Editors note: The Eurobodalla’s Kate Raymond is passionate about food and the impact it can have on people and the planet. Over the coming months, Kate will share her wisdom and experience with you in her ‘Local Table’ series – no guilt or baggage, just good words to get you thinking and maybe taking action. Check out Kate’s second installment.
Eating is a minefield of issues. It’s easy to get bogged down trying to navigate your way to the “best” way to eat. I mean, there are people with PhDs who can’t agree on what’s right and wrong. Even farmers disagree among themselves.
Eat meat, don’t eat meat. GMOs will save us all, GMOs herald the end. The future is big, the future is small. Conspiracies are everywhere, conspiracies are nonsense. Chemicals are are going to kill us all. And won’t someone think of the children?!
Argghh!! The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t have time to read everything out there to make a fully informed, balanced decision. To those of you who do, good for you.
I would love to immerse myself in these issues, then slam down the facts and stats to you one after the other – boom! – there you go, that’s how you eat!
But real life doesn’t work like that, does it? Oh sure, there are plenty of smiling, perfect people out there with their TV shows and monetised websites and whimsical videos of smiling, perfect children, a soothing voiceover earnestly telling you what you should do. And boy, they seem so compelling, but you know what? They’re manipulating you. They’re telling you what to think.
If there’s one key message I want to get across, it’s to trust yourself more. Question everything and make decisions that fit YOUR values, not what someone tells you they should be. I am not going to tell you what to think or what to do or even what to eat. I just want to get you thinking, then ACTING on your thinking.
Working out what to eat and where to source it doesn’t need to be complicated.
That’s all well and good, you might say, but I don’t have time to think about this. You know what? We all have limited time. Showing how busy we are has become a form of validation these days. It’s nuts. But this idea that we’re so busy we don’t have time to eat according to our values is a furphy.
If you think you don’t have time, my question to you is: You don’t have time for what, exactly?
Last time, I asked you to write down your food values.
If you wrote down that you would like to buy fewer packaged meals, cook more from scratch, and grow your own food, then the next step is to work out how you’re going to carve out the time to do that. How much extra time does cooking from scratch actually take? Half an hour? If so, where are you going to get that half an hour from? You’re going to have to take it from somewhere else.
As an example, last year, I cut my social media use dramatically. The amount of time that has opened up for me has been remarkable. I thought I was a light user, but I was so wrong. That rabbit hole of scrolling and tapping can suck 20 minutes of your day before you know it. Do that more than once a day and it adds up to A LOT of time. That time has the potential to bring real change into your eating habits.
Try to estimate how much time you think you’ll actually need, then think about your food values again. Ask yourself: do you value keeping up with your social media feed (for example) more than cooking a meal made with fresh ingredients? Or maintaining a vegetable garden? Or getting along to a farmers market? Or learning how to pickle something?
It might not be social media that’s sucking up your time, but we can agree it’s well established that most of us spend way too much time in front of a screen. For the few of you who genuinely don’t have time to scratch yourself, there are still options out there for you to source and eat food that matches your values. You might have to schedule an hour in your diary to sit down and find a service that can do that for you and no, I’m not talking about a supermarket delivery service.
So whatever you’ve written on that list of food values, you can find the time to take a step towards them. If you can’t, that’s OK too. You’ll just need to ask yourself a few hard questions about those values and maybe admit that you need to adjust your list.
The next assumption that I always hear is about money. My oh my, but I hear how people can’t afford to eat anything other than supermarket food ALL. THE. TIME. Get ready with your excuses, because I’m going to challenge them next month.
Get the Local Table recipe for Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce HERE!
Kate Raymond has lived in the Eurobodalla since 2003 and in 2013 became the manager of the award-winning SAGE Farmers Market in Moruya. In 2017, Kate launched Local Table a new way of accessing locally grown fresh produce.