Jesus is a Locavore

This past week or two I have experienced some sort of circular kismet or revelation…something that I can already see changing my life forever (again).  In 1992 I cold turkey began eating a ovo-lacto vegetarian diet (meatless diet that includes eggs and dairy).  By 1994 I had pretty much stopped drinking alcohol (not that I was ever much of a drinker) and I was never a fan of tea or coffee.  However, in 1998 as I prepared to enter the former culinary arts program at Utah State University I reintroduced meat to my diet.  In 1999 I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Once again I have begun to seriously consider my dietary lifestyle and as I have struggled to make what are going to be radical changes (and changes that are proving more difficult to make than they were in 1992) I have found myself preparing a Sunday school lesson on the Word of Wisdom, a dietary and health code for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is not unlike Kosher restrictions for Jewish adherents or Islamic halal standards.  This code is housed within the pages of the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) a book of scripture within the Latter-day Saint cannon.

The verse that tripped the light switch was D&C 89:11

Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.

“…in the season thereof…”!

You do not have to be a culinary professional like myself to know that “seasonal” is one of the pillars of the local and sustainable food movements.  For me, professionally,  the sustainable and local food movements have proven more a thorn and a nuisance than anything.  In my market the majority of consumers don’t understand why I don’t want to sell asparagus in January or why their honeydew and watermelon taste bland in December.  

Also a problem is that I would love to be able to cook professionally in a manner that is in keeping with how I should and would like to be eating personally.  But the vegetarian, organic, sustainable, etc food market is not quite as lucrative in my neck of the woods (Central Utah) as in other parts of the country.  Or at least not from the employee view point.  The presence of national health food chains like Whole Foods and Sunflower and local markets like Good Earth show that there is a movement here it just seems less tapped into in comparison to nearby California, Oregon, or Washington.

And so the saga continues I am changing my lifestyle and it seems that I have divine support in the matter.  I guess it is time to, in the words of a fellow church member, “…ask in the name of Jesus Christ for the self-discipline to change [my] lifelong and vanity cherished habits.”

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~ by Mel's Boy on Saturday, 13 June 2009.

8 Responses to “Jesus is a Locavore”

  1. Keep in mind that Utah is not exactly a liberal state that follows every trendy whim of leftist kooks. Nor is it a state where people buy into the man-made global warming lunacy. I can respect the idea of buying locally and those fruits and vegetables that are in season…for one, they taste better when they are picked when they are ripe! But forcing everyone to abide by those same rules will do several things. First, it is an act of protectionism and the direct result is a loss of jobs, money and capitalist economic principles that affect the 3rd world where these products are grown, to the drivers that deliver them and to the markets that sell them. Second, forcing the purchase of only locally produced and in season produce severely restricts dietary options (not every place is full of arable land and temperate climate) and would force a steep spike in the cost of such foods. This price increase would not only severely impact the poor (who already don’t eat enough fruits and veggies) but would hurt middle class families too. Don’t even get me started on the “organic” trend. Reduced crop yields, increased bacteria and bacteria related illness (how many times have you heard of eColi outbreaks in the last few years??) are just a few of the prices paid for an anti-technology leftist agenda.

  2. “..in the season therefo..” encourages diversity in diet. It’s hard to eat strawberries every single day if they aren’t in season. Also, when that book was written there weren’t many options outside of what was in season unless you resorted to canned goods.

  3. just a piece of trivia… “Herbs” in those days referred to vegetables, as well as the herbs we know today….

    I am trying to change my diet to more ‘whole’, ‘fresh, ‘natural’ ‘raw or steamed lightly’ ‘varied’ and ‘in season’. I made artichokes for my family: kids wouldn’t eat them, husband had to be instructed how and thought it was ‘too much work’…oh well.

    I would follow the Word of Wisdom perfectly if only Coke or Dr. Pepper was included… 🙂

  4. How do you feel about gardens?

  5. My wife is big into gardening as is my grandmother. I’m not currently big into it but I don’t know why. When I was single I did a little bit of reading on container gardening and gardening and general and living in Utah Valley has me romanticizing about owning an orchard. Honestly though if you live in any type of rural setting you should be considering a garden and if a person is serious about buying local foodstuffs and the whole locavore/sustainable/green dining idea then I don’t know how you can’t do some gardening. Even if it’s just a small window of herbs. I’m actually right now researching herbs and will probably start a container herb garden in the next week or so.

  6. Also, when that book was written there weren’t many options outside of what was in season unless you resorted to canned goods.

    Exactly! I think maybe the locavore community (then and now) may be misrepresenting itself. I think it might be more accurate to say buy seasonally. If you get a bumper crop of strawberries this summer make jam, make jelly, make whatever can it and use it through the winter. We definitely need a diverse diet not only for physical health but I would argue for mental health as well. After a winter of local potaotes and bread or something equally as bland I would think the most die hard of locavores would be ready to import the tastiest of foods from the deepest darkest regions of the nether-reaches, be damned the global consequence!

  7. I have recently been turned on to localism, having read Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. My question is this: Being a locavore in Utah (with a 5 month growing season) seems an impossible task. So does one content himself with doing it while he can, and then going back to eating his Chilean grapes and raspberries in the winter months?

    I am fascinated at how the church so clearly tells us what not to eat (it is right in the Word of Wisdom), but members so blatantly disregard what one should eat (but, it too, is right there).

  8. Hey Matt thanks for stopping by. I’ve had several conversations and ponderings about this very thing. But here’s what I’ve come to understand. Seasonal and Local doesn’t have to mean not having your favorite tasty garden treats only 1/2 the year. We are counseled to keep food storage and part of that storage process is using the product up and replenishing it constantly. So if you get a bumper crop of tomatoes this summer eat what you can but also can some for the pantry. Then in the dead of winter you can still have garden “fresh” tomato soup. Of course, you don’t have to grow it all yourself. There are fabulous farmer’s and gardener’s markets popping up all over the country even here in Utah. This is the route that I see myself taking in the future. It requires more work but I think it will be good. On the flipside though I am trying to research some ideas that I heard recently that might slightly alter some of my ideas. Check back this week I’m going to be posting an intriguing article very soon.

    The Word of Wisdom is indeed truly a miracle and a gift. The more I read it and the more I learn and teach from it the more I think that we are not living to the highest standard possible in the kitchens and dining rooms of our homes!

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