Over the past several months I have become attentive to where all of my calories are coming from. Not just carbs, protein, or fat, but literally what type of food and how far it must be transported before consumption. My previous posts were less about a vow to change and were primarily meant as reminders to myself that life happens, deal with it. There are many things that are much more important than running, but when there is time, get out and run. Today’s post is about what I am striving to change. As a runner, I consume a lot of calories (kilocalories, technically). The additional calories I consume to support my running should have as little impact to the environment as possible. For 2009 I will strive to eat lower on the food chain, buy local foods, and supplement our food with a garden.
Eating Lower on the Food Chain: My family does not eat a lot of beef, and I am not advocating a meat free or animal product free diet. A vegetarian/vegan diet would be easier if I either lived alone (don’t want to do that), or had a spouse that wanted to be a vegetarian/vegan (not trying to change her), but my caloric intake beyond ~2,200 calories/day should come from fruits or vegetables, which are the most efficient source of foods when looking at the energy required to produce to energy contained within. I had concerns of low protein consumption if more of my caloric needs were met via fruits and vegetables. Then I learned that many ultra-runners, including some of the very best (see Scott Jurek, for example) are vegetarian or vegan. If they can get all of their protein needs from fruits and vegetables, then I can supplement some of my poultry/fish/dairy protein with fruits and vegetables.
Buy Local Foods: It just doesn’t make much sense to buy food that has been shipped from all over the world, when much of the food that I consume is grown locally. I will buy directly from the local farmers whenever possible.
Garden: I usually grow tomatoes, but this year I would like to expand. We don’t live on a huge tract of land, but we can allocate part of our yard to grow food. I may need to solicit the good folks at the Frost Bottom Farm for some pointers on good gardening techniques.
So that’s it. Regardless of where my running year for 2009 takes me, I will strive to change where all of my calories come from.
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