Are you a local organic fan? This is a great way to talk about why you love organic food and ways that you find local food. We have our first entry this week to share with you. Mark has also submitted some of his easy recipes so look for them in future blog posts. Send us the answers to the questions below and you may be the next Local Organic Fan!
Local Organic Fan
Name: Mark Arcuri
Hometown: Patchogue (Eastern Long Island), New York
Why are you a Local Organic Fan?
Three years ago I learned about a blood clot in my left leg. While the clot was superficial and not life threatening, the experience at 47 years old was shocking. I had an interest in healthy cooking and in wellness, but in reality, I didn’t make health much of a priority. I never once attended the gym and, despite the appearance of healthy eating and making sustainable choices, I did those things only in spurts unless I was around others. Indeed, others saw me as much healthier than I actually was. The clot was a game-changer. I looked in the mirror and I saw my dad. I saw the potential for the host of preventable lifestyle-related diseases that he suffered for years. The doctor said that my clot was due to genetics, but I knew better. I believe that genetics merely provide a blueprint of possibilities rather than a destiny. I decided to take charge and from that moment on my life has never been the same.
How do you live a local, organic lifestyle?
I found a new doctor who was in Family Practice and Holistic Medicine. I returned to the gym and hired a personal trainer. I started reading material that I had placed on the back burner, such as the anti-inflammatory guidelines by Andrew Weil, MD. I cleared my cupboards of foods such as certain oils, preserved foods, manufactured foods and anything that did not grow as-it-was, like GMOs. I started shopping in markets offering local and organic foods, such as the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market and La Montanita Food Coop. I prepared more morning and evenings meals at home and packed my lunch.
On frequent overnight travels, I stopped at local markets for fruit and nuts and nonperishables. I committed to reading something new everyday that could support me in my efforts – often a web page, part of a book or an article.
Any inspiration, tips or advice to share with others?
Share what you are doing with others! But, be sure to choose kindred folks. I began talking about what I was doing with family (my dad has since passed, but we made progress), friends and even strangers in the gym and markets. Sharing information with others is a great way to make the intention more real. I also remind myself that modifying my lifestyle is a process that continues to expand and unfold, as does my life. Like anything, it will never be done. So, there is no pressure to do any more than I have time for on a given day. A step is a step is a step. None is big and none is small. Do what you can, and it is enough.
What successes have you had as a result?
Once the momentum got going, I found that my appetite for more was enough to push me forward.
- Lost nearly 30 pounds without dieting.
- Learned that wholesome, sustainable ingredients sometimes cost more, but that the cost was balanced by my tendency to buy less – I was not eating less necessarily, but I was wasting less.
- Discovered that cooking was often quicker, took less energy (mine, and natural resources!), and left me with food that was easily turned into different meals another day.
- Felt more connected to my community through more purposeful interactions with purveyors, during meals, and in healthy lifestyle-related gatherings.
- I also became a wealth of information for others, and even inspiring to some. I made peace with my dad and with his choices before he passed away.
- My work also shifted to its current focus on holistic wellness and helping clients in their transitions to aligning with a healthier, sustainable life.
What are some of your favorite fast and easy dishes that you cook regularly?
- Grill year round – chicken, fish, occasional beef. Any of these can be enjoyed as-is with a side of a sweet potato, asparagus, steamed brown rice, or fresh veggies/salad of your choice.
- Eat whole wheat pasta at least twice a week with a fresh sauce. My policy is that the sauce must be prepared in the same time or less than it takes to cook the pasta. A chopped tomato, some basil, minced garlic, olive oil, and fresh ground pepper with a bit of grated cheese is my staple. Maybe add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. And this sauce doesn’t require cooking at all!
Any final thoughts?
My new lifestyle may sound like a lot to make time for, but it takes me less than an hour including the food preparation and reading. Commitment must follow any vision in order to allow the reality of that vision to manifest. We are all blessed with unlimited choices for how we might manifest the blueprints for our lives. Becoming a Local Organic Fan can be easy and inexpensive. It is the best way that I have found to transform my life by embracing my blueprint, modifying it and building the perfect holistically healthy life.