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Local Eating – An Answer to Our Lives Starved of Movement

May 31, 2024 | Nutrition & Health | 0 comments

By Jade Greene, inspired by Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author

 

We all know about nutrient deficiency – if someone doesn’t eat enough vitamins and minerals, they can feel unwell or get sick. I recently learned to think about movement in the same way – the lack of body movement (separate from exercise) can also cause us to be unwell. Weight gain, myopia, aches and pains, can all be symptoms of movement deficiency.

Think about it… on a typical day, how often do you: squat? Reach all the way up or down? Raise your calves? Walk on uneven surfaces? Sit on the floor and stand up? Bend sideways or backwards? Now think, how much time do you spend sitting? 

Our bodies are made to move, it has only been in very recent human history that we changed from active lifestyles (eg, hunter gatherer, farmer, physical laborer) to mostly sedentary. The shift from active to sedentary has been difficult for the modern human body, causing a movement deficiency in most of us.

There are many ways we can build more movement into our days and tasks (again, separate from exercise), Katy Bowman has some great ideas on her website. One fantastic way we can incorporate more movement into our lives is to embrace local food – like using unprocessed foods, gardening, shopping at farmers market, foraging, and volunteering at a local farm.

Gardening

Think of all the different movements you need to garden, from squatting and bending over to digging and pulling, it is a wonderful use of your whole body. Not to mention chewing on whole unprocessed foods which works your jaw!

Foraging

As above, foraging is a full body effort. Many times you need to hike into the woods or a field to find your foraging spot, walking over uneven terrain. An overlooked muscle is your eye, which needs to focus close and over far distances to keep our eyes healthy and strong (myopia can be caused from not looking into distances regularly), a nice walk/hike will allow us to focus on the distant landscape views.

Shopping at Farmers Market

The experience of shopping at a farmers market is very different from the grocery store: you need to walk a lot more, sometimes carrying more items without the use of an easy to push cart. You spend more time outside which forces your body to work to keep you cool or warm. Find Bucks County area farmers markets here!

Volunteering at a local farm or food bank

As above, farming is a full body experience. I love volunteering at my local farm where I often need to do a variety of tasks from plucking onions to washing them, which forces my body to move in a variety of ways I would never do at home. Pictured: Carversville Farm Foundation volunteers

 

Cooking from local/unprocessed ingredients

Foods fresh from the garden, farmers market, or CSA share provide you with ingredients that are less processed and therefore causes more movement work for you to prep at home! Maybe you buy corn that you have to husk yourself or a whole apple (not pre-sliced) or tomatoes that you need to dice (rather than using a can). All these efforts of movement have been outsourced for your convenience but by making them yourself, you are moving your body in unique ways. Eating raw foods take more work for your jaw to process.

 

Just as we know to eat a variety of foods to avoid nutrient deficiency, we must also move our bodies in a variety of ways to avoid movement deficiency. Consuming local food is one of many things to incorporate into a healthy, movement rich life.

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