Friday, October 19, 2007

100-Mile Diet

I'm inspired again. Aaaaaahhhhhhh! It feels good. As you can see, I haven't written here in a while; I've been somewhat wrapped up in figuring out what foods don't agree with my body so I could stop eating them. Well, that turned out to be harder than at first it seemed, and took some of the fun out of food for me. As a bit of an obsessive personality when it comes to health and food, I recognized the pattern and decided to cool it a bit. Basically, my body feels happier when I cut down on grains and sugar...big surprise there! It's only what I've been reading for the last, oh, ten years or so. So white sugar is out of my life, except for the 1 cup a month that I need to keep my kombucha thriving. And grains are a few-times-a-week proposition now.

But that's not what has inspired me - I just figured I'd quickly account for my absence. What does inspire me at the moment, is the 100-Mile Diet. I've been very intrigued with the "eat local" concept, but failed miserably at the September challenge set forth by Locavores. I just didn't keep track at all. But I think I'm ready to go there, and commit myself to a 100-mile foodshed as much as I possibly can. Since I live smack in the middle of northern California, I have a fabulously diverse foodshed - I can hit the coast, and I can hit Nevada - so I really can't complain!

So with Samhain around the corner, I set forth my New Year's Resolution: For the next year, I will source as much of my food as I possibly can from within my 100-mile foodshed.

What does this mean? Well, I'm finding out (to the relief of my internal perfectionist) that there is no one right way to do this. Everyone is creating their own version of the 100-mile diet - some making exceptions, some going whole hog, others going a week or a day at a time. So I'm laying out my own personal plan for the next year, and I intend to use this blog to hold myself accountable to it. I'm excited and nervous at the same time! What will this be like? How will I feel if I fail? What will my biggest challenges be? Am I too close to winter to do any canning or freezing prep? Okay okay, enough worries, on to the plan.

HerbanGirl's Year of 100-Mile Food

1. Weekly produce from my new/old CSA. Distance from home: 51.5 miles (pick-up on Wednesdays, 1/2 mile from my office)

2. Supplemental produce from the downtown farmers market on Sundays. Distance from home: 1 mile

3. Milk, eggs, and possibly cheese and beef from a family farm near San Andreas. Distance from home: 71.1 miles

4. Fish and seafood from our local fisherman, Brand Little, available at the farmer's market or co-op. Distance from home: 1-2 miles (Brand fishes off the SF coast: 80-100 miles)

That takes care of the basics - fruit, veggies, dairy, eggs, meat. Then there's the question of prepared foods, ingredients, etc. I really feel so lucky to have so much close to me. Lundberg has been growing rice in my town for decades, and Full Belly Farm grows and sells wheat. Organic cultured butter from Clover is only 80 miles from home. The abundance of crops at Apple Hill is only 50 miles away. We are absolutely surrounded by wine country - Napa Valley and Sonoma to the west, Amador and Shenendoah to the east. We have spices and herbs a'plenty at home, but when they're used up I will have do make do without (sniff) cinnamon, nutmeg, or very favorites.

As much as I admire the original 100-Mile Dieters, I don't know that I can succeed at eating 100% within my foodshed for the year. By now I am quite familiar with my limitations and weaknesses, and I would hate to mentally throw away a good idea just because I can't do it All. The. Way. So I'm giving myself five "wildcards" (this is the lingo, apparently) to keep myself sane.

Wildcard #1. Coconut products. These have become an important part of my diet, and they're doing much for my health so I'm keeping them.

Wildcard #2. Salt. There is no natural source of edible salt in my foodshed, but good sea salt is incredibly nutritive and important. So I'm keepin' it!

Wildcard #3. Cocoa. This seems a bit silly considering how little I eat it, and I may regret the choice, but I'm keeping it as a wildcard so I can have my occasional hot cocoa or square of deep, dark chocolate. And I bet when I get to making my own ice cream I'll be glad I kept it!

Wildcard #4. Vanilla. I bake. 'Nuff said.

Wildcard #5. Baking soda. See above.

In addition to my wildcards, which I consider near-necessities, I'll also give myself some permission to not become local-uppity or rigid. I will not turn down any food that is offered to me in hospitality (that comes from Jessica Prentice and I think it's beautifully put). When he makes it, I will drink Descartes' homemade beer without asking where the barley came from. Anything that's already in the house today doesn't count, but I can't replace it when it's gone unless it's local. And when I go out to eat or when I'm traveling, I will do my best but not drive myself crazy.

There. It's set in cyberstone. Hold me to it, y'all!

Now, anyone know a good local substitute for cranberry sauce?

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