Popular Diets
The 100-Mile Diet

The 100-Mile Diet is a diet based on a book, published in Canada as The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating and published in the United States as Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally, written by Alisa Smith and J. B. MacKinnon...

100-Mile Diet Book

100-Mile Diet_book in popular diets

Read this before trying your version of the 100-Mile Diet.

Smith is a freelance journalist who has taught non-fiction writing. MacKinnon wrote the award-winning historical non-fiction book Dead Man in Paradise and was an editor of Adbusters magazine. This book describes the experiences of an urban couple that, starting in March, 2005, spent a year eating only foods whose ingredients all came from within 100 miles of their home in Vancouver, Canada. The couple are longtime vegetarians and environmentalists who took the 100 mile challenge in response to the average 1500 mile journey North American food from the farm to the grocery store. They could find little local food at grocery stores, so they shopped at farmer's markets and farms. Their diet included berries, corn, chicken, root vegetables, and seafood, but they had to do without cooking oil, rice, and sugar.

Smith and MacKinnon got the idea of eating local food while staying at their northern British Columbia cabin in August 2004. Because the cupboards were almost bare they went to the land to feed their dinner guests. The ensuing meal consisted of trout, wild mushrooms, dandelion leaves, apples, sour cherries, and rose hips, accompanied by garlic and potatoes from the garden. Everyone was happy enough with this feast that the couple got the idea of eating only local food; here defining local food as that gathered within 100 miles of their city apartment. Before long the story went international. The book contains twelve chapters written alternatively by each author in the first person as a memoir. The final chapter was written jointly in the third person.

Smith and Mackinnon in popular diets

These authors don't look underfed.

The one hundred mile radius englobes food producing areas of British Columbia and Washington State. The couple dropped the 100-mile rule for meals eaten on the road, prepared by friends, and business lunches. Part of the book discusses the impact of strictly (should we say almost strictly) local eating on their relationship. As the seasons progressed new local foods such as honey became available. They made ample use of their cabin garden, preserving food such as corn and tomatoes. They even collected sea water for a local salt supply.

Can you follow such a diet? Part of the answer depends on where you live. The authors were lucky enough to be in a relatively food rich area, or I should say areas because cabin country offered different foods than their city location. You may also want to make some exceptions such as permitting spices. After all, you canít make a good curry just anywhere.

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