independent

Sunday 21 September 2014

The 100 mile diet is no joke

Published 01/05/2013 | 05:36

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The comedian Henny Youngman has a gag about his wife being on a diet that consisted of nothing but coconuts and bananas. Apparently she didn't lose any weight but excelled at climbing trees! This is the time of year when we think of dieting, but here is a dieting idea with a more positive twist - the 100-mile diet!

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Many people are beginning to give more thought to where their food is coming from and the carbon footprint it is creating. There was a time in Kerry when every village was practically self-sufficient in food production. Today if the roads to Kerry were blocked indefinitely, how many villages and towns would survive on local produce? Very few, I would imagine. The resilience we had in relation to our food supply has practically disappeared. We are now dependant on everything being delivered to us from the four corners of the world, including fruit and vegetables that would grow in our own gardens. It makes neither economic nor environmental sense.

There's a brand new way to eat for anyone concerned about the environment and the advantages are many. I'm talking about the 100-mile diet plan and this is one diet that isn't a fad. The idea is that you eat foods that are grown or produced within 100 miles of your own home. This may sounds limiting, but it's a lot easier than some people think.

With a little research you may find some things that will surprise and delight you. For example many farmer markets produce fruit, vegetables, breads, cheese, meat and fish all from the local area. The results will be different for different areas but people across the country who have taken this challenge have found a lot more than they would have expected.

The benefits of eating 'closer to home' include reducing the shipment of your food. A lot of foods are shipped long distances to get to your local grocery store - typically 1,500 miles - so eating food that is produced locally greatly decreases your carbon footprint.

The diet also allows you to explore your own community and meet new people who live near you. You will be supporting local farmers, which in turn will help the local economy and keep money within your community.

Obviously there are some restrictions with a diet like this. There are some specialty foods which are not produced locally or sometimes even nationally, but even buying the things that you can find locally is a positive step for the environment.

The 100-mile diet is an innovative approach to helping the environment. People are taking advantage of this idea with exciting new interpretations. There are restaurants which are using only food grown locally, restaurants that are taking the extra step and actually growing their own fresh vegetables, and charity dinners that are promoting the 100-mile challenge by only offering foods from within the region. People are using local foods for weddings, birthday parties and other events. If your area is limited as to what is produced you can widen the net. Try eating things only produced within your province or larger region. Whatever interpretation of the 100-mile diet plan you follow have fun with it. The possibilities are numerous and exciting.

Kerryman

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