Visions of participating in a 100 mile diet have long been swimming around my head. Stefan and I have talked about trying it for a couple years and we could come up with 100 reasons why it would never work. We read Plenty a few years ago and were intimidated by the couple’s jihad-like stance towards their 100 mile diet. At the same time, we were fascinated by their sustained dedication to explore new avenues to reach their goal of only eating things that were grown within 100 miles of their home. My most memorable part of their journey was making salt by boiling sea water from Bamfield, a tiny coastal town off of Vancouver Island where we have been sea kayaking for years. The scales tipped after reading my friend’s blog for a couple months, Change Becomes Change. I am inspired to let little inklings of change envelop our food choices.
We are going to eat every other week only things that are grown within 100 miles of our home. With some exceptions that I will tell you about later.
Disclaimer: I admit I am scared that we are going to fall flat on our faces and give up on day 8 like we did when we took a rowing class. I see no reason to continue to do uncomfortable things. This attitude does not bode well for the 100 mile radius of our new lives.
Not this time!
We have told a few people that we are tackling the 100 mile diet. Always with confused expressions, people suggest that we try starting with the Pacific NW food shed, people remind us that the world is too advanced and modern to support this kind of lifestyle and my favorite response, Why call it a “diet”?
The last question I especially like because I have never started a diet that I am currently still embracing. Diets = Rules. I also don’t like rules (or diets). Making rules, yes. Following rules, no. Michael Pollen just came out with a little book with very little text called “Food Rules” filled with rules for “eating wisely”. As much as I appreciate Pollan’s writing, I will steer clear of any book with the word “rules” in the title. So here is what we are going to do.
We are launching into a 100 mile extravaganza of eating with a few helpful guidelines to help us down this topsy turvy path. Every other week. One week on, one week off. And, so forth.
And, here is why: we want to support local farmers, ones that live over the hill from us. We want to recalibrate our understanding of what we use to cook. Frying an egg or creating a casserole requires no thought about where the food actually comes from at the moment. We want that to change. We want to taste food in different ways. Salt is a staple and I don’t know what the majority of the food that I eat tastes like without it. I want to learn to cook and enjoy veggies. Our ancestors ate this way. Why can’t we? We want to eat less. We love food and eating foods grown or raised within 100 miles of us is going to greatly decrease the amount we eat.
Here is what we have on our 100 mile food list so far:
1. Eggs—we have chickens who are producing one egg a day at the moment. As Stefan and I have committed to this, I warn him not to let people borrow, consume or touch our eggs. It may be all that we have.
2. Veggies—we are going to check out Local Harvest’s website on a weekly basis
3. Yogurt and milk—Alpenrose Dairy looks promising
4. Cheese—Willamette Valley Cheese Company and we will visit Steve Jones at his shop to expand our cheese selection
5. Anything that I can get my hands on at Frasier Creek Farm in Corvallis
Our list continues to expand as we talk to farmers and ranchers and friends. As we launch our 100 mile extravaganza of eating, I will continue to share what we learn. Please tell us if you know of local food we should try. Or farmers, ranchers or other people who are as brave (aka crazy) as us.
We start on Sunday, January 3rd. For the next couple days, I will focus on eating things I will miss and I promise to continue to explore other foods that will nourish us in our 100 mile quest. As soon as I put down this piece of Italian salami and German cheese.