If eating were a sport, I’d be a sure contender for the gold medal.
My appetite makes me wonder at times if I’m actually just a raging hormonal teenage boy trapped in a woman’s body.
For someone who is neither a chef nor a nutritionist (so take anything I say about nutrition with a grain of unrefined, sustainably sourced, Celtic sea salt),
I’ve spent more time than I care to admit learning about food, health and nutrition without a sniff of a qualification to show for it and few (to no) refined culinary skills.
"I believe it's more important to care more about the back story of where that food came from and how it came to be on your plate."
While I have zero desire to tell other people how they should be eating or even to cook for other people beyond my own family and friends, this questioning about my food choices did lead me down an intriguing path where I gradually became interested in growing and producing my own food. You know, like a farmer.
But that didn’t just happen overnight.
It first required me to take some time to self-examine how I shopped, what I was buying, and the kind of food and nourishment my body really craved and needed. As I embarked on this journey, as any good millennial would do, I turned to my peers via social media and blogs for inspiration.
As the open-sourced millennials we are, we love to share every intricate detail of our lives with strangers on the internet. It’s not like we’re ashamed of any of this either. We’re happy to scream from the rooftop to anyone who will listen, watch or follow us. It’s really just a more socially accepted way to creepily spy on each other. From the clothes we wear, to how we decorate our homes, and probably our favourite pastime of all, sharing what we eat. Food literally makes our individual little worlds go round. After all, we spend our lives working so we can put food on the table.
For someone like me, who is anything but a fancy Instagrammer or Youtube vlogger, and cannot for the life of her flip a fried egg without yolk spewing out, I thought it would be helpful to document a good ol’ regular ‘day on a plate.’ Because sometimes it’s nice to just see how us ‘other’ folk eat; the ones who care about their food and health but certainly don’t care that much about what it looks like once presented on a plate. Yes of course, the saying that we ‘eat with our eyes’ certainly has an element of truth. But that’s why I occasionally go out to eat at a fancy restaurant – to indulge in the art of finely presented food. For every other day at home, I believe it’s more important to care more about the back story of where that food came from and how it came to be on your plate. The pretty pictures can wait.
My Back Story
To give you my quick back story, I certainly didn’t always think this way about food. My mother did a wonderful job raising six children on home-cooked meals. As children, we burned a lot of energy through the sports we played. Food was simply fuel to keep me going. I didn’t have to think too much about it and there was no connection to where it came from.
When I moved out of home as a young, attempting-to-be-independent uni student in the era of fat-phobia, the cheaper and lower in fat said ‘food’ was, the better. I largely subsisted on instant noodles, packets of cup-a-soup, low fat yoghurt and $3 schooners at the uni pub. Priorities, am I right? I certainly still ate my vegetables, they just mostly came in frozen form (courtesy of China or some other exotic place unbeknown to me at the time). The only real healthy shopping I did was out of mum’s fridge. When it came to fuelling my body with the energy and nutrients it required to be a well functioning adult in this world, I was doing a sub-par job.
Today, as an educated, professional (and hopefully, more capable) adult, I try to make better decisions for myself and the world around me. It’s a privilege to live in the kind of society we do, to have the kind of freedom in our choices and access to an abundance of glorious locally grown food. I don’t intend to take that for granted. A Day On My Plate
So without further ado, here’s a little sampling from my day on a plate.
I’m impartial to a good cup of coffee as I set myself up for the day. Recent findings have led me to acknowledge I really should drop this habit or at the very least, wait until after breakfast to indulge in a cuppa. Still working on that one folks. I’m only human.
Breakfast is usually eggs, providing I can get my hands on high quality pasture-raised eggs. I’m fussy about my eggs. As someone who formerly raised chickens, maybe you can understand why. I recommend you read my previous post about decoding egg labels. Sided with some sauteed greens from the garden or farmers market, some homemade sauerkraut and avocado, and this makes for one very happy little millennial.
A breakfast like this really only takes a couple minutes to prepare. I very rarely will have a smoothie and if I do, it has to be super thick (I’m the kind of person who likes to eat my calories, rather than drink them). If it’s a cold winter morning, the little kid in me is most likely to scream for a warm bowl of overnight soaked oats.
I wish my eggs made a love heart for me every morning…
One of my go-to lunches is a a salad piled high with everything I have in the kitchen except the kitchen sink. I steer clear of store-brought dressings, opting to make my own, usually consisting of olive oil and apple cider vinegar or lemon. It’s easy to roast some vegetables in bulk at the start of the week to have on hand in the fridge to toss through a salad. The same goes with some protein. The other simple solution for lunch is leftovers from the night before.
I had leftover free range chicken on a bed of salad with some leftover mashed sweet potato & pumpkin, drizzled with tahini. I went back for seconds…
Depending on the day, I may have a source of protein with a generous amount of vegetables. I personally don’t eat meat everyday but I do eat animal products (cheese, milk, eggs) with consideration almost daily. I’ve written about these food choices in the past. Today was a protein heavy day because that was what my body was asking for. In saying this, I eat copious amounts of vegetables. As a girl with a big appetite, I find vegetables are some of the most satisfying fillers as opposed to processed and packaged foods. I also love slow cooking curries and stews and having extra on hand for a few more meals.
Some days I snack, some days I don’t. I’m more likely to if I’m at home working/procrastinating. I try to make healthier choices like nuts, seeds, carrots dipped in tahini (heaven) or some fruit.
So there you go. I like to think I eat rather simply. To me it is. It’s taken me a LONG time to get to this point though. I largely eat a low processed, plant-based diet supplemented with organic and ethically raised meat, pasture-raised eggs, nuts, seeds, fruit, high quality & organic dairy products and generous amounts of coconut oil, butter and olive oil where necessary. Occasionally I’ll have some quinoa, buckwheat, oats or legumes. While I’m no angel and still have my vices (chocolate), I eat in a way that is satisfying and sustainable for me to maintain.
I try to make most things from scratch and where I don’t because I’m too lazy to make them, (for example, bread and baked treats), I opt out and rarely eat them. It’s actually a principal I find works really well for me!
What I do want to encourage, is for everyone to look more scrupulously at the food they are buying, who they are buying it from, and understanding what exactly it is you are putting into your body. After all, food is the very sustenance supporting your body and life. And remember, it’s more about
Emily Uebergang is a writer, farmer and ecoprenuer who transitioned from the urban jungle to a working farmstead in the beautiful mountains of the Manning Valley in New South Wales, Australia. She writes like she's out to try and save the world... or at least make a difference for the better.