourishing and organic farming more environmentally sustainable. I also know that organic produce contains far less chemicals and pesticides than conventionally farmed produce.

This was clearly demonstrated in a 2011 study where the urine of school children fed a well-balanced conventionally farmed diet, compared to an organically sourced diet was analysed. The chemicals tested for were known to cause disease in humans (being either carcinogenic or hormone disrupters).

The result was that:

Organic group – an average of 8 chemicals per child were found

Conventional produce group – an average of 184 chemicals per child were found

Of further concern is whilst it is known that these individual chemicals are damaging to our health, what is yet to be determined is how combinations of various chemicals effect us. Every year over a thousand chemicals are introduced into our food chain. The case for consuming organics is strong, simply on the basis of what you are not consuming.

It does’t cost the earth to buy organics

There are economical ways to source organic produce. These are the things I do to help to buy within my budget-

1) Shop at farmers markets. You’ll save money by buying more of the things you need, and less of the things you don’t. Talk to the farmer about what chemicals he uses. Even with conventionally grown produce, the chemical load will be less if it hasn’t travelled. The other bonus of markets is that you can often sample produce before your buy it. This is great for children, as they can taste a product to decide if they like it, before you buy it.

2) Shop around, buy in bulk and stock up the freezer – if you find produce at a good price then buy up and throw it in the freezer (the best chemical free preserver). Allot of my organic produce costs me less than conventional, because I shop smart.

3) Grow what you can.

4) Use cheap cuts of meat – I post lots of recipes using cheap cuts. Also try to always bulk out my meal. For example, a lamb shank stew for 4 people could only have 2 shanks in it. Make it go further by adding legumes (lentils, chick peas, beans) and lots of vegetables. Nutritionally this is great too – more variety in the one meal!

5) Demand drives down price. When my daughter was a baby, I could not afford to feed the whole family organics. So I had her food (organic) and ours (not organic). Now, organics are much more affordable due to consumer awareness and demand driving prices down.

I hope this post has inspired you to consider your options when grocery shopping and has given you some ideas for making the best choices.

For more inspirational health posts and delicious, simple, healthy whole food recipes visit www.wellnourished.com.au Well Nourished was developed by Georgia Harding…naturopath of 18 years, mother and lover of delicious, whole foods.

Well Nourished is a simple, common sense guide to the basics of how to eat well and be well. No fads; just real food, simple recipes, for real life and optimal health. We'd love you to drop by!

Link to resources above http://wellnourished.com.au/health-resources/  

Lamb, bacon and lentil pot 

Another one pot wonder. There's nothing like a tasty stew to delight your taste buds! This recipe is so tasty, it's sure to become a family favourite.

You don't really need a whole shank per person here. I'm all for spending extra money on quality meat, buying less of it (so it's still affordable) and bulking it out with other good stuff. Not only is this approach kinder to your hip pocket, but it's also a healthier way to eat. You know I'm all for variety too, so including the lentils for extra protein is a winner.

Why is it so good for you?

The bone stock I've raved about here, and by slow cooking the shanks this way, even more immune boosting goodies are added. The onion, garlic, vegetables and rosemary give a further boost to your immune system.

You can either throw it in the slow cooker or cook in the oven on a low temperature (like below). The meat just melts in your mouth and the flavour of the bacon and rosemary is a match made in heaven.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 onions, sliced
1-2 large cloves of garlic,
sliced 2-4 lamb shanks (depending upon your appetite)
Can of brown lentils, drained and rinsed or 1 cup of cooked brown lentils
2-4 carrots, sliced
4 rashers free range or organic nitrate free bacon,
diced 1 cup of home made chicken or lamb stock
¼ cup red wine
1-2 cups Swisse brown or button mushrooms,
sliced 2 -3 stems of celery,
sliced 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary,
chopped (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
Sea salt and black pepper

Optional extras

1 zucchini or eggplant, diced 1 teaspoon dulse flakes  

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees celsius.

In a large oven proof dish (I like my cast iron pot), place the lamb shanks and brown quickly on the stove top over a medium high heat. This is not essential and I have to confess, I'm a bit lazy and tend to take the just throw it all in approach.

Next, add all of the ingredients, season and stir to combine. Make sure the lamb shanks are toward the bottom of the dish and covered with the liquid and other ingredients.

Cover with the lid and cook for 2-3 hours. I aim for 3 hours, as the longer it cooks the more tender the lamb. I tend to put it in the oven before school pick up and it's ready in time for dinner.

Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley (good way to hide this very nutritious green) and serve alone or with one of the following...

Serving suggestions

Steamed and buttered vegetables
Mashed potato, sweet potato or pumpkin
Pureed cauliflower
Cauliflower,broccoli and lemon salad
Green beans, steamed and dressed with lemon juice, zest and EV olive oil.   V

Variations

Vegetarian

Possible. Double the lentils, use vegetable stock, boost up the vegetables, add some extra mushrooms and add a tablespoon of smoked paprika (to add a smoky flavour like bacon). You could also add tempeh and cook for only 1 hour.

Enjoy this hearty feast.

For more fabulous whole food recipes, visit www.wellnourished.com.au Well Nourished was developed by Georgia Harding…naturopath of 18 years, mother and lover of delicious, whole foods.

Well Nourished is a simple, common sense guide to the basics of how to eat well and be well. No fads; just real food, simple recipes, for real life and optimal health. We'd love you to drop by!

In case the links drop off-

Bone stock link - http://wellnourished.com.au/2013/05/20/bone-broth-for-the-soul/