Monday 10 June 2013

Week 24 Nutrition Habit: Farm Markets

Throughout these weekly habits in the 52 Weeks to Better Nutrition and a New You series, I keep coming back to fruits and vegetables. The reason is simple: eating more of them will improve your health, performance and body composition. This week, let's take a break from focusing on what you eat, and focus on where you are getting it.

When possible, I encourage people to buy from local farm markets. Here are the benefits:

For many people on a tight budget, local produce markets are an excellent way to save money! This is a great way to stretch your food dollar farther. I love going to the market and loading up with two huge bags of  fresh produce for about $20. This alone sold me.
Eating local food when possible is better for the environment as there is less travel involved in getting the food to you.

When purchasing foods that come from far away, they are often prematurely picked and then ripen on the truck/boat on the way to your store. Eat local usually means foods are allowed to ripen on the tree/plant/stem/vine. As a result they contain more nutrients and taste better! 

Eating what local farms are producing at the time allows you to rotate your foods as the seasons change. This is a natural way of eating that helps with variety and getting a broad range of nutrients. 

Support small business
Shopping at a farm/produce market allows you to support small business - in this case local farms. This is great for your local economy and that helps everyone in your area.

Less distractions and temptations
Where is your dollar going?
Not only has this saved me a lot of money, but also a lot of trips to the regular grocery store. Shopping at the local produce market helps keep you away from all the processed junk you find at the grocery store. This makes eating bad food less convenient. 

You cast your vote
I once heard a wise farmer say that you vote with your dollar. In a capitalist society, your dollar is your voice. Spend it on what it important to you and that will make an impact. 

Word of wisdom
Some people take an unhealthy extreme to healthy eating. This is not what I'm advocating here. Others immediately start raising objections when they hear things like: local-grown, organic, seasonal. The purpose of this is not to create stressful nutritional restrictions. I still buy some non-organic produce. I still eat bananas from Ecuador. Choose fresh, seasonal, organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables when possible and do not sweat it when you cannot.

This Week's Habit
This week, your homework is to Google farm/produce markets in your area. See what is out there and find a place convenient for you to get to. Then, go and load up on some great fruits & vegetables!

In case you have missed any of the previous weeks in this series, check out the links below:
Week 23: Restuarant Guide 
Week 22: Eat Natural

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