There’s a new movement brewing – eat locally. But what’s the importance of eating food grown and produced locally? There are plenty of great reasons to eating local – from conserving energy to supporting local economies. But the best benefit lies in developing a new, authentic, and richly rewarding relationship between your body and food.
Your body knows exactly what to eat and when to eat it. It’s not based on rules, science, good foods or bad foods, a strict eating regimen, or any “right” diet. Instead, it’s based on listening to the spontaneity and wisdom of what your body needs today, right now, for health, vitality, life, and a joyful experience.
Chances are, if you struggle with food cravings, weight issues, or even a full-fledged eating disorder, you do not trust yourself to listen to your body’s true needs and wants. Instead, we’re easily lured into the seductive promise of the temporary comfort of sugary foods, or heavy, overly processed foods. While those types of foods have their place, they are more like the spice of life than the foundation of life. Eating a diet loaded with sugary or processed food does not allow room for a vibrant connection with life.
Eating local foods is a great way to reconnect with food and explore your relationship to your own life. Listed below are the top six ways eating locally will provide an easy, rewarding experience to nourish your mind, body, and soul.
1. Eating Locally Gets You More Involved With Your Food
The more involved you are in the sensory experience of your food, the more connected you are to life. Eating locally means getting more involved with life as you touch, smell, and chose foods that are at their peak qualities of freshness, nutrition, and taste. When you are intimately connected with the experience of a visually appealing red apple, smelling its ripeness, anticipating its firm, cold crunchiness, and then taking that first juicy bite, you are no longer tied up in food rules or diets. Instead, you are in the moment, trusting your senses, alive, and living a moment of peace with food and your body. You stop being so afraid of food. Food is no longer the enemy. Instead, you begin to slow down, relish your food, and eat the foods your body and your senses want because you feel good doing so.
2. Cooking With Love
There’s something extra special about cooking with really fresh, vibrant food. Even if you only cook several times a week, cooking with one or two ingredients that were grown locally adds a whole new spark of creative energy to your preparation. When you cook with a homegrown herb, or a local farmers fresh tomatoes, your feel passionate, alive, and excited. That feeling translates into the food, which is then passed to anyone eating your food. Cooking with love expands and shares the love that you are.
3. Raise Your Eating Experience from Ordinary to Extraordinary
Want fresh produce, picked that morning? Your local farmers market is a fantastic resource for freshness and quality. Baskets and barrels overflow with colorful abundant, nutritious, and high quality food. Want something even fresher than that? Imagine taking your family blueberry picking in the spring, apple picking in late summer, pecan picking in the fall, and pumpkin harvesting in late October. You not only get the freshest food possible, you also create memories that last a lifetime.
4. Better Relationship with Your Life
Buying locally grown food grows all sorts of life-enhancing relationships. Experience the delight of getting to know the farmer who brings local tomatoes to the market or the baker who makes the bread you eat. Sample the goods. Learn about unique food varieties. Greet your neighbors. It’s like the difference between buying an original hand painted piece of art at a local arts festival versus buying an art print off the internet. At the local art festival you get to look at the art, talk to the artist, and get a feel for the energy of both the artist and the creation. The same is true of buying from a local farmers market, farmers stand, or buying locally produced food. You get the opportunity to connect with freshly picked food that is still filled with life, and socialize with the grower of the food. In addition, you can know that the farmer or producer selling you the food is genuinely happy to have you as a customer.
5. Going Green
Everyone’s “going green” to help the environment. What could be “greener” than your community farmers market? Bring your environmentally friendly tote bag, car pool with your best friend, and pick up the freshest locally grown fruits and vegetables. As an added bonus, you support your local community. Want something even more green? If you’re ready to get your hands a little dirty and put in a few hours of preparation then consider growing your own garden. You don’t need a lot of land to cultivate your favorite fruits and vegetables. A window sill, a patio, a balcony or a doorstep will provide sufficient space for a productive container grown planting.
6. Food Buying Goes From a Chore to a Fun Experience
Shopping locally is a fun experience. Instead of rushing through the cold fluorescent-lit grocery store, and then walking yourself through a computerized, depersonalized checkout, you get to stroll leisurely and enjoy your shopping experience. Bring your friend, partner, or kids and walk around outside, in the weather, meeting people. Interacting. Being part of the social structure of life. Meet farmers and growers who are proud of what they have grown. Listen to local farmers boast, “We have the best tomatoes or peaches. We’ve won the blue ribbon at the State Fair for the last three years!” Then they give you a sample that backs up their brag!
Go ahead! Take another step on your “eat local” journey by visiting your local farmers market, picking apples at the local orchard, tasting farm fresh eggs, sampling a new variety of local honey, or planting a peach tree in your back yard. The importance of one small, habitual change can bring about a radical turnabout with your relationship between your body, your food, and your life.