Right, so last time I told you how I used to eat. Now I'll tell you why it started to change.
About two years ago: I (and a lot of other people) suddenly realized that I really should be trying to live in a more sustainable way. This is the point where I stopped using things like saran wrap and paper towel. I kind of realized that this should have something to do with food (eat less meat? Organic?) but there wasn't a lot I felt like I could do at that point.
September 2007: we moved from Lethbridge back to the Kootenays which is home to me. Also? There's a whole lot of gardening going on out here in the summers. I started thinking more about food security. I read Animal Vegetable Miracle, Echoholic and watched Jamie at Home. I became vaguely twitchy about the food industry. I found myself having a previously unheard of urge to garden. It was all very strange. Also I realized that I was a grown up now and should probably start canning my own food instead of just stealing it from my mom...
Last summer: We spent the summer at my parent's farm. Craig got a summer job in the area and I took the summer off to focus on my graphic design/illustration work. And we learned about the garden. I learned to make jam (easy!), can, pressure can (still frightening!) and remembered that fresh homemade bread is a nice thing to have around. We were so surrounded by excellent food that summer than I managed to can and freeze a ton. Still eating some of it. I learned that really? I can do this self sufficiency thing.
This fall: I read In Defense of Food by Micheal Pollen. This gave me an extra push and I started systematically cutting out processed food. Starting with margarine and fat free yogurt. Breakfast cereal. White rice. I wasn't necessarily changing my cooking habits oh so much but I was changing the basic ingredients. Free range eggs. We mostly just ate the beef my parent grow on the farm for meat. I immediatly noticed a difference, I had more energy and started to lose weight. I lost almost 10 lbs last fall. Mostly by eating more fat. Well, and whole grains. Curiouser and curiouser.
This Winter: This winter I came to a realization, the only way I could be sure of what was in our food, where it came from, and how it would affect our health, was by cooking as much of it from scratch as I could. I also decided to stop buying produce, dairy and meat from other countries. I think the globalization of food is a big problem, and while I can't fix it on my own, I decided to start walking the walk. This was a lot of work, but I had already made half the changes I needed to by putting up food over the summer.
I have never had so much fun with food. Not since I was a kid learning to make cookies. I'm experimenting with new vegetables (because I can't get peppers, but I can get celeriac!) new recipes. I had a quest to come up with the perfect whole wheat bread recipe. I'm learning to cook strange cuts of meat (well...to me roasts are strange), whole chickens. I'm learning to use more whole grains. I just learned to use dry beans. I can make ricotta. And crackers, and granola bars.
So am I there yet? Not even close, this year I really want to get more into cheese making, yogurt, natural sweeteners. In the future? I hope we can get a place where we can garden. Get chickens. Maybe a goat...
So the moral of this story? Making little changes as you go is a good way to do things. Pay attention to what you are eating and why. Good food is always a journey, not a destination.