When you select food to go in your mouth, you typically aren’t thinking about how that food will leave your body. When it comes to eating, the taste experience is only one facet if how the food makes you feel; the journey that food takes through your body has an impact that lasts much longer than the course of one meal. This “food journey” is just as important as the taste experience that you start from.
This week, in particular, Mr. Wetzel and I have been feeling the difference between eating fresh food and eating fast food. We’re moving into a new house and fixing the place up all week, and we haven’t had the time to cook fresh meals like we normally would. We’ve been eating a lot of ready-made meals: pizza, Subway, Quizinos, Starbucks. While a tasty and quick solution, these foods are not as kind to our stomachs or digestive systems as the fresh farm food that we are used to.
We love how farm food tastes. Because it is high quality and fresh food, no flavors or preservatives provide a manufactured taste. Nature has many different, unusual and subtle flavors available in its many plants. I remember when I used to think that chives, scallions, leeks, shallots and onions all had basically the same look and taste. Experience and some amusing cooking experiments have taught me otherwise.
We love how farm food fills us up. When food is processed, a lot of its fiber is lost. Fiber is one of the main things that triggers the “full response” in your belly. If you eat more plants, not only are you getting great nutrients from them, but you are also getting a lot of fiber that will help you feel fuller faster. As a result, you’ll not overeat as much.
We love the energy we get from farm food. I used to think that the “Thanksgiving coma” was a model for how you were supposed to feel after every meal. Finish everything on your plate. Stuff yourself to the nines. Unbutton your pants, and lay around groaning after each main meal. That is ridiculous. We are not meant to eat until we’re stuffed, but until we are fed. Michael Pollan suggests in his book, In Defense of Food, that we eat slowly (to give our stomachs a chance to tell our brains that we’re full), and that we stop eating when we’re about 80% full. That’s easy to do when the food we are eating is packed with the fuel that our bodies need. If we aren’t eating lots of excess garbage, we can eat less, feel fuller, and get better energy from the food on our plates.
We love farm food from our guts. I know that it’s gross to talk about all things poop related, but this is another major aspect of how different fast food make us feel, compared to farm food. The fabulous fiber in fresh vegetables keeps us regular. When we avoid things like preservatives, greasy foods, and artificial flavors, we get less constipated. Farm food is gentler on our systems, and works well with our entire digestive experience. From plate to poop, farm food is better for us.
WEEK 7 (We’re moving into a new house this week, and the camera was packed in an unknown box, so we had to take the picture with our cell phone. I bemoan the low pixel quality.)
(Clockwise, from bottom left)
Summer Squash (yellow & speckled green variety)
Head of Garlic
(In the Center)
Cherry Tomatoes: Sungold, heirloom variety
Eggs (again, the farm has new hens, and they are laying smaller eggs this week, so we received 18 eggs instead of the normal dozen)