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Operation 100-Mile Diet - Day 20 Progress Report

Coffee."There are only two things I miss about coffee: 1. my purpose in life, and 2. my value as a human being". - Italian I have no idea how people quit smoking. I first tried smoking when I was 12. It was awful (kind of like the first time I tried coffee). I never went back to try it again, because I thought that if I actually started smoking, I'd never be able to quit. Yes - that kind of insight into my addictive personality as a teenager. A friend of mine who quit (years ago) after smoking for years, said it was the most difficult thing she had ever done. A father of a friend still takes out a cigarette and smells it, when he is stressed. He quit over a decade ago. I guess I am trying to tell you that I still miss coffee. On my birthday, I considered abandoning the experiment for a day, and eat cake for breakfast, and then realized that all I wanted was a coffee. So I had some. And you know what? My craving was through the roof the very next day. Scary. Also, it seems that all liquids I normally consume include BCAAs, caffeine or alcohol. With BCAAs and caffeine out, I've been primarily getting my hydration from red wine. Har har. I guess it has anti-oxidants too, right?

Convenience. What convenience? Convenience flies out of the window. There is hardly anything convenient about shopping at three different places that are 20 minutes away from each other. This is a common trade-off - quality for convenience. There is nothing fast about this food. This is slow food at its best. While it is possible to buy everything at one place, that approach does not maximize your dollar. I did find Nature's Emporium, a large supermarket specializing in organic and local foods, similar to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, however, meat, dairy and produce are significantly more expensive there than at a farmer's market. A store like this is best kept for occasional hard-to-find items, like local oil, wheat and grains. There is also the factor of cooking everything from scratch. Open the fridge, and all you'll find is raw meat, butter, eggs, milk, vegetables and fruit. Want bread? Make it. Same goes for soup or chili, or dessert. We happen to do that most of the time any way, so it's not too far of a departure. Planning does become even more important, as there is no longer an option of dropping a store after the workout to pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner.

Cost. The meat continues to be the most expensive item, totalling about $60-70 a week. While we are waiting for our beef to arrive from the farmer (ETA four weeks), the best bet seems to be large scale farmer's markets, like St. Jacobs or Stratford. I am noticing that our grocery total is approaching the regular amount - the increased price of meat and dairy is offset by no random processed foods making its way into our cart, as is often the case with the regular supermarket. There are entire groups of food that have disappeared - club soda comes to mind. For example, here was a sample grocery haul: - spare ribs - ground beef - ground pork - pork chops - sausages - bacon - eggs - milk - spinach - celery - kale - red peppers - tomatoes - peaches - cucumbers

Sticker shock still happens here and there - $16 turkey breast and $18 steak that were both good for one meal for two. And the $6 1L bottle of milk (including $2 deposit). Ouch.

Vinegar! Two buys of the week were pure virgin sunflower oil (that's a thing!) and apple cider vinegar. Why? Because that's an oil and an acid. SALAD DRESSING! Dry salads were getting a bit bland. I SO missed that little bit of sour on my greens. Speaking of greens, now that the lettuces and spinach are out of season for the most part, I am missing simple salads. You can still find them, but I long for the simplicity and convenience of having them in the garden. On the bright side, we do have apples! Maybe we can MAKE vinegar?

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Social occasions. Brutal. This is probably the only way of eating that precludes you from eating out entirely. Which is both entertaining and sad at the same time - how is it that eating locally is such a radical departure from the rest of society? Yet it is. There were few occasions when we deviated from the 100 mile diet. For example, we chose to have lunch with my best friend and her husband at the farmer's market yesterday. The alternative would have been for the two of us to bring our own food and then join them with whatever they chose - not impossible, and something we could have easily done if a strict allergy or food intolerance was present. Instead, I thought it was appropriate to invoke the Randy Rule, remembering that "the 100-mile challenge is intended to build, not break down, a sense of community".

On another occasion, our two sets of parents have officially met (no pressure) for coffee and dessert. This was a great reminder of how restriction and overeating go together. I don't even particularly like sugar, yet here I was with my hand in a candy bowl. And my face in the bowl with apple pie. And ice cream. So. Much. Sugar. Blech. On another occasion, while wedding dress shopping with my best friend, I brought my own lunch, and joined her as she bought her own meal. While I could be all teetotaler on this, I try to find compromises. If I can choose a location, great. But when others choose a location, I try to be a bit more flexible. For example, I called ahead to a pub to find out whether they carry wine from Niagara region (they didn't). My choices were wine from Australia and beer from Ontario - I opted for the latter. Notice that even though this choice is not consistent with 100 miles, it is a more conscious choice by definition. Tomorrow marks week four. Missed the earlier posts? Read about the 100 mile diet undertaking here and my 10 day progress report here. Hugs, SOLO


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