Things I learned during the week of trying to eat within 100 miles
1) 100 miles isn’t very far. Flour was within 200 miles, and by Sunday, I was eating bread from WA flour. (BTW: Do you know how much work goes in to the pounding of that wheat grain into a fine powder? A LOT! Read more about FLOUR here) someone said: go 100km, and that makes it easier.
2) Many people thought I was crazy and told me that a) they couldn’t go without their Lean Cuisine or even packaged TJ cookies and b) it would cost more. I responded that fresh chicken prepared in the crockpot takes about the same amount of time as a frozen meal and costs less money, and that fresh food may cost more MONEY, but it costs less HEALTH PROBLEMS. IN AMERICA, CHEAP FOOD = GOOD??? HOW CRAZY IS THAT? Seriously, do an experiment and buy $5 pasta versus $1 and tell me what you think. $10 olive oil versus $3. Eggs at $5 versus $2. Other times, generic is okay: granola bars, oatmeal, flour. But it is a shame that local food costs more than imported foods from thousands of miles away because of cheap labour and cheap transportation costs, and in many cases massive surpluses, export dumping and government subsidies, it IS WRONG that products can travel thousands of kilometres and remain cheaper than something produced literally across the street.
2) 80% was good enough for me. In the morning, I always stole Dr. Krackers, or a handful of cereal (yep I am an addict) and some of the homemade jam I devoured had sugar in it. I had 2-3 diet cokes, some potluck food on Friday night, and some candy Tuesday.
3) My friend Y lives this lifestyle. This task would have been much more difficult. She made up homemade yogurt, keifer, had farm eggs, fresh milk, a CSA share, local honey. She patiently loaned out her Vita mix and turned her head as I pureeded up fresh pesto, homemade peanut butter. Okay, so the peanut concoction really was just whirled peanuts, with a bit of walnut spread in it. Boy, it really was a salty peanut dough I ended up with. The first day off the diet, a jar of TJ’s chunky PB was bought with joy. Some nut butters I can make, but this one did not come out as yummy as I was hoping it would be.
4) Vegetables in season hit the spot….at night I forgot about pasta or bread for the most (90%) part. Look at these colors…
5) My favorite meals involved simple vegetables…I ADORE SQUASH and GREENS…with an egg thrown in, or homemade chicken stock with a few tablespoons of pesto for a phenomenal soup. CSAs are the easiest place to try and go local, and most likely you can join them anywhere. If you buy powder for your GMs, then you can find 2 people to split a CSA.
6) Scales belong on fishes, which is to say that I don’t weigh myself, but I did find myself more hungry than usual. I also noticed how much I graze usually through out the day. When I did “steal” crackers, it was mid-morning or mid-afternoon and I was typing up patient notes. An apple instead helped this out a few days of the week, but I really needed more grains for my body’s needs and to support my activity level (20 miles running this week, 40 biking, + 3 45 elliptical sessions).
Things I will take away: If there’s a CSA overseas, I am signing up; good food is worth the money to me and it’s an investment in my community that reflects those values; I heart Y…and not just for her yogurt; This diet wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be and the biggest challenges were gatherings for work; I am ready for a glass of wine now.
Check out this carbon calculator (includes diet): http://www.ecohatchery.com/calculator. And article on what to prioritize for planning a green meal:
Want more information on eating local? Check it out here: http://www.squidoo.com/locavores
What is within your 100 miles that you can create a meal out of? Can you do it on a weekly basis?