Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Minimalism and Eating Regionally

My new found minimalist running style has had an interesting effect; I'm trying to eat only regional foods. After listening to Christopher MacDougall and Barefoot Ted's Google lectures I've realized that by taking off my running shoes I've been able to connect more fully to the earth. It truly has had a profound effect. I'm not wearing my Ipod unless it's on an early morning suburban run, I try to go barefoot as much as possible and I've heard myself discuss the monopoly of the shoe companies more than once. I think it has alot to do with my new found connection to the earth; I want to encourage more people to find this connection and see that we are a part of it and it a part of us. I know that sounds new-agey but until I freed my feet from all the layers of cushioning I had forgotten how fun it is to run barefoot (or nearly barefoot).
Then I saw a couple of documentaries on food; Food Inc and Killer at Large. These are two powerful films that tackle the issue of mass food production in the USA in two different, yet effective ways. One of the most powerful images in one of the documentaries is the aerial view of the beef production facility in the US west. Acres and acres of cows that all look exactly the same. Smoke stacks in the center of every few acres, where the beef would be slaughtered then sent to McDonald's. Another part discussed Soy bean producers being threatened and sued by a big corporation into only planting their one type of soy bean seed and insane repercussions if they dare try and keep their own seeds! So I thought, if this is what the food industry has come to in the USA, Canada probably isn't far behind. I was right. Finding local produce (especially in the summer) is not difficult. There are local vegetable stands and farmers markets around the city, some open 7 days a week. Meat on the other hand was a bit more challenging. I called a couple of grocery stores, and to no surprise, learned that the meat they sell comes from Quebec and provinces even further west. So then I tried the local meat markets. Even then, it was impossible to find a place that sold pork, beef and chicken that were raised in my home province. So then I decided that I would have to expand my "allowable radius" to include the entire Atlantic region. Even then it was hard to find a place that sold beef raised on this side of the country! Luckily I did find one meat market that very proudly states all of its "fresh" products come from Atlantic Canada. Finally success!
After discussing this with my husband, we agreed that eating this way was not only better for us and our daughter but also for the environment as a whole. We have both started looking at products we had in the house and realizing that just because the label on the front is from a locally-owned grocery store, its products are shipped from as far away as India (for relish) and China (for frozen haddock-for example). So we've decided to make the leap and only buy produce and meat if its has been grown/raised in Atlantic Canada. It may be a bit more expensive, but in the end our health is worth every penny.

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