Sep 9, 2012

Real Food Just Got More Real

Have you heard about the Real Food movement? I've mentioned it briefly in a few other posts, but I finally found a reason to do a whole post on it. Emily at Holistic Squid does an excellent job explaining Real Food. You can also check out the work of Westin A Price as the basis for this movement. Dr.Price was a dentist who travelled the world and studied the health of traditional cultures and those cultures who were then introduced to modern foods. The results were astounding. People who eat local, fermented, traditional foods (this included omnivores and vegetarians) were healthy and virtually disease free. That is until they came upon modern food. Then it was straight to food purgatory for them (and us!) For my part I will say that when I look back at what I imagined a healthy way of eating, it was always food in its most natural state. Little did I know that I wasn't the only one who had this vision. (This is just another confirming fact that I am actually normal in all my weirdness. Phew!)

My grandmother, who was raised on a farm in Nebraska during the depression, comes to mind. Forced to eat fresh veggies from the garden and farm fresh meats and dairy, no doubt. My grandma was a hilarious and lovely person, but she was known as the "front room girl" because she preferred to entertain in the front room than be part of the actual farm work. According to my father, once she got off the farm she was all over the ease that canned and pre-made foods had to offer.  Thankfully my dad took it upon himself to learn to cook from scratch, and I was raised eating home cooked meals, fresh baked bread and real butter everyday of my life. Thanks Dad!

Well, it seems we've come full circle in the food revolution. We've gone so far from eating food in it's normal, fresh state, that there is an actual movement that involves eating like our grandparents. This food trend falls in line with the Organic Farming and Farmer's Market movements that are happening all around the country. Slowly but surly we are learning that maybe the reason our nation is so sick, and getting sicker, is because of the vast amounts of absolute CRAP we eat.

Now, I'm no saint. I'm just as addicted to carbs, high fructose syrup, fast food and all the baked goods I can get my hands on as the next person. But I'll be damned if I don't change my bad habits for my health and the health of my family. This has led to shopping and cooking as locally as possible. Trying not to eat out as much, thus forcing myself to cook. It's not so bad though. When I have the time and energy, I actually like cooking and eating my creations. So far I've dabbled in:

My hopes are that I will eventually get into such a routine of cooking with real food that it will become second nature and that Porter, Luke and I will have diverse happy palates and guts.

A big part of our Real Food deal is meat. There's a lot of it. It's incredibly important that the meat my family eats be raised using non-GMO feed, hopefully eating grass and bugs and rooting around in the soil the way nature intended. They hopefully had happy lives and were treated with the utmost respect before and after their death. To ensure this I talk with the farmer at the market, and thank goodness for the internet and all of the great websites that everyone has.

Current methods of factory farming, feed lots and slaughter houses ARE NOT considered Real Food. When people talk about the raising of animals for food that's bad for the environment, this type of farming is what they're talking about. When animals are humanely raised and slaughtered it can rehabilitate the environment and be a source of good, believe it. For more info, check out Joel Salatin at Polyface Farms and his method of animal husbandry. If you are what you eat, and I eat meat, I want to be happy and healthy. Just like the animals that were raised to feed me.

I came across this series of videos today, they are truly beautiful and informative. They are made by a family who raises and butchers their own pork. It's so well done that I actually shed a tear over the passion that this guy has for animal husbandry and feeding his family and friends. It gives an excellent history of how butchery came about and then he actually shows you how to butcher the whole pig and use each of it's parts. It sounds gruesome, but I swear it's not. It's less messy than an episode of Dexter. There's very little blood, a lot of skill and an overwhelming amount of pride and love for the animal. There are 3 parts, each around 20 minutes. If you have respect for the food you eat, are curious about how it should be prepared correctly or are just into anatomy then please watch these videos.

I don't expect to live in a Real Food bubble, although I've read enough to know there are people who do. What I do expect is to try and make educated choices. Just like in childbirth, parenting and everything else I do. Food is good, it should make us feel good about eating too.

On The Anatomy Of Thrift: Side Butchery from farmrun on Vimeo.

On The Anatomy Of Thrift: Harvest Day from farmrun on Vimeo.

On The Anatomy Of Thrift: Fat & Salt from farmrun on Vimeo.

All of these photos were taken a year ago, September 2011. 
Porter still loves berries, smiles a whole lot and has lovely big blue eyes.