Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Stats - April 5, 2009

As I talk to people in my community about the wonderful world of local food, I usually qualify my eat local status by saying "I eat an almost exclusively local diet." The "almost exclusively" part to allow for eating lunch out with my hubby once or twice a week and the occasional "I'm feeling crummy and I really NEED a banana" splurge. 

Then it occurred to me last week, I've never really quantified my "almost exclusivity." How much of my diet is actually local? I  know it'll be fairly high considering I buy almost all my food at the local farmers' market, but how do those little banana splurges and lunches out affect my numbers? I decided to find out.

Starting today, I'm launching this new series, "Sunday Stats," to discover just how local my diet is. I'm not certain at this point whether I'll post weekly or monthly or be driven so crazy by the food diary that I give up all together. Either way, awareness allows us to learn and grow (and gosh darn it, I'm curious). 

The big question, then, became - How to measure the quantity of local vs. non-local? I considered two ways - calorie count and weight. Well, there was no way I was going to start weighing all my ingredients (I have sanity to protect, after all), so I quickly went with the calorie count. Of course that means those 2-3 cups of local herb tea I drink every day don't count for anything since there are no calories, but then neither will the non-local salt, so I suppose it all evens out.

So how did my first week of tracking go (granted I didn't start until Tuesday)? I scored an 82% which included one meal out for lunch on Saturday and a few contraband bananas (it was one of those weeks). As far as I'm concerned, I'm aiming for between 80-90% each week (who needs to be perfect, right?), so that's right along the lines of what I was hoping for. It's good to know for sure!

How will next week look? Tune in next week to find out (I can hardly wait to see, myself). In the meantime, Happy (and mindful) eating!


Green Resolutions said...

Good for you, and good luck. I can't believe you'd rather count calories. That seems so much harder to me!

Beany said...

Contraband bananas? Hahaha!

I ate a banana last month (I think) after not eating one in over two years. For some reason my memory of a banana was better than the real thing.

Farmer's Daughter said...

Just a thought: What about doing # of servings? Then you can count your tea and be able to estimate the others, instead of having to look up calories. Not to mention, all those local greens have a small number of calories compared to imported chocolate or the like.

Heather @ SGF said...

Green Resolutions - Well, after 17 years of calorie counting for food diaries for my health, I can pretty much estimate what's in everything. To weigh, I'd have to actually buy a scale. Nah. :)

Beany - Really? I liked the banana, although I understand the local bananas (that were at the market the one week this year I didn't make the market) were so awesome, you'd never eat another commercial banana. Maybe next time I decided to be "bad," I'll try a mango. I miss those sometimes too :)

Farmer's Daughter- Well, the greens don't have many calories, but the olive oil does, as do the wheat berries and rice (all local sources). Actually, almost all of my non-local foods come from the restaurant.

But I'm curious... how would you measure by servings? For instance, I made a stir fry this week with local rice, onion, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, mushroom, and olive oil. Non-locals would be salt and the summer squash my dad brought me. I estimated the calorie count to be about 600 calories (mostly the rice and olive oil) - 550 local, 50 non-local. How would you do it by servings?

Angela said...

Okay- I'm so new to all this stuff- why is the banana contraband? Because it's not local? But are there actually bananas grown outside of the tropics? Aren't there responsible ways to eat bananas?
Honestly, I can't imagine giving them up. They've been my favorite food since I was a baby and I eat them a million ways- including smoothies several times a week.
Is my banana habit driving farmers out of business and causing workers to break their arms falling out of trees and such? Oh, I hope not.

Heather @ SGF said...

Angela - When I went on my all-local diet back in Oct 2007, I pretty much eliminated anything that wasn't local. Now that I'm not in the middle of that 1-year experiment, I do indulge every once in awhile, but am no longer eating the banana a day that I was before my experiment started.

Bananas do grow here in Texas, but they are hard to find. You almost have to know who is growing them and be prepared to beg :)

I purchase a few organic bananas once every 3 or 4 months, not often. Other things I love that I no longer eat (other than rare occasion) is mangos (not had one in almost 2 years) and avocados (I wait until we visit my MIL in California then I gorge myself of avocados since they are local. Mmmm!

Thankfully, here in Texas there are many other wonderful foods to take their place. We have fruits and veggies growing year-round so there's always something local to enjoy.

Beany said...

God I really miss mangoes. The ones from my grandmother's house. Which is located on the other side of the planet. The taste does not compare to any mango I've had in the last 10+ years thought.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful idea. Even if we don't have high percentage of local calories, tracking them can raise awareness about what we eat.

I'm counting calories anyway so I can try to lose weight. Tracking which ones are local wouldn't take much more time, so I think I'll try to do it as well.

I'm curious how this will change over the summer. I should track calories from my garden vs. local not-my-garden vs. not-local.

Angela Barton said...

I love to visit our friends in Hawaii, and one of the best parts is the mangoes and papayas- from their yard!

If you're ever in L.A.- you will enjoy the avocados! If we have a tree by then, we'll give you some. I grew up in the middle of a grove- we had 13 trees on 1/2 acre. We'd fill an entire grocery bag full and sell them down on the road for a dollar. For that reason, it is still hard for me to pay the high price for an avocado.

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - Yeah, I bet they were just awesome! Mmm, mangoes.....

Jim - That's a great idea! It really would be interesting to find out how much of your diet is fed from your garden as it continues to grow. Ours is changing too. Dave built me a deep 4 x 10 foot bed today. Can someone say sweet potatoes... :)

Angela - I know what you mean about the avocados in California. My hubby's family is from there so we were just there over the holidays (Santa Cruz). The farmers' market was AWESOME and I ate so many avocados while we were there, I'm surprised my skin didn't turn green, but I enjoyed every one!