Start Where You Are

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If you'd like to share your thoughts on our Start Where You Are article, please do so here. We'd love to hear what you think!

By: | Mar 26, 2011 12:23 PM | Permalink
i am lee johnson from Napervillec ill, I am an advocate trying to raise awareness of the way we have been and are being marketed to death by big corporate, and our government,, literally, We really have to read and research great people like csa to protect our health as i do from non toixc co's, as Melaleuca, which i am very thankful for , i feel much healthier, we need to boycott these big co's by empowering as we are, to counterattack, their bottom line -profit, Imagine all the toxic products we have been using for years and the high Cancer statistics they have perpetrated .I read in christian science monitor last month our veg and fruit coming in from all different co's are not inspected well of serious toxins .buyer beware and read like your lives depend on it knowledge is out survival , my mantra. Also I am leery of farm stands.also because they use chemicals but still purchase them we just have to be one step ahead and be a positive influence on our future generation as role models They live from what we bottom line its us against them , Big corp fast foods resturants with all chem foods, natural must be impentrated in our minds for our choices for health and wellness Seek and you shall find, Have a healthy eating day B health 4 life my new site soon or take care

By: Sarah Kenward | Mar 25, 2011 12:05 PM | Permalink
I don't subscribe to a vegetable CSA but instead hit farmer's markets looking for something interesting (and familiar items I can't grow, or grow well, in my yard.)

If it's not busy I like to ask the farmers how they prepare "x". Otherwise I look online. There are so many recipes I can always find something that looks good, and if I don't like the veggie I just don't buy it again.

Sometimes I do re-try. I kept getting kale and not liking it but everyone was saying it's delicious and so healthy. The magical key was sauteing with a splash of vinegar. It went from bitter and gross to delicious. When its time comes around again I'm going to try baking into chips. So far for that sweet potatoes are my favorite.

By: Cheri Cywinski | Mar 25, 2011 12:27 AM | Permalink
If I had kids, which I don't, I would make a game out of the weekly CSA delivery. Each week, pick a name (depending upon how many kids you have). Whoever's name you draw, that child get's to research to see what the "unusual/new" item is, and a fun way to fix it. You might even let them fix it, or at least help you fix it. I'd have a lot of fun with it, and really play it up as an adventure, who knows, you may create the next Emeril!

If they really like something new that you get, buy them a pack of seeds, and let them grow their own. I think when you get kids involved in the process in a positive way, it creates excitement and curiosity, and gives them something to be proud of.

Have fun!

Cheri Cywinski

By: Cynthia Klein | Mar 24, 2011 10:53 PM | Permalink
Love the essay, and agree totally that food changes must be small in the beginning. In our enthusiasm we can go too far in the beginning, which meets with resistance. Then we are discouraged and no change occurs. Families with children must start with what kids know and add on. Discussion in the kitchen while preparing food is the most wonderful way to make change permanent.

I remember a book titled "The Confessions of a Sneaky Organic Cook" by Jane Kindleher (I may have the last name wrong) . It came out in the 70's. The book was an amusing series of ways to "sneak" healthy food into your family. She offered tips about such things as never arguing if someone said a food tasted funny.

Basically, her message is valid even today because we are still trying to improve our health through diet. Her other point, that the cook in the family holds the key to that improvement is also very well taken.

By: Linda Radwanski | Mar 24, 2011 09:55 PM | Permalink
Really great newsletter!! We have truly enjoyed trying new veggies out and new recipes, hit or miss! Thank goodness for Butter!!! Makes everything yummy!

By: Tiffani Beckman | Mar 24, 2011 09:23 PM | Permalink
I love farm fresh foods - but I have to disagree about not putting "something" on veggies. We may have been taught that condiments are bad for us - and they absolutely are when you are talking processed polyunsaturated goo with high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. BUT - butter or cream actually HELPS get all the nutrients into the cells in our bodies.


Yet, as we serve up sauce-less steamed broccoli and butter-less potatoes, we not only miss the flavor and satisfaction that wholesome fats provide, but also better absorption of the nutrients found in those vegetables. While increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and other plant foods are linked to better health particularly in relation to cancer and cardiovascular disease. Yet, the role of traditional dietary fats is largely ignored. A recent study of over 1.700 Swedish men indicates that consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, but only when combined with full-fat dairy consumption3. That is, the men who enjoyed enjoyed plenty of vegetables along with full-fat farm milk, butter and cream experienced fewer incidences of cardiovascular disease then the men who eschewed dairy fat, consuming margarine or skim and low-fat milk.

