The Locally Grown Food Diet

The ideas surrounding the Locally Grown Food Diet come from a book written by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon titled “The 100 Mile Diet.” The authors took on the experiment of only eating foods that were grown, produced and processed within 100 miles of their home. In other words, they ate local foods. The book, which reads more as a memoir than a straight-forward diet guide, recounts their experience.

The Premise

The Locally Grown Diet encourages eating foods from nearby sources for several important reasons. For starters, food that is grown locally is likely to be fresher and higher in vitamins and minerals than food that has traveled across the country (and treated with preservatives in the process). The biggest argument for eating locally grown food is reducing your carbon footprint. A fair amount of energy is expended transporting food all over the country, and there is less waste when food is purchased locally. With the Locally Grown Food Diet, you eat fresher foods and preserve the environment at the same time.

The Diet

The foods you consume on this diet will depend on where you live. If you live in southern California, for instance, your meals will be completely different than someone who lives in North Dakota. The only restriction is to eat things that were grown, produced and processed within a 100-mile radius of your home. As The 100-Mile Diet authors noted, it takes some adjustment–they were forced to give up common edibles and ingredients like sugar and olive oil. At the same time, they discovered other interesting and flavorful foods to incorporate into their diets that they never would have considered otherwise.

Things to Consider

The Locally Grown Food Diet is great if you’re environmentally conscientious and looking to make more drastic changes to your lifestyle. The diet makes you much more conscientious of food production and food ingredients. You’ll eat ample fresh fruits and vegetables and can even go so far as planting your own vegetable garden (as the book encourages). It’s the kind of diet that makes you feel both good about yourself and what you’re doing for the environment.

This diet requires serious commitment and sacrifice. By vowing to only eat locally produced foods, you may be eliminating many of the foods and ingredients you formerly used on a daily basis (think coffee, chocolate, breakfast cereals). While your diet will be filled with fresh foods, it can become monotonous depending on what kinds of foods are available to you each season. In the long run, the boredom and deprivation can prevent this diet from lasting in the long run.

The Verdict

For most people, the Locally Grown Food Diet is too drastic. It’s more realistic to incorporate only the key components of this diet into you eating habits, like choosing to only buy locally grown fruits and vegetables and locally raised organic meat. In other words, make meaningful changes–don’t overhaul your entire diet.


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