Made a request this morning to have breakfast in bed. It’s chilly out there and I was in the mood to journal, talk, type, and have my breakfast under the still-warm covers. Today’s oatmeal was topped with Greek yogurt, blueberries, raspberries, and slivered almonds. It was made with a dash of chia seeds and quinoa for protein. Let’s focus on just one of these ingredients – I do love berries year round. But, how can we make our meals and lifestyles simpler on our bodies and the planet (our collective body)?
One person eating raspberries in April is not a big deal. But a whole country of year round raspberry lovers can wreck more havoc than a band of locusts. Just think about all those jets crisscrossing in the air, oil-guzzling ships piled high with shipping containers, and 18-wheelers whining down the highway to just bring me more raspberries.
If you’ve not heard of the term locavore, and pick up a copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral” or link to her site http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com. A locavore is someone who chooses to eat foods that are produced locally, say within a 100 mile radius. Ideally, these foods are organically and sustainably grown.
My diet is moving in the following direction:
Spent a year as a total vegetarian, but then developed a wheat-sensitivity to all the pasta, breads & grains I filled up on. Went another year without any carbohydrates, but then melted-down with Ben & Jerry back to my sweet-craving self. After years of trying to develop the Ultimate 100% Healthy Diet, I’ve surrendered to trusting the foods that afford me more energy, managing my sweet tooth, and getting creative in the kitchen. Today I’m a 90% vegetarian, with seafood at least once a week, meat about twice a month, and a daily dose of high quality chocolate. The rest is made up of some dairy, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and wheat-free grains like soy, buckwheat, millet, barley, corn and rice.
Two seasons ago, I created a large organic vegetable garden with about 200 sq. ft. of raised beds. Using a book on companion gardening (the intermingling of beneficial vegetables, herbs and flowers), and a book called Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew http://www.squarefootgardening.org , I grew a variety of healthy vegetables. And some funky looking hybrid squash (Note to self: do not plant cucumber and butternut squash seeds too close to one another). Red wriggler worms turned my fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, and coffee grounds brought home from the office into nutrient rich fertilizer. Old wooden pallets were tied together to form giant composting bins to break down grass, leaves, and garden trimmings into next year’s soil. Best of all, friends contributed seeds, seedlings, and know-how to my garden. In turn, my garden fed many. A friend borrowed a community kitchen and taught us how to safely can food. I turned out jars of locally produced peaches, tomatillos, carrots, strawberries, and more.
An alternative to gardening on your own is to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Members pay their money up front (between $400 a year and $700 for a family share), then take their lumps along with the farmer. When it rains, you’ll rejoice along with your crops. Unless there’s too much rain. Or not enough. You’ll become more in tune with weather cycles; the plight of birds, bees and other pollinators; the mystifying world of food labeling; and most of all, experience the decadent taste of foods you love or may never have tried before. Like meat that came from well-cared for animals. Or raspberries you’ve waited for all year.
Think: Where do most of your meals come from? How can you better support your local farmers? If you are a gardener or farmer, how can you better support your family or community?
Say: Talk to friends about where their food comes from. I’m thrilled to learn of a new community garden being created down the road from my little cabin.
Do: Join a CSA. Or plant some food – even a small, consistent patch of sunlight will sustain a container garden. Research edible landscaping – fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, vegetable borders. Get creative!