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What is the ‘traditional foods movement’: The balance of healthy eating

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There is a growing trend toward eating a more balanced diet that emphasizes the basics of meat, milk, grains, beans, vegetables and fruits. This trend, the traditional foods movement, harkens back to the time of our great-grandmothers when there was a connection between the food we eat, the way it is prepared and the farms it grew on. In June, Mother Earth News shared what it is to embrace a traditional foods lifestyle.

Using old-world cooking methods, the movement focuses on nutrient-rich foods and places value on things such as quality, community and environment, eschewing the temporary benefits of convenience in favor of healthier living that is good for the individual and the community on many levels.

With a traditional foods diet, there is no black and white, good or bad. Rather than embracing a certain food group and eliminating others, traditional foods blends and balances foods from multiple categories while supporting local farmers and growers, thereby enriching the community while eating a healthy and balanced diet.

Sustainability relies on a comprehensive approach to living in a way that makes the best use of agriculture, food and community. Small-scale farmers using chemical-free methods provide healthy options for the community which in turn provides economical support to the farmer.

Healthy eating is often associated with ‘restricted’ eating but with a balanced diet, this is not necessarily the case. Eating real foods, as opposed to processed and chemically-laden foods, allows for delightful tasted that satisfy and nourish. These unprocessed foods allow us to experience the joys of food without the contrived ingredients designed to make us crave more and more.

The traditional foods movement not only utilizes the real foods of our ancestors but asks us to examine the methods we use to prepare them. For example, the slow process of sourdough fermentation improves the availability of minerals, makes the most of the B vitamins and cuts the glycemic load in foods. The B vitamins are crucial to good health and a reduction in the glycemic load helps the body channel blood sugar more effectively. That’s why foods like sauerkraut were a staple in so many diets years ago. The fermentation process allowed harvested vegetables to be preserved well into the winter and it provided a healthy diet.

The traditional foods movement allows people to become more involved the community. It supports community gardens, farmers’ markets and small businesses while providing healthy foods for the family in a way that is sustainable.

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