It feels like 10 years since I left Seattle, instead of the 10ish days it has been. I have been so busy and caught up that I have felt like numerous lifetimes have passed. I have barely been able to catch my breathe. Until today. It was snowing outside here in Atlanta and I had no plans, so I decided to use it as an opportunity to not do anything. To slow down and be productive at the one thing I haven't been productive at in a month, relaxing. Sometimes, doing nothing is as important as doing something. Balance in all things is vital.
When you hit the road and leave behind routine, it is easy to get caught up in the fast lane. While I am the fast foodie, there is nothing fast about my cooking or eating. I am definitely a slow foodist, but that is not always easy to accomplish on the road. You go out to eat with friends, grab a lunch to go on the road or aren't somewhere you have access to a kitchen. I have tried to keep my food philosophy foremost in my travels, but today I needed a good immersion, a full dunk. I need to cook. I needed to fill my stomach with fresh, vibrant, homecooking.
Another thing that seemingly flies straight out the window when on the road is green living. We forget to be concise in our travels, unplug our ipods or leave behind our portable travel mug. Traveling is stressful, so most of us just operate in survival mode or over-indulgence mode where the stress of traveling becomes an excuse to indulge in every pleasure and throw out good conscious. I tend to try and stay balanced, but err towards the side of survival mode. No that doesn't mean I start eating McDonalds, it just means I tend to be less mindful to be in the here and now, less time to relax and put pressure on myself to be constantly productive. Green living translates differently on the road. It becomes a battle of the time crunch and stress, with trying to be green in a city where you are unfamiliar. I found a couple of cool websites that help you seek out green business in your area, including http://www.gengreenlife.com/. But even I find, my brain, good intentions and approach to the world become muddled when I travel.
Case in point, I headed off for my one trip out today to go to the grocery store to pick up some things so I could make my lunches for the work week and possible some breakfast items. Even though I am familiar with Atlanta, my first instinct was to go to the closest grocery store that I am willing to shop at: Trader Joes. Trader Joes ranks lower on the list than other stores in my book. While they have a decent selection of organic foods, they also have an abundance of non-organic and tons of processed foods. And the packaging just slays me. I rank it this way:
1) Local Co-op
2) PCC/ Chain Co-op
3) Whole Foods/ Local Natural Markets
4) Trader Joes
As I drove towards Trader Joes, fresh off doing some reading about green living, I knocked some sense into myself. Why was I going to Trader Joes, when the co-op was only another mile away. At the co-op, especially Sevananda, the focus is on SLOW food and I would be able to get exactly what I was looking for and not have to wade through a sea of "organic" but completely out of season vegetables or non-organics. SLOW food is my life, and I am constantly reminded that the earth and the foods that are produced in the SLOW food way, are what are naturally best for our body.
S= Seasonal L= Local O= Organic W= Whole
Remember how I said that I can always tell that winter is coming to an end because I stop craving brussel sprouts? Well, today as I navigated the fresh, extremely local, organic produce section at the co-op, I noticed the brussel sprouts and could tell they were leaving the season. They were small, light green and no longer so vibrant. It was probably one of the last boxes they would put out for the year. I decided that while I wasn't craving them in particular, that I would give them one last go around the block for old times sake and make brussel sprouts, apples and baked tofu. I picked up a bunch of kale and other greens as well as some Braggs Dressing for a super green salad. I picked up two resusable bags worth of delicious SLOW food and felt good knowing, that while I had driven the extra mile or two to get the food, nothing I had in my bags had comes very far to get to me. Mexico, New Zealand, Argentina were not involved. And that, just that, small thing was enough for today.