Friday, June 24, 2011

Not perfect, but still good

As I refer once more to “Nourishing Traditions”, I am torn between two distinctive feelings: one, being thrilled about all the wonderful health-promoting foods in existence; and two, overwhelming guilt whenever I chop up a cucumber for our salad, about it not being an organically or biodynamically grown cucumber from naturally fertilized soil, but just a plain, store-bought, and most likely mineral-depleted cucumber.

But then I remind myself, at least I’m cutting up salad.

And this is what brings me to the point of this post. I applaud the authors of “Nourishing Traditions” for being so uncompromising about the absolute best for our health, but I think they should have put more emphasis on what those that can’t achieve perfection are supposed to do. 

Perhaps we can’t all buy raw milk from animals on natural pasturage, but we can stick to plain unsweetened milk products, rather than buy the sugar-loaded, artificially flavored products that are, so ironically, aimed at children. We can choose whole milk products, rather than low-fat.

Perhaps we can’t buy all organic fruit and vegetables, but we can prefer that which is grown locally and in season, to that which is shipped from long distance or placed in storage for months, while vitamin content goes to waste. Perhaps you can benefit from growing some things on your own – even a tiny herb garden in pots on your kitchen windowsill is great, since fresh herbs are wonderfully rich in vitamins, minerals and other beneficial substances.

We can also offer real watermelons and grapes to our child for a snack, rather than sugar-loaded, artificially flavored watermelon and grape ice popsicles.

In our home, we take advantage of our own naturally grown grapes, pomegranates and grapefruits, the occasional veggie we grow in the garden, and locally harvested, home-preserved olives. Our recent step towards obtaining more nutritious foods is starting to keep chickens, in the hope of getting fresh healthy eggs. It might not be perfect, but in many senses it’s still better than what many people are eating. 

12 comments:

tarynkay said...

Yes- absolutely! I try to buy local/organic (local is my first priority) foods when I can because I believe that it is good for the ecosystem and for the economy. But I do not worry about the possible health consequences of eating non-organic cucumbers. As a doctor friend of mine pointed out, all of those studies about how fruits and vegetables are so good for you were done with conventional produce. I think that it is possible to get too obsessed with this sort of thing, which leads to a kind of narcissism.

Mrs.Rabe said...

This is a very good point, Anna! A good start is real food over processed, buying local even if it is not organic, etc...

Thanks!
Deanna

Robin said...

I agree! When we first hear about the "better" way of eating, it is a bit overwhelming, and we start feeling guilty about every "imperfect" morsel we put in our or our family's mouth. Then, we realize that it is impossible to eat perfectly all the time, and anything we can do is better than nothing! And the occasional popsicle won't kill any of us. Blessings!

Kathleen said...

Yes, yes, yes!

Aaron and Amber said...

100% spot on to the way my husband and I think and feel! We try to buy the best foods we can. We have healthy children who prefer veggies and fruit to sugery things (YES!) and we have a small garden, a flock of hens and buy beef (not organic, but local).

Beth said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I often struggle with the same feelings because I adore "Nourishing Traditions" and I feel that there is so much wonderful wisdom within its pages, but I also struggle with being an individual with a very limited budget. I do what I can to purchase local, organic food but I am nowhere near purchasing 100% organic. I appreciate knowing that other people join me in this struggle.

Leah Brand-Burks said...

Sounds like you're doing great, Anna. Don't be too hard on yourself, because like you said, at least what you offer up is the best you can get, and no one can expect more than that. Also remember, every good mom worries if what she's doing is enough. :)

becka said...

I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate your efforts in promoting homemaking. I also enjoy reading about your life in Israel. The subject of home curing olives fascinates me. I know this is not something I will ever be likely to do because of where I live in the U.S., but would you ever consider posting pictures of the process? Just a thought. :)

Geniève said...

Oh thank you. You just reminded me that I borrowed this book from the library a couple days ago and haven't looked at it yet. I am off to get some reading done :)

Mary said...

Thank you! I have had similar thoughts about that very book, although I love it, and I appreciate your balanced but optimistic perspective.

Hilde said...

You are so right! Not everybody can eat only fresh, organic, pastured food. I once made a plan where I would have to go to buy the "perfect" food, and it amounted to a trip of about 400 km! Maybe this is not much for Americans, but it is myaverage amount of driving of a whole month. So I try just as you wrote to buy fresh, untreated, local food, and I think compared to the things I usually see in the shopping carts it certainly is good enough, if not perfect.

Dove said...

I also love 'Nourishing Traditions' but I always ending up feeling a bit guilty after reading it or other similar books. Raw milk isn't even legal in our province! But as you pointed out, just taking small steps and doing our best to obtain fresh, healthful food is really what it's about.
That's fantastic that you are keeping chickens, I'd love to read more about that. Chickens are also illegal in our city (for now) but I'm hoping someday we will be able to keep a few.