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We All Eat – Why Not Eat Well?

I write to explore my conception of eating well.  The  goal is to eat and cook in a way that sustains body, spirit, community and ecosystem.  My food and my stories don’t fit into a neat, easily labeled box. Some days I’m all about butter and sugar and on others I highlight vegan dishes.

The consistency is in the ingredients. I  (mostly) avoid processed food. I shop the farmers market. I eat meat, but animal welfare is very important to me.  I don’t mention my goals or political stances in every post -sometimes, you just want to eat. But I try to be sure that they inform all the food choices I make for myself and my multi-species family.

My intention when I started this blog in 2010 was to write about my journey towards a more environmentally sustainable life. I wasn’t even sure I was writing a food blog. The original blog tagline was “One Woman’s Quest to Eat and Live More Sustainably”.

I strive to eat and cook consciously, locally, seasonally, organically, and to paraphrase Michael Pollan, more like my grandparents, whenever I can. Since this all started, I’ve learned to make bacon, cheese, pastrami, and pasta.  And I’ve learned to cook with the ebb and flow of a garden. And I’ve eaten cardoons.

Eating well means eating with awareness.  During the year of Charcutepalooza, pork returned to my plate, occasionally. For more than a decade before that, while I avoided red meat, I ate more than my share of factory-farmed poultry without much thought.

Today, I’m much more comfortable with the idea that what matters isn’t the species of animal I eat, but that the animal lived a good life. At the same time, I’m moving closer to a vegetarian diet. These days I’d say K.M. and I eat a diet that is about 70% plant based. And much of that other 30% comes from dairy.

And while my cat and dogs require a meat based diet, my goal for them is that 70% of their food live up to my own dietary goals – unprocessed, humanely-raised, free of unnecessary additives and provided by companies that believe in fair trade standards. Kibble is still a part of their lives, but at least it’s a small part.

Changing our diet is one of the most important things that we as individuals can do in the face of climate change. Alone, it’s not enough. But it is surmountable goal – at least for those of us lucky enough to be in the middle of the American economic ladder.  I’m still driving my SUV (it really is the best way to haul around big dogs), and I don’t see myself eschewing air travel either. But I’ve embraced the idea that every food choice, every lifestyle choice, every choice I make matters.

Full disclosure: I cook year round with lemons, limes, chilies and organic, fair-trade sugar, chocolate and coffee.  I go out of my way to buy dairy products made from the milk of pasture-grazed cows. I won’t buy strawberries or tomatoes out of season. None of this makes me an expert on sustainable food, or qualifies me to pass judgment on someone else’s diet. Your choices may well be different from mine – and I am fine with that. What matters is that we all make a conscious choice.

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