Monday, August 27, 2007

Tuckered out!

My kids started school today. They enjoyed it for the most part. I had a busy day at work. Looks like they're all that way. I enjoyed some of it. It's challenging for me to feel utterly exhausted by 6 p.m.

Tonight I spent a little time with my five year-old, just the two of us. We took a bike ride to the community garden. We found an okra pod the size of a large carrot!

Still eating raw food.

Last night, I listened to a Path of Health teleconference called Monoeating and Self-Love. At the end, the speaker Elchanan reminded us to stop thinking about what goals we haven't accomplished and look back and appreciate how far we've come. So, I think I will try to focus on how much my life has improved in the last few months and just feel grateful.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cute kids

Today I started classes in the library. I really loved spending time with the kids. They are funny and interesting. But there are so many of them and our time is so short. A cute little girl named Allisen wanted me to help her find a book on pigs, but unfortunately, I didn't have time. As it was, all of my classes were late returning because I had to have each child tell me his or her name before I could check them out, and I'm still getting the hang of all of the steps it takes to do a checkout. All of the kids are required to have two or three books, depending on their grade level, and I have to check the reading level of their Accelerated Reading book so that they are only taking books in their level so that they can take a quiz on them. Being on schedule is hugely important in a school. It is irritating that the schedule is the main thing, not the learning or the interacting of people, or even bodily needs like eating when hungry, drinking when thirsty, or going to the bathroom. It is also annoying to enforce such a rigid system for which books the children can choose. They are used to it and happy to comply, though.

Today I got an excellent lesson from a third grader. She was helping her friend, who was upset because her shiny Fruit Loops token was not in her backpack where she thought it was. The wise little third grader said, "The important thing is not to panic. When I lose my Polly Pocket slipper, I start to panic and then I can't look for it. But, if I CALM DOWN (here she made a large gesture with both hands to illustrate), then I usually find it right away." Her friend decided that maybe she had left her Fruit Loops token at home under her swan picture she drew where she keeps all of her special things. Ah, the wisdom of children.

My kids have their first hour of school tomorrow. They will go with their Dad to meet their teachers and turn in their school supplies. Then they have the rest of the day free to enjoy each other's company.

I got my first paycheck. Very exciting! It all went to overdue bills, but I am thankful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I LOVE garden club. I love spending time with interesting people more than twice my age. Seriously... I wish I could recount all of the fascinating and unusual stories and funny jokes I heard tonight. I stayed late with a couple of interesting octagenarians and we talked about everything from what it was like to be a repo man fifty years ago, to why the phone company sucks, to a 92 year-old movie shot by Thomas Edison, to the Renaissance, to San Padre Island and the cheerleaders one can meet there. Gus Petrakis told me that he was in love with me and offered me some uzo. A girl could get used to that. I better be careful, he's got a book called Windows XP for Dummies on his coffee table and may find my mention of his name on Google. (Hi, Gus.)

Anyway, it's past my bedtime. (No, I didn't have any uzo.)

A note about my food record... I am sorry I've been lax about this. I doing well for weeks now eating about 90-5-5. I am eating a lot of bananas and local melons, as well as lettuce. My friend brought me an order of peaches and blueberries from Michigan. The rest of my diet is stuff out of my garden--cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, and tomatillos.

I need to consistently eat more calories. Work is wreaking havoc on my eating schedule. I have to eat way earlier than I want to or wait until 11:30, when I'd be starving. I want to get in some outdoor walking during my lunch break, but I only have 30 minutes to both walk and eat, so it's a bit hairy. I feel lousy if I don't get some exercise, fresh air and sunshine, though. Then I feel ravenous after school and start eating and don't quit until after dinner. So I'm eating too many kinds of foods together in the evening.

I'm sure I'll get into a more comfortable routine soon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tired (and tired of being negative)

The title says it all.

Literally, at times this week, I have only not eaten cooked foods because I know I will get violently ill. Several items that have been occupying my mind... Taco Bell bean burritoes, vegetarian super-nachos, and waffle fries. When I think of them, I simultaneously feel desire and nausea. The thought of eating them literally makes me want to vomit.

But then at other times, I feel better.

Actually, I don't think there's much I could say at this point that would be interesting or useful to anyone. But I want to record how I feel for the future. So when everything is all wonderful and I am the person I always was meant to be, I can look back and see the depths from which I rose.

Geez, even that sounds bad.

