27- Days to Change the Way We Eat

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I once read that it takes 27 days to change a habit, either good or bad. 27-days to stop smoking, start a diet and stick to it, or make exercise part of your daily routine. In 27 days the “new” habit has formed in the brain and becomes second nature, you do it without thinking.

So why am I telling you all this?

Because today is Day One of a 27-day family challenge to eat more locally, buy locally and consume locally. It’s a personal challenge I know, but one I hope many of our readers will champion as well. If we stop and look (or research) what is available in our county I think we would all be surprised at how many of the ingredients needed to make a meal can be found in close proximity to where we live. I have to admit that even I sometimes forget what can be found just a few miles from my home.

The challenge will mean a lot of cooking at home, eating harvested animals, shopping in the pantry (or the garden), at farm stands and Farmer’s Markets, and much more. What it doesn’t mean though is giving up on condiments, spices, tea and staples I already have on hand like flour, sugar, olive oil, rice, beans and pasta. I’ll document our progress, and be honest about the pit falls: added work of making bread on a Tuesday after work, the challenge of gardening with a full-time job and a kid in school and the sabbatical my hens sometimes go on, leaving us with no eggs for days.

It will also mean a few sacrifices (swearing off Dr. Pepper and Mint Chip ice cream for starters, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.). We’ll be eating within 60 miles of our home (the size of our county) and sometimes 60 feet from our own back door for the next 27 days; and not for the reasons you may be thinking of – supporting the local farm economy, increase in transportation costs of goods, factory farms, high intensity animal feedlots…that kind of thing. Nope, none of that.

We’re doing this for a lot of reasons, but mostly because we want to make a permanent change to the way we think about our food. We want to jumpstart our dedication to growing even more of our own food and buying what we don’t as locally as possible. I want to know how much effort it will take and how much cheaper (or expensive) it is to truly eat where we live. So, for the next several weeks I’ll be writing about all the gory details and shining triumphs, along with some of the recipes I used just to entice all of you to jump on board.

Here are a few of our ground rules:

  • Shop at home first (freezer, larder, pantry, garden, barn).
  • When needed, shop local farm stands and farmers markets.
  • Buy, barter or trade for local meat we don’t raise ourselves.
  • Bake from scratch (wheat is a CA crop, but not farmed locally. It comes from 100 miles away, but is milled into flour 50 miles away. Works for me).
  • Source relatively local dairy products.
  • Cold turkey on candy, chips, sodas, fast foods, etc. (although these are not big items at our home, just the idea of it may kill Brianne).
  • Eat three square meals a day, plus snacks.
  • Staples, condiments, oils, spices and seasonings already on hand are allowed.
  • Drink at least ½ gallon of water a day.
  • Walk at least 3 miles day.

Sound like a plan? Stay tuned to see how we faire.

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