Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The 100 Mile Diet

After a few slow months, I think we'll be very busy blogging in August. While I did actively participate in June's "Write Down 30 Things You Want to Do and Do Something Different Each Day" and July's "Contact Someone You Don't Speak to on a Regular Basis Every Day", there hasn't been too much to report. I had a few gratifying moments from each month but overall they didn't feel like too much of a challenge. I'm very excited for August which might turn out to be the biggest challenge thus far: The 100 Mile Diet.

I'm just finishing up reading, The 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating, by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon which stemmed from their widely publicized blog. The philosophy is simple, the couple decided to eat only food grown and produced within a 100-mile radius of their apartment. The book chronicles their journey through this difficult but rewarding year and definitely makes you really think about where your food comes from and about the benefits of eating locally and seasonally.

Since I've become more interested in eating locally anyway, I decided that making this into a Twelve Months of Lent challenge would be perfect. Starting August 1st I'll officially be a Boston localvore.

Although I plan on being as strict as possible about this, I am going to set my own parameters to make it bearable. What I've determined so far:

1. I'm extending the 100 miles to include all of New England.

2. All produce must be grown in New England (omg, no avocados).

3. All dairy and seafood must be local.

4. I can use spices and oils that are already in my pantry.

5. Alcohol should be local but I'm not going to be fussy about where they grow their grains or grapes.

6. Bread. Oh wow, what do I do without bread? Is there a local flour source? Half of me wants to say that I can eat bread as long as I make it myself or buy it from a local bakery, but the other half wants to be really strict and say unless it's local grain then I can't have it at all. For now I'm going to try to seek out a local source and I'll cross that bridge when I get there if I can't find one.

7. I'm allowing myself 5 local-free meals, meant to be used for things like my Nana's 90th birthday party, dinner parties with friends, and times of desperation when I'm starving and nothing local can be found.

I'm sure more things will come up but for now, he's a list of resources that I've already found:

Boston Localvores Blog

Boston's Local Food Shed

Harvest Co-op

City Feed and Supply

Brattleboro Food Co-op

Boston Organics' Dogma Box

Definitely comment and share your favourite local places if you have any!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I fell off the wagon, but I'm climbing onto it again

I haven't posted in a very long time and it's because I've been doing a rather poor job of following the challenges lately. Who wants to think about failure? Not me! But I suppose I do have some things to report.

I believe my last post was in May, which was "create no trash" month. I had my first experience with composting, and it was pretty awful. I bought a little plastic scrap bucket for the kitchen and kept meaning to buy a larger bucket for my back porch but didn't get around to it for... about a month. Meanwhile, the food garbage in the scrap bucket began festering and growing black mold and other sorts of creatures. I eventually threw out the entire bucket because the contents were so heinous, there was just no going back. I finally bought a large bucket in the beginning of June and have since been composting more intelligently, with a nice ratio of green to brown matter. It's not nearly as terrifying this time around.

I did not complete June's challenge of "30 things". To date, I think I've done about 1/3 of the items on my list. When I was thinking of things to do, it was rather haphazard, and throughout June my list kept evolving. I lost interest in some items and added others halfway through the month. June also ended up being the busiest month in the history of man. I played field hockey and softball (my team won the championship, woo!), volunteered a lot, went camping/canoeing, cooked a veggie burger inside of a waffle... life was crazy. At one point I was feeling guilty about June so I spontaneously got a pedicure and had my tarot cards read. I felt worse afterward because I spent too much money and all I had to show for it were toes I could have painted myself and a fortune that said I'm going to meet my fair-skinned German soulmate in three months' time. A worthwhile June endeavor: I planted my tomato seedling that I grew from a seed. Check this beauty out:

Now July! July is contact 31 people month. I've been doing alright with this challenge which I owe largely to luck. It just so happened that a few people on my list kind of fell into my lap and I was able to see them in person without much effort at all! What a dream. I wasn't doing as well with my July list recently, but I contacted... drum roll please... six people today! Only two of them answered the phone, but hey, baby steps. I also took a nice walk today around Castle Island and bought lunch at the food hut I've been meaning to try. Cheap and tasty! I was fat and happy.

It has definitely become apparent that the most successful months are also the most challenging ones. The most rewarding times are the times where I alter my lifestyle in some way for the better (i.e. vegan detox, pick up trash, create no trash). I am therefore excited to unveil the new, improved August: consume locally month! How provocative! Danne has done a bunch of reading about the 100 Mile Diet, where you don't eat anything that has travelled farther than 100 miles to your plate, so we are going to give it a shot. I'm definitely ready for a challenge again!

Oh, and Tim and I signed up for the Mud Hog Race in New Hampshire on August 8th. It should be a blast if any of you want to come cheer us on! What is a Mud Hog Race, you ask? Why, it's a 6-mile running/biking race with a 60 foot mud pit you crawl through to get to the finish line, of course! Our team name is Check Out My Mudstache! It should be quite fun :)