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Apr 12, 2009 06:09 PM

Is anyone watching the 100 Mile Challenge?

This is a new show on food network Canada, featuring the couple that wrote "The 100 Mile Diet." Families in Mission, British Columbia have signed up to live on a 100 mile diet for 100 days. Are you watching the show? If so, what are your thoughts?

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  1. This sounds like a great show (here's the show website: ). Is it good? I hope they show it at some point in the US.


    1. I've seen a bit of the opening show. I'm kinda glad I live within a hundred miles of where they grow wheat. I think the no bread, no pasta would be even worse than no coffee, tea or liquor. I thought they also said no wine but grapes grow in the area, right? You could make your own. I'd also be planting sugar beets and hops.

      It's harder than I would have thought and Mission isn't a bad area to do it. In Calgary we'd be pretty bored with by the end of winter.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sharonanne

        It is a good show. It highlights six of a number of families in Mission, BC who have signed up for 100 days.
        On yesterday's episode, the second one, they were searching for local grain for flour and alcohol and honey. One family found a person who was growing citrus fruit near Mission (60 miles away). Another family tried to make salt by boiling water from the ocean.
        I am lucky to have local organic wheat within 100 miles of my home. I would miss wine though and coffee and chocolate...oh, and spices.

        1. re: sharonanne

          sharonanne, I was thinking the same thing (boredom) here in Edmonton. I agree about the wheat though,and canola oil, local meats..We'd have a few solid choices.

        2. Salt would be a problem. Especially on the prairies where we could have the privilege of dying from thyroid disease due to a lack of iodine like my grandmother. The good old days weren't always so good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sharonanne

            In the US, the Goiter Belt stretched from Michigan across the Great Plains, all areas that lacked natural sources of iodine.
            In the 1930s, approximately 40 percent of the people in Michigan had goiter, due mainly to iodine-deficient soil. When iodized salt came into common usage, the problem disappeared.
            Cretinism, another condition caused by iodine deficiency, is characterized by mental retardation and other problems. It may be present in iodine-deficient babies or children born to women who are lacking iodine. It is a serious and nonreversible problem that should be avoided by proper iodine intake.

          2. The radio show, The Splendid Table, had something similar, Locovore Nation, 15 people from around the US trying buy 'locally', and writing or talking about it. It ran from Jan last year to this.


            Mission, in the middle of the lower Fraser Valley inland from Vancouver may be one of the easier places in Canada to do this. 100 miles to the east (straight) gets them to orchard country around Keremeos (not quite all the way to the Okanagan), Meritt to the NE is cattle country, Pemberton (just beyond Whistler) is famous for its potatoes. Nanaimo and Sooke on Vancouver Island are also in this range. Sooke Harbor House is a restaurant famous for its efforts to cook locally - to the point of finding local alternatives to lemon zest.

            PBS CreateTV showed to epsiodes of 'Endless Feast' that featured 'local' dinners based in the area, one in Pemberton, the other near Nanaimo (Parksville actually).

            And 100 miles to the south gets them to Seattle, so Penn Cove mussels might quality, and Skagit Valley tulips.

            1 Reply
            1. re: paulj

              Yes, you are right paulj, this is why they chose Mission for the show. There are other areas that would have worked though, like Southern Ontario, near Holland Marsh and the Niagara region. Mission is much more beautiful though.

            2. Yep. It's interesting, I think the people can be a little more creative recipe wise. My mother who also watches the show thought that the hosts of the show should have come up with a recipe book along with their own book to help the families a little more instead of just saying over and over that the families who can't cook are going to have a hard time.

              Also everyone has a struggle with giving up one thing or another but I think they live in a pretty good area. The salt was a big deal, I felt bad for that family.
              The shopkeeper was really supportive and took a lot of the responsibilities of finding products for the families on his shoulders which I thought was nice.

              I think eating locally is good, but I don't know if I would take on that diet to such an extreme not because I feel it's hard but because I feel it's going backwards, especially since we're just discovering so many interesting foods from around the world.

              11 Replies
              1. re: BamiaWruz

                I found your comment that taking this diet to such an extreme feels like "going backwards" interesting because that was my first reaction to the show. I think humans have a tendency to go from one extreme to another and I think this is being showcased in the current wave of environmentalism.

                Don't get me wrong - I think people have to change their habits to keep our planet healthy. Getting people to think about how they can cut down on pollution and wasting energy through their food choices is an admirable goal. But asking people to go from a mindset of "the world is your picnic basket" to "you can ONLY eat what's in your backyard" is, in my opinion, just setting people up to fail. That may make for entertaining TV but I think it can also have a negative impact on legitimate, thoughtful efforts to minimize our impact on the earth. Watching these people struggle will make it too easy for people to say "See, this evironmental stuff doesn't work! Why even try?"

                So I admit I'm finding the show interesting - I mean how can you not cheer for a family that's had as many personal challenges as the Peters or for someone who's trying to overcome agoraphobia - but frankly I'm taking this whole "challenge" with a grain of salt.... and that's good old store-bought table salt from who-knows-where.

