The 100-Mile Diet is an eating plan that only allows foods which have been grown within a 100-mile radius of the dieter. Not only is this diet better for the environment, it is also better for you. Food that needs to be transported for hundreds of miles is generally harvested well before it becomes ripe, in order to preserve it for longer. This means it has less nutritional value. It might also be mixed with preservatives, or genetically engineered to keep for longer. Also, the longer most foods are kept, the more nutrients they lose. Locally sourced foods are usually whole foods, which also encourages making meals from scratch, which has added health benefits. Often, people on the 100-mile diet will lose weight, but more importantly, they are healthier and can feel better about their impact on the environment. Here are some foods to avoid when on the 100-Mile Diet.
Most processed food includes ingredients that have been sourced from many different and wide flung locations. It can be difficult, if not impossible to tell where each ingredient originates. It is possible to get products that have been entirely sourced locally and these are usually clearly labeled. A good place to find them is a farmer’s market, or local whole food stores. Many processed foods can be made at home with local ingredients, that will taste better and contain no hidden extras.
Seasons are ignored by supermarkets, who can ship in food from all over the world to cater for every taste. However, they are usually more expensive than seasonal produce and, if grown in greenhouses, may contain even more pesticides than usual to stop outbreaks in the contained growing space. It is possible to source types of fruits and vegetables that grow later or earlier than the norm. However, these are generally grown by small farmers for niche markets, rather than by large farmers who have to compete with the cheaper, foreign markets. So, the best place to find local, unseasonal produce is your farmer’s market, through getting to know local farmers or by growing it yourself. Even better is to stick to seasonal produce.
Unfortunately the 100-Mile Diet does require that people give up, or keep as only occasional treats, foods which cannot be grown locally. Most climates will have some foods that just won’t grow nearby, whether it is bananas in cool temperatures or apples in the desert. Again, it might be possible to source these foods locally, in organic greenhouses or convenient micro-climates.
The 100-Mile Diet can be an excellent way of getting to know the local neighborhood. Even just committing to keeping your diet at 75% 100-mile foods can help support the local economy and make a large impact on your carbon footprint. It will also make your meals much healthier and guilt free.