It seems that the combination of fruit, vegetables and wholesome traditional fats not only affects the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also cancer risk and even the effects of aging on the skin. A recent analysis of over fifteen studies on the effects of dairy fat and death from heart disease, diabetes and cancer found that those who consumed more dairy products experienced lower risk of stroke and heart disease than those who consumed very little dairy. Some physicians have posited that since cancer cells thrive on sugar, a diet of up to 80% fat by calorie is indicated in such a recommendation makes the inclusion of a tablespoon or two of butter on a dish of freshly cooked vegetables seem a little paltry by comparison.

Wholesome fats are rich in vitamins critical to health, particularly vitamins A, D, E and K. Just a tablespoon of olive oil contains about 10% of the daily value for both vitamins E and K while butter is rich in vitamin A6 and pastured lard rich in vitamin D7. A recent study analyzed the diet of over 700 Japanese women paying particularly close attention to their intake of vegetables and dietary fat. Researchers discovered that not only were green and yellow vegetables associated with better skin health, but that dietary fat, particularly saturated and monounsaturated fat, were linked to increased skin elasticity.

Eat your vegetables, and don't hold the butter. Wholesome, unrefined fats nourished human evolution from its earliest days and will continue to do so.

By: JaLane Daschke | Mar 24, 2011 08:08 PM | Permalink
You had me at "butter"! Yum.

By: | Mar 24, 2011 07:56 PM | Permalink
I had that exact issue when I went vegan about 18 months ago; out of necessity I branched out to previously unfamiliar vegetables, and what an adventure I embarked on! I love to buy a veggie I've never used and in many cases never knew even existed and then, when I get home, I just google it! You'll find tons of info, advice, and recipes on the internet. One especially valuable website has been where you can enter the name of your ingredient and browse recipes using it. I've discovered fantastic recipes this way, not to mention new website (including yours) and blogs.


By: | Mar 24, 2011 07:12 PM | Permalink
THANK YOU!!!!! My husband and I have recently gone thru a 21-day detox/cleanse (can I say the plan we used??) which we have done before, but somewhere we start to "snitch". However, there are many things we don't give in to. I've been working on "my top ten things I've learned" (relating to changing eating habits, choices, etc.) and you've given me two "WOW's" - that is "being honest about where we are starting from, and acknowledging that most change happens incrementally." We have found those two to be primary. We did subscribe to a local CSA for 3 years and loved it - however, distance, time and a full share (half share just not worth the distance and time) have become issues. However, three of our children do subscribe to CSA's.

By: liz kennard butcher | Mar 24, 2011 07:06 PM | Permalink
I agree with Erin and Tom.

The thing that I want to point out is that each side has it's valid points and they need to be determined by the individual that is purchasing the CSA, or growing the produce, poultry or whatever is being sought for consumption.

Fresh is best is my motto; i.e. I don't agree with drowning it in Ranch 100% of the time, but I also cannot tell you how to eat every item. The nutritional value of fresh produce is depleted the minute it hits the open flame. It is still better for you than some doughnut or a hot pocket, but before you go cooking it up, think about eating it raw.. Many things are wonderful that way.

Another thing to think about with CSA's is this. They are springing up all over the place. Be VERY critical when selecting one-many represent that they are distributing local produce "grown on their local farm," yet are selling cantaloupe in Utah in the middle of December and January and Fresh Tomatoes at the same time. Use your heads and commit to the real local farmer. It may seem fantastic that a farmer offers a wide assortment of product to you, but if you are committed to local sustainability, really study what he is offering.

There are farms like Heritage Valley Poultry out of Tremonton who offer a Poultry CSA only because that is what they do. They do not ship birds in from Florida or Mexico. The same goes for Apenzall Farms in Hyde Park, Utah. Ranui Gardens is another local CSA. They grow what they sell.

It is not only about what you buy and how you prepare it, it is about whom you buy it from. A CSA is a great option if you cannot grow it yourself and if you thoroughly investigate it, you will not end up with a bunch of stuff that will rot in your fridge. Freshly picked product will last a while and you can easily learn how to store it and make it last longer.

