Wednesday, September 08, 2010
It's here....how time flies when you're having fun!!! Day 100 of the 100 day challenge. We're done...well we're done the challenge, but 100 mile is going to become a lifestyle in this house. The food is SO much better, the flavours wonderful, and I'm sure the nutritional value far superior.
I've become something of a pain in the butt on this....I went into one of my chain grocery stores that were doing a huge "locally grown" campaign and sitting under the "Foodland Ontario", "Grown locally" banner were blueberries from California. I live in Ontario....there is no definition of local that includes California blueberries. I gave them S***. And enjoyed doing so.
I truly believe this is so very very important. Buying local can save our planet, even trying to buy mostly local can have a huge impact.
Buying fresh and making my own....amazing food. Yesterday my daughter and I made pizza on the BBQ. We made the dough from local grains, we made the pizza sauce from local ingredients, we topped it with local fresh veggies ( I love a veggie pizza ) and we BBQ'd dinner. It was fantastic!!!
And while on the 100 mile challenge I have lost 15 pounds, for a total of 22. No complaints on that front.
Going forward...I'll introduce a few things back into my diet. Rice (brown only), spices, chocolate (just a little), but aside from that, I'm sticking with the plan!! My freezer is full to brimming with fruits and veggies, and I've been canning peaches like a mad woman. Apple season is upon us and since I have a ready source to apples I will be making apple sauce and will even try freezing apple slices for pie.
Eat local, eat fresh. Commit to consciously doing this once a week, once a month even, discover what's out there! You won't regret it!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Here it is, day 50 of the 100 Mile Challenge. Eating only food grown within 100 Miles of where I live for 100 days.
The biggest change for me. No proessed foods. Well almost no processed foods. I have found local organic deli meats and do indulge in those once in while, but aside from that, no processed foods. I make bread, and doing so has become quite straighforward. My fridge is stocked with fresh local fruits and vegetables, and my freezer is becoming stocked too. I have identified those farmers at the farmers market who are bringing their own product, not the stuff they picked up at the food terminal. I ask questions and engage in conversation before I buy. I am coming to feel for one of my favourite farmers who each week offers an amazing assortment of fresh berries. Right next to him is a vendor who buys whatever is cheap at the food terminal and is all day singing out....five boxes of strawberries for five bucks. The fact that those strawberries were likely picked unripened and treated with chemicals and flown here thousands of miles irrelevant to many, I'd say most of the shoppers. But my favourite farmer stands next to them selling strawberries he picked that morning, or at most the day before, but he can't do it for a dollar a box!!! It's worth the extra money for the taste of naturally sun ripened berries...of all kinds.
I am grateful for where I live and am even more appalled than I used to be with our collective obsession with paving over the golden horseshoe, one of the most fertile areas of land in Canada, perhaps in the world. The harvest is abundant and I am eating very well, and steadily loosing weight. About a pound a week, I have lost 7 pounds since we started June 1st. I am convinvced that there is a combination of 2 things. First and foremost...no processed foods. My sodium and glucose intake is WAY down, and a reduction in the amount of bread I eat. Now I'll be honest, when the bread is fresh out of the oven and the butter is soft for spreading...I probably eat enough bread for a week, but the rest of the time, maybe a slice a day. And this is bread that gives whole wheat a whole new meaning, being rich and dense and delicious.
We are heading into the peak of summer. The selection gets bigger every week. Peaches have started and are that perfect ripeness that you can peal them with little or no effort and you better eat them over the sink because there is no controlling the juice that runs from them. It reminds me of when I was a child and I could go out to my backyard and pick a peach from the tree. You'd walk up to the tree, gently tap the bottom of a peach and it would fall into your hand, perfection.