Ok, two things I am grateful for... Patton Oswalt (warning explicit language, but GOOD GOD, this guy is funny) and Tomato-Peach Soup (recipe in Dr. Graham's 80-10-10 Diet).

Good night all and thank you for being here for me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rainy weekend

Work has started and life is busy. Today, it was raining, so I worked on washing and slicing tomatoes for dehydrating. We've got a lot of tomatoes. I don't know how the rest will do with all of this rain. We've been getting so much rain that the beans are molding on the vine. I have some pinto beans ready to pick, but no customer, so I'm not in a hurry to pick them. It rained off and on all day anyway.

I am reading a fantastic book called "How Children Learn" by John Holt. I recommend it to everyone who will ever interact with a child. Actually, it is giving me some insights into some of my own feelings about learning--for example, why I feel confident and able when approaching certain learning tasks, but incompetent and fearful approaching others. I am really, REALLY looking forward to releasing my children from school next year and feel anxious and impatient about this year. We are struggling financially and I want it to stop. But, I seem to be resisting the jobs that will pay the bills, too. LOL!

I checked my body fat percentage today and it is still hovering about 25%. I really need to get busy on the exercise. I'd feel better, too. So, I'm headed down to do a step aerobics video and maybe a little strength training.

Today's Eating

10 a.m. About 12 C. local watermelon
12 p.m. 9 Calimyrna figs (a gift from a friend)
2 p.m. 6 more cups of watermelon
6 p.m. Organic baby romaine and spinach with tomatoes and Armenian Snake Cucumbers from my garden

Approx. 1500 cal., C-P-F 89-7-4

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gearing up for a new gig

So life is getting bit hectic here as Jason and I both start work Friday and the kids begin daycare and school (next week). I have been keeping it positive. I have especially been trying to focus on the positive in my blog, which at times feels a little phoney. Really, people, in the interest of full disclosure, I go back and forth between fear and faith, crisis and confidence, sometimes on an hourly basis.

Really, what it boils down to is this. I want to be homeschooling my raw vegan kids and living in paradise (fruit trees please) with my healthy raw vegan husband with our meaningful work that pays us a comfortable income. Instead, I am sending my omnivore children off to heartless institutions so that I can go work a job I'm not that happy about. My husband tastes like a garlicky hamburger sometimes when I kiss him. And then other times, like now, he runs off and leaves me alone to slave away while he goes to, of all things, a role-playing game convention (which, by the way costs MONEY, which we don't have enough of). Wah, wah. Who's a whiny baby?

Really, it's not so bad. I had a lovely day with the kids. I have been practicing my communication skills and managed to survive more than one tantrum without either losing my temper OR letting go of my limits. The kids and I had a fun trip to the library AND together as a family, we got the house reasonably clean. I am glad my husband is going to have fun with his friend doing something he enjoys. He works hard to earn our bread (make that fruit) and we have a nice house, food to eat, clothing on our backs, etc. and so on... A little fun and games didn't hurt anyone.

So, the positivity isn't phoney. I really am blessed and grateful for my life.

Today's Food (*local food)

9:30 a.m. 12 cups watermelon*

12 p.m. 8 Medjool dates (not so hot, dried out and grainy)

2:30 p.m. 6 more dates

6 p.m. 1/2 Casaba melon, salad with organic red and green romaine, heirloom tomatoes*, organic celery, and about 1/4 organic avocado

1900 cal., C-P-F 87-6-7


Walked about 1 mile with the kids

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Salome with her Grandpa (my father)

My farmer friend Phil hangin' out at Willow

Busy, busy weekend! Saturday was Farmer's Market and then the kids and I headed out for the Willow Creek Folk Festival that is held in a picturesque little churchyard in the country about 25 minutes away from here. Willow attracts a ton of amazing talent from all over and is a big thing for all the crunchy/ hippy/ liberal folk around these parts, but believe it or not, we've never been. We made a special effort this year, as my husband's brother's band had secured a timeslot to play. My husband was feeling really low with a rib injury, however, and decided to stay home and rest.

We had a WONDERFUL time. I had a few welcome but unexpected encounters, including with my parents! My parents had decided to take a little mini-vacation and stayed in a hotel in Stockton with my four youngest siblings. The sibs decided to sit out the festival in favor of swimming in the hotel pool. But my parents had a great time. It was nice to visit with them a bit. The kids ran me a bit ragged, especially at the end, when two of them disappeared into the darkness and it took a little while to find them. We enjoyed hearing my brother-in-law's band... They played a really fun cover of Folsom Prison, by Johnny Cash, an original murder ballad that my dad deemed "inappropriate for a churchyard," and a White Stripes song.

