Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Primal Living in the Rural Landscape

Hello again, my Paleo friends!

So, a good friend gave me the idea for this post (thanks, Jerry!). Jerry lives in somewhat of a small town, Hannibal, MO and he's newly Paleo. I'm very proud of his progress thus far on the Paleo diet!

I'm still doing my thang, fully embracing the Paleo lifestyle right now, and getting better at meal planning and such with each passing day. I'm fortunate to live near a city (Austin, TX, baby!) where I have amazing access to good, clean, healthy food. Some people aren't so lucky, which is what inspired me to write this post. There are places here like Picnik Paleo and Wild Wood Bakehouse (a 100% gluten-free establishment), as well as quick, healthy takeout places like Snap Kitchen that I am oh-so thankful for!

BTW, I'm typing this in-between bites of my grain-free, Good Seed cauliflower mushroom burger smothered in avocado aioli ('cause that's how I roll), so bear with me. I promise to make it worth your time. I want to dive into food sources in this post, more specifically, where the heck do you get good, clean food if you are Paleo and don't live within the urban sprawl? Well, have no fear! You have options:

1. Online ordering

This is a no-brainer with today's technology. You can have good, grass-fed meats and broths (a staple in the Paleo diet) shipped frozen to your door in just a few days. Companies like Butcher Box and U.S. Wellness Meats make this possible. I can't comment on these two, as I have yet to order from them, but they are both highly-reputable and established companies. You can also order Paleo snacks like Epic bars and Wild Zora meat bars (Mediterranean lamb is the best!) online through specialty food websites like Thrive Market. Thrive caters to gluten-free, Paleo, organic, vegan, and offers all kinds of cool products, even personal care products! Thrive does require a paid yearly membership fee to order ($59.95), but they do offer a free thirty-day trial, so you can try out their service and decide if you like it before joining! They offer a vast array of products to choose from. These are just a few examples of where to shop for Paleo goodies, but it goes to show that you can order just about anything online these days! Just the other day, I ordered some cricket flour (chirp! chirp!) from an Austin-based company called Aketta, and I'm awaiting my delivery so that I can try the product in my morning smoothies! Yes, these are real crickets raised specifically as a food source for humans. Interesting concept, eh? I followed these folks on Twitter, and they were kind enough to give me a discount code to use on their website for my order. Thanks, guys! Crickets are packed with protein, and are a safe and Paleo-compliant source of protein, especially for the AIP (autoimmune Paleo) folks.

Click the above image to get 'yo Thrive on! 

2. Farmers' markets

Even if you live out in the sticks like I do, somewhere there is a farmers' market nearby. I can easily drive to Austin on a Saturday morning to SFC Farmers' Market if I wish, but plenty of rural towns offer fresh, homegrown produce in parking lots and little stands roadside. Just check out Local Farm-Markets.org's website, and it gives you a resource to find locally-grown produce in your neck of the woods. Easy peasy! There's nothing better than locally-grown goods. 1. You know where they're coming from, and 2., they are usually organic (but not always!). Just something to keep in mind.

SFC Farmers' Market-Downtown Austin, TX

3. Gardening

I wish this was something that I could actually do myself, but apartment living doesn't really afford me the opportunity to grow much in the line of my own fresh veggies *le sigh*. But, if you are lucky enough to live in a house with a yard, I highly recommend starting your own garden. Now, this may or may not be possible depending on what part of the country you're in, as growing conditions vary from state-to-state. Living in Texas, I'm lucky enough to be in a place where the soil is decent and growing conditions are pretty stable due to the fact that it rarely snows in the Austin area. Dallas folks aren't as lucky. That being said,  I grew up in South Dakota, where the winters are brutal and can last anywhere from four to six months or more. Yet, my parents had an awesome garden in our backyard every summer! The tomatoes grew like weeds, and the green beans, cabbage, zucchini, peppers and pumpkins also thrived quite well. My mom ended up with so many tomatoes one year that she couldn't keep up with all of the growth and had to can most of them in Mason jars lol We ended up giving half of our zucchini away as well. There's just something about getting your hands in the dirt and seeing the fruits of your labor! Urban gardening can be a pretty cool thing too for city folks. With the proper equipment and planning, fresh produce and herbs can be grown in the most unlikely places.

Pretty Rooftop Urban Garden

4. Your local grocery store

At times, rural folks may not have access to health food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts, so the local grocery store is all they have to choose from. This is indeed a shame, but if this is your only fresh food resource, then you must find a way to embrace it. More conventional grocery stores are starting to carry more organic options and I've even seen some pastured, grass-fed meat at my local grocery store. These types of stores mostly cater to the general public, and not the more health-conscious crowd, but it is possible to find things like organic lettuce, spinach, and apples to name a few.

5. Local ranchers and farmers

Plowing through the country roads around my town, I've seen chicken and cattle farms galore! Living in the country does sometimes have its advantages. Eat Wild is also a great resource that allows you to look up (by state) local ranches and farms that offer up grass-fed and pastured meats, eggs, and other items. How perfect is that? On Eat Wild, I located a cattle farm called Always Grass-Fed Beef, LLC that is located about forty five miles east of Austin and offers beef that is raised on nutrient-dense grasses and legumes. Yes, please!

So that's about it for this post! Hopefully this gave you rural dwellers a good bit of info to help you out on your Paleo journey. Lastly, I wanted to give a shoutout to my new friend Sandra that I met via Twitter. She follows the AIP diet after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. She has her own awesome AIP blog and resource page, Living and Breathing - Relatively Unscathed. Check it out! Sandra is a great resource on all things AIP, and she's agreed to be my Paleo f(x) buddy this year, so I won't be all alone at the event! She hails from Truckee, CA and is flying into Austin for all the weekend's festivities. The event is coming up soon (May 19-21), so just a few more weeks away! I'm so glad to have someone to pal around with there and share ideas and tips with on Paleo living.

Until next time, be well, y'all!

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