Saturday, November 21, 2009

my 100 mile diet

I've been watching this show, the 100 Mile Challenge. A community in Canada tried to eat only local food for 100 days. The authors of the book the 100 Mile Diet got six families in the town of Mission (which is near Vancouver BC) to volunteer to do a 100% 100 mile diet for 100 days. All the families had problems with coffee/sugar(much including beer and booze)/chocolate - because none of these things were allowed in the diet - but food addictions aside, they all seemed to enjoy the challenge.
Personally in my life, I aspire to be a locavore. I live in Portland - how could I not?! There are local breads, local vegies, local herbs, local meats, local eggs, local cheese, local yogurt, local milk, local nuts... it all can easily be found in Portland Oregon. I know my location makes my diet very possible. In fact, I don't really consider it a 100 mile diet - its simply eating at a "locavore" = local loving diet.

To me its all about pleasure. Food can be great! Pleasure is picking the fruit out on Sauvie Island and making a tart with local Bob's Red Mill flour and Tillamook butter and honey from my friend Dave the bee-keeper at the Portland Saturday Market (all of these sources meet the 100 mile diet rules). Half the fun is the scavenger hunt for the goods - the other half is the delicious yumminess of the locally sourced food.

But lets be honest - there is a bigger picture here... one part is the rediculousness of eating food that has been trucked from state to state, from the source to the manufacturing to distribution center to retail stores and whatnot - why not eat what is made right around me?! Secondly however is the bounty of the global cultures and modern convenience. Frankly, why live without coffee/chocolate/tea/etc?! Whatever your pleasure - I think its good to indulge that inclination, why not?! I think there is a happy medium.

There is so much more to the idea of eating locally... there is a harmony in creating locally sourced meals. Yogurt made from local dairy and cultures have the enzymes that will aid in digesting local proteins and whatnot. Seasonal produce has the vitamins and nutrients that our bodies crave at different times of the year. If we actually ate what was produced in our surrounding areas we would have less digestive disorders and less obesity.

And - it doesn't have to be more expensive to eat locally! I watched the finale of that 100 mile show and was pleased to see that they broke down the cost factor of this challenge. One participant kept all her receipts for the 100 days of local eatting. This particular participant is a fabulous cook that provides for her family of 2 kids, a husband and her mother. She said she spends around $600/month on food normally - and by the time she had finished the challenge she was spending about the same for all locally sourced food. She was very honest though, the first month she spent $1200 (twice as much as normally!) but then she quickly got the hang of it and started focusing on what was in season rather than what her family was accustom to eating. This brought her cost back down and while everyone ate well and stuffed themselves, they all lost weight!! By cutting all the bullshit out of their diets all the participants lost significant amounts of weight.

I hope in time I will continue to get better at eating locally, observing the seasons in my diet, and appreciating the bounty of the work done in my local surroundings. In the meantime I enjoy the hunt, and if anyone is curious about my finds or has any great tips - please do share! This seems to be a favorite topic of mine lately :)


Curly Girl Glass said...

Nice post! Uh, no chocolate huh?

Emily Miller said...

Hi Leah,

I was just curious how you were able to watch The 100 Mile Challenge, because I was unable to find episodes to watch online in the U.S. (the website said only available in Canada). I would love to check the show out if I can. :) Thanks!