Today, we had Salome's birthday party in a local park. Nobody blinked when we served a watermelon cake. Aside from a lot of sweating and my nephew Sam's dramatic spill off of a swing, a rolicking good time was had by all.

Food from today and yesterday (* denotes local)


I ate a lot of watermelon* and some cukes*, tomatoes*, lettuce, peaches and a few grapes.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Resting and letting my body cleanse

Another photo from the family reunion last week. Aren't they sweet?

Today, I simply felt wiped out. My head felt better. I had big plans to spend the day in the garden, but my body had other ideas. I slept out in the sun for a little over an hour this morning, then listened to a teleconference in the recliner and did some stuff on the computer for a little while. Then I took a long afternoon nap. I had loose stools four or five times throughout the day.

I imagine it must seem odd to my friends who know about my raw journey that I have spent so much time this summer being ill. I personally feel a little discouraged by this myself at times. But I understand that this process is my body healing from all of the toxins that have accumulated from years of smoking (in college), poor eating, stress, etc. I am happy to know that all of this is being released and feel confident that I will continue to feel healthier as time passes. Already I have seen so many benefits. I often get impatient and don't give my body the rest it needs when I experience symptoms of cleansing. Then my body has to throw out stronger symptoms to get my attention. So, I plan to try to rest when my body says rest.

Today, I was happy to have the opportunity to really rest well, since my husband and the kids headed off and spent the day at my in-laws for the family's annual garage sale. They packed lots of fruit and the best of intentions, but again, the kids indulged in meat and everything else. It is very hot and so as I nurse my 3 year-old, her sweat reeks of dead animal. I am curious to see if they throw up this time or if their little bodies are too busy with the stuff from last week to bother...

Tonight, I managed to go out to the garden and harvest some tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers for tomorrow's market. I plan to try to go get some chard, endive, okra, potatoes, and a couple cabbages tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes. I was annoyed that I forgot my radio to to set up to keep the raccoons out of my corn. Let's hope they don't find it tonight.

Today's Food (*denotes local)

9:30 a.m. About 10 cups watermelon
12 p.m. About 8 cups watermelon
6 p.m. About 2 cups organic romaine, tomatoes*, cucumber*, a little summer squash*, 4 organic bananas

Approx. 1400 calories, C-P-F 84-7-9

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Picture from TheArtfulWriter

O.k., so it was bad, but maybe not that bad. I went back to bed and slept all morning, but I had to go work at my new job this afternoon. To be more precise, I chose to go even though I could have cancelled.

I still have some lingering pain and pressure on my right side, and my vision sometimes gets a bit "off" with halos and such.

I had a very bad evening yelling at the children. I am doing some research on Nonviolent Communication but I better get my eyes off the screen soon and go to bed.

Today's Food (*denotes local)

11:30 a.m. About 12 cups Watermelon (actually TRYING to prevent my body from sending out the symptoms. Yes, very counterproductive, I know.)
From 2-4 p.m. Snacked on some organic red grapes
6:30 Salad with organic romaine, an avocado, some summer squash*, tomatoes*, okra*, cucumbers*, and sugar snap peas*

Approx. 1450 calories, 70-8-22

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fear Vs. Faith

My garden, weeds and all. It's kinda hard to see, but back there is my 6 foot tall sweet corn. In front is sweet potatoes, swiss chard, and various cole crops--all for selling at the Market.

The other side of the garden. The poles standing up are for the pea fence. I picked the last sugar snaps this week. The second fence in back has Purple Triumfo pole beans. In front of the pea fence are the tomatos.

Four varieties of snap beans--Dragon tongues, yellow French Filet, and two kinds of green beans that look pretty much identical. Yes, they are planted too close! But I didn't have to do much weeding. LOL!

Red okra starting to bloom. Okra tastes great raw and isn't slimy like it is when it's cooked.

Today was a day for exhaustion, exhiliration and epiphanies. After a marathon late-night "working things out" session with my husband, I got up at 6:15 to go to a Farmer's Market with my farmer friend Phil. Great fun, and lots of learning! The "big city" market was a lot different than my home town one.

