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How to be a slow foodie

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Fancy getting on the slow track to eating better? Angie Dodd of Slow Food UK tells us how to get the most out of your shopping basket whatever your budget.

By-pass the supermarket

In urban areas it's no longer difficult to find farmers' markets and these are certainly great places to find good, clean and fair food, but they're not the only place. Cities are places of great cultural diversity, which means it's easy to find shops specializing in traditional, indigenous food - great breads, savories, pastries and other specialties abound and unlike a supermarket, you're more likely to find a shop keeper who knows about the food and how to cook it.

Buy direct from the producer

Certainly there's no substitute for buying direct from the producers themselves, whether it's at a farmers' market, one of the new style indoor market shops, a box delivery scheme, online or at a home farm shop.

Look for good ingredients

The thing to look for when shopping are good ingredients: butter not margarine, no unnecessary additives or preservatives, like E numbers. The shorter the list of ingredients, the purer the product is likely to be.

Ask questions

When buying fresh food, you might want to ask different questions for different things.

For fish, find out how it's been caught -- line-caught or day boat fish is most sustainable; look at the gills, they shouldn't be bloody and eyes should be still bright.

Good beef will have come from grass fed suckler herds (calves are raised mostly outdoors on their mother's milk and when weaned on a grass rich diet); pigs from rare breeds are non-intensively reared and will be more flavorsome.

Cheeses made from raw milk are naturally more complex in flavor. Raw milk - or non-homogenized - retains the most flavor.

Heritage varieties of fruits and vegetables tend to be more traditionally grown and therefore less pesticides are used. All of these types of foods will come from small to medium scale producers.


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Market forces: Line-caught fish is more sustainable than other methods.

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