Pros and Cons of a 100 mile diet

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by NaeKid, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    The latest craze that I have heard about is the 100-mile diet.

    I found out about it from one of my magazines. The author of the article was describing her journey towards the 100-mile-diet (1md). In it she claims to be a world traveler and loves eating the exotic foods in the countries that "created" them - pasta in Italy, baguettes in France - you get the idea.

    Well - she decides to live and eat "locally" which is where the 1md comes in. She researches pasta making and finds out that the best flour for making pasta is grown in the prairies, and that Saskatchewan makes the durum wheat that is shipped to Italy to make pasta there. It is also shipped to Ontario to the Unico-pasta factory which then ships its pasta through-out Canada and the USA. Saskatchewan durum wheat is shipped Algeria and Morocco to be turned into couscous. She discovers that for her to eat pasta, there are thousands of miles between its place of growth and her front-door in Toronto. So - she decides to try to grow wheat, grind it and use a pasta-maker to make her meals. All well and good. It made me think of all kinds of other foods that could be beyond the 100-mile radius of Calgary.

    I am all for eating "locally" for the most part, but, there are foods that are impossible for me to eat that are local in nature. Rice does not grow anywhere near me. I can't get tuna by walking to the nearest shore and tossing out a line. I can't get soy-sauce to dip my sushi into - and - don't even get me started on wasabi.

    As many of you know, I make a lot of my own foods from scratch, but, I still need to get many of the ingredients from the store - either the local Safeway or a farmers market or even directly from a farmer himself (I have a few friends with farms that are fairly local).

    So - here is the question to you all - is the 100-mile-diet practical to follow, can it really be done in such a way that we can continue to eat healthy, receiving all of our nutrients required to raise healthy children and keeping our elderly energized to live a long life.

    Some things that I have thought about, and, I will let others expand on:

    Pills - vitamins, minerals, oils all must be processed, packaged and shipped. Where does the vitamin-C come from before being processed? How far does the "Cod liver oil" travel before being drop-shipped to the store-shelves. Where does the iron in iron-pills come from?
    Spices - Salt, pepper, caraway, bay-leaf, basil, cinnamon, ginger, all-spice, mace, turmeric - do they grow naturally nearby - and - can the seeds for such be found locally in order to grow your own in your backyard garden - or - will the seeds themselves have to be shipping from beyond the 100-mile radius
    Sauces - mustard-seed grown in the prairies, ground, processed and turned into a sauce
    Fish - oceans have it plentiful - but will streams and lakes support the amount of people in a small city inland, let alone a mega-city (greater than one million people within its city-limits)
    Meats - not all farmed food-animals survive well in all regions. Will the 1md be a sufficient range for growth, butcher and delivery? Will hunting alone be sufficient for a mega-city?
    Fruits - I can't grow citrus fruits near here, others can't grow apples / pears near their places - will 1md be sufficient for health without the transport of those kinds of fruits?

    That is just my basic-list of thoughts regarding the 1md. I can't see how a 1md will be able to sustain the world we live in - and - in a SHTF scenario with little to no ability to transport foods - what kind of death-toll will there be from malnutrition? Yes - we can prepare ourselves to survive - but - how long will we be able to survive on what we stored before transportation will be required again for healthy eating??
  2. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

    I think it is a question of "can you live" on the 100 mile diet. The answer is yes. However, it is healthier to eat everything that you can get your hands on. If you look at the diets of the average world citizen most people used to live on the 100 mile diet. As a result Asian people were far shorter than everyone else in the world. The same goes for many South Americans and Africans.

    Now that people can get food from all over the world people in these areas of the globe are getting taller. It is now common for the average male in Asia , Africa, or South America to be six feet tall. This is all due to better nutrition from vitamins and imported foods.

    Curiously the average height of an American male has actually gone down several inches. The reason for this is that although Americans have the greatest access to imported and local foods they do not eat them. Most Americans eat a junk food diet and as a result Americans are actually getting shorter.

    I see the 100 mile diet as a fad like the slow food movement, raw food movement, and drop fruit movement. I think the idea of the 100 mile diet is great but I would not buy into it at the loss of my own health. Some people might think taking vitamins or eating oranges would be "cheating" but it isn't like anyone is "enforcing" the diet anyway.

    I'd say give it a try for fun. However, I don't think there will be much of a difference in your health. Local food is better for you. The longer food is stored the less nutrition it has. You could probably medically measure the difference. But I'd bet it wouldn't be huge.

    Japanese models are getting taller. More bang for your buck thanks to imported foods and better nutrition!

    Japanese Girls Getting Taller Than Ever Before

  3. Magi

    Magi Active Member

    I think one could survive on the 100 mile diet but who really wants to limit themsleves. I enjoy farmers makets and believe in CSA , i buy lots of produce locally. If i limited myself to 100 miles i feel i would be lowering my standard of living. Local pork cooked with Hawaiian Pinapple is a wonderful meal, just as local pork with local appples or plum are. Why limit myself if i dont need to. I enjoy cooking with citrus to much to even consider doing without it unless i had to. Times may get tuff where we have to eat within 100 miles, i dont plan to rush it.