This afternoon, I had fun with the kids watching videos of colonoscopies. I highly recommend this video for anyone trying to kick the meat and milk once and for all. (If you go, click on the link to the movie that is called Colon Therapy. Also, please don't think I'm endorsing the good doctor's eating plan of 80% grains!) My kids were fascinated and asked lots of questions. However, some of the last shots of really badly diseased colons and polyp removal got too gross for them and they stopped watching. My son has a bad rash on his anus from his weekend SAD experience, so I think he thought about that a bit. He is very interested in anatomy.

Today is our baby's birthday! She turns 3. We celebrated her all day! She is the person in the family who truly knows The SECRET to life. We plan to have a party for her on Sunday with a watermelon cake.

Tonight, I started listening to the first free conference offered by the Path of Health, entitled What is Health? Amazing stuff! My husband and I have been so grateful for the Path of Health community and the help they have offered to us on our journey, and I would encourage anyone to try out their 2 month trial period and free mentorship program.

Anyway, while listening, I was struck by Elchanan's teaching about fear versus faith. I was thinking about this as I took a long walk late in the evening. It came to me that I am ALWAYS afraid! I grew up constantly afraid that I would be yelled at, belittled, criticized, and paddled. I was afraid that I was a bad person and would burn in hell. As I grew up, I added more and more fears. I am afraid of being a total failure, of being unlovable. I am afraid I can't do math or learn to fix anything mechanical. I am afraid of losing things and not being able to find them, and consequently, I never can actually look for lost items. I am afraid of being a horrible parent. I am afraid of being attacked by men or dogs. I am afraid that I can't manage time or be organized and that I won't have enough time or energy to do all the things I am interested in. I am afraid of what others think of me.

As I was thinking all this, I started realizing that I was walking, and not running because I have always been afraid to lose my breath. Somehow, I have convinced myself that I can't run. Then I thought how there was a time when I couldn't really walk very well. My thighs rubbed together painfully. My back and feet ached. I felt tired and out of breath quickly and felt like I was forcing myself to walk. Now, I realized I wasn't feeling that feeling any more. I felt light and airy. I realized I was walking quite fast without any real effort. I thought about how my thighs are never irritated and chafed and broken out any more, like they used to be. I saw my thin, fit shadow on the ground. It seemed like a different person than the one I was afraid of being.

I broke into a joyful run, just to see if I could hold that feeling of energy. It felt really easy, like I was skimming over the ground. I didn't feel like I was forcing it or like I was being chased. It was just running.

Then I started getting afraid of being fearful. LOL! What a silly thing to be afraid of. I slowed down, just to feel in control. But I broke into a run again as soon as I felt ready. It was fun! I got home feeling fantastic.

Today's Food (* for locally grown)

10 a.m. 1 large cantaloupe*

12 p.m. 1 more large cantaloupe*

3:30 p.m. 1/2 large Armenian Snake cucumber*, 1 cup or so various small tomatoes*

6:30 p.m. About 12 cups watermelon, 1 large stalk celery
11:30 p.m. About 4 cups watermelon (yikes, I know! but I didn't eat enough and exercised late.)

Approximately 1400 calories, C-F-P 83-9-9


45 minutes brisk walk with a bit of running thrown in

15 minutes strength circuit (body weight exercises)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Family Reunion

My husband's parents, siblings, and our families. The only person missing is his sister's husband.

Guess what I'm feeling.

Chicken and noodles are a special tradition in my mother-in-law's family.

She was willing to scream for this ham sandwich.

This is plate #2 or maybe #3. She's not so sure anymore. Most of this got pitched in the trash.

Today was a family reunion for my husband's mother's side of the family. His mother is one of six children, but they are scattered all over the country and rarely get together. In fact, this was my first time meeting one of his aunts.

We brought 5 watermelons and a big tub of cantaloupe. Last night, our two oldest children were overheard talking about what food they might get to eat. They talked a lot about chips. At the reunion, there was a LOT of fruit besides our watermelon--others brought fruit trays and more melons. We had talked to them in the car about how they might get sick if they ate food that wasn't raw, since it has been quite some time since they ate any. We tried not to make a big thing about it.

My two oldest children immediately parked themselves in front of a tray ofcrackers and began chowing. We tried to call them away to playgames with their cousins. They continued eating for awhile and then played for a bit. They kept asking when they could dig into the main dishes. When everyone else started serving their plates, they immediately began loading up their plates with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, ham sandwiches, etc. I mentioned again that they might get a stomachache if they ate that. They continued.

