Minnesota Grown

29 Jul

Well folks, I warned you about the potential swarm of blog crickets now that summer is here.  Ignoring the beckoning sun while settling into a computer chair just feels downright sinful.  However,  the time has come to update!

I wrapped up my Wilson’s disease (low copper) diet last Monday, so I could move on to my 1 week mini locavore phase.  Here’s the synopsis of my American low copper lifestyle:

Cravings experienced: None that I couldn’t satisfy.  I’m actually really surprised I didn’t miss hummus more.  (Though when others ate it in front of me, I was green with envy.)

Sins to confess:  No need for sinning.  I was basically granted a free pass to indulge in a typical American diet.  Doughnuts are low in copper you say?  Sign me up!

Here’s what I ate my last day on the Wilson’s disease (low copper) diet:

Breakfast: Muesli (overnight soaked oats) with blueberries, peanut butter, & cinnamon + 1/2 frozen banana dipped in carob powder (Frozen bananas are officially my new favorite non-indulgent treat!  Frozen watermelon and grapes are run-up contenders, however.)

Lunch: Turkey sandwich on white “peasant” bread with butter, lettuce, & spinach + corn chips with hot & chunky salsa + 1 banana with peanut butter

Supper: Grilled (cheddar) cheese with tomatoes & cucumber sandwich on spelt/brown rice bread + tater tots + corn on the cob + yogurt with strawberries and carob powder (this stuff is really starting to grow on me!  I still prefer chocolate though…)

Late night snack: Salted popcorn popped in coconut oil + carob coconut milk (Mmmm…fat.)

Lessons Learned:  I have to admit that this diet was kind of a nice break for me.  Don’t get me wrong.  I missed chocolate on my s’mores and beans in my rice, and I wouldn’t want to have to follow these restrictions long term.  Similar to the fructose malabsorption diet, I had to keep a constant mental tally as to how many servings of moderate copper-containing foods I had eaten on any given day.  Let’s see…I had peanut butter with my breakfast and spinach & potatoes during lunch, so I can have how many peas with my dinner?  Ugh!  On the other hand: most meat, dairy, sugar, and refined grains were allowed in unlimited amounts.  I don’t enjoy feeling like garbage, and generally a diet high in all of these things can help guarantee such a fate.  However, because I’ve been so restricted for so long, eating (almost) whatever the hell I wanted (without reading ingredient labels!) was just the release I needed to carry me through the rest of the experiment.  I got to gorge myself at the annual summer Street Fair with the masses.  I had my first ever funnel cake while on a “special” diet.  Some people could never wrap their brains around such a concept.  Even though it’s irrelevant to the premise of the experiment, I know some of you are just dying to know if I gained weight this month.  My response?…

Well duh! :-p

And now for something entirely different…

The Locavore Diet:

During WWII, families were encouraged to grow “Victory Gardens” in an effort to offset labor & transportation shortages.  Growing your own produce was considered a patriotic tribute.  My grandparents still have a pantry in their basement where old jars of canned pickles and beets reside.  Unfortunately, during these modern times, the distance food travels from farm to plate is steadily escalating.  Estimates suggest most processed food travels an average of 1300 miles while produce may be lugged about 1500 miles before that lettuce makes it to your salad.  Eating locally makes sense for a number of reasons:

#1.  Locally produced food tends to be healthier – The moment a fruit or vegetable is severed from its vine, it starts losing vitamins and minerals.  Generally speaking,  there’s no contest between the nutritional density of a ripe fresh picked tomato versus one that has been picked while still green, shipped hundreds of miles, & then stored in the refrigerator.  Some studies have even found well-traveled supermarket oranges to be completely VOID of vitamin C!  Yikes!

#2.  Locally produced food TASTES AMAZING!  The first time I ate spinach out of my garden, I was flabbergasted.  Baby spinach has flavor?!  I had no idea.  This calls to mind my attitude towards the vegetables at Subway.  If you stuff your Subway sammies full of processed cheese, meat, and dressings (which most people do), you might never have noticed that THE VEGETABLES TASTE LIKE NOTHING…refrigerated water at best, cardboard at worst.

#3.  I’m going to assume you haven’t been living under a rock for the past decade and simply pronounce the insane amount of fossil fuel required to grow, process, and ship food to be BAD NEWS BEARS.  If you need a refresher course as to how bad the problem is and why it matters, check this out: http://www.nyu.edu/sustainability/pdf/Fossil%20Fuel%20and%20Energy%20Use%202%20FCSummit-HO-20091207.pdf

#4.  Purchasing locally produced food helps support your local economy.

In 2007,  “locavore” was the word of the year in the Oxford American Dictionary.  Defined as: “a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food”.  The exact definition of “local” however is an area of debate.  Many self-proclaimed locavores stick to a 100-mile radius.  Others extend this to 250 miles or make special exceptions for certain exotic items, such as coffee and spices.  I’ve been following my own self-designed approach:

Off the Menu – Most things found at the grocery store! 

Here are the rules I am sticking to:

1.  If it’s grown in Minnesota (the state in which I reside), I can eat it.

2.  No spices, chocolate, coffee, bananas, or any other specialty items are allowed.  I’m only doing this for one week.  At this point in the experiment, it’d be pretty pathetic if I couldn’t live without these few items for such a short period of time.

2 exceptions I am succumbing to, however…

*Dairy source – I originally planned on aiming for that 250 mile radius, but then I discovered the Wisconsin organic dairy I like supporting is 268 miles away.  Close enough!

*Salt – I am not allowing myself to add my own salt to anything (even soup – which is uber weird for me).  However, the only local butter and peanut butters I could find have added salt.

What I ate my first day as a locavore:

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with tomato, spinach, kale, basil, cheddar cheese, & ground flax seed + strawberries

Lunch: Wild rice with peanut butter (stop judging: grains + nut butters = deliciousness whether or not bread is involved!), boiled red potatoes with butter, steamed green beans, salad made with lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and strawberries

Supper: Pretty much the same thing as lunch, but I used Sunbutter instead of peanut butter and added cheese to my salad & potatoes

Upcoming August diet: Gluten-free diet for Celiac’s Disease.  Stay tuned!

Sources:

http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/crops_02.html

https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=281

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locavores

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/locavore

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2 Responses to “Minnesota Grown”

  1. Katie August 1, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    Can I just say how amazing it is that you do this! I think it is awesome that you are able to have such self control and discipline and desire to want to know what its like for the people you hope to work with and help some day. You are fantastic!!! 🙂

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