Top Ten Must Have Non-local Foods

Back in 2011 I posted a list of my must have non-local foods.  I thought it might
be interesting to revisit this list and see what is different for me now.  

I am a huge proponent of local eating.  I
feel like it is safer most of the time when you know where your food is coming
from, and especially if you are producing a lot of your own food.  Eating
a whole foods, plant based diet while living in Maine is challenging,
especially during the long winter.  So let us see where I am today with
must have non-local foods.
1.)  Good
quality extra virgin olive oil:
 I use two oils mainly, evoo and coconut oil.  I use
evoo for a lot of different salads, whether it is an oil and vinegar dressing
on a green salad, or as an ingredient for my black bean salad, I use it a lot.  Could I live
without it?  Certainly, but I feel like life is better with evoo and a
nice hunk of focaccia to
dip in it.
2.)  Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil & Flaked CoconutI only recently started using coconut
oil a lot.  I have replaced the vegetable
oil I typically used in baking with the coconut oil, and I love it.  I feel like the subtle coconut flavor is
amazing.  I also make my
own coconut milk
for cooking with – mainly curry.  I was never a big fan of coconut growing up,
but it has found its way into my heart now.
3.)  Coffee:  This should probably be number 1,
because I love me some coffee.  I have a
love hate relationship with this lovely beverage.  Sometimes I want to give it up, because of
the caffeine, but then I realize that I would still just buy decaf because I
love coffee that much!
4.)  Tea:  Tea is another one that I need to have
available.  Sure, I could grow herbs for
tea where I live, but during those periods where I think I will give up coffee –
I am still drinking tea.  And I use a lot
of the different Traditional Medicinal teas for health and wellness.  I’m not entirely sure which of those
different blends could be sourced locally by making my own tea mixes, I would have
to do more research.
5.)  Nutritional YeastI just recently discovered nutritional
yeast.  Well, I had read about it a
number of times over the past year, but finally tried it myself this past
winter.  I have mostly given up dairy,
but as someone who absolutely loves cheese,
I needed an alternative.  This is
it.  I put it on my salad, on popcorn, in
soups, make a nacho “cheese” sauce from it – the stuff is incredible.
6.)  Nuts:  Specifically raw almonds, walnuts and
peanuts.  I have been making my own
almond milk for quite a while now. 
Before it was just for the kids drinking, but now I use it in a number
of recipes as well – one of which is my salad dressing (come back tomorrow for
the recipe).  My kids snack on walnuts
and craisins and we eat a ton of peanut butter whether it is the typical peanut
butter sandwich or if I am using peanut butter for a noodle salad, it would
definitely be difficult to not have around!
7.)  Avocados:  I love them.  They are a healthy fat, and who doesn’t love
guacamole?  They make a great chocolate “pudding”
for the kids, and are a constant in our salads.
8.)  Citrus:  In my last list I actually listed out
oranges, lemons, and limes.  But, this
time I am lumping them together.  I think
if I had to pick one, it would probably be lemons.  But, I do love my citrus.
9.)  Bananas:  Last time this one didn’t make the list,
but this time I am including it.  We eat
a lot of bananas here.  I have talked
before about not buying strawberries in January because they aren’t in
season.  Well, bananas do not seem to
fall in that same category.  I think the
difference is that I can actually buy strawberries in season in Maine, so I
have a hard time buying them out of season from another country.  Bananas are a regular in our green
as well as a snack for the kids or in their morning oatmeal.
10.)  Chia SeedsYes, these would be the same seeds as
the ones that are from those lovely chia pets of the 80’s and 90’s.  They are an amazing super food though.  I put them in salad dressing to thicken it,
in smoothies, on salads.  You can really
add them to anything because they don’t have a very distinct flavor.  If you haven’t tried them, you should.
These are my top ten now.  Obviously it has grown a bit since my last
list, but these are the non-local foods that I seem to find in my house that
are used on a regular basis.  Could I do
without a lot of these?  Absolutely.  I know that I could change my diet to an even
more local diet if I included more animal products.  But, that isn’t the stage I am in right now.
Do you have a list of non-local foods that
you buy week after week?  Is it a concern
to you that these aren’t available locally? 
Are there substitutions you could make so that your diet was more local?

Linking up at Clever Chicks and the Homestead Barn Hop

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  1. I nodded my head in agreement with almost everything on your list. I don't use coconut oil (too much…yet) but I definitely do coconut milk (and also coffee) daily. Usually I make sure both are organic. Almost daily: olive oil, avocados, bananas, and almonds (or almond butter). Weekly: citrus, chia seeds (in kombucha), frozen fruits, and currently yogurt (of the worst variety….full of hormones, sigh!). Right now, I'm on a tea kick too..(again, mostly organic).

  2. I think my list would be exactly the same! I don't think I could do without any of the items you listed. Occasionally I can get nuts locally (David's grandma has a huge pecan tree) but everything else I can't find locally.

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