I WAS going to at least feed the 3 year-old fruit because I felt she was too young to decide for herself whether or not to eat poison. She SCREAMED, and grandma handed her a ham sandwich. O.k. Apparently 3 year-olds CAN decide. Then my husband served himself a big plate of everything. So, after almost 2 months of doing this "together," I am now the only raw vegan in the room again. (Actually, my husband has recently been more honest with me that he, in fact, has been cheating here and there all along.)

I practiced observing people and trying not to judge them or give them advice in my head. I walked around and took many photos. I was surprised that people did not seem to notice that I was taking pictures. No one asked me one question when I did not eat at the same time as everyone else, or when I ate a big plate of melon and nothing else. I enjoyed taking photos. It was difficult to just see people without adding commentary in my head.

The kids did NOT throw up at the reunion or on the car ride home, which we were worried about. Also, they ate less than they would have in the past. After eating, I could tell they all felt a bit sick. Our middle daughter laid in a lawn chair for quite some time. Then she went and got herself a plate of cantaloupe and honeydew. Maybe she thought that would help? In the car, our son told us that his stomach DID hurt after he ate. I asked, "Did you like that?" He said, "Kinda."

I felt pretty bummed out by the whole experience. I really don't see the point to these events. His family didn't really talk or do anything much but eat a big meal and take some group photos. It was almost like they showed up to remind each other they carried some DNA in common and to see what each other looked like after so many years.

Tonight, our middle daughter has been throwing up and having severe diarrhea. It smells very acidic. GROSS! I have not been adding commentary at all, except to tell her I love her. This is hard for me, because I feel annoyed that I have to clean up stinky puke. I feel bad for her, though. I REALLY hope the 3 year-old is not going to puke on me in the night. We cosleep.

Today's Food

*denotes local food

About 8 cups large black seedless grapes
About 4 cups chopped watermelon
About 4 cups chopped organic cantaloupe
About 3 cups sliced Armenian snake cucumbers*
Some tomato slices grown by my husband's aunt
Some tomatoes while working in my friend's greenhouse*

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Eating Locally, in fits and starts

Photo from Seeds of India

Photo from Ozark Gardens

I LOVE those cucumbers. One of the best things about this summer has been discovering what I love to grow and what I love to eat. The Poona Kheera cukes were grown by another farmer's market vendor, not me, but I'm definitely growing them next year. They are so sweet. I did, however, grow the Armenian snake cucumbers. They are very mild, but not so sweet, have very small seeds, and are very crisp. They have a very tender skin and since you don't have to peel them, they keep this cool shape, like the cogs of a wheel. They also sell like hotcakes! Luckily, the plants really produce.

Well, as you can see from my August expenses record, we are eating a LOT of nonlocal food. On August 1st, I felt pressured to eat 100% local (solely pressured by myself--just a typical bad habit I get into, an "all-or-nothing" mindset). I hadn't done much homework and had no local fruit to eat, so I ate 7 large ears of local raw corn that was too old and starchy. I spent the entire day of August 2nd violently ill and feeling dumb. I will remember that lesson.

After calling around and asking all of my market vendors, I have found that there are virtually NO local fruits available right now. Melons will not be ready for another week to 10 days. The second crop of raspberries are not ready yet. Peaches in this area were all killed by a late frost. Plums and pears are not quite ripe. There are some sour apples; we bought 25 today. Let's face it, we can't survive for even one week on sour apples, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

This does NOT excuse buying nuts, which is certainly not good for our insides or our budget! Today, I re-read that both "raw" cashew nuts and Brazil nuts are decidedly NOT raw. O.k., I admit it. I am soothing the savage beast of emotions run amok. I need more rest, need to overschedule myself less.

I had a WONDERFUL time working together with my whole family at the Farmer's Market today. I had a WONDERFUL time reading archives of Suvine's blog. I had a WONDERFUL time with my family watching Dr. Who (the 9th doctor?). They have all been into Dr. Who lately, from the 60's stuff and onward, but I have been resisting because I generally don't like science fiction. But I liked it. We have also been reading Bone together.

I am done with the nuts. I am breaking up with cashews. They are mean to me. LOL! I will eat local melons as soon as I can get them. I will keep eating all of my lovely garden produce. Okra pods are coming. Tomatoes of all kinds cover my countertop. I have too many beans to keep up with picking. We had some nice savoy cabbage leaves tonight, although I have gas now. I can't digest the cole crops really. But the savoy leaves work perfectly for wraps. In my defense, I tried to sell the savoy at market first.