I have already decided that when this is done and the "forbiddens" return to my table I will always buy local. If it can be produced locally, I will buy it locally. But both my daughter and I freely admit....we miss citrus!!!! My son is deeply concerned that we might develop scurvy!!! HEHEHE. I do not miss coffee at all. Herbal tea is available and while it is good, it's not a traditional cuppa. Chocolate....yeah...miss chocolate!!! Am currently experimenting with the various "gourmet" popping corns out there....they look cool, but don't taste much different. They do, however, pop really well.
For me, this is a crutial step in changing my relationship with food. Imersing myself in the complexities of this challenge has made me pay attention to what and how I eat and I'm discovering that how is quite key. The cruising of the kitchen for questionable snacks doesn't work any more and I find that my desire to do so is also disappearing. I have to pay attention to what is available, and get creative. This week, crackers....I want to learn how to make crackers!!
Adventure on. I highly recommend that you shop local, make your own challenge whether it's one day a week, or full on like I'm doing. This is worth exploring!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
One fifth of the way through 100 days of eating food grown within 100 Miles of where I live.
It's been an interesting week. Finding food was more of a challenge than I expected. You can't just run to the grocery store when you're out of something. The past two years have been rainy in Ontario and garlic is not to be had, well not local garlic anyway, it all comes from China, or Mexico....garlic.....from China or Mexico.....let's think about that for a minute or two. Tiny spring garlic shallots have become a favourite for us! And my friend Betty mentioned in passing that she could dig some from her garden....were this true I would like Betty even more! :)
But with some serious internet research I have found a tiny local grocery store where I can find a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Spring and early summer offer treats, but slowly. Tomatoes from our local hot house, spinach, last years carrots and onions, asparagus are all on the menu. I'm discovering too that local often, although not always, also means organic. I don't drink a lot of milk, but the organic milk is definitely was better than milk fromthe grocery store. Local cheese is actually quite common, both cow and goat's milk cheese. I've even seen some sheeps milk cheese but haven't tried them.
Bread is a challenge. There is much local grain and I have been making my bread. A simple act from which I get much pleasure. I am using a grain that originates in Ontario and was the primary grain for Canada until about 1920. Red Fife flour. Again, popular with the organic farmers the bread I have made so far is rich in taste but extremely dense and not so good for simple staples like toast. Now, having said that, I lost close to 2 pounds in my first week and I think not having such ready access to bread is definitely part of that! I would point out that I've been plateaued for months so seeing ANY progress is wonderful in my world. I'm hoping that next week when I can start working out more again that will also improve.
We are looking forward to strawberries. Last years apples as pretty much our only fruit is already becoming a little tedious. And for my vegetarian daughter the lack of fruit is a bit of an issue. I did buy bottled peaches from one of our Mennonite farmers, but they did contain sugar which is not part of our 100 miles, and for my daughter, not how she eats her fruit.
So far we have been cooking our staples, adapting them with what is available. It is time for us to start exploring what is out there. I have beets in the fridge, something we both enjoy but never cook, so I need to find something interesting to do with them. That won't be difficult at all I know. We also want to spend some time wandering those area farms that open themselves up to sell thier produce. Who knows what and who we'll find. There are fisheries at Lake Erie, grain farmers up in Desboro, fruit farmers all through the Niagara penninsula. I have 20 different herbs growing on my front porch, spinach, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, leeks and arugala growing in my back yard. This should be interesting!
Now, if I could only figure out how to make bread without a giant bubble in the middle of it....I know I'm doing something wrong!! :) And in the mean time, I did find crackers and they are quite yummy, especially with a little goat cheese, a little spinach, a litte tomatoe, some herbs....lovely snack!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Well, I'm a day and half away from our latest food adventure. 100 Mile Challenge, only food grown within a 100 Mile radius of where I live for the next 100 days. June 1st, 2010 to September 8th, 2010.
We've spent the past couple of months getting ready, the past couple of weeks really getting ready. I've learned to bake bread with honey instead of sugar, actually works quite well. We've discovered that there is quite an extensive cheese industry in our area, and that peanuts grow very well in Southern Ontario. Peanut butter is now just finely ground up peanuts, since sugar is not qualified so I can't buy commercial peanut butter, but that's better for me anyway!!
