So New Years Eves promises of increased health and self-improvement are being replaced slowly and one by one by (tiny little) pints of Ben and Jerrys. Unfortunately, the honeymoon excitement of New Years is settling into the marriage of bleak mid-January, with its occasional and natural dips and turns from the straight and narrow.
It seems that New Years diet trends always range from radically extreme to small lifestyle adjustments.
January is a great time to consider a wide range of health and body-conscious programs and diets. But whats the good of a diet or a resolution if you cant stick to it?
Many are turning away from rigid and sometimes ridiculous diets and diet-restrictions. We dont want a diet that makes us feel bad. That makes sense, right? Many, instead of trying (and probably failing) restrictive diet regimens are making lifestyle changes that benefit not only physical and mental well-being, but communities.
Everyone wants to make practical, helpful changes and choices that benefit not only ourselves, but our environment. Thats how Ben and Jerrys went from a small-ish business to an empire with popular offerings that dont just taste greatthey are trying to save the Rainforests. They dont even use hormones in their milk or cream....
Theres a growing local trend of the hip and well-educated consumer interested not only in small businesses, but in locally-sourced, high quality, sustainable, and healthful foods and products. Current trends ranging from vegan-friendly restaurant fare to locally grown, grass-fed beef are becoming more and more easily available and in higher demand every day. In and around Lexington, farmers, business people, stores, and markets are gearing up for this years trends, offering products to local consumers with a holistic and sustainable focus.
New Years resolutions have never been so practical, beneficial, and convenient. Check out some of this years trends and offerings helping to cultivate a healthy new years attitude that we can hope to be able to sustain until next year and the next.
This is whats fresh in 2005, along with predictions for trends for 2005.
Start Simple: Drink More (local) Water
Bottled water has become one of the fastest-growing trends of the past few years, moving from a mostly elite luxury of treadmill runners and stationary bicyclists to being almost a necessity to many people. You cant go very far without seeing someone with their pet bottle of water in hand or at least a bright-blue and glowing bottled-water machine asking for a one-dollar bill.
There are hundreds of different brands of water to choose from, but a growing local trend is the support of local springs for water-consumption needs. And its a reality: everyone needs water for survival. Its also a reality that everyone wants good-tasting, fresh water at a good price.
Lexington is surrounded by limestone deposits and deep springs purely because of its geographical location: caves and sinkholes mean springs and undisturbed water sources. About thirty minutes away from Lexington in Wilmore, Kentucky, Highbridge Spring Water Company has been bottling and selling water for years to Lexington and all of central Kentucky. It also sells in other states. Highbridge Spring is a family owned and operated business known for the crisp water drawn from nearby limestone deposits.
Another well-known spring in the area, Climax Spring in Orlando, Kentucky has a less-known extra feature. They sell their water (coming from a very deep and clear spring in eastern Kentucky) locally in bottles, but they also have more to offer. At the base of the breath-taking waterfall above the spring (on the picture on bottles of Climax Spring water) there is a place you can pull your car over where you can pull a chain to fill your 5-gallon water bottles with spring water fresh from the depths of the spring treated with no chemicals, radiation, or processes and for absolutely free.
This is the freshest water you can get, full of minerals and a refreshing taste.
Doyle Water is another locally based company offering delivery and service.
Stay SimpleEat More Seasonally/Support Local Farmers
Sometimes buying locally is more expensive and local produce may be harder to find. The effort is a huge step, however, towards a stronger community and a closer relationship with our ingredients and diets. Imagine for a second all of the benefits to a healthy, locally-sourced diet:
Produce grown locally is much fresher, providing bodies with more vitamins and minerals and tongues and taste buds with more intense flavors and crisper textures. Make your resolution to be happier since meals would be more satisfying and tasty. Or make your new years goal to be more environmentally conscious because locally grown produce takes much less material and physical energy to get to you. It goes directly from the soil to a cardboard box to your fruit or vegetable basket sometimes in a matter of hours from the Lexington Farmers Market or other local produce markets. Our bodies benefit from seasonal produce because it ensures that we get a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year due to the differing seasonal availability of locally grown produce.
Choosing local produce from Farmers Markets or local grocery stores becomes a fun addition to mundane grocery shopping and meal cooking.
