Well, this is a category near and dear to my heart. On Day 4 of the No Impact Experiment, we are asked to take a look at the food we eat and how it impacts the planet.
I think this is one of the hardest categories to measure. For example, at our Co-op, they have nifty signs by any food that is considered “regional.” The thing is, it can be manufactured in the region, but are the ingredients regional? Not always. For example, I love the locally-made granola, but it has almonds and other nuts in it. I’m guessing they were not grown in Wisconsin.
Anyway, Step 1 is based on the food we ate yesterday. Here is what I consumed:
- Oatmeal & local apple with lingonberry preserves (brought with me from Sweden) and soy milk (not local).
- Bumpers (our favorite cereal) with a sprinkle of locally-made granola & raisins (I still have some that I bought last year) and soy milk (again, not local).
- Leftover rice porridge made with soy milk (local) and medium grained rice (not local).
- Bread from the Co-op with local boiled egg, Swedish caviar (unfortunately shipped from Sweden) and dill.
- A couple of spoonfuls of Häagen-Dazs “Five” mint ice cream (I had always wanted to try this, because it has just five ingredients, so when I was getting ice cream for my sick daughter, I broke down and bought it. Yeah, I know… Not a very no impact thing to do.)
- Fried leftover boiled potatoes (local) and fried local egg.
- Peppermint tea in a tea bag.
I am asked to go to the Eat Low Carbon Diet Calculator to calculate my impact of the above eating day. 2345 CO2e points. It was the boxed cereal that ruined it for me. (And the ice cream.)
The good news is that I did eat a fair amount of local food. The non-local food food was mostly food that I already had in the pantry (except for the ice cream). Non-local food will not be replenished. The only question mark are staples like olive oil, rice, flour, and pasta. I’m trying to figure out if I’m going to go that far.
Step 2 is to define limits for the week. I pretty much set those at the beginning of the year. Now I just need to stop cheating. No more packaged ice cream for me. My birthday is on Saturday, so I will select a restaurant that I know pays attention to the season and favors local suppliers.
Step 3 encourages the participant to dig in and try some new recipes. Per my goal of trying one new recipe per week, I cooked a chicken dish from my Swedish cookbook. It featured rice (from the pantry), local chicken, local mushrooms, local carrots (recipe called for peppers, but they’re not in season), local cream, local butter, soy sauce (not local), and “Not Chick’n” bouillon (which I just noticed came all the way from Switzerland… oops.) Not too shabby.
I’ve also started baking bread and supplementing with bread from the local Co-op. It’s so nice to have real bread to eat every day. It also makes me feel better about packing my daughter’s lunch. Real food rocks!