Change!

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We all hate change. I think it's in our DNA. Change means that we need to do things differently. Although it is EASIER not to make a change, that decision may mean the difference between leading a healthy and productive life, or one filled with disease.

We are living in a time where we really must change the way we do things to survive. Many national health organizations are predicting that we have now produced the first generation of children that may not exceed the life expectancy of their parents. That alone speaks volumes.

The truth is that you need to respect yourself. Even if that means eating less dessert or taking a short walk after dinner. The problem is that we have become complacent. We would rather complain from our couches while eating a microwaved "bistro" sandwich than do something to swing the pendulum in the other direction. It is a known fact that we put more time and energy into buying a new pair of shoes or finding the right kind of dog food than we do buying the food we put on our tables.

Here is my point: we need to change the way we shop for our food.

Actually, making a change is easier than it sounds. I am a creature of (bad) habit and try to make one small change at a time. Once you make the small change part of your daily routine, it is easier to make another small change. Think about it this way - small change adds up.

There is a way that you can directly help increase the number of jobs in your area. You don't need an act of congress or any legislation to make it happen!

Now is the time to support the small businesses in your community. Stop buying everything at the supermarket. Let's give the X-Box and the television a rest for an extra hour a day and take some interest in what we are putting on our tables for our families to eat.

The Farmers Market is an excellent way to buy fresh foods at a lower cost. You can talk to the people that grew your food. True, you can only get fruits and vegetables that are in season. However, eating seasonally keeps us more in league with nature. You help the vendors directly by contributing to their bottom line. In turn, they help you out in the same way. Since their operations are smaller, their production costs are lower, which results in lower prices for you. Also, you can get some real steals! Did you know that some vendors are likely to drop their prices at the end of the day (they would rather not take their stuff back home)? Talk about stimulating the economy!

Buy bread from a local bakery one loaf at a time. Get your meat from a butcher. You get the exact cut and amount of meat that you want. Buying from a butcher is really no more expensive than buying from the megastores and they also run specials daily. Also, the butcher can answer any questions you may have about the meat you are buying. How cool is that?

Even if you MUST shop at the supermarket, just shop around the perimeter of the store (which, if you'll notice, is where the refrigeration is). Your choices will be limited to produce, meat, dairy, and frozen foods. All of the dangerous/processed foods are in the middle of the store. You'll save your health (and a lot of money) by staying out of those sections.

You might be thinking that you don't have time to shop in different places. I would beg to differ. Our grandparents were able to get it done without the benefit of any of the modern conveniences we enjoy (fast cars, food processors, gas ranges, toaster ovens, strip malls, to name a few). They grew their own food and worked long hours. They were in touch with the land and the seasons. All you have to do is parcel out your shopping trips. Stop at a different place every day on your way home from work (or soccer practice). Planning your meals for the week will help you save time and money. Write a shopping list and stick to it! This might seem difficult at first but, over time, you'll wonder why you waited so long!