Weight Watchers Get Healthy Freestyle Journey – Week 19
Benefits of Shopping at a Farmer’s Market
Can you believe it’s MONDAY already and time once again to reflect on the past week?! In the recent weeks we have looked at milestones, how to stay motivated, the smart use of free foods, some tactics for dining out, surviving the holidays while dieting, the benefits of a 5% weight loss, diabetes, the importance of exercise, starting an exercise routine, beginner exercises, and exercising in the summer heat. Since beginning my weight loss journey in January, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day have come and gone. At my daughter’s suggestion, this week I’d like to share with you the benefits of shopping at a farmer’s market.
Shopping at a Farmer’s Market
A huge benefit of eating fresh organic produce is your health. Thanks to composting and our neighbor’s animals, we are fortunate enough to have a small organic garden that produces many fresh fruits, vegetables, and greens that we need each year. However, we don’t grow anywhere near enough to meet our needs. As you know grocery stores charge an arm and a leg for organic fruits and vegetables. At a farmer’s market, however, they are typically not much more expensive than conventionally grown produce.
- Farm Fresh. Fruits and vegetables you find at the grocery store are often several days or even several weeks old before they even reach the produce aisle. Farmer’s market produce, on the other hand, is often picked it that morning. It’s as fresh as you can get it outside of growing and picking it yourself.
- Organic and non-GMO: Organic farming is better for the soil, the environment, and our bodies. Many farmers who participate in local farmer’s markets use organic methods to grow their produce. Most label it as such, so you can be certain you are purchasing chemical free products. They also are more likely to use non-GMO modified seeds.
- Seasonal Needs: Some nutritionists and scientists suggest eating seasonally available foods is better for our bodies because humans ate seasonal produce for thousands of years before refrigerated shipping changed all that. Eating produce that is in season still makes sense. Lighter fruits and vegetables are available seasonally in the spring and summer, while heartier winter vegetables like squash and parsnips provide sustenance for the cooler autumn and winter months.
- More nutritious: Vivid colors in fruits and vegetables are a reflection of the nutrients they contain. Look at the of produce found at the farmer’s market, and compare that to produce at the grocery store. You’ll see that the supermarket fruits and vegetables are pale in comparison.
- Save on healthcare. The health benefits of organic food include ingesting fewer pesticides and heavy metals. You will also find more healthy fats and possibly more antioxidants in organically grown food. Organic produce is often fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives to make it last longer. With all the health benefits of eating fresh organic produce, you are likely to save you money on healthcare expenses over the long-term.
- Ripeness: Eating produce when it is ripe not only tastes better, but it also provides the best nutrition possible. Produce at the farmer’s market is generally picked at the peak ripeness when its natural sugars are at their highest. Try This: Buy a tomato from the supermarket and one from the farmer’s market. Taste them side-by-side and see what you think. Produce from the farmer’s market almost always tastes better.
- Shop Local. Just like everything else in this country, industrialized farming has become the norm. Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — further strengthening the economic base of the whole community. Giant corporations run industrial farms, driving local family farms out of business.
- Benefits the environment. For the sake of efficiency, industrial farming favors monocultures, where a single field only grows one type of fruits or vegetables. Monocultures sap the soil of essential nutrients, leaving it barren and unplantable for our future generations. In general, industrial farming (both conventional and organic) is hard on the land, depletes the soil of nutrients, uses industrial chemical fertilizers and/or pesticides, and utilizes environmentally unfriendly practices that are not sustainable over the long-term. While small-scale farmers are more diversified, simultaneously fueling the sustainability of the land and increasing biodiversity in our local ecosystem.
- Value: At a farmer’s market the prices are not much more than commercially grown, mass-produced produce. For the sheer nutrition you get from farmer’s market produce compared to supermarket produce, it’s a really good value. Since more farmer’s markets are accepting nutrition assistance benefits such as SNAP and WIC, they are a great way for low-income households to get nutritious foods.
- Variety: Farmer’s markets offer a large variety of fruits and vegetables. You can often find fruits and vegetables that won’t find in the produce section of your local supermarket. Visit different booths to pick up seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as local dairy, grain, herbs, and protein products so you can build your healthy plate.
- Preparation Recipes and Tips: Farmers often have recommendations for preparing their products. Farmers eat what they produce and will often share real recipes they eat on the farm, from hearty breakfasts to homemade desserts.
- Eating local is Green: Eating local reduces your carbon footprint. Famer’s market produce doesn’t have far to get from the farm to your table, significantly reducing the use of fossil fuels. While many supermarkets receive their produce from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. This involves the significant use of fossil fuels and the use of refrigerated trucks and rail cars. When your food doesn’t travel long distances, you’re promoting better air quality and reducing pollution.
Along with conserving fossil fuels, small family farms also produce less environmental waste in the form of carbon monoxide, pesticide use, and chemical fertilizers.
- Farmers markets are easy to find. We have several located near our rural home that I love to shop at. If you don’t know where one is located near you, use USDA Farmers Markets Search to find one. I discovered that there are twenty-five located within 50 miles of us!
Meet your local farmers, learn about foods grown in your area, and catch up with friends and neighbors while stocking up with local goods. When you shop at the farmer’s market, you know where your food has been. Often, you can even visit the farms to see how they grow and handle the food that you are serving your family.
The Best Project You’ll Ever Work On Is You!
How my freestyle weight loss week went:
This week, we made our monthly shopping trip and Marcus got two procedures done that he had to fast for! It was a rough week for him but with two days of fasting and medication, he did get a good cleanse. I spent the week working in the garden, helping him prep, driving, and waiting. I would have loved to have spent more time tending my plants. All this rain has everything growing like crazy, including the weeds.
Last week, I continued with my new exercise routine and continue to work on adding to the time and reps I do. I spent a few hours helping my aunt clean her house again this Sunday. Before we got busy I stepped on the scale and was pleased that I had lost another pound for a 34.2 lbs total lost so far. Until next week… Remember to stay positive and keep looking forward.
OnlinePlus – Put the power of Weight Watchers in the palm of your hand. Learn more.
TALK TO ME
Where are you on your journey? Do you shop at a farmer’s market? What is your favorite thing to buy there?
Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook fan page.
I am not a medical professional. The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.