i’ve been thinking a lot about food lately.

two separate flu bugs in the first three days of 2009 actually started the year off with weight loss, for once. worry not. i’ve made up for it since…those Christmas chocolates were at risk of spoilage.

food is my crutch, my weak spot, my pleasure, though we try to have a straight arrow relationship these days. Posey’s digestion seems depressingly sensitive to what i eat, so i’ve cut dairy and most legumes from my diet entirely. add in the fact that my gourmandaise star turn into artichoke cauliflower soup the other evening turned her little gut into a kettle of gas, and we’re back to keeping the cruciferous vegetables in check too. for ethical/environmental/financial/ colon cancer prevention/save the children reasons i’m also trying to rein in my rather outlandish meat consumption, and yep…the prospect of making dinner with what’s left drives me to break out the chocolates again.

unfortunately, as i learned – however unwillingly – from Mad a few months back, chocolate isn’t exactly a food choice without a footprint. i kinda knew that before, but i was ignoring it. thanks to the Lorax The Just Posts, i am now trying to green my chocolate purchasing. i won’t single-handedly end child slavery, but i need to at least take responsibility for not making the problem worse.

i’m still coming to terms with the idea that not only does everything i eat impact my body, but it comes from somewhere. it impacts the earth, it impacts an increasingly global system of capital and resource exchange, it impacts what seeds farmers can plant in rural India and whether kids eat in Botswana.

i like the idea of the hundred-mile diet.

then i look out my window at the five feet of snow blanketing my neighbourhood and i quake at the notion of ever seriously adhering to something so…disciplined. i live on a small island in Canada, people…unless i want to go out and jig for fish under the ice six months of the year or subsist on sprouted spuds all winter, my options end up even more limited than they are already. yes, we have a fine farmers’ market and some local organic growers, but i’ve asked about out of season products at the Saturday market and discovered that their fat spring blueberries come from Chile, just like those at MegaGroceryMonopolis. except more expensive.

though, everywhere, even MegaGroceryMonopolis, food seems to be more expensive these days. part of me laughs and says, good thing we all resolved to eat less for January, huh? part of me knows the distance of irony is a privilege. the inflation will mean some hungrier kids, some emptier food banks.

i’ve been wandering the aisles of my local grocery stores noticing that all the produce – even the goddam potatoes, in a province almost synonymous with spuds – are from locations crazy far away. i also noticed, just yesterday, that while all the apples at MegaGroceryMonopolis A are imports, even the Macintoshes, which grow locally and should still be quite nice this time of year, the organics were actually the same price as the non-organics. this is the first time i’ve ever seen price equity. and the whole web of supply and demand is so complex that i don’t even know if that’s a good thing. it’s good for me. it means Oscar will get his beloved apples sans pesticides without us eating up more of our budget to buy ’em, and since apples are one of the few things still left for me to bloody eat, they’re a significant part of that budget right now. i guess it means that if more people buy organic apples, maybe more growers can go organic, thus indirectly and eventually creating less profit for companies like Monsanto, and maybe less pressure for farmers to subscribe to ecologically and financially ridiculous proposals. but these organic apples still appear to have been shipped thousands of miles to make it to my fruit basket.

maybe i should’ve tried to be more hundred-mile and, uh, canned the pile of apples we picked at the local organic orchard back in September. but who eats canned apples?

i dunno what to make of all this. i don’t want to spend as much on food as i do. i don’t want to eat as much crap as i do. i want to make informed choices wherein what ends up on my plate has logged as few travel miles and oppressed as few living creatures as possible, while still being, y’know, delicious. and preferably chocolate.

i need ideas. ideas about what to eat that’s non-dairy and non-gassy and preferably grows somewhere at least in the northern-ish zones of North America without massive amounts of pesticides. cheap would be nice. recipes would be awesome. and in the interest of full disclosure, i am that odd Maritimer who actually does not eat fish or other sea creatures. they’re gross, don’tcha know? except tunafish from a can, but that’s all full of mercury and endangered to boot. sigh.

what do you eat? what are your priorities in terms of making choices…cost? health? environmental impact? likelihood of toddlers to actually consume it? tell me what you love, what you know, what you eat. because stew and spinach huevos rancheros (sans cheese, sniff) are getting waaaay tired up here.