Eat Your Veggies
We don’t want to sound like your mom but eat your fresh and local vegetables!
The entire month of June is known as the National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month and June 17th is National Eat Your Vegetables Day. The history and origin of the day is unknown, but the concept is simple. Eat your veggies. Whether they are covered in cheese, roasted or raw vegetables provide important nutrients that keep our body functioning and should play an important role in our diet.
No matter what diet fad or plan you are following, or not following, we can all agree that vegetables are healthier alternatives to processed foods. Beginning in the 1960’s there was a surge of processed foods and food-like products to substitute the fresher options and to make more food accessible to more people. Cooking with real animal fat was out and hydrogenated vegetable oils were in. Foods were stamped as low-fat or fat-free. Calories began to get counted and sugar substitutes were introduced. The change in the North American diet, also commonly known as the western diet, set us apart from our European neighbors across the pond who continued to eat like our great grandparents did.
Many people, including Michael Pollan who wrote In Defense of Food and Food Rules, encourage stepping away from the western diet and going back to eating like past generations did. In his book In Defense of Food, Pollan discusses that today a lot of what we are eating is the product of food science and not natural products from the field. He continues on to say that most of his suggestions “come down to strategies for escaping the western diet, but before the resurgence of farmers’ markets, the rise of the organic movement, and the renaissance of local agriculture now under way across the country, stepping outside of the conventional food system was simply not a realistic option for most people. Now it is. We are entering a postindustrial era of food; for the first time in a generation it is possible to leave behind the Western diet without having also to leave behind civilization.”
For the first time eating local and natural food is becoming widespread and on the forefront of people’s minds. The effects of pesticides and other chemicals frequent the news. More and more food products are becoming “non-GMO Project Verified.” Farmers Markets are becoming central in obtaining fresh and local vegetables. People are asking increasingly more questions about their food, what is in or on it and where it came from. Fresh vegetables and fruits are making a bigger presence on our plates now more than ever in our generation.
While we cannot tell you what diet plan to follow, or not to follow, we can urge you to check out the facts about eating locally. In celebration of National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month challenge yourself to add a variety of fresh local vegetables to your diet. Try a new vegetable you may not have tried before. Bring a friend to a market day at the farm or to the farmers market. Make an effort to eat something locally sourced every day or support something locally weekly. Challenge yourself to take a step and make a difference.