Gardens make you healthier. Preserving makes you wealthier.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Evaluating your food consumption over 2 months may reveal a surprising pattern. When I sat down to plan out the evening meals for the next 4 weeks, I noticed a huge trend. Meat and cheese seemed to dominate the main course of almost every meal. How the heck did that happen? 
Today, I feel a Fact & rant coming on.

Vegetables and fruits in non garden months have rose in price so much so, that to feed my family of 5 a meat less/cheese-less meal would not only take far more work finding recipe ideas, they cost more to make. A person can only eat so many green beans, broccoli and carrots from the frozen food aisle. Shopping the produce aisle just for Winter squash is averaging $5-7 in the amount I would need. That's not including other ingredients. Vegetarian cook books have not relieved my quest for more veggie fueled plans. They seem to have "special" or pricey ingredients, many with cheese, tofu, lots of rice or other starches dominating the pages.  In this house, there is no spaghetti pie or taco something or another served. Call me a food snob but I refuse to eat that way. Blame it on a childhood of spaghetti/mac & cheese cheapness dominating the food memories. I swear we ate that stuff almost every night of the week. Our free School lunches may have been dread for others, but to us? We looked forward to the diversity and items we almost never had at home.

 I realized, in my quest to serve healthy meals on a moderate budget, I in fact was treading on a completely different road then I intended. 
Now more than ever, America is a Nation of meat & cheese eaters. 
In 2000, total meat consumption (red meat, poultry, and fish) reached 195 pounds (boneless, trimmed weight equivalent) per person, 57 pounds above average annual consumption in the 1950's.
Average annual consumption of cheese (excluding full-skim American and cottage, pot, and baker’s cheeses) increased 287 percent between the 1950s and 2000, from 7.7 pounds per person to 29.8
I came across a very interesting and informing read where I found the alarming rates of meat & cheese consumption our nation has taken. Take a click over here*  and further inform yourself on how our diets, the ingredients as well as our activity level has become so out of balance  We, as a nation  need to redefine priorities as well as our ways. A simple shift into healthier eating within the right portions. An increase in physical activity as well as a fresh look into our own foodie lives can make the big difference to our environment as well as to our individual lives.

 "The US food production system uses about 50% of the total US land area, 80% of the fresh water, and 17% of the fossil energy used in the country. The heavy dependence on fossil energy suggests that the US food system, whether meat-based or plant-based, is not sustainable."

Now, I am in no way saying or suggesting we eliminate meat from our diets. What I am trying to say & suggest is that we ALL need to re-evaluate our consumption amount. Look at it this way. If you were to have a garden of vegetables, potatoes, squash & fruits {no grains in the equation} with a decent self need amount of a high egg laying rate poultry as well as lets say, meat Rabbits. Putting up and preserving in amounts sustaining your needs until the next harvest. You could very well live on all you grow in that small space, decreasing greatly what you spend outwards {not factoring in store Feed where you should  include a good  portion of the garden greens,bugs and such supplementing the diets of your small livestock anyway}. Thus greatly decreasing what you would NEED to earn from your job. We have all heard it before but instead of listening, many keep on with their greed and spiraling wants. The problem? We have become a hazard nation, replicating and increasing more with each generation, a life comfortable with selfish want and convenience seen as more important then need or courtesy. 
Change should start with YOU. Stop worrying about what others will think or what they are doing. This is about your life. Your family. And your bound to have some stone wallers. Especially if you have a teen. Apparently storing bottled water in non immediate need amounts {like buying an extra 4 cases of bottled water on the last grocery trip} means you have lost your mind and it will be referred to as your apocalyptic water.. Because NO ONE ELSE DOES THAT MOM. Yet I have been doing these things for a decade. By myself. With other participants begrudgingly obliging on occasion. So now you know what I never wanted to  accept or loudly admit to myself. I do this all. By myself. With help only given when I guilt or force it to happen. I have wanted the life of gardens and animals well before I moved North. I made it very clear from the beginning, this is how I want to raise my "future" family and live our life. One of those "speak now or forever hold your peace" conversations. I was never given a rebuttal. But that does not mean it would not come long after I began striving for the dream.  I kept going and refused to change my dreams because of others who may see it as ridiculous or not within social acceptance or modern ways. 
What has this to do with Meat & cheese consumption? Think about it. If you are on the high consumption level in the two areas, then you will most likely be met with defiance within your realm. You are making changes for their own good. They may very well not agree or enjoy the healthier life. It's up to you to keep going. 
This is not a trivial "trend". This is about long term results for the health of your family and the environment we leave to our children and grand children. 
Now is the time for change. Strive for a life no longer dominated by selfish wants and convenience.

Sweeter Dreams,



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