LEE ANNE GRACE: Farmers’ market can bolster weight loss efforts

By Lee Anne Grace

Eating fruits and vegetables is one of my main strategies to lose and maintain weight. That strategy is confirmed by a Centers for Disease Control study, too.
A person must eat fewer calories that they expend to lose weight, but the number of calories a person consumes is largely determined by the caloric density of the foods being eaten.
Feeling full is one reason that people stop eating. The volume of food people eat at a meal is what makes them feel full and stop eating, rather than the calorie content of the food. Fruit and vegetables are high in water and fiber content and will produce a feeling of fullness.
For example, two slices of pan fried bacon and a pint of strawberries have approximately the same number of calories, but a person will feel more full after eating a pint of strawberries.
An excellent source of locally grown produce is the Tupelo Farmers’ Market, located on Spring Street in downtown Tupelo. It’s open from 6 am until the vendors sell out on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
On a recent trip to the farmer’s market, I reconnected with Native Son Produce, a local organic farm. I purchased sweet butter lettuce, real Tupelo honey and strawberry jam canned right on site. Native Son also has a crop share program. Visit their web site – www.nativesonfarm.com – for more information.
Several booths down, I made a delightful discovery. I met Doc and Evie Carney, proprietors of Ralph’s Doc and Evie Farms in Baldwyn. After sampling some of their wonderful tomatoes and squash, I drove up to their farm on Memorial Day and picked about six gallons of strawberries. I’ve always been very fond of strawberries, but these are the absolute best strawberries I’ve ever tasted. I’ve made fresh strawberry pies, strawberry cupcakes, strawberry smoothies, and eaten just plain old fresh strawberries. Once those ran out, I headed up to Baldwyn again with a friend to replenish my freezer.
The strawberry season is over, but their tomatoes, onions and squash are also quite good. In the next few weeks, they will have corn, lima beans, okra, bell peppers, zucchini and rattlesnake pole beans.
One of my favorite summer time meals is to fire up the grill and cook fresh onions, squash and zucchini. The grilling really brings out their natural flavors. I add a piece of tilapia, salmon, or chicken to the grill and make a salad to complete the meal.
This Saturday I’m going to Pontotoc to pick peaches and blueberries. I’m already planning all of the yummy things I can make with them.
If you haven’t tried locally-grown produce, now is a great time to do so. If you are not a big fresh veggie and fruit fan, get out of your comfort zone and try them. A person can definitely acquire a taste for them. I know from personal experience.
Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss for three years. She is the mother of two teenage daughters and enjoys running in her spare time.