food and wineIssue 22

Why is ‘Farm to Fork’ Eating Important?

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By Gitaine Reis, In-Shape Health Clubs

Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. You can’t work off bad nutrition and you can’t diet yourself skinny. It is an effort on both sides and good nutrition will help keep your body in balance. Eating fresh food will help achieve healthy nutrition, especially if you live a farm to fork lifestyle.

What exactly does farm to fork mean? It is food going straight from the farm to your plate, which means it excludes any processed foods. Farm to fork is a very broad term and can be hard to understand. To some people it consists of local food. This is food that is grown in your area and is usually available at farmers markets or local grocery stores. To others, it may be organic food, which means the farmer met certain food standards like pesticide-free agriculture.

Farm to fork doesn’t just apply to fruits and veggies. It applies to meat as well. Local, grass-fed beef is sought after because it typically has less fat and calories when compared to grain-fed beef. It also has higher omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which are essential for heart health and lowers the risk of cancer. Free range, hormone-free chickens also have benefits to their meat when compared to caged chickens; they have 20 times more omega 3 fatty acids in their meat and eggs. How the animal is raised and fed can affect our nutrition in a huge way.

Why is farm to fork so important?
The quality of your food can have an effect on the quality of your diet. Eating fresh, local food free of pesticides and hormones will give you a better idea about what you are putting in yourbody. In addition, eating meat that is grass-fed and free range will maximize the health benefits of your meal.

Here are a few ways you can check the quality and nutrition of your food:

First, always read the label.
You can find so much information on a label or sticker. When looking at fruits and veggies, find out where they were grown to see if it’s local. If it’s organic, there will be a special sticker on it. On meat labels it should state if it’s free range, grass-fed, and hormone free.

Second, ask a farmer, butcher, produce stocker, or grocery store manager.
These are the people to talk to about quality. If they can’t answer your question, then they can probably point you to the person who can. You will find these people where you buy your food: At a farmers market, local shop, or grocery store.

Third, do some research online.
You can usually find a general idea about how nutritious your food is. Compare the benefits of an organic apple to a regular apple or the difference between regular fat and omega 3 fatty acids. Being more knowledgeable about your nutrition will put you in control of what you eat.

Remember to pair your good nutrition with a steady exercise routine and share your journey with In-Shape Health Clubs! Use #inshapeattitude on any Instagram post and tag @InShapeClubs in any of your fitness and health photos. Happy eating!

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