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My foray into the 100-mile diet: A weaning period

This year I'm testing the waters on the 100-mile locavore diet.  I'm pretty excited about it.  So far my guidelines are to source 95% of my purchased food locally for the year 2011.  (I did not prepare for this experiment.  So, after a night of New Years' revelry, I woke up New Year's Day with a hankering to go out for breakfast and remembered, oh yeah, I'm not doing that anymore).  In order to make this workable, it makes sense to eat the foreign food that I've already got, which buys me time to figure out my game plan for the rest of the year, and provides a weaning period.  For now, I'm weaning myself off coffee by way of the rest of my caffeinated tea stash.  I'm ever grateful for a big chunk of chocolate that was given to me in support of my experiment, but that will be a weaning process as well.  But while I'm winding down so many things I've been accustomed to, I'm winding up a whole new array of questions and answers, and a new experience of food. 


Food has long been, for me, a thing of indulgence, driven by momentary impulses.  I'm finding that I am still self-comforting with food--one of my first projects of the new year was to figure out how to make crackers, and pasta was next on the list.  Life without comfort food just didn't seem friendly.  However, the process of comforting myself with food has become, well, a process.  Most of the comfort foods I'm used to, even though they are made locally, aren't sourced locally.  So now I have to plan for my comfort.  Determine the ingredients, make the time to prepare for my comfort.  Provide for my comfort.  Before, I went out and purchased comfort.  Now I'm learning how to create it.


I'm learning how to create sustenance too.  This project is a trial run for the rest of my life.  I expect that each year from now on the locavore diet will be more and more a necessity and I'm grateful that I can do this as an experiment rather than a stark culture shock.  This year my hobby garden becomes a mode of survival.  I actually need to pay attention.  I'm hoping that my diligence this year will give me a greater sense of empowerment that I can provide for my needs, and help stave off my fear of the uncertain future.  I don't have the space or the expertise to grow all my own food, but I'm looking forward to learning how much I CAN grow with a concerted effort.  I'm also luxuriating in my lack of scarcity.  I have found locally sourced wheat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and dairy, even in the forms that I want:  cheese, butter, cream, sour cream, yogurt--no problem.  As a consumer looking at this with new eyes, I'm impressed at my ability to buy local food in winter, and I know that during the growing season I'll have lots of options. 


My inner nay-sayer has much to offer.  He says if we all tried to eat locally this winter there wouldn't be enough.  He says all you out there already know all this stuff, that I'm wasting my time writing this.  He says buying some local food and making some crackers doesn't make me resilient.  My addict informs me I'll never make it, I'll go back on my word and quit.  Probably fair points.  But so far, my sense of adventure compels me forward.  I'm curious how this project will work out, and how it will change my attitudes.  I'm excited enough to want to share it with you.  And so far, even though I've only taken a few steps, I'm proud to be putting my money where my mouth is.

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Comment by Heather K on January 11, 2011 at 2:13pm


"The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times" written by Carol Deppe, a regional seed-saver may interest you.  The main calerie crops she grew for her gluten free diet, was beans, corn (flour type), squash (ie 'the 3 sisters'), Potatoes, and Duck Eggs!   She added in local fruit & vegies as it was available.   One of the things many folks miss in our temperate climate, is that it makes total sense for us to store enough basic foods (grain, bean, root) to last us through the winter & early spring months.

Many of us are in the process of relearning how to store our foods, and learning how much personal human energy & thought is involved in obtaining our food locally, rather than relying on the energy of oil to transport the foods from the energy of low-wage farmers in other countries.  

"Root Cellaring" by Mike & Nancy Bubel is a classic Rodale Press book from the modern 'homesteading' days of the 1970s.

Comment by Angela MacLeod on January 11, 2011 at 2:03pm

Yeah, Laura!!

Thank you for deciding to share this with us.

David and I did a 100% local menu for 10 days a few years ago. (by day 3 it became about 97% local after I added sea salt and olive oil. Kelp wasn't good enough for a total salt substitute. and Hazelnut oil wasn't good to cook with and I wasn't able to eat butter then)

It would be fun to share notes on what how I cooked and what we ate then and to hear what you are doing/discovering.

Comment by Celt M. Schira on January 11, 2011 at 12:31pm
Go Laura! For a sourdough cracker recipe, you may care to check out my blog post "Going Crackers". It is easily converted to local wheat. I found that all sorts of great eats can be grown, bought or made at home with local ingredients, although I've never been a local eating purist. I can't see my household giving up coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, and spices, but those have been traded long distances for many centuries. Access has been more a matter of ability to pay than scarcity since around 1700. What interests me more are the fresh vegetables and fruits, which are mostly water, and the basic foodstuffs that you are finding: wheat, dairy, meat, etc.

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