Whole Foods Lifestyle - Surviving the Winter

View Full Version : Surviving the Winter

09-07-2007, 09:18 PM
Hi all,

I've only recently started reading the Whole Foods forum--I didn't realize it was here!--and this is my first post. :)

Here's my quandary: bf and I have decided that we'd like to commit to eating as local a diet as possible with as few processed foods as possible. We've been doing the whole foods thing for the last few months (although we're not super-strict about it; it's just a general guiding principle for the bulk of our eating, not a law) and during the summer it's been wonderful. We live in an agricultural region with a fantastic farmer's market and really great produce and local free range happy-meat and farm eggs and the like. So during the spring and summer it has been very easy to eat a calorie-controlled diet primarily based on local, in season ingredients.

But I'm not sure what's going to happen in the winter. If we would prefer not to be constantly eating veggies shipped halfway around the world (or worse, canned vegetables *shudders*), aren't we going to wind up getting really fat on a diet of carrots and potatoes and the like? Winter veggies are so much more calorific than summer ones. We'll have to buy some imported vegetables--green and red peppers for instance, and zucchini--but how will we get enough bang for the calorie buck on a diet of root vegetables and grains? Won't we find ourselves either hungry or fat?

Anyone have suggestions?

09-07-2007, 10:08 PM
Cabbage, rutabega, and some other cruciferous vegetables store well and aren't as calorically dense as potatoes, winter squash, or root vegetables.

Depending on how seriously you want to take the local produce restriction, could you freeze your your own veggies from the summer crops and eat those throughout the winter? They're not as tasty as fresh, of course, but they're better than commercially canned or frozen veggies. (Prepping veggies for freezing is a good day's project, but it's not all that difficult. )

09-07-2007, 11:03 PM
Hmmm, sounds like you are back to my great-grandmother's methods. Drying, canning (I'd recommend doing it yourself), pickling, brining, and the more modern freezing. Good luck.


09-08-2007, 01:07 AM
Are you on the coast or inland? If you live on the coast, you may be able to search out local produce even in the winter, like celery, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, beets, leeks, fava beans. Even if you can't shop at the farmer's market, maybe you can find a co-op/market that buys produce (relatively) locally if you're trying to cut down on shipping distances.

Freezing or canning the local veggies you can get now is a great idea. I freeze lots of tomatoes, corn, and green beans from my CSA boxes and the farmers' market in the summer. I make freezer pickles too. In the winter we eat lots of cabbage, beets, carrots, broccoli, kale, and onions. Lots of soup. I also grow sprouts in the winter, or in lots of places you can buy locally-grown ones. Eating root vegetables in the winter is how people used to eat--I don't think it's necessarily a "fattening" thing.

Some things I just don't ever buy in the winter anymore, like zucchini. I eat so much zucchini in the summer that I have absolutely no desire for it the rest of the year. It just seems like summer is the only right time for it!

09-08-2007, 04:59 PM
I even make soup and freeze it now. At the very least I make a soup base. I take all the veggies I love and steam them. Then I throw them all together in the blender. I freeze this dense soup starter. All I add in the winter is water or broth and whatever I want to chunk it up, like local meat, beans or pasta.

09-08-2007, 07:44 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I went to the farmer's market this morning and was inspired by all the early fall produce as well as the last of the summer stuff. There was sooooo much delicious food. Sweet organic corn that we ate raw like fruit, multi-colored fingerling potatoes, the first baby carrots and greens, many, many kinds of apples and so on. We bought a dozen ears of corn and I think we'll set aside 4 to eat and I'll freeze the rest to eat over the winter.

My only concern, really, is that I have an historical aversion to greens. I've never in my life voluntarily eaten chard or collards or kale or broccoli. (Actually, my one firm rule of eating is NO MEMBERS OF THE CABBAGE FAMILY! No exceptions!) I'm going to make a concerted effort to at least give these foods a try--they are the low-cal winter options, after all, but I am a bit nervous about it. :)

I guess I need to try to be as open minded and open palated with the green stuff as possible, then make judgments about which out-of-season items I don't think I can do without. Thanks for helping me to think it through.

09-12-2007, 07:32 PM
Actually, from what I've read, frozen/organic vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc.) can be as healthy as fresh. Do you have a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods near you?

09-12-2007, 08:55 PM
No, I don't; I live in the boonies :)

Frozen veggies can be really healthy for the body, but less so for the environment unless you freeze them yourself (because of transportation). I started freezing market veggies this week and I'll get more to freeze this week.

I found this great page: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Whole-Foods-and-Cooking/2007-08-01/Fresh-Local-Food-All-Year.aspx

09-13-2007, 10:49 AM
I freeze a lot of market and garden vegetables. Tomatoes are the best. I make a lot of chili and spaghetti sauce in the winter out of frozen vegetables.

10-21-2007, 10:35 PM
I live way up north where growing season is already done. I have been exploring sprouting as a way to get greens over the winter. Things like chia and broccoli sprouts are easy to do, tasty and good for you!

10-21-2007, 11:43 PM
That is a fantastic idea! I even own a sprouter and a bunch of different seeds. Why didn't I think of that?!

10-22-2007, 08:09 AM
I sprout too :) I am sure I would never believe I would be saying that a year ago but I do and enjoy it.

I actually find winter veg great because I can really feel full with smaller amounts of it. I love cabbages so I guess it may be a bit easier for me but I am also exploring squashes and things like real beats (rather than ones soaked in vinegar). I am finding them great for stews, curries, soups, etc.