We have been implementing a whole foods diet for over a year now. The absolute best thing about living this lifestyle is how easily we’ve lost weight. Also, Kevin and I have EACH knocked down our cholesterol 30 points! (wahoo!)
But, living a whole foods diet isn’t exactly easy peasy.
I’m not saying it’s hard to have the willpower eat healthy food, that’s as easy as pie. (and we eat pie too)
What’s hard is making everything homemade. And finding good ingredients. And learning how to farm and raise animals. Yep, that has definitely been hard. But along the way, we’ve found the solution to make living a whole foods diet easy. And it’s closer than you might think.
A Newbie to the Real Food World
As a newbie, I bought my very first goat (I know, a momentous occasion) from a woman on Craigslist who lived only a couple miles from me. I didn’t know anything about goats. Anything. I soon realized I wasn’t just buying a goat, I was becoming part of a community. The woman who sold me my first goat became my mentor. Asking nothing in return, she put up with my late night calls, baby goat de-horning and castrating, and many, many questions. If she ever regretted selling to me, she never showed it. She patiently taught me how to milk, gave me many resources on raising an animals holistically, and even let me upgrade to a better goat when mine started to give me problems. I was ecstatic when I could finally help her in return. Her goats needed blood work, and I was a nursing school dropout who just happened to be great at drawing blood. I felt happy to help her in return for all the kindness she showed me.
I considered myself lucky to find someone who was so willing to help me, but I soon realized is that this was the “norm” in the Real Food Community.
When I searched again on Craigslist (but this time for a lamb), I found just one street away. The feeble voice I heard on the other end of the phone was an old lady with a steel work ethic and a mind full of wisdom. She let me spend hours walking around with her during her morning chores. I’m sure I slowed her down, but she answered every question I had. When I took my little lamb home, she called to ask how he was doing. And when Peter died suddenly of a respiratory infection almost a FULL YEAR later, she offered to sell me another at a greatly reduced price. We buy raw milk from her every once in a while when our goats are low on milk. She raises meat chickens and a couple times a year allows anybody to come over, pick out a chicken for FREE and then she will teach a class on how to butcher a chicken. She’ll even let you take the chicken home. For FREE. What an amazing woman.
I again reached out to the community of whole foodists to find someone with whom I could trade milking for when we vacationed. I found someone a couple miles from me, who was eager for a milking friend too. For a couple years, we traded off milk each other’s goats and it was perfect! This new friend became a best friend, who actually introduced me to homeschooling and then on to the wonderful private school my kids now attend. What a blessing!
Getting back to the old ways
I’m embarrassed to say that it took me 3 years before I realized even the neighbors on my street could help me eat healthier! On a late Sunday walk, we realized our neighbor kept bees and sold raw honey. He also sold organic produce. We also found some other neighbors who always have way too many oranges and lemons and were glad for us to take them off their hands.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”? With food it would be, “It takes a village to eat healthy.” And it really does. Local food has been shown to have higher amounts of nutrients. When you buy produce at the grocery store, you really never know how long it’s been sitting, and how many chemicals were used to get it to ripen. We’ve become so disconnected from our food and it’s time we get back in touch! Not only will you find local, healthy sources of food, you’ll also learn a lot from your fellow man. The knowledge I’ve acquired from all my “new” friends is priceless!
Before the Industrialization of food, using your neighbors to obtain food was so very normal. Farmer Joe had chickens and Farmer Jim had hogs, and so a mutual agreement was made. Good times! Makes me feel better about being overwhelmed with “doing it all myself”. Let’s make it easier on ourselves! We can get back to those times and use our neighbors to help us eat healthier, we just need to search a little bit. Here are some tips.
- Craigslist it. Go to your city and search ‘organic’, ‘free-range’,or ‘pastured’. You’ll be amazed at the results.
- Hit up Local Harvest. It’s the BEST search engine for local farms and producers.
- Cruise Facebook. I found a local group of chicken farmers that buy organic feed in bulk and save $$$. I also found a local chapter of the WAPF, a group dedicated to traditional foods. They often share group deals and split on things like cows or hogs, saving you big $$$
- Get to know your actual neighbors. I know this is the hardest. I mean, we see them enough, with the head nods when we walk out to get our mail, right? But we can do better! Build relationships, you might find healthy connections are right next door!
I feel so blessed with all the support that’s been offered to me through all my new friends! I definitely need to pay it forward, so if you are in Arizona, send me a message and I’ll help in any way I can 😉