We also got some DELICIOUS sweet corn, which I will eat in moderation. I will trust my tastebuds on the corn! I will eat enough sweet fruit to prevent cravings and fuel my body properly.

Today's Food (Local food has a star* by it)

Morning during Market: Nectarine, Mexican Midget tomatoes*, Armenian snake cucumber*, yellow cucumber*, 1/2 large ear of corn

Around noon: Various tomatoes*, 4 medium ears sweet corn*

Around 4 p.m.: Savoy cabbage leaves* with mashed avocado (only one between the 5 of us) and salsa (tomatoes*, onion*, sweet corn*, lime juice, cilantro)

Around 6:30 p.m.: Banana and raspberry ice cream

Around 8 p.m. Several handfuls of cashews and an ounce of Brazil nuts

If you are a committed 80-10-10-er, you probably are groaning because you know that if you ate like this, your stomach would hurt. Yes, I admit it, my stomach is hurting. Well, tomorrow is a new day!

Friday, August 3, 2007

August Food Expenses

Grocery Receipts

8/1 Cub Foods, $9.48, 1 1/2 lb. Fuji apples, 1 12 oz. package mango chunks, 1 12 oz. package cherries
8/1 Cub Foods, $11.07, 6 gallons reverse osmosis water, 1 seedless watermelon, 20 ears local corn
8/2 Cub Foods, $46.33, 1 large seeded watermelon, 2 lbs. Jazz apples, 5 lbs. Fuji apples, 6 lbs. organic Red Delicious apples, 6 organic kiwi fruit, 4 organic cantaloupe, 1 1/2 lb. organic nectarines, 3 large bags of discard bananas at 99 cents each--15 lbs.?
8/2 Sullivan's, $10.47, toilet paper, 2 12 oz. packages frozen raspberries
8/2 Nature's Path Health Food Store, $15.13, 1 lb. Brazil nuts, 1 lb. cashews
8/4 Freeport Farmer's Market, $22, 3 dozen ears peaches and cream corn, 25 sour apples, 8 large organic carrots, 1 organic Poona Kheera cucumber, 2 organic yellow cucumbers, 3 pints organic Mexican Midget cherry tomatoes, 2 quarts Early Girl slicing tomatoes, 1 bunch organi beets (given as a gift)
8/4 Aldi, $9.06, 3 seedless watermelon
8/4 Cub Foods, $6.68, 2 2/3 lbs. Fuji apples, 1 avocado, 1 bunch cilantro
8/5 Cub Foods, $77.16, 5 seeded watermelon, 7+ lbs. black grapes, 6 large Fuji apples, 6 organic cantaloupe, 2 bunches organic celery, 1 lb. organic romaine hearts
8/7 Sullivan's Foods, $10.87, 9 gallons reverse osmosis water, 1 lb. Fuji apples, almost 3 lbs. Michigan peaches
8/8 Edgebrook Farmers Market, $5, 2 large cantaloupes
8/8 Cub Foods, $13.03, 2 12 oz. packages each frozen cherries and mango chunks
8/9 Cub Foods, $41.12, 3 1/3 lbs. Fuji apples, 3 3/4 lbs. organic bananas, 2 1/4 lbs. organic red grapes, 4 large organic peaches, 2 1/3 lbs. organic green grapes, 3 lbs. organic Gala apples, 4 organic avocados
8/9 Cub Foods, $4?, 6 pack Mickey's beer (He is suffering extreme pain from a cracked rib and thought this would be a better option than Vicoden. I am not commenting on either choice.)
8/11 Freeport Farmer's Market, $27, 3 organic Florida Giant watermelons, 1 organic Crimson Sweet watermelon
8/12 Cub Foods, $20.89, 5 1/2 lbs. Braeburn apples, 9 lbs. organic bananas, 3 lbs. organic romaine hearts
8/13 Cub Foods, $3.09, 9 gallons reverse osmosis water
8/14 Cub Foods, $15.56, 2 1/2 lb. papaya, 1 1/4 lb. black plums, 5 1/2 Braeburn apples, 1 mango
8/15 Cub Foods, $98.24, 1 large honeydew melon, 13 lbs. Fuji apples, Canary melon (7 lbs.) Casaba melon (4 lbs.), 12 lbs. organic bananas, 2 lbs. organic red grapes, 2 heads organic celery, 2 lbs. organic romaine, 2 10 oz. packages organic spinach, 1 11 oz. package organic baby romaine, 2 lbs. organic green grapes, 1 lb. Medjool dates, 4 organic avocados (all rotten), 5 lbs. clementines (from South Africa!)
8/15-8/16, Jason's trip to game convention, $45 (his estimate)
8/17, Cub Foods, $, 6 lbs. Fuji apples, 5 lbs. clemnetines, 3 lbs. red grapes, 3 lbs. green grapes, 1/2 lb. Medjool dates, 2 nectarines, 5 lbs. organic bananas, 1 gallon reverse osmosis water
8/18 Freeport Farmer's Market, $46.50, 3 organic Florida giant watermelon, 2 organic Crimson Sweet watermelon (the best melons we've eaten this year!), 3 organic Sugar Baby melons, 1 lb. organic carrots, 2 organic lemon cucumbers, 7 oz. organic raspberries
8/19 Cub Foods, $17.44, 5 lbs. bananas, 2 1/2 lbs. green grapes, 2 1/2 lbs. black grapes, 4 lbs. Fuji apples

