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10-Mile Diet, Minus 2 Hours

Vicki Robin here, coauthor of Your Money or Your Life. For 30+ years I’ve been running experiments in conscious, frugal, creative, sustainable, self-sufficient living (on my website www.yourmoneyoryourlife.org you’ll see some of my classes) so when Tricia Beckner asked me to only eat for a month  what she can produce on her CSA farm-ette, just to see what happens, I was game. As you’ll see, we’ve widened the circle a little, to include food produced 10 miles from my home on Whidbey Island, with exceptions made for 4 essentials: oil, salt (+5 other spices), caffeine, and lemons (until I can find local apple cider vinegar).

The diet starts tomorrow, and today has felt a bit like being on a conveyor belt heading off a cliff. Or like a prisoner eating her last meal. Despite how prepared I am for my 10-mile diet experiment, I’ve found myself scarfing what by midnight will be untouchables until October 1. To wit:

  • soft ice cream cone
  • soup with about 20 ingredients (billed as organic but where did that oregano grow?)
  • one of those greasy roast chickens from the supermarket
  • pad thai, yum, last pasta (or bread or cereal) for a month
  • popcorn

I wanted to take pictures of it all—or at least the pad thai. My "last supper” before… what? I think before being very, very conscious of the flow of food to my hands and through my body.

Amazing how we go through our days grazing without a thought about where our food comes from. Perhaps we count calories. Perhaps we eat five fruits and veggies like good boys and girls. Perhaps we look for organic labels in the market. Perhaps we even focus on a 1000 mile diet. Or 100 mile. But 10 miles says you have to be in pretty intimate relationship with the food itself as it comes out of the ground or the udders or comes under the knife like the beef I bought at the Long Family Farm.

I am not parading this as virtue. Or for hyperlocal bragging rights. It’s simply fascinating to set a tight constraint and see what shows up in my mind about it. And my life. Tracking mouthful—like tracking money in the Your Money or Your Life program.

I got home tonight from a long day in Seattle and at a class to find my first box of food from Tricia, my neighbor and the farmer whose CSA delivery will be my main source of food for the next month. Wow. I certainly am not going to starve! Or at least it looks like I won’t.


Vicki Robin is blogging for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions, about her experiment with a 10-mile diet on Whidbey Island, Wa. The coauthor of Your Money or Your Life, Vicki teaches classes about frugal, creative, and self-sufficient living (see www.yourmoneyoryourlife.org). 

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