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EAT LOCAL TO STAY HEALTHY

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Eating locally grown produce is now a growing diet fad, and people who insist on eating exclusively local produce are popularly called ‘localtarians’ or ‘locavores’, and their diet is also called the ‘100 mile diet’, referring to the trend of eating food grown within a 100 mile radius of their homes or localities.


Just as a "carnivore" eats only meat, a ‘localvore’ or ‘localtarian’ eats foods raised locally. The localtarian movement is especially prominent among people who are concerned about the environment, as many people believe that eating locally is more beneficial for the environment, especially when one sticks to seasonally available produce, avoiding produce grown in greenhouses or other artificial conditions. 


In the United States, food may travel as much as 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) to reach the plate. These traveling miles are referred to as “food miles,” and they have a profound impact on the environment, farming practices, and the quality of the food. Food miles impact the environment because they translate into carbon emissions, thanks to the trucks, planes, and boats used to transport them. They also play a role in farming practices, as farmers will engage in unsafe and dangerous practices when they know that the people consuming their food are unlikely to ever visit the farm. On the other hand, buying local foods encourages local farms to stay in business, which is especially crucial now.


Localtarians can choose from a variety of resources when sourcing their food. Some have their own gardens, to supplement the food they get from the community, while others attend farmers' markets, join community supported agriculture (CSA) associations, or purchase directly from local food producers. Natural food stores and local food cooperatives make it a point to highlight local produce and meats.



Here are some of the advantages of following the localtarian or 100-mile diet:


1. Eating Local shields us from food safety issues. In case global food corporations fail us, we have many family farms that can still feed us much of what we'd find at a superstore. 


2. Eating local equals eating with the seasons. Also, you can get to choose from a wider variety of produce.


3. Local farms help protect open spaces and are ultimately beneficial for sustainable development.


4. Buying local produce has a positive effect on the local economy as well.


5. Generally, locally grown produce is harvested within 24 hours of purchase. So you get the freshest stock available.


6. Locally harvested foods taste better.


7. Eating locally tends to use less resources, which can be better for the environment, and small, local food producers tend to care for the land they use more responsibly.


8. Finally, many locavores believe that a 100 mile diet is healthier, because they eat fresh food which is often sustainably grown, instead of food out of boxes. In the long term, it can also be cheaper, as consumers network directly with producers, cutting out the middle man, and avoid packaged foods, which tend to be more costly.



(Pic courtesy: edetoxify.com)

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