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7.07.2011

Progress Takes Time

I have been on this real food journey for over two years.  At first I felt overwhelmed with all of the information.  I had previously eaten in a way that I had felt, at the time, was healthy, and finding out that I had been mistaken about many things for a long time was a blow.  Finding out that the way that I had eaten during my pregnancy and how I had fed my children during their short lives had caused them to be ill for nine months was a blow, as well.  I felt that I needed to change everything, all at once.  That, however, is impossible, because even if one had infinite resources one would still have to learn to find and recognize and prepare the right foods in the right ways, which takes time.  Lots of time.

So I slowed down and changed a little at a time.  I started soaking my whole grains and making bone stocks first, because they are the easiest and cheapest changes to make.  Eventually I all but eliminated white flour and sugar and other processed foods and introduced more probiotic fermented foods.  I even started to bake my own bread and grind my own flour.

But the sources of my food still needed work.  So over the last year, one by one, I have searched and found many of the better, healthier foods from humane, local sources that I feel my family should be eating.  This alone has taken a year.  I have found:
  • Cedar Summit Grass Fed Non-Homogenized low temp pasteurized milk and cream, from New Prague (40 minutes from here).
  • Schultz Organic free range eggs from Owatonna (50 minutes from here)- check out their score on the Cornucopia report.
  • Chicken (and soon eggs) from my own farm.
  • Beef and Pork from my in laws and daddy (far... but they bring it when they would come to visit anyway).
  • Homestead Apiaries Honey from Dennison (35 minutes from here).  Best honey I have EVER tasted, and I am picky.
  • Maple syrup from... the guy at the farmer's market that sells maple syrup:)
  • Veggies, whenever possible, from either my own garden, the farmer's market, or the co-op.
  • ...and soon, wheat from an organic wheat farm North of town!
I feel like I've checked one of the last things off my list.  The thing is, I had seen the grain guy at the farmer's market before, but he only had (or I had only noticed) obscenely priced quart freezer bags and jars of grain.  And I am petrified of talking to people I don't know, so I had never asked any questions.  But apparently the other day I was felling brave.  I stopped to linger a little longer than normal and noticed the more reasonably priced 5 gallon buckets of wheat.

Because I have been buying my wheat at (gasp!) Walmart.  I despise Walmart, but there are certain things I still buy there, mostly staples that I either can't find elsewhere or that (and this is no excuse) are much cheaper.  Wheat, in particular, I was not willing to pay over $50 for 30lbs to have shipped across the country.  So I was pretty excited to find one more thing I don't have descend into big box hell for.

Besides sharing my excitement at finding yet one more thing locally that I can check off my healthy list, I also want to show you that it is possible to find sustainable local food that doesn't completely break the bank.  Don't expect to be able to find it all in the first month. 

But here are some resources to help you out:

Eat Wild for grassfed meats.
Local Harvest to find a Farmer's Market or CSA
Real Milk for a local source of raw milk.
The Cornucopia Institute report on organic egg producers to check for an egg producer in your area.  (and here is their report on organic milk, as well)

Good luck, and keep at it!

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