100-mile diet a study in asparagus – Editorial Notebook

The 100-mile diet can seem like 100 miles of hell.

Imagine our plight, as my wife and I attempted the trendy diet (see the article on page 70 of the Nov. 29 issue and the poem on page 13 of this issue) for 30 days this past May and June in Winnipeg.

The city may be a cornucopia of locally raised meats, but just try to find fresh fruits or vegetables in the springtime.

Wendy and I lived on a diet of meat and asparagus, bread and asparagus and asparagus and asparagus until I couldn’t stand the taste or the post-pee smell of the stuff.

We then became rhubarb overdosers.

For fruit, we had to rely on frozen strawberries from an Altona farm and frozen saskatoons. That wasn’t so bad. I’ve never tasted strawberries so sweet and was shocked by their succulence after living for years on grocery store fruit.

Sounds like a strange time to try the diet, right?

Well, that was part of the challenge.

The Manitoba CBC radio morning show asked us to try the diet and it would have been too easy to do it in September, when the province is bulging with enough locally grown fruit and vegetables to feed an army for a year.

While doing the diet for a month was a fun project, I never bought into the concept that it’s bad to ship food around the world.

If that was true, we might as well clear the prairie of farmers, because except for a few around each city, there wouldn’t be any need for farmers who grow crops and livestock for the export market.

And if it’s so bad to produce and export goods that burn energy in the distribution process, why did the couple in Vancouver who wrote the book on the 100-mile diet publish it in a heavy wood-based form, rather than as a download on the energy-efficient internet?

Anyway, Wendy and I did the best we could and survived, but were happy when it was over. I learned some lasting lessons:

1. Eating locally takes a lot of effort.

2. Nothing in the world tastes better than local strawberries.

3. Eating locally takes a lot of effort.

4. Locally raised outdoor chickens really do taste more chickeny.

5. Eating locally takes a lot of effort.

The diet didn’t convert me into a hardcore 100-miler. I still shop at Costco and Safeway.

But I now go to farmer’ markets more, drive around the countryside looking for fresh strawberries and drive up to the farms that display signs offering farm-made yummies. It’s hard to fight convenience, but you can’t beat fresh.

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