We've discovered a group in the area called "Bailey's Local Foods" where you go on line each week and place an order, they out source everything from local merchants, farmers, producers and bring it to one location where you can pick it up the following Friday. The clearly understand the concept of 100 Mile and support it, so it makes shopping much easier.
Local is easily done, 100 Mile is a little more challenging. We have easy accessability to wheat and other grains and have made yeast, baking soda and baking powder each part of our 1% exception. I have just found out this morning that we may be able to get salt, I need to confirm that. The vegetables and meats are the easiest part. Eggs, yogurt, as I said, cheese, these are all easy too. But rethinking how I cook that's going to be a little different for me. We bought a pasta maker since we love pasta, and since I've bought the hand crank kind let me assure you, getting to my spaghetti dinner is going to require a workout now!!! That's OK too!!
I've planted a nice herbery. 20 different kinds, including chocolate mint that I'm hoping will make a yummy tea. I'm learning what's in season and am very grateful for hothouse farms that are locally producing tomatoes that are really tasty!
So on this, our last weekend, we've been enjoying those things we will miss. Had shrimp and tuna steak for supper last night, along with an excellent vegetable concoction out of the veggies in the fridge that needed to be used up since they were not 100 Mile. Tomorrow we are going our for lunch at an Indian restaurant, again something we will miss.
My daughter has asked if I'm worried. A little, but only because part of why I am doing this is to help break bad habits. 100 days without chocolate, with crackers being slightly more challenging to get, if I can get them, without Tim Horton's, or Starbucks, I see these as all good things, but being emotional crutches I also know they will be challenging. But it's a challenge I'm up for. So I enjoyed my last cup of coffee this morning, and a small piece of birthday cake at church.
I'm grateful for two fabulous farmers markets in the area, along with local bakeries and farmers who are working to sell the local concept. Being in Mennonitte country with less than 1/2 hour to farm land, a definate bonus. Having a vegetarian daughter who will ensure I eat vegetarian at least couple times a week, bonus.
June 1st. I think I'm as ready as I'm going to be. Let the adventure begin. Stay tuned....I'll keep you posted on how it's going!
Even if you don't take the challenge, consider it. Look into what 100 Miles around where you live would supply you with. Find out more about local foods and farms, because fresher is better, and knowing where your food comes from is never a bad thing.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
My daughter is getting ready to move home after four years of university. If all goes according to plan she will be here for one year and then on to post graduate studies. That I will talk about when it happens so as not to jinx it! :)
She has thrown down the gauntlet as she moves back home. And asked me to join her in taking he 100 Mile Challenge. For those of you who don't know it...100 days of only eating food that is grown within 100 miles of where you live. Now, I live in Southern Ontario, in one of the richest farm land areas there is, but still....this means no: coffee, tea, sugar, salt, rice, spices, salmon or tuna, off the top of my head, I'm sure there's lots more I haven't even thought about! But we will be doing this through the summer where the berries are fresh, the vegeies are plentiful at the local market, and the farms are busy. We have already found local food markets that specialize in local food, a 100 Mile Challenge cookbook on line, and blogs from others who have tried it. Even a couple restaurants in town that build their menus on the 100 mile challenge.
So, here's an excercise in REALLY paying attention to what we're eating. Organic foods, farm fresh, with little travel time between the field or barn and our table. (She is vegetarian, I am not)
We will begin June 1st I believe, that gives us a month after she gets home to organize and come to terms with what this really means. She's even found dog food for the Dylly dog.! :) I'm sure he'll notice!! :)
So, goodbye bananas, avacodos, oranges, lemons and limes.....hello fresh herbs, apples, berries, peaches, pears....maybe this isn't going to be all that bad!!
Since I can't seem to shake the weight I figure getting fit and eating healthy are the best way I can go. This seems like an interesting way to tackle an old problem!!
But I will miss my curry!!!
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