Eat Good Food - Guest Post by Annemarie

How often do you eat “good food?” I guess it depends on your definition – whether it’s an In-N-Out double double, filet mignon at a swanky bistro, or green beans picked from your back yard. I’m not here to tell you to abandon your burger and fries or deny yourself the occasional piece of processed and packaged food. But mindfulness about the choices I make during my day – and not just about what I eat – has made a huge improvement in the way I interact with my own mind, body and greater community.

Several years ago, I read a book by Barbara Kingsolver called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” that chronicles the author’s year-long experiment of only eating food produced within a small radius of her house. Her narrative of the ups and downs of being a “locavore” is humorous and engaging, but in the end it opened my eyes to what happens before our food hits our plate, and what kind of consumer I want to be. Our world is so globalized that most of the food in our grocery stores has been shipped halfway across the country (or the world) and consumed immense amounts of fuel to get to our shelves. Global warming concerns aside, these products are loaded with preservatives or ripened in a truck instead of on the vine, and their flavor and nutritional values suffer accordingly. Eating local means only eating food that’s in season, meaning you can only get specific foods during a certain couple of months – but in those months the fruits and vegetables are worlds more delicious, nutritious and fresh.

Being mindful doesn’t have to be about cutting calories or a specific diet – Paleo, vegan, that’s a personal decision – but I’m talking about making conscious decisions about where you spend your money and what you put in your body. It’s often more expensive to buy cage-free eggs or organic vegetables, but I decided that it’s a priority for me and one I’m willing to budget for. I consult the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s guide to sustainable fish before splurging on dinner, and whenever possible I cook dinner at home with produce I bought at our local market. My purchases are deliberate and informed, as opposed to blindly shoveling in food that I don’t know anything about. Choices are personal and there’s no “right” way to make them, but make your food a choice and not an accident!

I’m spoiled to live in San Francisco, where there’s a farmers market every day in some part of the city and there’s a city-wide movement to support the myriad of local businesses growing and making delicious and mindful food. But wherever you live, try to educate yourself about your food and consumer decisions so you know what you’re choosing. Do your own research, take a minute to read a label or compare products, set aside a Saturday morning to visit the farmers market or search for recipes online. Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to fueling your life; give yourself the power to make mindful decisions about what you consume and feel good about the food on your plate!

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