Monday, February 20, 2012

A Little Lost On the Prairie

As yet another high school classmate was diagnosed with a form of cancer last week - at the ripe "old" age of 39, I sat in anger and disbelief.

I struggle with dark news in the cancer world from time to time. Last week was one of those weeks, my mood soured, my neck and shoulder muscles hovered hunched up around my ears, and my tone was unusually snippy.

I was prepared to get up on my pedestal and preach LOUD and LONG and CLEAR (much to Mandy & Kate's dismay) - preach and shout in frustration, until I was blue in the face, and until you listened to me.

But today, my rational side is slowly creeping back in, and this rationality with a soft, yet firm hand is gently guiding my bristled and angry self back into my deep reserves.

As my family took the scenic route to soccer, we came across Flat Hill Farms with a sign stating, "Boiling Today". We promptly detoured down the country road and came upon the rustic looking maple sugar shack. The smoke vapors were pouring out of the roof and we ran in with wild eyes and a begging curiosity within. After a wonderful demonstration from some enthusiastic farmers, and a delicious tongue tantalizing sampling of the latest batch of light amber syrup, we walked out with a half-pint of the goodness of our trees here in New England.

I explained to my children the difference of the maple flavored, chemically processed "syrup" that we buy in our grocery stores, versus the pure and natural sweetness we had just purchased - a product created from nature's bounty. I became slightly disgusted that a bottle of Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima still lingered in my pantry.

We found ourselves further engaging our children in discussions about how we can make better choices right here locally.

Almost three years ago, we joined the local CSA (Stillman Farm) - a community supported agriculture program. Each year from early June through mid-October, we are blessed with sixteen weeks plus of earthly bounty for our recipes. We are fueling our bodies with nutrition that flows with the seasons. With each change of crops, we are afforded a variety of nutrients similar to what our ancestors would have harvested. The CSA also sustains the local economy and provides farmers with employment. Read more (and sign up) here:

Stillman Farm also offers a meat program from their own locally raised animals. Additionally, Open Meadow Farm also offers a wide range of locally raised meats supporting a wonderful, hard working family. They are known for being a small artisian farm specializing in locally produced Black Angus Beef, Beefalo, Pastured Pork, Chicken and Honey. Find out more at

Maybe a better way for us to embrace health is to simply mimic the way our ancestors lived.

Stop and reflect for a moment - back to a day where fast food chains were not a staple on each city block. Ask your parents about their milk delivery, it likely came from the milkman and was quietly placed on your front steps in glass bottles; not a trace of BPA to be found.

I bet your grandparents can talk vividly about going to the butcher for fresh cut meats, then the baker for just baked (and hand kneaded) breads. Furthermore, they can attest to growing their own gardens or buying from a farmers market. You notice what the common thread is here as well - a lack of added hormones, a lack of chemically processed ingredients, a lack of pesticides....

Maybe, just maybe, the one stop shopping at the Mega-Super-Mart is hazardous to our health. Are we forsaking our bodies at the expense of convenience in our insanely fast-paced and over-filled lives?

Instead of sitting back idly, or instead of your habitual shopping at Mega-Super-Mart, consider making some SIMPLE changes in your life. Perhaps, by embracing a little bit of our inner Laura Ingalls Wilder - by providing better nutrition staples from our local bounties for your children, and for yourself, minus the frumpy frock, heavy bucket and prairie hardships.

1 comment:

  1. Right on Rebecca!!! Keep on it, and go ahead and toss the synthetic maple products from your pantry ;)