Saturday, April 2, 2011

How I Became (more of a) Locovore

If you've been following me for any amount of time, you may have been following my path from a processed-packaged food eater to a fresh food eater... and then from a fresh food eater to a local, organic food eater.

A little recap for those of you who don't know; just about a year ago, I found out that I have hereditary high blood pressure. Though I ate mostly healthy, a large portion of my diet was made up of packaged foods that were high in sodium. And I had no idea!

Though genes are genes, there were still some changes I could make to my diet and lifestyle. With a husband deployed and crazy hours at work, I could only change how I managed stress and not the sources. I was out hiking every somewhat nice weekend day that came along and taking le pooch for walks regularly. I also started cooking more from whole, fresh ingredients, and less from packaged ready-made meals.

EKat's Kitchen was born as a way to track some of these recipes. Especially those with lentils. MMM.

After hubby returned home, we made regular pilgrimages to the Farmers Market in Colorado Springs and enjoyed whole, fresh, local and seasonal ingredients all summer long. We purchased locally grown grass fed meats -- it just made sense to us.

We learned we'd be moving to Alaska, the place we'd just left less than three years before. We loaded up our homemade beer and wine, our frozen grassfed beef, our frozen squash, and our canned tomatoes... and had the movers take just about everything else.

As soon as we closed on the new house, I signed up for a fabulous CSA (Community Share Agriculture) - Glacier Valley CSA. We Alaskans have great farming, though a short growing season. In the winter, GV CSA supplements their boxes of locally grown potatoes, carrots and onions (as well as mushrooms and sprouts), with organic produce from Outside. I've learned how to cook with kale, rainbow chard, ruby chard, and oyster mushrooms.

And one of my friends gave me a copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver - about her family's journey to eat locally for a year (minus the need for coffee). And I learned about all of the reasons to eat locally
- for our bodies (locally grown food has fewer pesticides, more antioxidants and more nutrients),
- for our economy (every dollar we spend locally cycles through the local economy three times),
- for our planet (less fuel is needed to transport local food and it tends to be farmed using more sustainable practices).

There are, of course, more reasons to eat locally. Kingsolver after all wrote an entire book about them. But as a result, I've started to purchase local Alaskan milk and am planning to find local Alaskan cheese. I've also recently located a source for local, Alaska-grown beef. Now, Alaska is a big place, but it's certainly better economically to source our food from within Alaska than to be concerned with shipping it up from Outside.

I finished the book about 1 am this morning and feel even more motivated. Motivated to sit here and blog about it, ignoring the housework! Regardless, I encourage each of you to aim to make one meal a week from local ingredients. We eat lots of food that's not local, but we're making a move to eat more locally.

I also encourage you to read Kingsolver's book, whether you purchase it by clicking on the link above or below, borrow it from the library or share with a friend. Per my friend's request, I'll be passing the book along to someone else, but will be regularly visiting for recipes from Kingsolver and her daughter.


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