africa · Crunchy · Simple Life

Let’s Get Real With Our Food

Food is a pretty important aspect of our lives, but in this day and age, we often don’t stop to consider where our food is coming from or what happens to it before we eat it. Once we start to explore that….well, let’s just say it’s eye opening.

I think most Americans know that our food often comes from all around the world. We’ve been told time and time again that our food travels 1,500 miles on average to our plates, and the local food movement gains more followers every year. That’s great, and supporting local people and the local economy is fantastic.

But let’s get real: We still aren’t eating “real” food.

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When I lived in South Africa, fresh produce was far  cheaper in the grocery store than anything processed. With my very small stipend, that meant I rarely ate processed foods for two and a half years. If I had something processed, it would be something like crushed canned tomatoes or beans, bread, or pasta. Minimally processed. No boxed Mac ‘n Cheese, no easy pre-made pasta sauce, and certainly no frozen pizza or bagel bites. Most of my shopping happened in the first aisle, where I bought potatoes, onions, apples, oranges, nartjees, peaches, swiss chard, cabbage, peppers, garlic, ginger, litchees, bananas, and all sorts of other fresh, healthy produce. If I didn’t buy it there, I got it from vendors in the market or at the taxi ranks.

Most of my food was real food, and I loved it.

I believe in the principal of Biblical Stewardship. This means I believe that God created a wonderful, beautiful world for us to live in, and we should honor God by caring for His creation. We should be stewards of the earth, and our actions should have a minimal impact on the world we live in. By caring for His creation, we bring honor and glory to the Creator of all.

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In the States, our food system is a little different. Through a mind-boggling system of subsidies, processed food becomes cheaper than fresh, real food. This is opposite to how I have lived my life the past few years, and it’s hard to get used to. I’m not wealthy by any means (come on, I work in non-profit!) and my groceries are limited by my income.

Despite that, I’m committing to eating as much real food as possible. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I’m blessed to be living in a space where I can have a wonderful garden this summer, and I will be able to can or pickle my own food to eat throughout the year.

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Now, I’m not perfect. Yes, I’ll still have the occasional Wild Cherry Pepsi or Subway sandwich. I might have Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese once in a blue moon, or grab a candy bar at the store. And that’s ok, because I’m human. But I will strive to have the majority of the food I eat be real food, like it was in South Africa. I want to honor the incredible world my Creator made, and the body He gave me through healthier, real food.

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Want to know more real food? Check out this amazing website. And stay tuned to hear about how Pinterest changed my lunchtime eating habits!

-Jen

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