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Slow Down This Summer

The slow food philosophy is gaining popularity for its common sense approach to diet, focus on local food and health benefits.

There’s a movement going on and it’s all about slow – slow food that is. If you’re like most Americans, the thought of “slow” might make you a bit edgy. Slow food? Slow down? Truth is, most of us live a fast life complete with fast food, and though perhaps we’d like to shift our focus to one of healthier habits, who has the time?

It’s summer and our philosophy of living naturally allows for a slower pace, which is exactly what slow food is all about. Slow food is an approach to eating that nudges us to build awareness of where our food comes from and the impact our food choices has on the environment. Slow food encourages us to look locally for flavorful, wholesome food – the kind, when prepared at the peak of its season, brings the yum factor up a notch and encourages families to bond around the dinner table.

Slow Food Close to Home
Home to beautiful farms, markets and orchards, McHenry County is loaded with opportunities for delicious meals created using flavorful ingredients that are grown locally and in-season. Let the colors of the season inspire you back into the kitchen and into a tastier way of life.

By focusing on the flavors and recipes that make your taste buds dance, you’ll discover a deeper meaning in the food that you eat. It’s a little more about changing your diet and a little less about going on a diet. It’s connecting back in with the joy of eating (and that’s very different from the processed and packaged food that’s easy to grab on the fly!).

There’s a wellness benefit to eating local and in season, too. When we’re busy filling our plates with fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains (and yes, small amounts of lean meats, eggs and dairy foods), the health benefits are sure to follow.

Steps to Slowing Down
Move into a slow food philosophy at your own pace by:
•    Starting slowly with something that “hands-on” leads you to connect with your food – perhaps by planting a few pots of herbs, picking strawberries for sweet treats or trying a new recipe. Try one of THESE!
•    Visiting a local farm, market or orchard for local, seasonal produce and flavorful foods.
•    Seasoning meals with plenty of herbs – they enhance the flavor of food and are loaded with powerful antioxidants for good health.
•    Incorporating “Meatless Mondays” – meals are much more than a main course, they’re about variety. You’d be surprised how simple (and fun) it is to create a vegetarian main course once a week.
•    Gathering the family for meals together as often as possible – food tastes better in good company and with good conversation. Engage the kids by including them in meal planning and food preparation. Place fresh flowers at your table to enliven the mood.
•    Learning a few new cooking techniques this summer like poaching a chicken breast, zesting a lemon, cooking dry beans, etc.

kramerHeidi Kramer is a nutrition specialist and inspirational speaker who has inspired thousands to lose weight, change bad eating habits and become champions of their own health for more than 20 years. Kramer is available at Cary Physical Therapy for individual counseling and group programs. Reach her at  847.516.9038. 

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