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The Low-Carbon Diet
In her book , Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - A year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver writes about the importance of eating locally grown foods. She shares her family's experience of living off the land. As much as we'd love to, not all of us can grow and produce our own food, but most of us have a choice over where we shop for food. Buying locally grown foods not only supports our local communities and farmers but it also reduces our carbon footprint. Kingsolver states that, "Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into their fridges as they do their cars. Most of that oil is used during the trip from the farm to your plate. In fact, each food item in a typical US meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles! If every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised foods, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. Small changes in buying habits can make big differences." The book points out that the choices we make at the supermarket have far reaching effects on our bodies as well as the environment.
Although coconuts are one of my favorite foods, I do my best to buy as much food as possible that is grown/produced locally and encourage everyone else to give it a try. Of course, most likely you will need to make some exceptions, but the idea is to bring the focus more local. We are very fortunate to live an area with year-round farmers markets. Shopping at farmers markets gives you an opportunity to meet farmers who can easily tell you where the produce was grown, how it was grown (organic or conventional) and even how long ago it was picked. But farmers markets are not the only place to shop locally, most grocery stores have made it much easier to be a green shopper. Look for tags or food displays listing the area of origin.
Go to the Natural Resources Defense Council's website to find out what foods are in season in your area, where to find a farmer's market near you and download recipes like this one:
Butternut Squash Flan
(by Scott Pampuch)
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, medium dice
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cups Heavy cream
- 3 eggs, whipped
- White pepper + salt to taste
- Two sprigs of thyme
1. Put squash, garlic, thyme and shallot into a saucepan, and just barely cover with heavy cream.
2. Poach over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until squash is soft.
3. Transfer all ingredients to a blender and pass everything through a fine mesh strainer.
4. Add eggs and season to taste with salt and white pepper.
5. Fill ramekins with flan mix. Place ramekins into a deeper vessel (like a hotel pan or some other form of high-edged baking dish), pour hot water up to about half-way up the sides of your flans, wrap tightly in foil and cook in a 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.
6. Garnish with mixed greens, lemon vinaigrette, and golden raisins.