By: Maryann | Mar 24, 2011 06:46 PM | Permalink
"Don't Drown your Food" Wow! Flashback to my childhood! I've been a CSA member for 3 seasons now, and yes, it does often force my hand to try new vegetables and to either prepare or freeze things before they rot in the fridge. But I think that has been a postive influence on my family's eating habits. If dipping a veggie in ranch dressing gets your kids to try it, I say go for it. My kids love coming with me when I pick out our veggie basket at the farm. We grow some ourselves as well, and I feel it has made my kids much more likely to eat fresh vegetables. I see many of my mom friends struggle with making healthier choices, and I think getting your kids involved in growing, choosing, and cooking (or dipping) their own fresh veggies makes them more apt to eat them. At least that has been my experience. My 6-year-old loves to pick and eat kale raw from our garden! How many moms can say that? PS - Another favorite way to introduce or use up almost any veg is to add it to a quiche!

By: Tom Taylor | Mar 24, 2011 06:15 PM | Permalink
I disagree- And trying not to be disagreeable, I will share why I think so... There are two concurrent dialectics at work; production and consumption, both of which are in flux. On the production end there is a relational re-orientation of grower to end user. This back-to-the farm movement gets many to the door, but simply translates into a different consumership rather than a radical realignment, and falls far short of being back to the farm. Erin's article suggests to me a greater problem of whether to cook in olive oil or butter- rather, that people are agreeing to purchase shares in CSAs and receiving perishable goods which they may or not have use for and which force their hand- do they simply succumb to not knowing, not liking, not having time? and let it rot in the fridge until the next thing they might like, might know how to prepare comes in? Perilously, the idea that one transitions or weens their way to natural living is supported by this system, and so, in the nature of American consumership, th journey becomes rife with excuses- like why they let the mustard greens rot because no one could eat them smothered in Ranch Dressing (which they undoubtedly did not make). The only real way to succeed, and support real agriculture is to make a radical paradigm shift- first by growing those things which you need and are able, second by making a clean break with your previous food life; it will be hard like any addiction, mostly because your body has become chemically dependent on the sugars, salts, fats- but without making this leap, it will be a daily struggle. There is a place for sweet, salty, and fatty in good eating. I personally think CSAs are counterproductive, selfish enterprises because in communities where traditional agricultural enterprises exist, the CSA can in fact undermine the vitality of a competitive marketplace (production end) and provide only a nod to the necessary revolution, as the benefits of variety, choice, compulsion, etc. are removed, and so the very entity attempting to codify a consumer transition, stifle it through seeking dedication of funds for often known foods, quantities, etc- supporting the argument that this is not tenable, practical- rather, as in most cases it is a trend based consumership that is secondary to a fundamentally corporate food supply...

By: | Mar 24, 2011 05:30 PM | Permalink
Since January of this year, my husband and I have embarked on a journey to better health. We had never sought to purchase organic, nor had we heard of a kohlrabi. Now sauteed onion, kale, mushrooms and kohlrabi is one of our favorites. You ask for folks to comment on how they made the changes. We began by having a consultation with a doctor of naturopathy named Shirley Powell. As the guidelines of this blog require, I will not list her website, email, or phone number but will give you the name of her business (Temple Care) and her city of location (Guntersville, AL). She is also the author of the book, "Making Friends with Food" which has helped us A LOT. Anyway, as you state in your article, we have been successful by making GRADUAL CHANGES.

By: Hannah | Mar 24, 2011 05:24 PM | Permalink
It's true! Baby steps are the way to change a families' eating habits. We recently made a rather drastic change in the way we eat with food combining and it was pretty tough on the kids. They have completely adapted now and are "on board" with eating lots more veggies.

I too, had this problem of how to prepare "new to us" veggies and have been doing a lot of research on recipe sites like and I'm so excited about eating healthier that I started a food blog about our families' journey to better health (

I'm no longer afraid of unusual vegetables or even offering them to my children. I now make something they definately like and offer the new vegetable on the side. It's amazing how they will try it and often will like it!

Thanks for encouraging me to eat locally. IT's healthier and much better for our local economy.

By: debbie hill | Mar 24, 2011 05:24 PM | Permalink
Thanks for the article, Erin....and I think food DOES taste better without all those sauces and dressings we try to drown them with! If I use dressing or sauce, it's on the least then i can taste what i am eating. Not to mention all the added calories and GMOs we leave off!

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