Why I'm a Discriminating Omnivore


Food is an emotional topic with strong implicit biases. Often misconceptions force us to adopt eating habits, which others say are healthy, and we start following diets that aren't really appropriate for our personal health. In my case, I've learned that moderate amounts of well-raised animal protein mixed with lots of organic vegetables and some fruits keep my blood sugar healthy and my energy levels up! 

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I've Taught Folks Nationwide how to grow Veggies

First off, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I love vegetables! In fact, I've educated people across the United States about growing them. My articles have appeared in national magazines, including Horticulture Magazine and the National Home Garden Club.  I've traveled from Boston to Seattle to speak about growing food at top garden shows. And as a Master Gardener in Idaho and California, I've dug into the dirt to teach folks hands-on growing tips.  Nobody loves vegetables more than me.  The difference is that now I know which vegetables I should eat everyday, sometimes or once in a while.

I've Baked Bread and won Awards for it

Here's a story even my closest friends don't know.  As a young girl, I was the Florida 4-H State Champion in Yeast Breads.  I love the smell of freshly baked bread better than anyone, and I've eaten multi grains and ancient grains long before they were hip. If I could eat bread without it raising my blood sugar, I certainly would. These days, however, I've learned bread is best to be eaten once in a while, in small amounts. Or, not at all. In fact, I limit my grains to only an occasional splurge, and always with protein.

Plant Based Proteins Aren't Enough for Me

As much as I adore plants, I don't rely on them strictly for my protein. The challenge is that plant proteins, such as legumes, have quite a lot of carbs too. (I've written about the benefits of beans for the University of California, so of course I wanted to love them too!) However, since balancing carbs with adequate protein is so important for maintaining healthy blood sugar, it's very difficult to get sufficient quality protein without also eating too many carbs in my diet. I only eat a half cup of legumes, every once in a while, and never with rice.

I Salute the Farmers doing it correctly

Writing for UC Food Observer for nearly two years, I learned how important best practices of pasture-based ranching are for rebuilding grasslands, returning native perennials and sequestering carbon in the soil to reduce climate change. A healthy farm is a diverse farm. That's why I spray organic cow manure tea on my own kitchen garden at home, just like many old farmers do. Keep in mind that many parts of the world can't be used to grow vegetables. Raising animals is often most appropriate for these areas.

It ain't easy being a rancher these days

Did you know that many family ranchers work two jobs to make a living, and that raising cattle its entire life on grasslands is expensive, because it takes at least a year longer? Whether it's the organic chicken farmer raising poultry outdoors (instead of tight cages) or the heritage pork producer saving an old species from extinction, these ranchers and farmers have my gratitude. Nobody would say it's easy to be a farmer these days. That's why I try to buy directly from the producer or family business whenever I can. They earn more money that way, and I want them to stay economically sustainable in a tough environment.

In summary

That's why I spend my money, time and energy in supporting those farmers and ranchers who are doing it correctly. I need their products for my health and well being, and I'm grateful they pursue this lifestyle, despite the challenges.