I am a very detail oriented person who leans towards being quite black and white about things under stress. I like things to be as perfect as possible whenever possible. It’s a challenge I’ve been working to overcome for a long time now. I am a work in progress.
Honestly, this week can be broken down into a single word: Rough.
It began with the best of intentions. There was a meal plan and a very careful shopping trip. We started off with a bang and were feeling great about going into week two. We sowed some seeds. I made some raw yogurt. We made and ate some amazing Chicken & Dumplings (the chicken came from our own backyard last summer) and Kim made the most delicious hollandaise sauce that topped some poached eggs and sat on top of a bed of a potato and green chile pork sausage hash. It is my new favorite breakfast (and don’t worry, I’ll get a recipe up here ASAP).
Then, Monday came.
Monday was a very hard day for me personally. Emotionally.
Monday made way for Tuesday and I woke up feeling like a hot mess.
And so I started my day sitting in the knowledge that I needed to practice some serious self-care (walk softly, carry a big stick, allow for some comfort food, all that jazz).
So, we stopped for coffee at our neighborhood coffee shop…where the coffee isn’t local, but the people are and the beans are roasted locally.
Then, we stopped at my favorite locally owned breakfast place for my Number One comfort food…Green Chile…on top of a big fat breakfast burrito. You know, non-local potatoes, cheese, bacon and tortillas topped with local, delicious, Hatch chile.
It was all delicious.
It all helped ease my aching heart a bit.
This meal (and the weekend that came before it) allowed me a bit of space to reflect on this whole challenge and then come to the realization that this little journey we are on isn’t supposed to feel restrictive, trapping or “hard”. This journey is about the awareness, the intention, the trying every single day to do our very best.
Even if the best we can do is surrender to the moment and forgive ourselves for it.
So, as they do, the days continued on, my spirits lifted and we fell back into eating local. We ate lots of eggs (thank goodness for our chickens), lots of blue corn (polenta and posole), lots of pinto beans.
Then, the week ended on a Friday (as they tend to do) and it ended with yet another bump in the road.
See, I went to visit my Applied Kinesiologist who stated, emphatically, that I can no longer eat gluten.
That’s right, no bread, no pasta, no fresh, handmade tortillas, no cake. Not even made with local flour. Not even made with heritage grains. No gluten, period.
It’s been on the table for a while as something I should watch, but it’s now official. Gluten is wreaking havoc on my system in the form of serious aches and pains (let alone weight gain). Oh boy.
But he wasn’t done. My kidneys are stressed, too (which is part of the pain I was feeling in my back as well). Very stressed. What are they being stressed by?
He couldn’t tell me why something as simple as mint tea would be affecting my kidneys so negatively, but it is. And yes, this is the same mint tea we grew in our yard (organically, of course) and I was using to replace my usual non-local black tea with milk and honey morning ritual. Yeah…Oh boy.
So, I woke up this morning and made myself a cup of black tea with milk and honey. Because I needed the ritual. And I needed the comfort. And because I will spend the rest of the day drinking water to help my kidneys.
I’m learning, yet again, that everything is not black and white. There are goals, aspirations and intentions, but life is not perfect and neither am I.
I am also re-learning that assumptions do no good for anyone involved. Because, yes, I assumed that our local co-op had a closer definition of local than what it actually does.
See, the original goal of our Local Bite Challenge was to source as much of our food as possible from within 100 miles of our home, which is almost entirely doable at the Farmer’s Market and will get easier as the season progresses.
So, while we wait for warmer days and nights which will bring more abundance to our Farmers and therefore our table, we are supplementing with items purchased from our local co-op…which we just learned defines local as within a 300 mile radius.
Considerable difference, right? Now there are whole other states involved! Oh boy.
Additionally, beyond the “New Mexico” and “Local” labels on their bulk products, there are also labels stating “USA”, “Bolivia”, etc. In order to find out where in the “USA” something is grown, we’ve been standing in the aisle Googling on our phones and asking the Bulk Manager to check the labels and boxes in the back of the store. The answer is usually, “Somewhere in California.” which is a whole other state that isn’t even in the 300 mile radius.
So, back to the assumptions. I guess I could have (should have?) found this out before starting the challenge. But I didn’t. And at this point, I’m not sure how that knowledge might have changed my approach to this challenge.
Maybe I would have been gentler on myself.
So, how does all of this affect the Local Bite Challenge?
It means that I will be focusing my attention on my intention with a bit of a wider net.
It means we will do our best at every meal to source our ingredients from as close to our home as possible, without going hungry. And without allowing ourselves to feel guilty.
Guilt is not a part of this challenge, by the way. Just in case you all were confused and battling similar emotions as I am.
So, today, as we head out to replenish our as-close-to-home-as-possible local ingredients, I will tread lightly. I will be gentle and forgiving of myself.
And I will let you know how it goes.
And I hope you will let me know how it’s going in your neck of the woods! Please share your learning in the comments below or in our Local Bite Facebook Group so we can continue to learn from each other 🙂