A friend of mine suggested I might be glossing over the challenges we have been facing in my blog posts about eating local. I admit, I do have a tendency to only want to show the positive side of things. After all, nobody wants to hear me complain about how tough it is when this is a completely voluntary challenge. However, since it is a challenge, it can be, well, challenging at times. Since we are already five months into this, maybe it’s time for a reality check.
One of the biggest challenges so far has just been the learning curve. Even though we have been moving toward this lifestyle for a few years now, there is still so much more to learn. That was compounded by starting in the summer, which is usually our busy season anyway. We expanded the area and variety in our garden and so we not only had to keep on top of that, we had to figure out how to process and preserve our bounty. At the same time, we were trying to figure out how to make tasty bread from 100% whole wheat flour, what to fix for lunch besides leftovers quesadillas, and how to bake with honey instead of sugar.
Another big challenge for me, personally, has been starting this endeavor while pregnant for the first time. I tire more quickly and have to make sure I am taking care of myself. That isn’t easy for someone as independent-minded and bull-headed as me. I have to stop and rest, take naps, and eat really well… especially a lot of protein. In the beginning we had a lot of salmon and goat milk, but no nuts and very little meat until Matt got the caribou in the fall. I used to never eat meat outside of the home unless I knew exactly where it came from, but I found myself seeking out meat at BBQs or meals out with friends. Now we have a variety of meats in the freezer…. caribou, pork, chicken, shrimp, scallops, and, of course, salmon!
There were also things the midwife recommended, like cranberry juice for urinary tract health, that didn’t exactly fit into the challenge, but were more like medicine than food, so we let them slide. In general, we found that my diet has been very healthy for growing a baby, and there wasn’t anything nutrition-wise that I couldn’t get from our local foods. I think that if I had more access to sugar and junk food, I wouldn’t have resisted so well.
Now that the holiday season is upon us, I find myself missing sugar so much more. While honey is a wonderful, healthy alternative to refined sugar in many sweets, it just won’t do in others. I really love to bake this time of year and to share my goods with others, but my options of what I can bake are limited, and with honey being so much more expensive than sugar, I think twice about whipping up some cookies. (Sorry!)
Caffeine and chocolate are more of a challenge to give up than I anticipated. I had to lessen my caffeine intake for the baby anyway, but some days I just can’t get myself moving, and I really miss the ritual of making and smelling coffee in the morning. It is too deeply engrained in the pleasure-sensors in my brain. I am milking my decaf coffee supply along by only having it on the weekends, and drinking herbal tea during the week (chamomile, mint, or raspberry leaves.) Similarly, I eat my chocolate stash one square at a time, savoring each morsel. This is probably how these luxury items should be enjoyed…. sparingly. It really makes them seem all that much more special.
Overall, I don’t feel deprived by the things that I miss. We don’t live in a vacuum, so they are sometimes available when we are with family and friends. But I do feel my habits slowly shifting from things that I once thought were essential. I wonder if I will ever get over coffee and sugar or if I even want to, but I know it is good to lessen their grip in my life. Now that I finally have a good recipe for pumpkin bread that uses honey and whole wheat, I don’t need to go back to using sugar and white flour. Over the next 7 months, I’m sure this will happen with more things. I just have to stay patient and not give in on the first craving or when my pumpkin bread falls flat the first time!
- 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp each baking soda, cinnamon, ginger
- 1/2 tsp each nutmeg, cloves, salt
- 1 cup cooled, drained pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup butter
Combine wet and dry ingredients separately first, then together. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 325 for approximately 50 minutes.