Monday, January 28, 2013

Plucked from the garden this morning:

In the post-peak world, perhaps after a settling period, I like to imagine that we in the developed world will eat better than we did before The Change. Seem like a crazy dream? Perhaps. But when I read, a few years back, that the English diet actually improved in quality (if it was perhaps short on calories at times) during WWII, I was further convinced of the problems inherent in our modern, oil-subsidized, convenience-based, developed-world diet. For the wartime English, meat products and imported American grains became scare due to the war effort and shipping blockades. Previously, two-thirds of their food had been imported; thus they were forced to make dramatic increases in domestic production—and not of meats, but of vegetables. Of course, the increase in potato production (it was doubled) may not suggest an improved diet, but along with the tubers came other, more healthful produce.

I don't recall where I read that article about the English wartime diet, but I found several other interesting links looking at the history:
A BBC History link about the wartime diet.
A BBC article from 2004 about one person's attempt to eat that way for a week.

Meantime, I would urge you to examine your own diet and consider what level of nutrition it provides. I have a strong tendency to look at problems in their totality, to become overwhelmed by the degree of change and the amount of effort needed to overcome them; but when I have the inspiration (and calmness of spirit) to break the problem into smaller parts—miniature problems—and address those more manageable bits one at a time, I find that not only can I gain a more useful perspective on the overall problem, but I can free inspiration and the impetus to effect meaningful—if limited—change.

About three years or so ago, in an effort to make some small, tangible improvement to my diet, I began to add "green smoothies" to my morning regimen. A blenderful of water, apple, kale, and carrot was the basis for numerous improvisations that included fruit in season, other vegetables, fresh ginger—whatever seemed interesting and healthful. All raw, all as fresh as possible. I've since included freshly ground golden flax seed and chopped beets as regulars in the mix. And I'm an inveterate sweet tooth—I won't eat or drink anything regularly that isn't at least leaning toward the sweet end of the spectrum. But almost all the smoothies I've made have been delightful, if not all truly sweet. A half-cup of organic apple juice does the heavy lifting, if I have some. And ground cinnamon can counter any bitterness of the kale and add its own delight to the drink.

I continue to look for ways to improve my diet, which is by no means completely healthy. But I'm very pleased with the start I've made. Growing my own foods would be the next obvious step, and that handful of kale in the photo is the result of this morning's small harvest. It went right into the blender with the other ingredients for a truly delicious morning breakfast. Though I'd love to do so, I'm not in a position to grow all, or even a major portion of, my food intake; but if I could have a small kale bed, and perhaps some carrots, I could do well for at least part of the year. I took a chance with this planting of kale. I put the seeds in very late, and we've had to protect them from some sub-freezing temperatures, but they're doing well, if a bit behind the warmer-season growth curve.


Post a Comment

<< Home