My low-carbon diet

March 27, 2009 at 10:49 pm Leave a comment

That’s low carbon, not low carb. 

If each of us living in the U.S. ate just one meal a week (breakfast, lunch or dinner) using food that was locally grown and pesticide-free, we would reduce our national oil consumption by more than 1.1 million barrels of oil — every single week.  That’s more than 52 million barrels a year, right? If we all had just two local meals a week, that’s 100 million barrels, 2 meals a day would save more than 700 million barrels a year.

Let’s see, I’ve done pretty well this past week.  We had dinner at the Saxaphaw General Store last Saturday for my birthday, where I had scrumptious scallops fresh from the coast and Jeffrey had locally raised hormone-free sirloin steak.  On Sunday I roasted a local organic chicken for dinner with sweet potatoes  from Pine Knot Farm (Stanley Hughes) by way of Chatham Marketplace.  We had enough chicken leftover for Monday and Wednesday suppers and one lunch.

I had an omelet Tuesday night with local eggs and locally baked bread with stone-ground flour from Lindley Mills . And tonight we had a new treat — locally raised and butchered lamb (Chaudry Processing via Angelina’s Kitchen). Tomorrow I’ll have an omelet for brunch with fresh eggs from local farms, chicken sausage from Cane Creek with local LaMiche toast, and I’ll stew another organic bird for chicken risotto today and chicken quesadillas later in the week.  On Wednesday I plan to check out the grass-fed beef burgers at UNC where I work; they’re serving this local fare (from Snow Camp) once a week now in one of the dining halls.

Some of the good grub I’ve digested this week traveled 150 miles or so, most of it less than 10 miles, to reach my plate.  That sure beats the 1,500 to 3,000 miles that the average American meal travels before it’s served for breakfast or dinner.

I don’t have to work very hard to find locally produced, real food (see my blogroll), even at the end of winter.  The Chatham Farmers’ Markets are opening next week and in about a month, my CSA (Edible Earthscapes) will begin filling my grocery basket with fresh herbs and vegetables every week. Forget the 100-Mile Diet — this summer I’ll be on the 5-Mile Diet.

My low-carbon diet got even easier recently with the addition of a new local source of delectable calories, Angelina’s Kitchen, a carry-out with the tagline  “local food with a Greek twist.”  Gyros, hummus, souvlaki, the works. In Pittsboro about one mile from my backdoor. Heaven.

Okay, so this diet is pretty easy if you live in Pittsboro. But no matter where you are, Google your nearest Farmers’ Market, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm,  natural foods co-op, or local restaurant featuring local cuisine. They may be under your radar, but, trust me, they’re out there waiting for you to try the low-carbon diet, too. If you really get into it, you can even get your hands dirty in your own backyard and save tons of money as well as carbon.

And because low-carbon food tends to be better for your health, you’ll not only reduce your carbon footprint, you just might reduce your waistline. Let’s do lunch, Oprah.

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Entry filed under: Commentary, Sustainable Food.

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