It forces you to get out of routine patterns of diets and meal plans and work with what you have. It brings the focus to the ingredients. The goal becomes finding the freshest, most exciting produce the seasons and the farmers have to offer. The thrill of shopping locally is often in the hunt.
These diets praise Celtic sea salt because unlike normal table salt which has been highly processed with heat and chemicals, Celtic Sea Salt is sun-dried, providing many more of the essential minerals contained in salt in its unrefined form such as organic iodine and magnesium and making it much easier for the body to process.
Many professional chefs use this salt as well as such varieties as gray salt, Hawaiian salt, coarse Kosher salt (perfect for everyday), and too many other smoked and flavored salts to name.
These chefs use the salts for their taste and texture and because it takes much less to season their dishes.
Also the wide variety of different kinds of salts enhance different meals or dishes depending on the flavor and mood of the meal. With their different textures, subtleties, and aromas these varieties of salt provide a healthful, environmentally-friendly ingredient for savvy consumers.
You can also try homemade, locally-produced herb mixes like those available from Herbn Renewal at Farmers Market as a healthy, flavorful option.
Eat Healthier Animals
New businesses at the local, national and even international levels are beginning to offer well fed and cared for beef, chicken, pork, and seafood to discriminating customers. A variety from shrimp to bison is being offered at a local level at grocery stores and directly from the source.
The Good Foods Market, a local community-owned cooperative has a wide and evolving variety of local meats. Happy Hollow Pig Farms offers pork chops and bacon to local consumers. At Bluegrass Grass-Fed Beef Farms in Paris, Kentucky many different cuts of beef are available. Everything from tilapia and shrimp from changing local sources are found at the Kentucky Bison Co. out of Goshen, Kentucky, which offers bison burgers in the deli and frozen department at Good Foods Market (and also used in their hot bar at the Café). Many of these companies also offer these products directly to customers.
Wild Oats in Lexington Green also has a wide array of healthy options.
You can also try a local butcher like Critchfield in Zandale, and always ask about the source of meat and produce when you visit the mainstream grocery chains like Kroger and Meijers.
Eat No Animals
Local activist and Vegan Randi explains her reasons for becoming vegan quite simply as, The animals and the Earth! Its mostly just about how terribly that the animals we eat are treated.
For those who are interested in a meat-free lifestyle choice for whatever reasons, there has usually been a very limited level of local community awareness and/ or support to be found. When I first became vegan, it was hard for me to find restaurants or recipes. I just had to find out what was out there for vegans, Randi said on the difficulty of choosing a vegan lifestyle.
One restaurant that has been historically veg-friendly and has offered a strong vegan/ vegetarian-friendly menu is Alfalfas Restaurant across the street from the Central Public Library. They offer seasonal menus with vegan, vegetarian, and fish/ chicken entrees, salads, and appetizers as well as a wide variety of desserts. Randi discovered, once I found out what was out there for vegans, it was easy for me to eat well.
Scarborough Fare also features veggie-friendly fare in its deli case, as Hettie Carriero (formerly of the now-defunct Everybodys) can usually be found hard at work in that Romany kitchen.
And nearly all ethnic offerings (Thai, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and so on) have vegetarian menu options. Most local fine-dining establishments also offer something on their menus for the vegetarians among their clienteleand may be willing to substitute items to suit your needs. Just ask the server (graciously and politely).
There are also many cookbooks, websites, and other resources now available for those that choose an animal-free diet. Some of the most popular and user-friendly cookbooks on the market are a series of Moosewood cookbooks. Started by Mollie Katzen and continued by a group of people calling themselves the Moosewood Collective, the cookbooks offer a wide variety of vegetarian, vegan, and fish dishes. Katzen and her contemporaries are trying to make choosing healthful, meatless foods easy and cooking them fun and stress-free. Choosing to become a Vegan is hard enough.
People learning to cook vegan need all the help they can getthe Moosewood cookbooks are a great place to start.
Live it, dont Die-t
Remember to keep in mind that discipline is just remembering what you want. And making sure that what you want translates to the good of the community just makes accomplishing your goals and getting what you want easier.
Not that theres anything wrong with eating Ben and Jerrys. n