Beginnings: An excuse to read

My goal for this project is to move towards a more sustainable diet, without driving myself or my husband crazy, or starving my dogs and cat. It’s not going to be perfect. I can admire the 100-mile diet folks from a safe distance, but I know the day I give up coffee, tea, and tropical fruit just isn’t coming. And it’s better to tell you up front, I am not the spend-the-day-at-the-farmer’s-market-discussing-the-terroir-of-potatoes type. I won’t even go to the wonderful bakery around the corner from my house, because no matter how great the scones are, if it takes 15 minutes to make a latte, it just isn’t worth it.

So learning to eat and cook a new way will be a challenge.

In my favor: I haven’t eaten mammals or hardly any (I’ve been to the occasional Subway) fast food in more than ten years. I’ve read all Michael Pollan‘s books, and I’ve seen Food, INC.. I’ve been to the farmer’s market twice already this month, and I’ve signed up for a poultry and egg CSA that starts next week. And I live in Seattle, where we have an abundance of fresh food available year-round.

Working against me: I’m impatient, and sometimes lazy.  I like to shop at Costco and Trader Joe’s, and I almost always have chicken burritos in the freezer.  Just yesterday I discovered my favorite brand of natural, politically correct cat and dog food is made in Thailand. I’m worried about what I might have to give up. And I also don’t want to become a preachy pain in the ass.

So why bother?

I recently described my dietary choices (the no mammals thing) as an arbitrary line in the sand. My husband and I lived near some factory pork farms in the Midwest for a few years. Just driving by was enough to make you take a hard look at the way you eat. So we did. But I love food, and I love to cook; I know I don’t really want to be a vegan. But I do want to make better choices for the health of those I love, and in some small way for the better of the planet we live on.

I’m a researcher by nature and by training – so for me, every project begins with a reading list. I know it isn’t complete, and I’d love hear your suggestions.

  • Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Marion Nestle
  • What to Eat, Marion Nestle
  • Pet Food Politics, Marion Nestle
  • Slow Food Nation, Carlo Petrini
  • Slow Food: The Case for Taste, Carlo Petrini
  • Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We Can do to Fix It, Jill Richardson
  • The Ethical Gourmet, Jay Weinstein
  • Real Food: What to Eat and Why, Nina Planck
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