Last Updated on October 7, 2023 by Food Articles
Food is not just sustenance; it is a profound source of nourishment that has the power to transform lives in many ways. From understanding the origins of the food we consume to making mindful choices at the grocery store, every aspect of our relationship with food can impact our health, the environment, and our overall well-being.
Sherri Holzer, the personality behind Simply Sherri, is a food strategist, cooking instructor, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Her mission is to show the world how to use food for self-care in all facets of life. A second-generation Greek, Sherri’s roots deeply influence her approach to nutrition. She believes that when people understand what is in their food and how to eat what they love more healthfully, it can truly transform their lives. Here, Sherri shares how various aspects of food and cooking can make a significant difference in our lives.
Understanding Where Your Food Is Coming From
One of the most transformative elements of food is gaining an understanding of its source. Many of us need to be more connected to the journey our food takes from farm to plate. By learning about the origins of what we eat, we can make more informed choices.
Understanding where our food comes from makes us more aware of the environmental and ethical implications of our choices. Choosing to support sustainable and ethical food production practices can have a positive impact on our world. By opting for food grown or raised responsibly, we can reduce our carbon footprint and promote the humane treatment of animals, making a significant difference in the long run.
Additionally, garnering a greater understanding of where your food comes from can help you develop a healthy relationship with food. A baseline appreciation of and respect for the effort that is behind every bite you take can transform your mindset toward eating.
Buying Local and Seasonal Ingredients
Buying local and seasonal ingredients is another powerful way to transform your life through food. When you opt for locally sourced and in-season produce, you support local farmers and businesses and enjoy fresher and more flavorful ingredients with higher nutritional value. According to Michigan State University, “Local food has fewer delays between harvest and your table, and its nutritional value is less likely to decline. It is common for food imported from faraway states and countries to be older, to have traveled, and to sit in distribution centers until it reaches your store.”
Local produce is often harvested at its peak, meaning it’s packed with nutrients and flavor. Furthermore, buying locally reduces the need for long-haul transportation, which reduces emissions and advances a more sustainable food system. By making this simple change in your food choices, you contribute to your community’s vitality and the health of the planet.
Making Simple Swaps in Meals You Love
Transforming your diet doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite meals. Small, simple swaps can make a big difference in your health and well-being. For example, if you love pasta, consider switching to whole-grain or vegetable-based pasta options instead of refined white pasta. These alternatives can increase your fiber intake and provide essential nutrients.
Similarly, if you’re a fan of burgers, try substituting a plant-based patty for a beef one. Plant-based options are healthier and more sustainable, as plant-based meat products have, on average, a 50% lower environmental impact, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Cooking Your Own Food
Cooking your own food puts you in control of exactly what you eat. When you prepare your meals at home, you can choose the ingredients and seasonings, control portion sizes, and experiment with various cuisines and cooking techniques.
Homemade meals are generally healthier because you can reduce the use of unhealthy additives, excess salt, and sugar. Also, cooking at home can serve as a creative outlet and a source of pride as you become more skilled in the kitchen. It fosters a deeper appreciation for the effort and care that goes into making a meal and growing each ingredient.
Knowing What to Look for at the Grocery Store
Navigating the grocery store can be overwhelming, with countless options and marketing tactics vying for your attention. However, knowing what to look for can help you make healthier and more sustainable choices.
Start by reading labels and understanding the ingredients in the products you buy. Avoid items with excessive additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors. Choosing products with minimal packaging can help minimize waste.
The Connection Between Mindfulness and a Healthy, Balanced Lifestyle
A crucial part of transforming your life through food and cooking is mindfulness. Mindful eating involves paying full attention to your food, savoring each bite, and being present. It encourages you to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, promoting healthier eating habits.
Mindfulness also extends to making conscious food choices that align with your health and ethical values. By practicing mindfulness in your food choices, you can better appreciate the nourishment food provides and cultivate a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Sherri recently published a book geared toward pickleball enthusiasts and players called Everything But the Kitchen Dink. This unique cookbook combines the flavors of Mediterranean cuisine with the fun and exciting sport of pickleball and is all about the balanced lifestyle and recipes to enjoy pre- and post-workout!
As Sherri always says, food experience and cooking have the power to transform lives in numerous ways. By understanding where our food comes from, buying local and seasonal ingredients, making simple swaps, cooking at home, knowing what to look for at the grocery store, and practicing mindfulness, we can lead healthier, more sustainable, and more fulfilling lives. Remember that every choice you make in the realm of food can create a positive ripple effect—both for yourself and the world around you.