by Tara Green (NaturalNews)
If you are one of the many people who set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, try taking a different approach this year. Instead of promising yourself to lose weight, and then becoming frustrated and discouraged, try pledging to yourself to become more food self-sufficient.
The following is a list of some of the basic skills to get started:
Eliminate pre-packaged foods, including frozen meals and takeout food, from your weekly dining.
Switch your style of grocery buying to emphasize spices and basic ingredients you can use in many dishes.
If you do not already cook, learn a few basic recipes for dishes you can prepare quickly. If you’re already an accomplished cook, try learning a new culinary skill like cheesemaking or pickling.
Food self-sufficiency doesn’t mean becoming an island, just learning to avoid the industrialized, chemical-laden pseudo-foods purveyed in stores. Build community through sharing and barter. Some people expand their eating options beyond their own kitchen repertoire by forming food clubs or coops with friends either to share meals together or to swap food — for instance, one person’s lentil soup for another’s fruit preserves.
Reduce your food bill and begin to wean yourself from grocery store dependency by learning to grow a portion of your own food. Start a herb and vegetable garden, taking the time to think about what grows best in your region and how to benefit from different harvesting times for different crops. If you don’t have a plot of land, find out if your neighborhood has a community garden in which you can participate — or join with your neighbors to start one. Growing your own produce allows you to eat organic without paying the higher prices attached to organic fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Also, if weight loss is one of your goals, gardening forces you to burn calories in order to get your food.
Although supermarkets now offer a much wider range of produce compared to previous decades, what you see in the store still represents only a fraction of the edible food growing in your region. Wild plants offer more nutritional density than conventionally grown crops, taste delicious and are free. Rather than the boredom of the aisles of a supermarket filled with chemical foods, “shop” for food in nature by gathering it as your ancestors did.
Foraging is becoming increasingly popular with books recently released providing inspiration, advice and recipes such as “Fat of the Land” and “The Wild Table.” By reading a few books and/or taking a class, you can become adept at recognizing and using wild foods like stinging nettles, morel mushrooms, elderberries and cattails.
Like gardening, foraging involves more energy than grocery shopping. This spring and summer, try substituting “I’m going to the grocery store” with “I’m going for a hike” and collect plants as you walk. You will save money, become more active and expand your food horizons.
Food self-sufficiency will result in improved health and weight loss. You will gain new skills and a deeper awareness of your local environment. You will appreciate and enjoy your food more than if you tried to lose weight by eating frozen “diet” meals or packaged “low-cal” snack foods. Most diet resolutions fail because dieters feel deprived. The connection you feel with nature from your food self-sufficiency projects will give you a feeling of abundance.