By Machila Dennis-Mohler, National Nutrition Counselor, Sisters Tri-ing
There’s been a lot of attention lately on where the food we buy comes from, and how far it’s traveled. As a nutritionist and chef, I am personally cognizant of buying the freshest foods possible. I believe in the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ so I want to eat the best!
I recently moved to upstate, N.Y.; I was unfamiliar with the area and didn’t have a job. I found an organic restaurant that allowed to hone my culinary skills. I was excited! I didn’t think a place like this existed. Each day’s menu depends on what local farmers are able to supply. All chefs must be mentally prepared and flexible should their supplier not have a certain product in the warehouse. As an organic, sustainable chef, I have to be even more flexible because the forces of nature that create your ingredients are out of your control (animals, bugs, frost, etc.). So you must adapt quickly.
We live in a world where we’d rather buy food from a box than shop at farm or even a farmer’s market offering fresh, local foods. Most food is grown and harvested over hundreds of miles from where you live. It has to survive travel by airplane or plane or train, and be delivered to a local warehouse by a truck , where it sits until it’s delivered to your local grocery store. By this time the most valuable nutrients have all but disappeared.
One strategy that will help you gain all the nutrients, try a movement developed in the United Kingdom (UK) that is dedicated to “eating seasonably.” It stresses eating foods at their peak nutritional value when they’re most affordable.
One way to do that is to shop as much as possible at local farms or farmers’ markets. Quite simply, if you don’t know where your food comes from, you don’t know what you’re eating. I know there may not be a farm located conveniently to your home. However, you would be surprised at what you could find in your area.
Machila Dennis-Mohler is a nutritionist and chef. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, she decided to pursue an education in the field of nutrition. She loves converting unhealthy recipes into a slimmed down version for people to enjoy. She continues to provide nutrition information and recipes on her blog newhealthychef.blogspot.com.