Eat Local Challenge Day 13: Still looking for consistency

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My first hot breakfast during the Eat Local Challenge included eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast
  • ALEJANDRO DE LOS RIOS
  • My first hot breakfast during the Eat Local Challenge included eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast

Days: 13
Total meals eaten today: 4
Non-local items eaten: 2
Vices: Beer, coffee, bread

Time and again throughout this challenge I find myself finishing a great local meal and almost immediately beginning to worry about what I'm making for my next meal. Surely, when the Eat Local Challenge asks people to think more about the food they're eating, they don't mean it should be causing anxiety.

OK, maybe "anxiety" isn't the right emotion, but when you restrict your diet, for any reason, you become hyper conscious of what you have at your disposal to eat. For yesterday's breakfast, I switched from my habit of local fruit and yogurt to scrambled eggs with sautéed shiitake mushrooms and creole tomatoes with a side of toast and homemade fruit leather (which was really more of a flat jelly). It was a great tasting, well balanced and fulfilling breakfast.

There was only one problem: I had nothing to eat for lunch.

Despite all the sauteed vegetables and hot sandwiches I've been making since starting this challenge, I'm much more used to just having a big sandwich for lunch. It didn't hit me until I got hungry four hours or so after breakfast that I didn't have any real lunch foods in the house. I had a ton of produce, a little bit of greek yogurt left and some potatoes. I couldn't think of any combination of those foods that would've made for a satisfying lunch. Once again I'm face-to-face with the practical limitations of a locavore diet.

I'll note right now that while I write a lot about the limitations, pratfalls and actual challenges of the Eat Local Challenge, I'm all in favor with the ideals of the movement. People should absolutely be more conscious of where their food comes from and it's clear that local food not only tastes better and is fresher, but lends itself to a healthier lifestyle.

That being said, food infrastructure has clearly swung in favor of mass-produced products. Now, there are several arguments against how giant food companies and distributers do business, but there is no denying they have a stranglehold on the industry. Right now, it is just more labor intensive and harder to eat only locally produced food. I benefit from the fact that I can work from home and make my own schedule. I can't begin to imagine how a parent or someone who works nights or long hours can stick to this kind of regimen. That's not even considering the complications people with food allergies, physical disabilities or other limitations would face if they tried to become locavores.

I'm very lucky to have no physical limitations on what I can eat and, as an unmarried, childless 20-something, I have enough disposable income to experiment with my diet. And yet, there I was, eating fruit in greek yogurt for lunch and then getting oysters as a pre-dinner snack because I couldn't figure out a quick way to make lunch. Now this sounds like I was being lazy, but cooking each and every meal can take a toll on your psyche and your kitchen (seriously, it's never not dirty anymore).

In case you didnt know: this is how you reheat frozen food if you dont have a microwave
  • ALEJANDRO DE LOS RIOS
  • In case you didn't know: this is how you reheat frozen food if you don't have a microwave

Thankfully, though, there are some shortcuts you can take. For dinner, reached into my freezer and grabbed the quart of red beans prepared by the folks at Cleaver & Co. This was an easy meal to fix (though a bit harder since I don't own a microwave) and it certainly stuck to my ribs. But looking back into my fridge, I'm seeing more of the same ingredients I've been eating over the past few days and it's starting to get tedious.

It's time to look for some inspiration.

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