The Healthy Side of Eating Local
I recently had my annual checkup and my doctor happily reported that all my numbers looked great. Not only did I have blood pressure some people would kill for, but my cholesterol levels, while only slightly elevated last year, had come done a total of four points and my LDL level had come down six points.
“Not sure what you’re doing,” she said, “but keep it up.”
What we’ve been doing is eating healthy, which isn’t as hard as some people make it sound. In fact, we love what we are eating and we do not give up anything tasty.
What we have stopped doing is eating processed and fast foods. No frozen dinners, no meal in a box, no drive-thrus. We buy locally raised meats and vegetables when we can and shop for the healthiest options at the grocery store. We are label readers. If it isn’t something we would use if we were making it from scratch, then we don’t buy it.
We do cook a lot of our own food including things like pizza and mac and cheese and even bread. Is it a little more work than throwing something in the microwave? Sure. But it tastes a heck of a lot better and clearly it is improving my health.
When you begin to eat “real” food, you realize how good it actually tastes. We were very surprised when we had eaten grocery store hamburger after eating locally raised beef hamburger. “Grainy” is the only word I could think of to describe it. It lacked texture and that real beef flavor.
Reality today is that families are always on the go. Kids are enrolled in every sports program or exta-curricular activity and instead of making meal time a family event; it is grab and go instead. Buying locale can be a bit more costly and finances can be another stumbling block. Keep in mind that buying local helps reduce your carbon footprint and puts that money back into your community. Even if you can’t buy local all the time, try to do it for special occasions or just for weekends. Whatever you can afford.
While I can’t say that eating healthy, locally grown food will bring down your cholesterol levels, it certainly can’t hurt. I truly believe it has helped me.