The "Real Food" Connection
Do you know where your food comes from? Would you like to start eating more local foods but don’t know where to start? Are you overwhelmed by all of the new catch phrases on food labels, such as “free-range,” “grass-fed,” and “chemical-free?"
You’re probably wondering if these labels really matter, or if it’s just a bunch of hype that drives up cost. Is it worth the extra money and effort for these local foods?
Perhaps you’re just starting to realize that you’d prefer foods that are grown in nature over those that are invented in a lab? Or maybe you’re new to town and looking for purveyors of the kinds of food you already value?
Slow Food Omaha to the Rescue!
There are ever-increasing local food options here, but it’s often difficult for people to find the information. Come to this event and discover the many local growers, artisans, purveyors, chefs, and farmer’s markets available in the area.
Date: Sunday, March 21st
Time: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Douglas County Extension (8015 West Center Road –Omaha)
Admission: $5.00 per person (cash or checks only)
Those marked with an (*) will be giving a presentation:
You’ll learn what each can provide for the locavore looking for flavorful food that also reflects the region and treads lightly on the earth. These folks will be on hand for three hours with the sole purpose of answering any questions you may have!
This is a laid-back, casual event with an “open house” atmosphere. So come on by to mingle, meet and learn! Several of the “vendors” will also be speaking at the event for those of you who’d like to gather information in a more “formal” manner. And for you “hands-on” learners, there’ll be samples to enjoy, as well!
(Bribery? I’m not above it.)
If I Can Eat REAL Foods, So Can You!
While it may seem overwhelming at first, it is entirely possible to make a fresh start with how you eat and to distance yourself from the processed garbage you may currently be used to (or, in many cases, be addicted to). Perhaps my story will provide some perspective?
(Well, either way, you’re gettin’ it…)
Less than three years ago, my husband and I had a very different diet than we do today. If you’d told me back then that I would someday be writing a fresh foods column for a local website, visiting farms on my days off, and operating an online community to help folks reduce their reliance on processed foods, I would’ve told you to get lost!
I knew nothing about cooking three years ago (we all agree that Hamburger Helper doesn’t count, right?), but I thought I was eating healthfully. After all, I was paying attention to labels—I knew to limit my calories and fat, to watch out for too many bad carbs and trans-fats, and that sugar and sodium were not the best things for you. (Oh…and I only drank diet pop. Do I get extra points for that?)
Unfortunately, I never (and I mean never!) looked beyond the “Nutrition Facts” box on a package. I never perused the “Ingredients” list on my breakfast cereal, protein bars, frozen meals, etc. (not that I would’ve understood a word of it anyway!). And why should I have? After all, there certainly must be agencies whose job it is to make sure that whatever we eat is OK. Right? Right?????
Errr…not so much!
Well, one day the hubby and I happened upon some books that gave us an overview of the current food system, as well as a much-needed reality check. As it turned out:
We were ignorant about the food we were putting into our mouths.
Most of what we were ingesting wasn’t really even really food.
Yes, you read that correctly. We weren’t even eating food!
The following is a definition of food, which should clarify my point:
“Material, usually of plant or animal origin, that contains or consists of essential body nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals, and is ingested and assimilated by an organism to produce energy, stimulate growth, and maintain life.”
Hmmmm…pretty sure man-made things like Polysorbate-80, Monosodium Glutamate,and High Fructose Corn Syrup fall a smidge short by these criteria. And, believe me, those are just the kinds of garbage ingredients that comprised the bulk of what we had been eating and drinking up until that point.
We couldn’t believe what we were reading! In our case, we panicked (which is not what I recommend)! We purged our kitchen of all of the crap we’d been eating and set out for a fresh beginning. We read every book we could get our hands on, and we quickly found ourselves at the farmer’s market in search of some real food—the kind without a bunch of mysterious ingredients.
Boy, were we lost at the market—“free-range,” “grass-fed,” “naturally-grown,” “chemical-free,” “no antibiotics,” “hormone-free” (Gulp….hormones?!?! What is all of this??) …not to mention that we’d never even seen half of those vegetables in our lives and would’ve had no clue what to do with them even if we had mustered up the courage to actually purchase them!
So, there we were, foreigners in our own land—apparently, we didn’t speak the native tongue. We were intimidated and assumed that we would be “fast talked” around all of our questions once the vendors sensed our ignorance. (You’ll have to pardon us—we’re a bit weary of sales people) Despite our hesitation, we quickly humbled ourselves and started asking questions of the vendors.
Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised. These people were much more than vegetable peddlers. They were folks who were passionate about what they were doing! Knowing what I know now, of course, I find it laughable that I could’ve ever imagined that it was possible for a small farmer to be in this business just for the money! What money?!?!
My husband and I have learned a lot throughout the past three years. During this time, we’ve actually formed relationships with many of those farmers market vendors and have spent much of our free time visiting with them and touring their farms.
An event like The Real Food Connection is just what we could have benefited from three years ago when we were trying to wrap our minds around all of this information.
So, make it easy on yourself and come on down on March 21st! There’s no such thing as a “silly” question, and many “key players” in the local and real food arenas will be there to assist you on your journey, as well. Think of it as your chance to jump start your transition to healthy eating—an opportunity I would love to have had!
And make sure you stop by my Choose Real Foods booth to introduce yourself.
I’d love to meet ya!
Need more info?
For more information about this event, please contact Slow Food Omaha.
Email: slowfoodomaha [at] gmail [dot] com
Nancy Fredrickson, 402.510.7125
Terra Sorensen, 402.779.3127