In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.
‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I try to buy only local produce whenever possible. I’d say about 95% of the fresh food I buy at home is grown in the UK. Recently, for nutrition reasons I have started to add some imported foods such as fairtrade bananas and avocados, but I try to stick to my pledge as much as I realistically can. Here in the UK, that’s pretty easy in the summer. We have lots of fresh fruits growing such as apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb and raspberries. Vegetables are also not a problem. Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, broccoli, beetroot, spinach, kale and lots of other vegetables grow well in our damp, humid environment. When it gets to winter, though, eating seasonally can become a bit of a drag.
I’m sure this happens in a lot of places around the world, through different seasons. All of a sudden that once abundance of fresh food suddenly seems to dry up. Never fear, though, there are ways to survive your equivalent of a British winter. Make the most of the seasonal produce that you can find. If, like us, you see a lot of carrots during this time, search online for carrot recipes. Carrot soup is a personal favourite of mine during the long winter months. Local farmers’ markets are a great place to find out what is available locally at any time of year, and you can download seasonal food calendars for your area.
If you grow your own food, buy seeds that grow at different stages throughout the year. We may have long, cold, wet and sometimes snowy winters here in Wales, but we can also grow lettuce all year round. Dried fruits and vegetables are also a good fall back when the fresh alternatives aren’t available. If you’re crafty and creative like my aunty Christine, you can pickle and preserve produce in the summer and store it until needed. Or, if you’re like me and a little lazier than that, freeze berries to use in smoothies in the winter. Most berries will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
I’ll admit, by the time it gets to April every year I am sick of the sight of carrots. But I’m still willing to keep eating them so I can enjoy fresh, local produce. Besides, when we do get round to the new summer season again, it makes it all the more exciting to see all that lush, tasty produce.