Ninjas vs Zombies

Hoo boy is it summer, eh? Those poor ninjas in their black outfits–Stay hydrated, secret dudes! And those zombies are really starting to smell in this heat.

This week has been an interesting one on DorkCargo, starting with a bitter blood feud and culminating in a reminder of how awesome it is that the Karmic Wheel didn’t toss me off in Afghanistan. I thought I’d add one more for the week, another one of these Zombie vs Ninja questions for which there is no right answer.

Local vs Organic.

I know, I know. 1) what does this have to do with books; 2) why does it have to be one or the other; and 3) haven’t we all gone round and round this a million times in our own lives?

At the house of DC we have been radically changing the way we eat: what we eat, how much of it we eat, and where it comes from. It takes for bloody ever now do do the damn shopping, but it actually costs less because we’re eating less. The three points of the food decision decision triangle for me are: organic, local and cost. (photos below are from Whole Paycheck Foods. the first is of non-organic but local, the other is of organic but very not local, the peppers are from holland.)

What I want to know from y’all is your story. Have you made such a change? Why? What are the food shopping and consumption rules you have made for yourself and your family? Any luck getting the Spousal Unit on board with this whole “let’s change the way we eat” plan? Do your kids care?

Diet and nutrition are intensely personal journeys. What and why of my diet choices won’t work for you, and your nutty food ideas won’t necessarily fly round here. But I know that a lot of you do shop at your local farmer markets, have changed the way you eat, or have gone off and started your own farm.

Here’s how this relates to books.

It occurred to me that even though my thoughts and values were in the right place, my actions and food consumption were not. I realized this, like one of those shafts of sunlight parting the clouds in religious iconography, when shopping for food for our roommate at ConCarolinas: committing to a lifestyle change means changing all of my life, all the time, not just picking and choosing when to occasionally commit to some arbitrary values.

I believe that we get a lot of encouragement and gentle reminders and inspiration from our peers. (“If he can do this, I can do this.”) Take a moment to tell us your “what and why”, leave some encouragement for someone else, and take some away for yourself.

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8 thoughts on “Ninjas vs Zombies

  1. First of all, you and we (I mean Rach and me, and Mark where applicable) totally need to do our grazing together at cons where practical. We’re in the same place, and it’s hard to pull off at cons. But you know that. :)

    We went all-but-organic a few years ago. It’s WAY expensive; our food bills tripled, not least because we were suddenly doing all our shopping at Whole Paycheck. Later we discovered a huge farmer’s market across town that carries a lot of organic stuff, and it got better. Mark & I have a constant tug-of-war on organic vs not because of price, because he is the one with his eye on the university tuition ball. I generally catch him when he tries to sneak in non-organic stuff. I don’t always win the ensuing argument.

    Organic+local…man, the Venn diagram of that is a space one molecule wide. I want to do both. If I must choose between organic and local, organic wins. They are different ways of doing our part to take care of the planet and the people who grow food; and of the two, organic makes a bigger difference in the lives of me & my family.

    We also made a huge lifestyle change about 2 years ago. Man, the differences in our health. But it is a very strict way of eating and…wait for it…practically impossible to pull off when you’re traveling. It has gradually fallen apart on us. Our project for this year (this year beginning NOW, for a variety of reasons with which I won’t bore your entire readership) is to reintegrate our Magical Eating Plan with our shifting lives, which have come to include a great deal of travel.

    It is, as they say in Engineering World, a non-trivial problem.

    I’m very glad to hear that you are becoming conscious of taking care of yourself and trying to be responsible about your food sources. It *is* time-consuming, and frequently both expensive and a hassle, but worth the effort.

    • My On Travel Buffet must be 1) not requiring cooking, 2) not dependent on refrigeration, and 3) not difficult or messy to eat (in front of other people, I mean). You never know if you’re going to get a fridge or microwave. This means apples, carrots, oranges, grapes, raisins, nuts, sometimes beef jerky, bell peppers…

      I’m hungry now.

  2. The change for us started in 2001 and has been gradual and is still on-going. But it sticks. We try to get most things (food and nonfood) local and/or organic when we can. The local part is harder than organic. So, we started a farm.

    We have pursued this lifestyle because it is respectful of ourselves and the world around us. It is also healthy and gives me a sense of connection to the food I eat.

    On travel, I try to go vegetarian as plant-based diet usually has a softer impact on the earth and is more healthy for me.

    We have read several good books that are not preachy, but talk of the journey of discovering where food comes from. Michael Pollen’s books (In Defense of Food, Omnovore’s Dilemma) are excellent. Also Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was a great story of her family’s choice to change their diet.

  3. I have often felt that the only way to really do it right is to start a farm. I think it’s cool you did that! I have other friends going the same route. I can’t go there. Too many books to write & publish.

  4. I don’t spent a whole lot of time focusing on the “local vs. organic” debate, as both terms are terribly vague and there’s a lot of leeway as to how they can be applied. A couple of years ago (after I found my health was not what it should be), I largely cut out processed/boxed things from the household diet (not as hard or as expensive as you might think), and everyone’s health improved.

    I tend to go with fresh ingredients when I can (and frozen vegetable ingredients when I can’t). I’m big on ingredients I can pronounce. I have a couple of great farmer’s markets nearby where I get most of my stuff – get to know your sellers, too – they’re happy to answer questions about where and how the food is grown.

    That said, the tree-hugger in me likes “local” because it generally means less pollution in the transportation leg of the transaction, and “organic” because of the whole “prefer to eat things I can pronounce” business, but it’s not necessarily a deal breaker.

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