Total: $556.12

Free Food

8/3 Gift of 3 apricots, $1
8/4 Gift of 3 nectarines, 2 ears of corn, 2 yellow zucchini, and 1 lb. green beans, $5
8/12 Gift of 1 honey mango, 3 ears corn $2
8/15 Gift of 3/4 of a large papaya, $4
8/18 Gift of 5 lbs. of local pears, $5
8/19 Gift of 12 oz. dried Calimyrna figs, $3
Total: $20.00

Garden Produce (charging ourselves the value we'd get selling it at Farmer's Market)

8/1 Green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, $12
8/3 Green beans, yellow French filet beans, red okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, $15
8/4 Savoy cabbage, $2
8/6 Worked in a friend's garden as an exchange--Slicing cucumbers, Thelma Saunders Sweet potato squash, various heirloom cherry tomatoes, green Japanese eggplant (given as a gift), $12
8/7 Heirloom tomatoes, Armenian serpent cucumbers, yellow French filet beans, okra, sugar snap peas, $6
8/8-8/19 I haven't been keeping up with this, but we've been eating a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers, okra, a bit of sweet corn (wrong variety for eating raw, so we'll be giving most of that away), tomatillos, summer squash, and a few snap beans, let's say $50

Total: $97.00

Garden Income

8/1 $18.00 (sold to Margaret Larson)
8/2 $17.00 (sold by a friend at a bigger city market)
8/4 $17.75
8/8 $37.55
8/11 $9.25
8/14 $17.00 (sold to Margaret Larson)
8/15 $24.00 (sold by a friend at a bigger city market)
8/18 $2.50
Total: $143.05

Garden Expenses


Thursday, August 2, 2007

100 Mile Diet in August

Our county's new local food logo
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am a member of the Northwest Illinois Local Foods Task Force. Our mission is to spread the word about eating locally, as well as to build both the supply and the demand for local foods. Here is an exerpt of our official mission statement explaining why we promote local eating.
Reasons to Eat Local
· Enjoy exceptional taste - Local food is fresher and locally grown varieties tend to be bred for taste and freshness, rather than shipping and shelf life.
· Strengthen the economy - Buying local keeps dollars circulating in the community.
· Support local farms - Local food is often sold directly by the farmer, allowing the grower to keep more of the profit.
· Encourage health and safety - Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and wholesome dairy products is good for your health. Plus, knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown allows you to support a safe food supply.
· Protect the environment - Less reliance on shipping foods long distances reduces carbon dioxide emissions and packing material. It also helps make farmland more profitable and sustainable.

We debated whether to also cite new evidence that eating locally-grown food increases vitamin and mineral intake because fresh food has lost less of its nutrients. The members as a whole felt that this might not have enough evidence to support it yet, so we stuck with the really strong reasons listed above.

Obviously, I make some personal compromises when I "stand behind" a document that claims that increasing intake of "wholesome" dairy products is good for your health.

I also note that our last meeting was held in a local ice cream parlor that serves local beef, cheese, and ice cream. We all gave a round of applause to the manager, who explained that they don't make as much money serving local potato chips as they would if they bought nonlocal French fries, but they are committed to supporting local producers and their customers approve. Then everyone but me happily chowed down on cheeseburgers, potato chips, and large scoops of ice cream. Sigh.

