I had the experience last week of eating out a lot more than I have in the recent past. It was fun, as it usually is, to go out (especially to have someone else cook AND clean up!) But, I found myself scouring the menu for the right thing to eat. We lucked out with the one Italian restaurant that I posted a few days back in that it served local and free range foods. However, that is not the norm. So, as I perused the menu my first thought was CHICKEN. It is healthier, right? But, really chickens and pigs are so ill treated that I just couldn’t bring myself to either. There was not always a vegetarian option nor did I necessarily want a meat free meal. I figured, beef, might be ok health-wise as long as I was not picking a processed beef (like fast food burger) but that did not remove all the other beef factors that are scary and sad. I figured for one meal I would destroy our oceans I got a tuna salad sandwich, it was tasty and have my seafood watch list printed an in my purse for the next time I am dining out.
I know that Vegetarians have had similar difficulties in the past. Their diet is not one that is accepted everywhere and I am sure vegans and those with celiac’s disease have an even harder time. Locavores, as a dietary lifestyle group, are sort of new to the mix so ‘Locavore Friendly Foods’ are not necessarily marked on the menu. Neither are free-range, organic or humanely grown. I imagine that in the not-too distant future we will see these markings popping up in more and more places. I hope so! It will make eating easier and more fun.
On a related but side note, shopping the grocery store is equally difficult. My list is half as long but I spend at least as much time at the store. It is hard to find the items that I am looking to buy, they are not necessarily in the easiest place to see and I tend to read labels to be sure that I am getting what I am expecting. But, just like the menu, more food are being marked for what they are. I try not to get lured into the pretty farm picture – caveat emptor. I saw a jar of pears, packaged so that you would think that they were a small production item, the farm on the packaging had a date that would lead you to believe that it had been around for at least a hundred years, but the location on the back? Made in China. You get the picture.