After having read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver I decided that what I had learned from her book was too important to ignore. So I decided to try to implement some changes in the way I shop for my food. My whole appraoch to shopping for food has changed …shopping for produce involves me wandering up and down the isles looking for locally grown items which can be scarce in a sea of imported food. The first time you take a minute to check out where your food is coming from is quite surprising…New Zealand, South Africa, China, Brazil, the US of course, are just some on the list. If you think about what your produce has been through as it was picked, washed, packed, and transported to its final destination it’s kind of disheartening. Compare that to a locally grown item and the difference is huge – compare that to a locally grown organic item and it’s even more. This is not even taking into account the positive effect buying locally has on the farmers in your area, and the (albeit small ) blow to those bastard billion dollar a year companies that try to control everything we eat these days.
Anyway I found a Canadian experiment done by a couple out in BC called the 100 Mile Diet. I’d like to read their story too to get a feel for how much you can invest into this lifestyle longterm. I don’t have a backyard so a home garden is out of the question, but there are community gardens that I am interested in joining in the spring. Also there is a farm just outside of the city that will deliver thier produce year round to your front door. It would cost about 180.00 a month though and I don’t spend that on my entire grocery bill so I can’t really justify spending that much on just produce. There is also a Farmer’s Market that operates on Saturdays year round that is not too far from me. My biggest struggle at this time is finding organic halal meat. I’ve taken to buying organic kosher meat because it’s easier to find. It would be nice to see someone in the city offer organic meat that is not pumped full of hormones and antibiotics.
This new focus on my food habits has been a long time in the making . It began for me by beginning to look at food differently. I hate diets and diet fads. I could never fully reconcile myself to believing some foods were bad for you and I would always try to make my point of reference the diet of the Prophet (saw) and his sahaba, as well as the diet of people who live closest to the land. So on one hand I looked at reducing the amount of food I ate as in an exercise to “break the desires”, and on the other hand I looked at eating natural foods in their natural state as enjoying the bounty that Allah has put at our disposal. As I said this has been years in the making. And of course I love eating (have you tasted soul food?) and I love eating out and pretending that I don’t enjoy junk food would be dumb – I get cravings for junk food – usually at 2am during an overnight shift which is the worst time to eat a bag of chips but hey…I’m only human and I am no extremist. What I am trying to do is increase the amount of good food I eat and decrease the amount of “bad” food. I am able to find organic, shade grown fairtrade coffee but not organic Thai food for example. I love Thai food and don’t want to give it up so I’ve reduced the amount of food I eat out. And I’ve made a commitment to try and buy as healthy and as local as possible when I’m buying for the house. It’s all about trying to maintain balance.