22 November 2009

100 days doesn't change everything, but more than expected

Although it may seem as if it's been a 100 days since my last blog, it's only been one-third that. The day job exploded, but in the few quiet hours I've had, I've watched the rest of the 100-Mile Challenge on DVR and thought y'all would like an update.

It turned out better than I predicted for the denizens of Mission, British Columbia, who hate only locally grown and produced food for 100 days. In practical terms, that meant no coffee, yogurt, bananas or wine. The challenge also meant a lot of creative cooking.

Some key things that participants found:
  • Grocery bills initially doubled, but returned to nearly normal once participants learned to cook
  • Carbon footprints increased, too. Participants often had to drive to the edge of the 100-mile radius to find "local" food
  • Sourcing and preparing food took up way too much time. Their days revolved around food, even to the point one participant took a vacation during the challenge to have more time for gathering
  • All of the participants "cheated"-- indulging in forbidden foods when out of town
  • Day 101 saw the immediate return of coffee, orange juice and other "global goodies"
But it wasn't a failure. In post challenge interviews, all of the participants said they planned to keep some of the habits developed during the challenge, i.e. fewer boxed goods, more fresh foods and more homemade meals. In general, most said they'd eat about 80 percent local.

Another plus? All the participants lost weight. Some 40 pounds. They ate differently and less processed foods with lots of sugar and empty calories. But none complained of hunger.

So all in all, it was an interesting experiment--one I may try with a provision for coffee--if I ever find I have the time to hunt and gather.


LK Hunsaker said...

Since we always have farm stands and Amish markets nearby, it's much easier here to eat more local than it was in Northern VA. We also have a meat shop in town that is all local meat. I need to start patronizing them more often.

Interesting experiment.

Keena Kincaid said...

Yes, it was an interesting experiment, and definitely something worth thinking about.

Liana Laverentz said...

I dunno. A day that revolves around food sounds good to me :). I, too, eat a lot locally. It's mostly fresh produce and you do spend more time cooking, but aren't hungry as often and it is better for you.

Keena Kincaid said...

I agree, Liana, that it is better for you. I'm not sure if that's because the food is better or because it resurrects our cooking skills, and homemade food is definitely better than processed.