Friday, February 13, 2015

Newsletter for February 2015

Farm Update

Although the winter temperatures are cold, the chickens are
still doing well and enjoying the outdoors.
Hello everyone!  These last few months have been a pretty relaxed time for us as a farm family.  There isn't much we can do while everything is under snow, although Fred did prune a lot of blueberry bushes a few weeks ago when we had a thaw.  Other than that, most of what we do is indoors.  Fred has been working on building some new equipment and ordering supplies, and I have been focusing on spreading the word about the CSA and doing general record-keeping and tax things.  Fred is also teaching a series of classes at Delta College about small-scale farming.  February is pretty chill around here, in more ways than one.  This is also the time of year that Fred gets antsy to get back outside, so he has been keeping a close eye on the weather for any sign of spring.  And although you can't tell by looking outside, spring will be here soon enough, and the real work of the farm will begin for the year

Resolution Reboot:  How Eating More Veggies Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Ah, February.  The snow is on the ground, the sun is covered by clouds, the excitement of having a brand new year has worn off, and if you are like most people, your new years' resolutions have fallen by the wayside.  Losing our resolve before the end of January is kind of a cliché, and part of that is because people often make really ambitious goals for the new year without planning how to meet them, or we make so many goals that we get overwhelmed with all the changes and give up.  But what if we could change one habit that would have a positive spillover into all of the other areas of our lives?  In my opinion, in eating more real food (as in, heavy on the produce, and no stuff made in a lab), you will be better equipped to achieve other goals in your life.

I did a web search on popular new years' resolutions, and here are some of the most common ones I saw:
  • Lose weight
  • Be fit and healthy
  • Spend more time with loved ones
  • Quit smoking
  • Enjoy life to its fullest
  • Get organized
  • Get out of debt
    Either directly or indirectly, eating healthier foods will make all of these goals easier to reach.  Let's elaborate:
    • Lose weight:  This one is almost a no-brainer.  It's pretty much common knowledge that eating more fruits and veggies helps people lose weight, because they contain more nutrition per calorie, because you need fewer calories of these items to feel full, and because they contain lots of fiber, which is extremely good for us.  What is less well known is that because these contain the nutrients and micronutrients that our bodies require, they allow us to feel satisfied and not crave more food to gain satisfaction.  The thing is to stop associating healthy foods with deprivation.  Admittedly, I would not feel very satisfied after eating a raw carrot (I always wondered why Bugs Bunny seems to like them so much).  But I love carrots sauteed in a little olive oil or coconut oil.  It's all in the preparation.
    Jessamine takes a break from her
    busy schedule of playing to shop
    for fresh fruit at  the Green Tree
    Co-op in Mt. Pleasant.
    • Be fit and healthy:  There are two components to this one:  healthy eating and healthy physical activity, and the two feed into one another.  When you are eating healthily, you have the energy you need to go out there any engage in physical activity.  And when you are physically active, your body wants foods that are good for you.  I don't understand all the science behind why it works that way, but I have experienced it often.  That doesn't mean that if you are a marathoner you won't ever want to eat pizza, but you are more likely to want a slice of pizza and a salad, rather than three slices of pizza.  But you're never going to be able to fuel marathon training if you aren't eating your fruits, veggies, healthy proteins, and some good fats.
    • Spend more time with loved ones:  In recent decades, many families have started taking on lots of interesting activities, from soccer leagues, art classes, and school extracurriculars for the kids to card nights, PTA meetings, and book clubs for the grown-ups.  What this often means is that families are eating together less often, and many people set new years' resolutions to remedy this decrease in family time.  Why not make a healthy meal (out of actual ingredients, not from boxes and cans) and eat it together with your family?  You could even get your kids in on it, even if they aren't old enough to cut veggies or measure ingredients yet.  Basically, if they are old enough to stand unaided and not touch a hot stove or sharp implements, they are old enough to "help".  Our two-year-old likes to stand on a chair next to the stove and keep an eye on things as they cook.  She even gets to stir occasionally, and she loves it.  She calls it her "cooking job."  So cooking and eating a meal with your family is a win-win:  You get to spend more time with them during the cooking and eating, you are eating foods that will fuel you and satisfy you, and your kids/spouse/self get to augment your cooking skills.  And, kids are way likelier to eat foods they helped prepare, and hence, more likely to eat things they traditionally haven't liked.
    • All of the other resolutions:  The effect of healthy eating on the other resolutions (quit smoking, live life to its fullest, get out of debt, get organized) is more indirect.  Basically, when you are eating well, your body feels better and you have more energy.  As anyone who has had chronic pain, migraines, or bad morning sickness can tell you, it's hard to get motivated or focus on accomplishing things when you feel awful.  If you are filling up on foods that make your body and mind feel sluggish, you are far less likely to be motivated to begin or stick with any of these resolutions.  Normally, I am a very motivated, get-it-done kind of person.  But both times I was pregnant, I could barely get up off the couch for the entire first trimester.  So I know how this goes.  And when you're eating a bunch of junk food, that's what you're doing.  Between feeling sluggish, generally having more bulk to carry around, and having more physical difficulties, you are directly inhibiting your ability to reach your goals.  
    So let's reboot those new years resolutions, but instead of trying to focus on everything at once, let's just focus on one thing that will make everything else easier.  Make a commitment to eating more real foods, and you'll probably find that your other goals are falling into place with a lot less effort than they used to require.  Okay... ready, set, GO!