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I have found that eating locally becomes harder the farther away from home I go. While I was away from home for Thanksgiving, I found an app that helps me find farmers markets, restaurants that source locally and grocery stores with locally made products…. but, when you are with family or friends it feels hard to stick to your wants without being rude or throwing a wrench in preexisting plans.

Take for example my weekend trip to Colorado for a friend’s birthday bash.  My girlfriend knows that eating locally is important, but with a ton of people all out to have a good time, I can’t make requests which require so much extra research and likely limit our choices, not to mention raise prices.  So what is there to do?

I worry that by not being able to stick to my goal 100% that I’ve failed in some way. I end up incredibly frustrated with myself and start to wonder what I was thinking to start making such big changes in my life! But when I come out of my fog, I start to look at options to make things easier on myself…. can I renegotiate my parameters? In fact…. that makes me wonder what my parameters are!!! I had to do a bit of negotiating for the dark days challenge, so that helps, but perhaps I need to make myself some more serious rules, as well as exceptions in order to keep things in perspective when lie gets hectic or I’m on the road.

After having read about many people who have had to deal with my same dilemma, I think what I’ve decided is that while I am at home, I will stick to a strict New England radius, including Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut.  And if I’m in New York or New Jersey with family, I  can extend the radius and bring things home with me.  While I am traveling or with family and friends who don’t share my vision, I will just have to be more relaxed and try to make conscious choices where I can. I still have the opportunity to seek out locally sourced restaurants with friends, and when I travel alone I will make sure that I am being local wherever I can. Something else I can do while I am traveling is to eat vegetarian dishes. This takes the guess work out of whether or not I am getting meat or fish that is sustainably and ethically raised.

As if my convictions aren’t strong enough, another benefit of being extra conscious of what I’m eating is that while I’m on vacation, I won’t be gaining as much weight as I otherwise would. People gain an average of 1lb per day while they aren’t home, so by being conscious about what I’m eating in general, I’ll be ready to stay on track and not gain a bunch of unwanted weight!

Entertaining has been a challenge for me, as has snacking …or meals when I am too tired to cook. Eating locally is incredibly involved and I’ve found it to take up quite a bit of my time. So, I have decided to start making foods and snacks in advance and freeze or store them, depending on what it is that I have made. I believe this will really help me to stick to my goals and be both healthful and conscious!

I have done a little reading on what items will freeze well and I will be including that information along with recipes as I begin to pre-make food for myself. If you are interested now, here are the sites I’ve been researching on:
http://www.helpwithcooking.com/food-storage/foods-freeze-well.html 
http://cliqueclack.com/food/2009/09/24/cook-and-freeze-for-whole-food-dinners-all-winter-long-fresh-foodie/
http://mysouthsidestand.com/health/five-produce-places-tips-for-keeping-fresh-food-in-winter/
http://www.blog.farmboat.org/?p=346

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