These days bookstores, morning talk shows, and the internet are full of the next "best" diet solution. Whether you think carbs are a sin or a blessing; eat raw, fat free, or sugar free; or drink detox teas or a daily dose of apple cider vinegar, there's sure to be an expert with a book to fit your needs. But almost everyone agrees fresh food retains the best nutrition for you. And the easiest way to ensure you're getting the freshest food? Buy local.
When I interview local farmers and food producers, they all got into the business for one of two reasons – either family history or concern for their family's diets and health. Those that grew up growing local, often organic, food know it just tastes better. John at Averiett Branch said he prefers the taste of his family's grass-fed beef and lamb above anything else in the world. The fact that the meat is healthier because of the way it was raised is secondary. Those that came to farming or producing local food later on nearly always did so because they or a family member needed a healthier diet after a serious illness or due to food allergies and other health problems. Getting healthier, feeling better in your body, is a powerful motivator to eating better food. And our vendors saw gaps in the local market for fresh sauces, snacks, eggplant, okra, and more that led them to grow and make it themselves. Eating these local foods shows you care as much as they do about how what you eat affects your health, and you can have confidence in knowing your salad dressing was made with only natural ingredients or your butterbeans are pesticide free.
If you're concerned about leading a healthier lifestyle through your diet, buying local is one of the best ways to get quality ingredients. You can buy corn from the farmer who picked it that morning or enjoy juicy tomatoes that weren't gassed to force ripening. Aside from your personal health, buying local food contributes to the health of your community, helping support those farmers who share your fresh-food values and, through the laws of supply and demand, creating a larger need for healthy local food in the future. Be a part of the local food chain for your diet, and you'll reap the rewards in health and taste.
Photo courtesy of WordRidden.
As a freelance writer and copy editor, Emily Brown gets to juggle many roles, including work-at-home mom. She likes to cook more than she likes to follow recipes, and she likes her vegetables extra crunchy – no beets allowed. If she could make you anything, it would be a roasted chicken. Her baby is beyond adorable.
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