Have you ever proactively looked into your local producers and made the effort to visit them and ask about what they are doing?
With so much food made for convenience and profit, it's all too easy to forget the pleasure in food and use it as fuel instead of a delicious vehicle to meet new people, learn about your environment and make new friends.
We take a break from a very busy schedule to check in with a local food hero producing some incredible Great British Cheese and remind ourselves to get back in touch with our heritage and all the pleasures this brings.
It’s been a busy December at The Strength Temple. Richie has been working his ass off in London hosting a number of programs with Core Collective and at The Foundry, and I’ve been working on advancing my PT qualifications here in the heart of England and running around in what feels like organised chaos!
Whilst all of this is happening we’ve both been focusing on balance and maintaining our commitment to "walk our talk." We are constantly checking in with ourselves to ensure we are hitting our 7 Pillar goals, even when we may sometimes forget to chill down and assess where we are and how we are feeling.
One of The Strength Temple's 7 Pillars focuses on Environment. It’s all too easy for those on a fitness and wellness journey to drill down into excercise and nutrition, and forget a whole load of other important areas. Your environment is one of them.
When we talk about your Environment pillar we should explain a few definitions. Many people say “oh yeh, that’s all about being green and saving the planet right?” Well, yes it is to an extent, but that’s not really the main thrust of the subject as far as your Strength Temple is concerned. The Environment pillar is centred around a number of diverse areas:
Your immediate environment and surroundings and their impact on your state
Seeking out Powerful and Vibrant new environments to feed your psyche
Exercising in Nature and why it’s better for you than an indoor gym
Creating a calm, empowering and structured place of work
Creating a tranquil home
Gardens and how they feed us emotionally and physically
Temperatures and how to get balance in hot and cold
Light and it’s importance for wellbeing
Optimising your rest and sleep habits
Our responsibility to the environment and the legacy we leave the next generations
Seeking our local producers for food and drink
Use of Colours in your environment
Art and it’s influence on the soul
The importance of scent and it’s relation to anchors, moods and how you feel
Decluttering and philosophies concerning order
Music and it’s impact on your states
AND SO MUCH MORE!
I’ve recently found my self becoming more aware of the local businesses around me, how they are really raising the bar with regards to their offerings and how they are interacting with their customers. I’m not sure if it’s partly down to the power of social media that I’m discovering more treasures in my locality, or simply that I’m just becoming more aware as I move along my Temple journey, but I though it worth articulating a recent experience to encourage you all to do a little searching yourselves.
We all know that it’s best to buy local. It’s much better for the environment for a start, with the number of food miles much lower, influencing the carbon impact on our planet. It’s amazing really when I look in my local supermarket and see tons of food shipped from far flung places with literally thousands of food miles associated. I’m very fortunate to live in the countryside and am surrounded by local small producers with some incredible offerings.
In addition to the carbon impact on our shopping habits is the impact on our immediate communities of buying local and supporting local small businesses. With globalisation many small producers are being forced out of business and it’s having a dramatic effect on our food as well as our culture.
Droves of people are now taking the weekly trip to the “Supermarket” instead of visiting local shops and getting to know their neighbours. There is a wonderful sense of community in our village and I am most certainly willing to spend a little more money to buy a quality locally produced product that is having a low impact on my carbon footprint as well as supporting a local business. Frankly it makes me feel as good as the food tastes!
Which brings me onto the inspiration for this blog; cheese. We have a farmer's market where I live that displays incredible locally produced products on the last Sunday of every month. I always look forward to it as it’s a great place to see the whole community come together as well as a brilliant opportunity to get inspiration for my diet. I also enjoy chatting with the various producers and hearing how passionate they are about what they are creating, how they make / grow it all and what their ideas are for the future of their businesses.
Once such company is the Leicestershire Hand Made Cheese Company. They make three cheeses of differing characteristics namely Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, Bosworth Field and Battlefield Blue. I discovered this wonderful cheese at the Farmer's Market and was so taken with it I literally couldn’t wait until the end of the month, and the next Farmer’s Market to get my fix, so went to the farm to visit them.
To my surprise I realised that they have converted an old barn on their farm into a beautiful cafe which sits next to their cheese shop, open every Friday and Saturday. My daughter and I were on our way back from dropping off a load of gifts to friends and family for Christmas and we dropped in for a cuppa and what turned out to be the most amazing cheese toastie I’ve ever had!
I also picked up a few litres of the most incredible raw milk, fresh from their grass fed cows. Raw milk is full of probiotics and tastes delicious. It's not available in some countries and it’s production is regulated differently depending on where you are, but I’ve done my research and am very happy to drink it - I suggest you do the same before you try it. Regular milk is pasteurised (raised to a certain temperature to kill and bacteria), where raw milk is not. There are various schools of thought that it has a beneficial effect on skin and also allergy susceptibility. Here in the UK there are strict processes and licenses required to be a producer of Raw milk and I’m very happy to drink it. As I said - do your own research.
So the point of this article is to remind everyone to become more aware of your local environment. Start mindfully seeking out local producers and give them a try. Plan a few little adventures with your family, friends and loved ones and go visit them. Talk to them and find out about how they produce their food, what drives them and start spreading the word. You’ll be pleased to know most welcome your interest and you’ll learn about your local history, meet new friends and discover new experiences and places to go.
In the mean time check it’s a timely reminder from us to check in with your Environment pillar and see if you have balance and don’t forget to….