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Our food principles!

We are whizzing through these long October afternoons, with the promise of hot summer days just around the corner. In the spirit of springtime, blossoming, and abundance, we thought we would share the guiding principles we use around sourcing our food, and some basic food knowledge that may help you do the same!

If you’ve been following our journey for a while, you will know that eating and living organic is a huge priority for us. Organic principles influence the food choices we make throughout the year, and help us navigate the aisles of the supermarket when we can’t find what we’re looking for at the local organic shop.

Our top 5 food principles are:  

  1. Grow it yourself
  2. Shop local & seasonal
  3. Minimise plastic waste
  4. Make it from scratch
  5. Dirty dozen/clean fifteen

Grow it yourself: If you can, grow it yourself! Use whatever space you have, use pots on the deck if that’s all you’ve got. Focus on what feels easy and accessible- herbs, lettuce, a tomato plant. Start small and organically build your gardening confidence and capacity!

Our garden is slowly coming to life at the moment, as the seeds we planted 6 weeks ago have germinated and are slowly unravelling their innate solar panel life force into the greenery that dots the soil. Heaven. In our last rental we didn’t have a garden, and have found it such a blessing and creative outlet to have access to a space to grow our own food. We’ve grown majority of our garden directly from seed this year, which has meant starting early, and having lots of patience! It also makes it feel so rewarding for every single seed that comes to life. The value and fulfilment of every leaf of rocket feels packed with energy and nutrient dense goodness- nothing is taken for granted.

 

Shop local & seasonal: Does your town/city have a locally owned, independent grocery store or organic shop? Often, locally owned food outlets are connected with local growers, which means the carbon footprint of your food miles is much less, and your financial support keeps money circulating in the local economy. This is also a great way to build relationships with local businesses! Often in smaller shop settings, you’re more likely to get to know the staff, and feel connected to a community. This makes the food more nourishing too! Local food shops also tend to source seasonally grown produce, rather than globally grown goods being imported. IF it can be grown locally, source it locally! This will also build your knowledge around what produce grows throughout the seasons in your area, which deepens your local plant knowledge. You may even discover a new fruit or veggie you haven’t tried before!

 

Minimise plastic waste: Another factor that determines our food choices is the packaging it comes in. Whenever we can, we try to buy food that we can pack ourselves in reusable or paper bags, items that aren’t individually wrapped in plastic, or find items that come in home compostable packaging. Home compostable packaging is great, but we find it breaks down way easier if you cut it up into small pieces before adding it to your compost! Waste reduction is another reason we prefer supporting locally owned businesses. In our experience, there are far more opportunities to buy in bulk, to pack our own fruits and veggies, and there are far fewer plastic clamshell containers, and even stickers on the fruit! In our home, we try to stay super aware of our monthly volume of waste, and try to keep it the same or reduce it the following month. We definitely produce far greater volume of compost and recyclable matter than we do waste to landfill, but are always trying to cut it back even more!!

Another way we minimise our plastic waste is buying in bulk whenever we can! Find out if there’s a local organic co-op in your community where you can bulk buy 3-10kg bags of rice, lentils, beans, or bulk containers of nut butters and oils. It is more of an investment early on, but usually works out to be far cheaper in the long run! Receiving our bulk order always feels so abundant in the pantry! There are some amazing NZ grown companies where you can buy bulk frozen berries, NZ grown quinoa, flour, and hemp seeds!

 

Make it from scratch: This one is definitely easier if you’re confident and savvy in the kitchen! But also leaves room for learning and creativity if this isn’t a realm you’ve explored before! Whatever we can, we make from scratch! This includes sourdough bread, muffins, cookies, granola, cakes, scones, sauerkraut, salad dressings, condiments, and more. You name it, I’ve probably made it! So much store-bought processed food contains highly refined oils and sugars, preservatives and other food additives, and generally a bunch of crap ingredients we don’t want anywhere near our kitchen or our bodies. Baking and cooking from scratch it so much fun! And a powerful way to deepen your connection with your food and appreciate the process behind the goodies you enjoy. And I promise you, more often than not, home-made tastes WAY better. There are endless recipes available online, and we’ve got a few go-to recipes on our blog post to get you started.

 

Dirty dozen/clean fifteen: The last food principle we’ll share with you today is the dirty dozen/clean fifteen. This principle applies to which foods have the highest and lowest levels of chemical residue from industrial agricultural practices. If you can’t afford to eat solely organic, focus on buying organic items from the dirty dozen list, and non-organic items from the clean fifteen. This is a great way to minimise your body’s exposure to harmful chemicals, and also to support farmers and agricultural systems that minimise chemical exposure to our beautiful environment. Especially if you’re eating animal products (which we do in small quantities). Sourcing premium quality, organic, meat, eggs, and dairy products is a high priority for us. It’s either good quality, or we don’t eat it essentially. There are some incredible farms across NZ that offer beautiful, ethical, animal products, that we feel really good about consuming on the occasions we do.

Also- whether organic or not, we always wash our produce before eating! Wash your fresh fruits and veggies in a bath of warm water with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Then rinse in cool water and store in the fridge. My mother always did this growing up, and I will always remember after grocery or market days the kitchen bench filled with freshly washed produce! Doing it all at once meant we didn’t have to waste time washing veggies before each meal.

 

Dirty dozen

Clean fifteen

Apples

Onions

Celery

Sweetcorn

Capsicum

Pineapples

Peaches

Avocado

Strawberries

Cabbage

Nectarines

Peas

Grapes

Asparagus

Spinach

Mangoes

Lettuce

Eggplant

Cucumbers

Kiwifruit

Blueberries

Melon

Potatoes

Kumara/Sweet potato

 

Grapefruit

 

Watermelon

 

Mushrooms

 

 

There you have it folks! Our top 5 guiding food principles! This is what works for us and what feels aligned with our values and health priorities. Ultimately you have to decide what feels right and true for you, and what makes you feel best about the food choices you’re consuming. I hope this post has offered a bit of inspiration and clarity into how we operate our Flow State home kitchen! Much love fam!

Rach xx

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