I try to be a mindful eater. Considering that we are what we put into our body, I want to be sure I’m made of healthy, pretty things. So I recently took an inventory of the foods I regularly eat, and here is what I found; if I am indeed what I eat, then I am made of approximately 30% fruits and vegetables, 20% animal, 15% eggs and dairy, and 35% a combination of additives that years of winning spelling bees won’t help me to sound out, chemicals that even scientists have to use initials or nicknames for, and seven synonyms for sugar.
What the heck are you eating?
Let’s talk about a common food additive, but instead of saying “Butylated Hydroxytoluene,” let’s say “jet fuel.” It’s also used in embalming fluid, so we can call it that if it’s easier on the stomach. But it really isn’t, is it?
How about another common food additive? Azodicarbonamide is what yoga mats are made from, but it also happens to be used in food. I’ve always wanted to become one with my yoga practice, but adding this stuff to my food is about nine steps too far.
Take a bite out of this food crime!
So in order to avoid all of this mess, we obviously need to build earth-shelter homes on islands far away, grow our own food, and raise our own livestock.
Or, we could just join the revolution!
It’s called “knowing where your food comes from.” Food can be fun, delicious, and easily pronounced.
Local restaurants like Grey Plume, Dante’s Pizzeria, and Block 16 are among some amazing local eateries practicing what they call “Farm to Fork.”
Dolce on Maple, Benson Brewery, and Harvest at Lakeside are all striving to bring you locally sourced, pronounceable fare.
I spoke with Jessica and Colin, the dynamic duo behind Kitchen Table in the Old Market. Jessica told me that the driving force behind their food philosophy is love. The “kitchen table” is where a family comes together at the end of the day to enjoy a healthy, hearty, home cooked meal. They've designed their restaurant so that everyone from the vegetarian (like Jessica) to the gluten intolerant, to the ravenous carnivore can feel included and at home.
They’ve created such close relationships with everyone, from their clients to the local farmers who make regular deliveries to the restaurant, that they've begun to feel like everyone is another member of a very big, loud, loving family.
You don’t have to resort to a diet of wheat grass shots and green smoothies to be a clean, mean, awesome machine; you just have to know where to look.
The war at home
In a city as rapidly expanding and open to change as Omaha, your healthful dining-out options are growing almost constantly. Now, to tackle that tricky pantry of yours.
If you walk into your kitchen, you’ll see labels with cheerful ingredient lists and bold lettering touting “25% of your daily ______ needs!” What you won’t see in this clever marketing is the advertisement of 1200% of your daily tolerance of yellow #40. 730% of your daily allowance of sugar. 670% of the amount of toxins your body knows how to filter out.
What you may not notice on the food labels are the chemicals that have been scientifically proven to cause hyperactivity, sensory processing disorders, diabetes, and obesity.
So where does one find a steady supply of quality foodstuffs? Enter our hero: Your Local CSA.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Supporting small farms is the only way to keep them running and prevent big, chemical-laden, unethically-run factory farms from becoming our only source of nutrition.
You deal directly with farmers to secure a weekly delivery of fresh, local food. These can include all manner of produce, eggs, meat, butter, milk, honey, and even pet food. To gain your own perspective, head down to your local farmer’s market and support an area grower this weekend.
Wenninghoff Farms has already won my heart this year. The harvest events alone were enough to make me promise my patronage yet again.
What is a harvest event? I’m so glad you asked!
For a measly $10, you are handed a five gallon bucket and directions to the part of the farm containing the produce you desire. You drive the mile or so from their store to the farm and you pick your own produce.
Last year, my 5 gallon bucket of red bell peppers contained 72 of the sweet, delicious, and infinitely versatile little fruit that cost upwards of a dollar a unit in the grocery store.
Healthy doesn't have to be cost prohibitive or boring. Support small farmers and vive la révolution!
6707 Wenninghoff Road, Omaha