by Sarah Irani
Being a hard-core perfectionist, I have had to impose the 80/20 rule into my life. I think that it can very easily be integrated into our thoughts about eating locally. Many people seem defensive about drinking Colombian coffee and African chocolate, but needn't worry. I figure, if we all eat 80% locally then the remaining 20% can be coffee, chocolate, wine, spices, etc. As more and more people implement local eating into their daily lives at the 80/20 rule we will still see a drastic change in agriculture and public health!
This helps us to integrate a little bit of grace into our lives and as human experience tells us- we can all use a little more grace.
I have been seeing a naturopathic physician lately to address some of my terrible physical problems. The top on the list has been digestion and he suspects a gluten intolerance. So, I have been keeping a very detailed food journal with what I have eaten, how I have felt, and a few more vital stats. When I came in for a checkup, after a month of going dairy and wheat-free, I felt like I was stepping into a confessional. Forgive me, for I have sinned. Guilt seems to be an inherent human quality. The food journal kept me completely honest and I had to own up to that weekend in Atlantic City- all the wine, chocolate cake and other goodies. "You had a good time in Atlantic City?" he asked me. I was so sheepish about my confession and eked out a small Uh-huh. "Sarah, I am not here to judge you! I just want you to feel better. How did you feel after eating that cake?" I felt terrible, I admit it.
As he scanned the rest of the food journal, he offered up praise for my healthy diet. What about that carmel corn I ate on Tuesday? Or that extensive buffet at the Indian restaurant? He
looked me straight in the eye, "Sarah you eat really well and are going
to get better. If 20% of the time you slip up or have a little
indulgence that is fine. Don't be so hard on yourself!"
He has really encouraged me! I am the one who suffers when I eat chocolate cake, no matter how tasty it seems at the time. We are all befitting from eating local foods- as individuals and as a society. We can also benefit cocoa farmers in Ghana by buying their chocolate bars or Colombian coffee farmers (I am talking about fair trade!) Let us not get discouraged by feeling like our efforts are too small or contain too many "exceptions."