Eating Local Food

Last modified on January 5th, 2010

I said the other day that I wasn’t going to make any New Year’s resolutions, and for the most part that’s true. One thing I’d like to do this year though is to try and eat as healthy as possible. For starters, I gave up soft drinks the other day completely. I’m sure I’ll still have a rum and diet coke from time to time, since it’s been my drink of choice for around 12 years now, but I’m going to try not to drink any type of carbonated beverages around home for the most part if I can. I haven’t had any diet coke in about five days now, which is a pretty big accomplishment.

Second, and I imagine this will fluctuate as well, I’ve reduced my caffeine intake to basically nothing right now. While I do enjoy a nice cup of coffee from time to time, I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping these past few years, and caffeine only makes it worse. I’ll probably still have a cup in the morning every once and a while, but so far I’m pretty much caffeine free since New Year’s day, and already I feel a bit more alert.

The last item I’m going to try and do is to shop locally whenever possible. Out in the city it’s not that often that the food you eat was made or grown locally, but out here in the country it’s a different story. Many of the local stores I go to have local items, many of which are even organic. Unfortunately at this time of year there aren’t a lot of local vegetables available, so while I try to get local produce when possible, I’m forced to get a lot of US grown vegetables as well.

John Biehler's Cow

In terms of meat, I’ve been buying Farm Fed chickens when I can, which are raised in Abbotsford mostly on a traditional diet, and allowed access to the outside. As soon as I get a chance, I’m going to pick up some hormone-free, grass-fed beef from a local farm as well, either Sumas Mountain Farms or Mount Lehman Farms. Compared to most industrial grain-fed cattle (many of which spend their lives eating grain while standing in their own manure), grass-fed cows typically lead relatively stress-free lives out in the pastures, helping fertilize future crops with their manure. In addition, grass-fed beef is far healthier to eat, mainly because it is low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fat (which comes from grass). And truth be told, I’m rather excited about trying to make nachos using grass-fed beef.

Truthfully, I appreciate living in the country a lot more now than when I was a kid. It’s neat seeing how the community works and interacts together, and how the small businesses go out of their way to talk to you and learn about you. Unlike at a large grocery store, most small businesses have accountability with regards to the food they stock and also sell. The other day I was down at the Seafood Store and the owner asked me what type of fish I’d like in next week, and they’d special order it for me. It’s nice to have that kind of relationship with a store owner, especially when they are selling a product that has a direct influence on your health.

Cow photo was raised on Flickr-grass by the venerable John Biehler

6 responses to “Eating Local Food”

  1. Duncan says:

    Good on you Duane for taking the effort. I watched Food Inc recently and realized just how ignorant I was when it comes to understanding where our food comes from. We’re planting a vegetable garden soon along with a couple of mini apple trees, grafted so that each one grows 3 different varieties of apples. I was surprised to find that I can get grass fed beef raised right here in Richmond on the grassland by the ocean. I think people really need to take a step back and think about what they’re putting in their body.

  2. Duane Storey says:

    I totally agree, and I felt the same way after watching Food Inc. And it’s a shame that instead of focusing on foods that make us healthy, the industry is set on promoting and subsidizing food with little or no nutritional value. There’s a quote in Food Inc by Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms where he says imagine how much better our food would be if the metric for success each year was how many fewer people got sick, or something along those lines. And it’s true — we’ve set metrics of success based almost entirely on price (cheaper is better), when it really should be the quality and healthfulness of the food in question.

  3. Eva says:

    I haven’t seen Food Inc yet, but I intend to at some point. In fact, I need to catch up on some movie watching.

    That aside, there was a program on Food Network called The 100 Mile Challenge. It was shot out in BC. I don’t think the program is on at the moment but there is still the website for it:
    Essentially, the challenge was to source out all food items within a 100 mile radius. The people who took up the challenge were surprised at what they were able to find. Sometimes it required a bit of effort on their part to obtain the food items. You’re lucky to live in a part of the country where there’s an abundance of local foods available to you.
    In general, it’s always a good thing to try to follow a more healthy lifestyle. That’s not to say you can’t imbibe once in a while! 🙂

  4. Jill says:

    An offer to order in your choice of fish–what a nice touch! I had no idea that you could still find that kind of community feeling still these days.

  5. Duane Storey says:

    @Eva – the new restaurant up at Whistler, Araxi, lives by that ideology too. I’d be interested to see just what’s on a menu that’s only sourced within 100 miles.

  6. VancityAllie says:

    Those are some great resolutions! Good for you!

    I also believe in eating locally and try whenever possible to buy from Granville Island and check the origins as well as try to pick out fresh, locally farmed produce and meat at local grocers. It’s not always easy (or cheap), but I agree that it is well worth it!

    Araxi is wonderful and it helps that the executive chef Walt owns a farm in Pemberton where he lives and grows his own produce. I also recently ate at a restaurant in Kicking Horse, BC (Cedar House) where they grow most of their food for the restaurant from a garden in the back! Pretty amazing! Nice to see that our BC restaurants (and grocers etc) are stepping up to find fresh, local and sustainable produce, meat, and seafood.

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