“I am what I eat” – Food from nature is food for your wellbeing
Food that we eat builds the basis for our wellbeing. The world’s oldest health care system, Indian Ayurveda, that was developed 5000 years ago, already knew that. The saying “I am what I eat”, is very true. That’s why it is worth it to care about your diet, where your food comes from and also your entire relationship with food.
Real, safe and pure food from Finland
When I think about my diet, there are definitely many things to fix about it. However, I also notice that I am a lucky woman because the food that I’m eating is mainly made out of natural and safe ingredients. After all, there is nowadays a lot of food that is anything but natural. I am lucky because my home country is Finland – the land of not only a thousand lakes and green forests but also the home of delicious, safe and healthy food. Finland has the northernmost agriculture in the world and produces the purest food in Europe. Our nature is clean and we do not use antibiotics in meat production to boost growth. We also have one of the highest food safety standards in the EU.
I am also lucky because I notice that much of my food comes from nature and is vitamin rich for real. That is not self-evident either nowadays since the soil has been in many places already impoverished due to excessive cultivation or poor forest management. Finnish wild forest berries and mushrooms, livestock, rye, oat and other grains are grown and cultivated in the clean arctic air with very limited need for pesticides. Due to our long and harsh winters, plants in Finland utilise the short summers, midnight sun, clean soil and water to the fullest. The result is a unique taste of Finnish food that is delicious yet healthy too.
Because of these reasons I most often choose Finnish food for my plate.
It’s the whole chain for the food from nature to plate that matters
I also often choose organic and local food. Organic farming is one thing, but in Finland also many food from nature is originally organic. Finland has the world’s largest certified organic collection area; 11.6 million hectares of Finnish forests that is. It accounts for 38 % of Finland’s total land area, and 30 % of the world’s total organic collection area!
More and more often I also choose to forage food from nature. I feel that to have your own hands involved and see the whole chain of food from nature to your plate is something that gives you and your life much more than vitamin rich food.
Foraging and getting wild food straight from nature is not possible all over the world, but in Finland it is. Thanks to our Everyman’s rights we Finns -and also the visitors of Finland- have the right to roam in Finnish forests and waters. These general public’s rights also allow the freedom to forage, pick wild berries, mushrooms and herbs, fish with a line and rod, and enjoy the recreational use of natural areas.
It feels satisfying and meaningful when you can bring your food to your plate by yourself. However, it is not only that. Getting food from nature is also about being in nature and outdoors, walking in the forest, discovering nature and getting all the physical and mental wellbeing effects of natural surroundings on us. All that brings a lot of quality to my life and that’s why I like to head for the woods with the basket. Getting food from nature myself also teaches many things about food, nature and life in general. O’boy how meaningful realizations about life and moments of deep relaxation I’ve had while picking berries or weeding the vegetable garden! Meaningful is the self-esteem boost that you can get as well while being able to bring some of your food to your plate by yourself.
You also need to work more for self-picked or self-grown food compared to grocery food. Good thing about it is that besides other wellbeing benefits it makes you appreciate your food more. You want to use and enjoy it well when you have worked for it. You don’t want to waste the food either. More sustainable choices makes you feel even better. It is an amazing feeling too when during the wintertime you can open a self-preserved can or box, use it in cooking and say “I did this!”. That’s true nature inspired self empowerment!
If foraging is not possible for you, grow some of your own food. Because I live in the countryside in Saimaa, I have a possibility to have a garden. You may not have that chance. However, also on the windowsill you can grow for example many different kinds of herbs. Feel free to start with that, and if you get inspired, then arrange possibilities to do something more.
Farmer’s markets are also great places to get locally grown food and food from nature picked by others. Go there and not only buy food but ask the farmers’ about their products. I am sure they are happy to tell you where their food comes from and how they have grown it. The more you know about your food, the more positive effect it has on you.
Choose to feel good, choose quality food made out of natural ingredients
Motivation is everything. What comes to food and diet, one of the best things where I have got motivation, is simply good, quality food. So look for that; go and buy high-quality ingredients and try new recipes. Or look for restaurants that offer the food that you are interested in. Eat your food in peace and with all your senses. Reflect afterwards how the food made you feel.
You are also warmly welcome to Finland to get food inspiration for yourself! In my home region Saimaa, there is for example Saimaa Gastronomy. It is a network of four passionate local food companies; Tertti Manor, Teahouse of Wehmais, Sahanlahti Resort and Hotel Punkaharju. All of these companies appreciate and use mainly local, natural and clean food ingredients in their restaurants – food from Finnish nature and from the farms of Saimaa. Together they won the best food tourism product of Finland in 2019.
If you’re interested in foraging, late summer and autumn -from July to September- is the best season for Finnish wild berries and mushrooms. Feel free to look for suitable accommodation in Saimaa and use our Everyman’s Rights to get some food inspiration. Food travel to Finnish Lakeland is waiting for you!
Food is the cornerstone of our wellbeing but it is also one of the biggest pleasures in life. That’s why it is worth investing in it. Life is also about choices. I recommend choosing real food, pure food, safe food and local food – food that comes from nature in one way or another. Start with one thing and proceed step by step. Over time you may notice that you start eating less but with bigger pleasure than before. Your entire relationship with food may get better in the long run. And what’s best – the quality of your everyday life improves.
That is what quality, natural food does to us. It truly is food for our wellbeing – food for the health and happiness of our body, mind and soul.
So, make your food matters to you. We are what we eat.