You are what you eat. It's true. The food you eat literally builds the cells in your body.

This is why I'm on my soapbox about eating whole foods a lot. Our bodies want and know what to do with the nutrition that whole foods give us. They don't necessarily want or know what to do with processed foods with lots of questionable ingredients.

A whole food is a food that has not been processed or refined (or very little processing), and doesn't contain additives or other artificial ingredients.

Think of it as eating food as close to the source as possible. Let's take tomatoes for an example. As close to the source as possible is going out into your garden, plucking them off the plant and popping them in your mouth. Second close would be buying locally grown tomatoes at a farmer's market, from a local CSA, or food co-op. Third close would be buying tomatoes from a large grocery store chain that was grown in some other state (or for many foods another country). Fourth would be getting into canned tomato sauces & salsas. Fifth would be more refined like tomato paste, or a more processed version as an ingredient in many other packaged, processed foods.

When the goal is to give your body the best nutrition available in food, you want to go for as close to the source as possible! Home grown and locally grown produce is more rich in nutrients and enzymes, and it's more flavorful. It's allowed to ripen on the plant, it's fresh, and it's whole. These foods are what what you body wants and knows exactly what to do with. Eating this way leads to a happy, healthy body that is dis-ease free, feels good, and is full of energy.

I wanted to write about this today, because this is the time of year when getting so much of your food close to the source is so much easier! It's the end of august. People's gardens are overflowing, the farmer's markets are abundant, the small local food co-ops are teaming with fresh local produce, and even if you don't garden, depending on where you live, there can be an abundance of food that you can be taking advantage of right in your back yards!

How can you take advantage of the abundance?

Here is 5 ways:

1. If you are able to, grow some of your own food. If you can't grow a garden where you live, you could do something as little having a few pots of fresh herbs on your porch or window sill! There is nothing in the world like grabbing fresh food that you've grown yourself and putting it directly into your meal! Those of you that know this, know this. Those of you that have not experimented with growing some of your own food, I suggest doing what you can. Play with it in little ways. It's also a great way to really get connected with your food, and helps you to be more conscious of where all of your food comes from. There are also so many neighborhood/community gardens popping up. Take advantage of these! You can learn a lot about gardening from others by starting this way as well!

2. Frequent farmers markets. Join a CSA. Shop at your local food co-op if you have one. Stop at the local farm stand, or veggie stand. Eat local fresh foods where ever you can find them

3. Make friends with your neighbors that garden. Seriously. You want to be their friend! Gardening can be a lot of work to upkeep, and there comes a time of year when every gardener feels overwhelmed by the amount of food coming out of the garden, and there is only so much time to preserve what you can't eat right away. Offer some of your time to help them out in the garden, or with preserving and you are sure to reap some of the rewards of delicious home grown food! The extra reward is a new friendship and learning about gardening.

4. How often do you see a neighborhood apple tree, pear tree, or plum tree that is over-loaded and not being utilized? Talk to the owners and ask if it's okay to pick some. If you see a ground full of apples, and strained branches full of fruit, chances are they would be more than happy to let you harvest some!

5. Wild foraging! Unless you live in a large city, chances are there are opportunities to get out and do some wild foraging, especially for berries! (know what you are picking of course! This is important as some wild berries, mushrooms, & plants can harm you) I'm blessed to live in the beautiful pacific northwest where this time of year, almost anywhere I go outside has wild blackberries available with in arms reach. I could never pick and eat them all, they are so abundant. Learning about wild foraging can be really interesting. Find someone you know to learn from, find a MeetUp group that you can learn from, or educate yourself on the web. From harvesting delicious ramps, stinging nettles, fiddle heads, and mushrooms in spring to berries at the end of summer. There is literally endless amounts of food in our forests if you are interested in learning about them, and harvesting some of your own. Looking for a new hobby? This one could be fun.

Enjoy taking advantage of this delicious season!

Wishing you Wellness,