Locavoring vs. Dieting (The Diet, Day 24)

I’ve been an extremely bad locavore through my transition into being a dieter. In fact, I’ve all but given up on the idea of environmentally conscientious local food habits. That is except for eating the banana peppers that are still growing profusely in my backyard due to my bout of good intentions last spring.

I’ve found it difficult to figure out what to eat on a diet. Mainly, I’ve found it difficult to figure out what to fit into my working life, which leaves me tired and frazzled with little energy for considering food choices most of the time.

In my frazzled efforts to not just get on track but find the track in the first place, I’ve spent lots of time meandering about grocery stores contemplating the nature of my new universe. I’ve read content labels and stared at bins of green onions just trying to write the narrative inside my own head of what I’m supposed to eat.

I’ve been constantly disappointed in myself at the results.

Today is my third day of attempting Phase 1 of South Beach in which you are supposed to cut out all sugar, grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables for two weeks in order to sort of start from scratch with your body’s relationship to insulin. This is supposed to level you out so that you don’t have sugar cravings. Then you can reintroduce whole grains and fruits to your diet in healthy portions.

It’s just a theory, but I’m working with it.

I guess I concentrated a little too much on what I would do about convenience items. In retrospect, that’s probably absolutely not the point of Phase 1. But it was a concern of mine.

So I bought several varieties of veggie burgers. It says in the instructions for Phase 1 that you can eat veggie burgers. I, however, neglected to read the part where you are only supposed to eat the kind that have less than 3 grams of fat. Of course, I bought the kind I like the best, and they aren’t the less than 3 gram type. There’s the first way I already broke the rules of the strictest part of this diet that I’m trying very strictly to keep.

Next, I bought 100 calorie snack packs of almonds. Almonds are on the list of allowables. I thought the snack packs would prevent me from over-indulging. They have helped with that, though I knew when I bought them they did not fit any locavorian principle. They weren’t grown anywhere near here, and all that extra packing to put them in individual portions….for shame, for shame.

That shame I felt even before I noticed that these convenient and delicious almonds have added sugar.

Strike two.

And the mozzarella string cheese? Turns out the book says “skim mozzarella,” not “part skim mozzarella.”

Strike three.

I might as well be out, but since I’m more of a spirit of the law person, I’m going to still claim that I’ve been on Phase 1 South Beach for the past three days.

I am, however, going to try to improve on following the letter of the law. In that spirit, I did some searching last night for vegetarian recipes and South Beach Phase 1. One of the first I clicked to that sounded good to me was squash and onions. For some reason, I think I was expecting to be introduced to a new concept when I clicked on those words.

But then I sat there staring at the instructions. Slice up squash and partially boil it. Chop up onions and saute them in a small amount of olive oil. Add squash and continue sauteing for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Oh, yeah. That. I’ve been eating that all my life. It might actually be my favorite food in the world.

Yet when I tried to think up what to eat on a diet, my favorite food never crossed my mind. It never occurred to me that I could just go down to the farmer’s market and buy some yellow squash, or better yet raid my mother’s freezer, and voila I’m on a diet.

I’ve been talking about the health benefits of local eating for months. I’ve been reading about it and trying to pay more attention to where my food comes from. And still I don’t associate the traditional foods of my area with being on a diet.

Apparently, I have a an enormous amount of mental retraining to do. Here goes Phase 1.