Why we do what we do
Eat 'Real' Food
Photo by Kylee B Photography
Food is fuel. I'm not going to be cliché and say "you are what you eat" but, you are! (Oops, I guess I have to say it)
Lets face it, most of what we eat here in the states comes straight out of mass production. If you go to your pantry, take out a box of breakfast cereal and read the label, nine times out of ten there will be more than one ingredient on that box that you cannot pronounce the name of. What are we eating? Is it food or science? Why not spend 20 minutes of your day making some fresh granola with 5 ingredients that you know, love, and most of all are great for your overall health? Most of the food we buy comes from crops and livestock laden with artificial additives, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and come from or feed on genetically modified crops. This is not what nature intended for us. Not only is this directly effecting our health and longevity but it is also greatly impacting our planet.
There's only one way to fix this, and its extremely easy! Always know where your food comes from and what it is made of. Foods that we consider to be 'real' are; fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains, meat, fish, and poultry. Most importantly, 'real' food is prepared in our very own homes from the best quality ingredients we can find. Staple ingredients like healthy fats/oils, wheat flours, and sweeteners are great when you are stocking your pantry, just remember to consume in moderation. We don't want you to say or even think the word diet. That word will NEVER be spoken in this blog or in my life. We just want you to be aware of what you put into your body and eat more nutrient rich food. Most importantly, I would like you to learn how to source the best ingredients to cook with and feed your families. My goal is to teach you every tip, trick, and skill you need to navigate this mass produced world and #foragingreal. Foraging real means no matter where you come from, what your budget is, or what style of eating you love, you are able to find healthy quality ingredients and turn them into something scrumptious.
In our recipes, you will see a few processed ingredients that we do use. In this day in age I am not going to expect someone to grind their own wheat to make flour at home. (Even though that would be pretty awesome.) We buy; Flour, sugar, butter, milk, cheese, spices, vinegar, condiments, chocolate, etc. The key to cooking with ingredients like these is buy GOOD QUALITY. That is what #foragingreal is all about. Read your labels and try to find a brand you can trust. Stay away from chemicals, additives, and ingredients you don't know.
By joining The Concrete Forager community, I'll teach you the ingredients that are 'real', and the ones you'll want to steer clear of. And if blog posts, social media posts, and video tutorials aren't enough for you, you want more? Sign up for classes with me to get in-depth instruction and direct connection to me for guidance! If you have any concerns about a brand or product to buy please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help! Remember how the world works... supply and demand. If we only purchase the products/brands who take the extra time and effort into making sure their food is free from artificial unnecessary additives, there will be more demand for those great brands, and less for the ones who just don't care. The sooner we do this, the more eating real foods will become the norm.
What we do
We get food directly from the source - There are plenty of ways to do this no matter your budget or where you are! Check out joining your local CSA, find local farms who'll sell to you directly, hit the local farmers market whenever its open, local butcher shops who specialize in meat will have fresher better quality meats and will handle them with more pride, seek out local foods or do the research about the brands you buy. For example, one lettuce bag with a big brand name will always be on your grocery store shelves, however, maybe you should dig into that brand and see their mission statement, how mass produced they are, what has been exposed about the companies quality, what do they spray their crops/soil with, you get my point right? You know what else is available in most grocery stores; locally grown lettuces, whether its package free and needs to be washed and cut or its in a package with a smaller company label... I am willing to bet that smaller company has a farm closer to your area.
We grow our own food - I am by no means a farmer, or a very great gardener to be honest. But every year I get my hands in the dirt I learn and progress in my skills. Whether you only have space for a few herbs on your windowsill, a few pots outside, or you have a full blown blooming garden. You are making a difference by having total control over your food. No chemicals, no gmo seeds, no artificial anything. Just pure home grown produce. You wont be disappointed when you taste the difference.
We hunt for our own meat - Wild game is a meat like no other. Nothing makes me happier than the right to harvest meat straight out of the wild. Not only do I sleep well knowing that the meat I am cooking lived an absolutely natural, free, wild life as it was intended to. It never suffered, it was never forced into an unnatural way of living, never medicated nor domesticated. Just pure un-altered free-range protein. Sean and I work extremely hard to practice and perfect with our weapons year round and only take shots that are a sure thing. We never take the chance of injuring an animal that wont be put down quickly, stress-free and humanely. (The same cannot be said for that store bough beef available at your local supermarket) This isn't a hobby, its our duty, and its our life. We work hard to hunt year round to keep the freezer stocked with wholesome proteins/fats. Following all local regulations and laws and only taking the lives of things we will eat. Due to having jobs and not being outdoors as much as we wish we were, we harvest what we can and purchase meat to supplement what we need to. But its important to us that we purchase humanely raised meats and any time we can cut out the middle man, we buy directly from someone who'll sell us their animal proteins directly. The same goes for fishing, we love being able to harvest our own, however when we supplement we only buy wild caught fish never farm raised or genetically altered.
Not only is hunting rewarding, but hunters make up 90% of the people dedicated to conservation of our planet. I could go on and on about this topic but I'll spare you the long read. Just know, there is something to be said for knowing the protein that is sustaining you, is coming from an animal who lived a natural life, the way nature intended it to. And most of all, the awareness of knowing a life is taken for us to consume our food is so imperative. This awareness not only keeps your mind open to the unsettling industrialized meat industry but will also encourage you to use every single piece of that animal, from nose to tail. Therefore reducing food waste and honoring the life that was harvested to sustain your own.
We make it ourselves - This applies to all our food as well as a lot of the things we own. Cooking meals at home gives you total control over what you are eating and guarantees freshness. But this also goes for crafting our own things whenever we can. The skills to not only preserve food by pickling, freezing and canning. But we take pride in DIY'ing everything. Oh how I love to make things, just as much as I love knowing how things are made.
Food aside, I am a serious "Susie Homemaker." I learned to crochet by my grandmothers at a young age, and learned to sew from my mom. As the years go by I have tried to pick up homestead/maker skills anywhere that I can so I know I can make, fix or find anything I could ever need. I have since taken on; Painting, embroidery, weaving, spinning yarn and even repurposing old discarded furniture. Add a few more hobbies to the list right? Every time I need to come up with a special gift for someone, homemade is always my go to. Not only is it more meaningful, but it's thoughtfully one of a kind. There is nothing more fulfilling than self-sufficiency.
Reduce, reuse, recycle! (another cliche, I know) Not only is it much more satisfying to sit in your living room surrounded by little works of art you've created yourself but, creating it yourself also allows you to have a say in exactly how it looks and how it functions! Repurposing things found at a local thrift store or refinishing old furniture you've "picked" off the street on garbage day is rewarding and budget friendly. It also makes a big difference in our growing waste problem on this planet. So instead of buying new things, I would much rather grab things at the local thrift store, local listings, or buy second hand. This makes a huge impact in getting things out of the landfills and recycled back into use.