A week ago I went to visit my aunt and uncle out in the countryside. When I was small I used to go on my summer holidays for a couple of weeks out to their farm. So every summer my parents got to regain some peace while I tormented others. Now I say my summer holidays as if I was off to the countryside in the south of France. In fact my aunt lives about 2 miles from my own house, but this was the late 80s and into the 90s. Had package holidays taken off by then? Probably, but not in my world. Holidays were two weeks two miles out the road! But I remember I loved this part of my summer. When I look back and wonder what was so great about it, a few simple things come to mind. The weather for one, the bicycle shorts came out in May and didn’t go away until September. The freedom, we would take off in the morning and only return when hunger hit us. Bringing me nicely to the best reason of all, the food.
Food of the past
Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t the type of child that ate everything. In fact I was extremely fussy, no wonder it was a break for my parents to get rid of me. But out here you ate what you were given and that I did. What kinds of foods are we talking about, well this was back in the day, so quinoa salad certainly didn’t have a place on the table yet. So back to basics, home grown meat, potatoes and veg. The staple of every Irish household. I wouldn’t eat this food at home but I chomped down happily on it in the countryside. Why? I suppose I knew if I didn’t I would go hungry and it tasted so much better than at home. Sorry mam! It was all so fresh straight from the field, the meat, milk, fruit and vegetables, even as a child I think I recognised this.
Back to my past
So last weekend I got to relive a piece of my past. I spent the day hanging out on the farm with my aunt and uncle and fed a big Irish Sunday roast. Now as an adult with a passion for all things healthy and wholesome I was interested in learning about the produce. So Michael gave me a tour of what they grow. He went into detail on all the produce with such passion that I was excited to learn about it. So what produce is he growing? Ingredients, real, proper, fresh, nutritious ingredients, that are the starting point for all clean healthy meals – fruit and vegetables.
Thinking of our children
When exploring the fields I started thinking. Do our children actually know about real ingredients and where they come from? I think we are so accustomed to seeing our food on the supermarket shelves or worse again out of fast food chains that if we ask our children where their chips come from, would they know? If they knew they came from potatoes, would they know where potatoes grow? If we handed them a courgette and asked them what it was? Would they know? If we handed them a carrot and parsnip and asked them the difference would they know?
If they don’t know the correct answer to these questions, we have to ask ourselves are we nourishing our kids correctly. If they don’t know the answer to these questions, it could mean they are not exposed enough to these important raw ingredients. If they can identify a tin of beans but don’t know what spinach is, there is a problem. I know it can be hard to get kids to enjoy vegetables but there are always ways. Blitz veg into a soup, make a smoothie, chop finely. Do whatever it takes. Because it is these ingredients that supply yourself and your children with the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that will keep them healthy; build immune systems, fighting infections, strengthening bones, fight off toxins, defending against pollutants, the list is endless.
In Ireland today one in ten children are overweight or obese while one in five teenagers are overweight or obese (irishheart.ie). You do not want your child to be part of this statistic. So do yourself and your kids a favour, dump the sweet treats and make them a sweet smoothie using raw fruits and vegetables.
Real food, what does it look like!
Let me show you whats on offer on some of these amazing Irish farms today. Ask yourself do you nourish yourself and your family with all of these ingredients. If not then why not make it a goal to somehow incorporate that ingredient into your diet this week. Increasing fruit and vegetables not only will do wonders for your health but it will also help out these amazing passionate farmers who work so hard to produce quality ingredients for us to enjoy.
Fresh garden peas in a pod. Way sweeter than any you will find in a shop.
This kids is a courgette and you can make yummy courgette and carrot fritters out of these, stick them between buns and you have some veggie burgers!
My aunt makes the best onion gravy in the world out of the simple onion.
Beetroot, who likes that stuff. I used not. Until I learned how to incorporate it into a delicious warm goats cheese salad. Or make beetroot carpaccio. Then you turn the not so good ingredient into something special. And hello its red. You know that red gummy bear, that’s artificial red, this is natural red!
One of my favourite vegetables, butternut squash. Yes she starts out green. Butternut squash in a quinoa salad is the best.
Guess what else starts out green? Think ill leave you guessing on this one!! Hint: they are actually a fruit!
Peekaboo! Hello baby cauliflower. I love to turn this ingredient into a cauliflower rice, or a cauliflower mash to replace potatoes every now and then.
My parting gift…
How honest are we?
How cute is this below. This is Michaels honesty box. You don’t even need to drive up his lane for healthy ingredients. Just pop your €4 into the box and grab your queen potatoes. I absolutely love this idea. He told me that in all the time his honesty box has been out, never has anything been taken without payment. How amazing is that, there are still some good people out there, of course there is, after all we are Irish.
Michael in his Sunday best with his pride and joy, the spud!
I hope this post inspires you a little to go out and get yourself some extra fruit or veg this week. Or even better call to your local farmer and get your ingredients fresh from the field. I know Michael would love to see you.
Have a great week guys
The Wholesome Nut