Have an unprocessed summer!
Summer is the best time to revamp how we eat. Our markets are bursting; our fresh choices, plentiful. Let’s head to the farmer’s market and figure out how to get back to eating real, unprocessed food.
Once there, start with your nose. Let's use a peach as an example. If a peach doesn’t smell like anything, it won’t taste like anything. Smell the fruit one by one, particularly where their stems were. When you find one with an unbelievable perfume, look at it for a second. That rosy blush over the dappled yellow is a sign you’ve chosen well.
Now gently squeeze the fruit. Although it’s heavy to the hand, there’s a delicate give beneath the skin—nothing squishy, just a little fragile, stocked with juice.
Once you’ve chosen (and paid for!) that peach, take a bite. Don’t be shy. Take your time enjoying all that juicy, spectacular flavor. And appreciate that you just took a step away from all that’s processed, packaged, and low-nutrition. All that from tasting a peach? You bet.
How to enjoy real food this summer
1. Eat with all your senses. Stop. Slow down. Enjoy the aroma, texture, flavors.
2. Plan on eating simpler this summer. Think raw, grilled, and broiled. Let the essential, natural flavors of foods carry you to satiety.
3. Vary the textures on your plate. Did you know that chewing is significantly related to satiety? Avoid a meal of soft food! Put lots of celery in your potato salad!
4. Don’t stick to what you know. Anyone can get bored with endless bags of mesclun mix. Summer’s the time to try a range of greens: red oak leaf lettuce, mizuna, you name it. And that says nothing for all the other fruits and vegetables in our markets right now.
5. Talk to the growers at a farmers’ market. Nobody expects you to know it all. They’re a better resource than the internet—and they’re standing right in front of you without roaming charges.
6. Embrace the sense of accomplishment that comes from seeking out and preparing real food. Without being smug, sit back and revel in your choices.
7. Become a food explorer. Don’t make your likes and dislikes the core of your identity. Open your heart to the abundance around you. Will you come up short once in a while? Maybe. But that’s part of being an explorer. Imagine ways to love your new choices, not balk at them. Mostly, imagine yourself as the sort of person who seeks out real food because you’re worth it. That’s the real starting point to getting off processed food this summer.