Have you ever considered what we eat here at Eat Like a Bear! and how it is only possible with the very impressive growth, harvest, and distribution of the produce industry? It’s impressive all year round but it feels downright miraculous in the wintertime.
I drove to Yuma, Arizona to thank Yuma farmers for it.
Yuma takes great pride in being the wintertime lettuce capital of the world, after all.
It’s not just the farmers, though. It’s a whole long chain of people and technology working hard to create a product that will survive the long trip across the country in a way that lands it as safely as possible in our refrigerators.
While the rest of us shiver by the fires and live through hail, sleet, snow, and flooding rains, the farmers in Yuma, the Imperial Valley, the Coachella Valley, and all of those southern warm places are keeping us hooked up and filling our salads and skillet dishes with real food that will help us reach our long-term goals.
Here’s the coverage from KYMA in Yuma, the wintertime lettuce capital:
Flavor Flexibility: Taking on All the Flavors
I get comments on these meal types quite a bit – that lettuce or cauliflower or broccoli or cabbage is BORING.
That’s right! Add any flavor that you want to that bowl!
If you want a green with a real full flavor profile, look for arugula or mustard or such.
If you want to add your own favorite flavor to the lettuce or cabbage or greens, look for a mild-flavored option (that is, the sort people call “boring”).
Make it your own!
Produce Flexibility: Change It Up in Changing Times
Our community knows probably better than any how distribution and pricing have been disrupted this past season. It’s made me appreciate even more what we’ve had around here and also has simply reinforced the importance of each of us staying flexible in how we’re eating.
I mentioned in a TikTok at some point that a friend of mine eats a Big Mac salad every single day, by choice. She likes no other lettuce but iceberg, for one. She likes being free of eating decisions, so she just eats the same thing. That’s her approach, and I respect her for it.
However, her strategy has been challenged this past year by a more limited availability of iceberg, higher prices, and smaller heads. She would sure do well to venture out and find some other produce options because there are, indeed, a lot of great ones. (***cough*** just a suggestion…)
You Can Even Cook It!
I get called “the salad lady” in public because it is my go-to meal, but the community’s salad craze created its own “cooked craze,” leveraging the framework of the salad but cooking the core vegetable base in what we call “The Ridiculously Big Skillet” (a companion to “The Ridiculously Big Salad”).
Here I am, shipping a bunch of skillet books.
Okay, So WHAT IF?
How we eat offers us a lot of freedom and flexibility, but I ask you to think about something a bit deeper for a minute.
You know all of those visions of eating that fill your social media feed?
The ones with mozzarella stretching off a slice of pizza?
Or “loaded” french fries?
Or any french fries?
Or the carefully stacked plate of cookies that you share in your Facebook feed?
Or the carefully stacked plate of cookies with the claim that they are diet cookies???
All those food images filling your mind are a big reason we don’t approve most food posts in our Eat Like a Bear! Stories community on Facebook. Simply put, they all make you want to eat more, and typically they make you want to eat more of foods that likely aren’t helping you meet your long-term health goals.
WHAT IF we each worked on replacing our own mental images of food with something like these instead:
What if, while we ate, we reflected with more intention and purpose on our vibrant lives that are made possible by what is in that bowl?
Rather than all the foods that work against our long-term goals, what if we kept a vision that was much more like this:
These meals TASTE GREAT, but more importantly …
These meals offer a whole package that comes with something even more important.