Years ago I read an incredible true story by Barbara Kingslover, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, her non-fiction book about her family's inspiring journey of only eating food grown within a 100-miles of their home for a full year (often referred to as the 100 mile diet). The caveat here is that each family member got to choose one non-local food to keep in the house during that year. Since reading this book over a decade ago, I have longed to do my own version of this diet. Having babies and young children during this time made the challenge overwhelming for me to try, but now that my babies are older, I feel ready to take it on!
In the world of globally-ethical nutrition, eating local is often overlooked. Although eating organic is a step in the right direction, it simply isn’t enough. I was an organic farmer for 13 years before diving into the wonderful world of nutritional therapy, so I feel well-acquainted with all that goes into getting food to the table. Some organic whole foods are often outsourced and must travel hundreds and often thousands of miles to get to our grocery stores.
We can obviously see the huge impact that travel distance has on the environment via oil consumption, but we often don’t consider the additional energy expenditures that go into keeping these foods cold and stored in our grocery stores. When it comes to processed organic foods (organic cheese puffs or gluten-free bread, for instance), there's also the factory’s energy usage to consider through processing, packaging and shipping.
The healthiest, most ethical and responsible step you can make for your nutrition and for the planet is to eat as many local foods as possible. This may be inconvenient. This may mean making some dramatic changes to your current eating plan, but you will be eating fewer processed foods and less sugar (our only local source of sugar is honey), which will likely bring you improved energy and better nutrition as well as lessening your household's carbon footprint.
To motivate my kids, ages 7 and 13, in joining me on this adventure, I let each of us choose a food to keep in rotation (gluten-free bread and peanut butter for them and sea s