In the final analysis, I feel that the great work that this Task Force is doing outweighs their promotion of local meat and milk. Margaret Larson, the Unit Leader for the County Extension, has been a real champion of local foods in the community, and works hard to use local foods in as many events with Extension's name on it as she can. As they are located on a community college campus, sometimes foodservice contracts get in the way. She was instrumental in getting an ALL-LOCAL farmer's market started (the one I sell at) and in helping our little community garden get the grants and volunteer Master Gardeners we needed to survive and thrive. She is amazing and when she asked me to participate on the Task Force, how could I say no?

Let's face it, one of the main reasons I am so committed to the Task Force is that I secretly hope to at least somewhat balance out the meat and milk lobby. Believe it or not, we have lots of local fruit and vegetables. LOL!

One of the first steps the Task Force took was to hire a local media firm to create a logo. This logo was unveiled in a promotional event at the annual Ag Breakfast, a well-attended affair that serves local agricultural products (again, primarily meat, eggs, and cheese) from this county. The purpose of the logo is to encourage local businesses such as restaurants to use local ingredients in their dishes. Grocery stores, farmer's markets, roadside produce stands, etc. would also want to use the label. Consumers can look for the logo and use this to better vote with their dollar.

We are also planning a Local Foods Harvest event at Freeport's new Visitor Center, and are bringing several guest speakers with expertise in connecting local producers to restaurants, grocery stores, and foodservice professionals. We have also sponsored some fun events, such as a cooking demonstration at the Farmer's Market.

Finally, the most exciting event the Task Force is undertaking is that during the month of August, several members, including me, have taken the challenge to follow the Hundred Mile Diet, and write about it in a blog, as well as in articles for our local media. We hope to lay groundwork for a more ambitious promotion of eating locally in the future. One of the ideas kicking around in MY head is getting the general public to pledge to follow the Hundred Mile Diet for a certain amount of time next summer and then have a Local Foods Banquet for the participants. This would be a great opportunity for consumers to network with local farmers and food purveyors. Imagine the possibilities!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Voting with Our Grocery Dollars in July

Salome LOVES organic celery

This is month 2 of recording what we bought, what we grew, what we found in the dumpster, and what we earned from our garden. This has been a learning experience.

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with our running log or expenses in July, it can be found here.

Our stated goals at the beginning of the month were to reduce our spending on groceries and gasoline, and limit 90% of our spending to bananas and local foods.

Total Grocery Receipts: $432.75
Estimated value of Free Food We Obtained This Month: $361.55
Estimated Value of Food We Grew This Month: $115.50
Total Consumption For a Family of 5 plus 1 Cat on a Raw Diet: $909.80
This works out to $29.34 per day.

We met our first goal and significantly reduced our spending on groceries! Yay! Our total grocery receipts were $213.02 less than last month. This even includes a whopping $78.38 restaurant tab, and $11.65 on food gifts for friends. If you remove cat food, restaurant and gift spending, water, toilet paper, and my husband's nonraw cheats, then we only spent $395.31 in total. Of course, last month's tab was artificially high because we invested over $100 on frozen meat for the cat. However, if you adjust both June and July's spending to only include raw human food, then we reduced our grocery spending by $74.79. Could have been better if we didn't buy so many lychee and raw bars and dates on our Chicago trip.

It was also nice to see that we double our money's worth out of our garden, although we earned about half at the Farmer's Market. I forgot how much I made selling lettuce!

Gasoline was harder to track since we didn't keep track of gas expenses either month. We took a trip to Chicago in our car, so it is unlikely. Also, we made a total of 30 separate trips to buy food. That's almost one trip per day. This is ridiculous, although I believe it was a couple of less trips than we took in June. We have obtained a bike for my husband and we plan to fix my bike. We hope to do more by bike and limit car trips. However, almost daily car trips are inevitable, since we garden 5 miles from our house on the other side of a busy highway. Often we must carry tools and large quantities of produce, so it makes riding a bike difficult. Tacking 1 or 2 extra miles onto the trip to stop at stores seems like no big deal. But, it really adds up over time.

We increased our consumption of locally grown products slightly from $274.00 in June to $292.56. However, when taken in context with our overall drop in spending, this means However, most of this was either grown by us or gifted to us by family and friends. If we think of each dollar we spend as a vote, we only increased our votes for local foods from $35.00 to $38.85; hardly a victory. We also bought more organic foods, though I didn't calculate the exact amount.

We definitely got more bananas this month than in June, but as to limiting our spending to bananas and local, we did not meet our goal.

In August, I begin an experiment to follow the 100 mile diet with the The Northwest Illinois Local Foods Task Force. Stay tuned for more information about this tomorrow. Should be an adventure!