I’ve been reading Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble. When she began eliminating processed foods, she was a broke graduate student living in Tucson, Arizona. Her starting premise was that food was unprocessed if she could make it in her home kitchen. She refined that premise as she learned more about the process in which our food is made and transported. It is ultimately a lot more complex. Yet it was important to her to use her few food dollars to maximum effect by buying local instead of blindly giving her money to The Man.
So much about this book appeals to me! I’m still reading it, but I am going to begin my own process of eating unprocessed foods.
I face a few limitations. I live in a small town in Oklahoma–a state that is defiantly and proudly turning a blind eye to sustainability. My options for buying food are very limited. We do have a farmer’s market, but it is out of season right now. I am further limited by a $40 a week food budget, which I am really trying to stick to, though I occasionally go a bit over. I’ll do the best I can at an employee-owned grocery store in town because I figure that less of it is going to a big corporation.
Also, my circumstances are somewhat different than Kimble’s in that I live with my fiance. I try very hard to not impose my chosen dietary restrictions on someone else. Yes, I will seek out recipes that fit the unprocessed structure, but I am not going to be able to completely eliminate fast food or eating out. I can, however, make some better decisions about what I order when I am eating out.
Why am I doing this? Health is the main reason. Over the past while, I’ve felt so sluggish and blah in my own body. This month I’ve been doing yoga more often than not, but I want to take it up a notch by working on my eating habits. Also, health-wise, I’d like to lose some weight because I’m getting married in May.
Secondarily, though, I want to do it for the same reasons that Kimble did. The way our food culture is currently set up accounts for a surprising chunk of pollution. I’m one person, so it’s a small step. But as the book points out “big stuff starts at the day-to-day.” I don’t currently have a ton of money, but I can spend my money differently. I think many people my age and younger are more attuned to economic and environmental state of things. I think more of us are willing to shop local to support our local economies and make better decisions for the environment. (Maybe not so much where I live, but elsewhere in the country, people my age are aware of these issues and willing to do their part) Small changes. But my buying power is all I can control. Maybe through writing about my experiences, I can reach someone else who will read Kimble’s book and make changes to their life, which will have a ripple effect as they reach someone else, who reaches someone else, and so on.
Like I said, I’m still reading the book, so I’m still learning. I’m going to consult other books as well so I can become better informed. But I can still start making changes. My plan is to post a weekly update on Friday or Saturday (or, hell, maybe Sunday!) where I discuss how unprocessed eating is going–maybe share recipes–and also just generally check in on what I’ve been reading and doing and listening to.