Well, we’ve been eating locally for a whole week. So far it’s been both easier and more difficult than we thought. It’s been easy to find all of the essentials for eating satisfying, healthy meals. We were happily surprised to find wheat flour, olive oil, and goat cheese, all of which we anticipated would be a challenge to get ahold of. We have found tasty ways to prepare the foods available to us, and are getting used to having very little salt. And our stomachs are generally full at the end of the day. It has been difficult, however, to quench all of our cravings for the foods we are used to having in our daily lives. At first, we were craving crunchy snacks and chocolate. Chris was jonesing for a soda and some bread, and I would have given anything for some olives and anchovies (yes, I’m a salt fiend). We felt hungry, even after a good meal.

But now, after only a week, our bodies seem to be adjusting to a new normal. Snacks come in the form of fruit, roasted squash seeds, goat cheese on homemade (tougher than nails) crackers, and popped amaranth seasoned with olive oil and chile powder. Our refreshing beverage of the week is prickly pear juice.

Finding and preparing food has become a larger part of our daily lives than it was before. It takes more energy to hunt down a locally raised organic chicken than it does to buy a Safeway bird pumped full of preservative saline solution, antibiotics and hormones. But we seem to need less food than we did before, and are no longer preoccupied with growling bellies and daydreams about forbidden fruits. It feels as if my body (and surely Chris’ too) is being truly fed, and it no longer needs to remind me constantly of nutrient deficiencies and caloric deprivations. Our diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables with small quantities of meat and whole grains. We have no unknown ingredients in our food, and no longer consume iffy corporate additives such as cornstarch and high fructose corn syrup. This contrasts starkly with our previous diet, which consisted mainly of carbohydrates and meat, supplemented with veggies, fruits and snacks I’m hesitant to call “food”.

Another major benefit of our new eating habits is the incredible decrease in garbage generated. We are producing almost no trash (I believe that recycling is just another form of trash, especially in Tucson where the city has been known to throw all recycling into the dump), which eases my conscience tremendously. I had been feeling terrible about all the plastic packaging, glass bottles, cardboard boxes, and styrofoam containers we were using daily for our rice milk, ginger ale, Trader Joe’s snacks, takeout food, and breakfast cereal. For me, this is the single most tangible advantage to eating locally so far.

At this point, we seem to be spending about the same amount of money on food as we did before. If we bought our meat, oil, and fruit in bulk we could spend significantly less. This is great news since it means that we can actually afford to eat all natural, organic foods!

Chris and I both feel like we have lost weight in this first week of our experiment. We are both a few pounds over our ideal weight, so this is a good thing as long as the trend doesn’t continue for too long ;). Eating locally has forced Chris to kick his caffeine habit, which he is very happy about. I have kicked my over-salting-everything habit, which pleases me, too. It’s been fun to experiment with new recipes and to share our discoveries with friends. We are looking forward to the second week of eating locally!

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