It Helps to Be a Locavore – VB6ing Week 2
I know there’s some who can’t stand hearing about other people’s diets. On the other hand, they say it’s also easier to achieve a goal if you publicly announce it, so I’ve been forcing my adherence to Mark Bittman’s VB6 approach to eating on you. I’ve made it well into week two without failing in any way bigger than some milk in my coffee.
A Table Full of Delightful Pastries
I keep on arguing with the Condiment Queen about how well I’m doing on VB6. She keeps on insisting that I hate it. I insist back, I do not hate it. What I hate, I insist, is that I am surrounded by temptation. For instance, last Sunday I visited her at the Independence Park Farmer’s Market. Delightful Pastries had just put out their display. If you think it looked good, know that it reached my nose before I got close enough to examine. Or two nights ago, I left my sunset yoga class famished (as one should not eat for a few hours pre-asana). My path home starts at 5 Guys, rolls past a Mickey’s gyro and only takes a few blocks detour to arrive at one of the best Italian beef stands, Johnnie’s. And if I stop at Johnnie’s, why not finish with some gelato from Masa down the street, right? The temptations are not just gustatory. There are times, like Tuesdays, where I’m hungry. I just want to eat. It won’t even cost very much to get my hands messy with a juicy beef, hot.
The saving grace of nearly any diet, pretty much any eating plan I know, is a built in excuse not to have a delightful pastry. The Atkinsist will avoid the carbs; the Paleo-er won’t like the cheese in the danish; a strict vegan can’t have the eggs and butter that make it taste good; Fuhrman and Ornish would tell you it’s way too much fat. Bittman just says, Principle 3, “Eat (Almost) No Junk Food.” Each new guru has his or her reasons why. The whys will hold you in tack for some time, how long depends on how much you believe, how much you need, and how much you care about tempting foods. What you really need to go fourth, is to eat local.
That’s what I’m eating instead of Johnnies. I tell my wife, it’s not that I don’t want to be eating Johnnie’s, it’s that I like eating what I have to as well. It helps, as She knows, to be a locavore. Principle 5 of VB6 is “Consider Quality over Quantity.” Bittman explains:
Once your committed to eating more plants, few animal products…the only way to stay committed is to make sure the food you’re eating is at least as enjoyable as the food you’re giving up.
He offers several ways to get higher quality foods. I know the best. Eat local. It’s not just something that makes me feel good. Local food is better for several reasons. Foremost, I can obtain food from farmer’s and producers that I know care about how their stuff tastes. They know it will taste great because they grow varieties meant to eat not meant to ship, and they know they need to harvest for a short journey to me not a long way to the market. You say, well who does not want to eat local in this season of tomatoes and peppers. Yes, with piles of ripe plants and my beck and call, it makes sense in August to be a locavore. Still, I know I can get as much satisfaction from that fall spinach or winter squash. I am always surrounded by quality food because I choose to be surrounded by local food.
It, obviously, helps, as my pictures show, that I like salads. I had made a big batch of salad with sweet corn, peppers, shallots, and Tomato Mountain* juliet tomatoes.
My system allows me one non-vegan meal a day.
I run, often to the comfort of a salty cheese and saltier fish. This is the season of Greek Salad, and as complete as the tomatoes and cukes make the dish, the addition of feta and anchovy make the meal. This is how I now splurge.
Like I’ve said, I think that Bittman thinks his system is so easy because you can v through breakfast, some oatmeal and soy milk, make it past lunch with peanut butter and jelly or hummus, and well, by the time you’re ready for dinner you can indulge in the short ribs that have been hanging out on the smoker all day. Thing is, I don’t always have that waiting. Without the BBQ, I often decide to take my after six meal before six. I’m not strictly VB6pm because I often have to eat my vegan at dinner having put that feta on lunch, or today, having decided as long as I was having milk in my coffee, I might as well have a bowl of cereal with Sassy Cow milk for breakfast.
I eat a lot of fruit. It helps keep me distracted. It helps that the fruit is local.
*My wife works for Tomato Mountain.