                1. re: CPTeacher

                  The Lewis and Clark expedition spent a winter at the mouth of the Columbia River. One of the bigger tasks was boiling sea water to produce salt, which was used to preserve meat (mainly elk I believe) for the trip back. There's a group that reenacts that task at one of the Oregon parks each year. In the PNW collecting salt like that requires burning a lot of drift wood.

                  Historically salt has been an important long distance trade item. There are still remnants of historical salt trading routes in places like the Sahara and the Himalayas, using camel and yak pack animals. Our word 'salary' comes from salt. Some governments have used salt monopolies as a major source of revenue.

                  1. re: CPTeacher

                    I agree with you and the show got me thinking about everything I eat, and almost everything does come from somewhere else. I mean I just learned that india and the middle east are the biggest exporters of chickpeas, can Canada grow them? I don't know and I don't know how many foods/variety we can grow. Like I said I just feel we're beginning to see cool and interesting ingredients from all around the world in our neighborhood supermarkets, so to take that away would be hard and frankly not very pleasant.

                    Also the world is becoming very multicultural, I like the fact that I can buy my ethnic ingredients here in Canada so something like a local diet where perhaps potatoes and meat would be all that I can get my hands on would probably have me going back to my parents "home country" regardless of the turmoil goin' on, (kidding, well almost)

                    1. re: BamiaWruz

                      Why is growing chickpeas in Canada significant? Actually according to the Wiki article, Canada ranks 7th in this crop (though that is only 3% of the combined production from India and Pakistan). But then the Canadian consumption of the bean is a fraction of its use elsewhere.

                      On the other hand Canada ranks 2nd in lentil production (behind India, but ahead of Turkey).

                      It is behind India in wheat, just ahead of Pakistan. But according to one 1998 report
                      "In terms of international trade, however, Canada is the world’s second largest exporter of wheat; with annual exports averaging some 20 million tonnes, this country accounts for about 21% of the world market for wheat exports.(1)"

                      I wonder how much the Canadian economy would shrink if there was a world wide ban on food exports and imports.

                      1. re: BamiaWruz

                        Don't worry. By 2050 you'll be able to grow all sorts of temperate and semi-tropical crops in Canada - thanks to global warming. Which is youre parents' home counttry, if I may ask?

                        1. re: BamiaWruz

                          Why not buy those chickpeas from India or the Middle East? That foreign exchanged helps them develop. India has now grown from a net importer of food to a strong Democratic country and net exporter of food. They can buy things from the US that they need and life is better for their people leading to a more stable nation. The same is happening in the Middle East.
                          The US is trying to assist farmers in Afghanistan to switch from growing poppies for opium to growing crocuses for saffron - at a pretty high return, huh?
                          We buy many things from other countries that give them the hard currency to purchase things that they can't produce, to build schools and hospitals, water purification plants and roads, power generation and grids, etc.
                          Development leads to political stabilization.
                          We all gain from international trade. Enjoy your coffee and salt your food.
                          That doesn't mean that you have to eat asparagus and peaches every day in January but it ain't all bad.

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            I don't have a problem with buying anything from anywhere, and my point wasn't just about chickpeas but about a lot of foods that don't grow locally. I don't know if it is possible to grow every kind of food known to mankind within 100 miles so that everyone worldwide can go on a "local foods" diet.

                            1. re: BamiaWruz

                              If you put enough resources into greenhouses and hydroponics you can grow a wide range of products. In the Fraser River delta west of Mission BC there are extensive greenhouses, the original source of BC Hothouse cumbers and bell peppers. Holland has a large hothouse hydroponics industry. According to one travel show, much of Moscow's produce comes from area greenhouses.

                              1. re: BamiaWruz

                                The point is: Should we aim at buying everything locally and is that in the long term best interest of others?
                                Certainly, buying seasonal produce from local farmers or at least as close to home as possible, and growing what we can IF we have the means to do so is beneficial for everyone, but there are products that can add pleasure to our lives that are not reasonably grown nearby, or can be grown better somewhere else.
                                The 100-mile diet is useful to make us grateful for what we CAN have thanks to modern agriculture, transportation and globalization IF it's used properly.

                              2. re: MakingSense

                                I kind of like the show because it makes me think but my life has been so enriched by trying different foods that I would hate to pull back on that now.

                                It isn't just what is grown locally that would be a problem for me but what is produced locally. It might be possible to grow soybeans in my backyard but I don't think anyone around here is making soy sauce. I would learn how to make beer if I had to but soy sauce wouldn't make that short list of 'things I would learn to produce myself'.

                                1. re: sharonanne

                                  You hit the nail on the head.
                                  I think that it's really useful to do cooking "experiments" like - once in your life - making beer. Just to see how it's done. From one of those beer kits that they sell so you don't have to spend a lot on gear. It won't be great beer but you see the process and, most important, you learn and respect the tradition.
                                  THEN, you go back to buying the good stuff.
                                  Over the years, at home and in cooking classes, I've done lots of stuff like making pesto, pasta, or mayo or lots of other things totally by hand, the long way, with no electric appliances. It's easy to see how the emulsions form or things behave. How stuff ferments vs. gets sour as when I messed up pickles and saurkraut. But I succeeded corning my own beef.
                                  Then I happily went back to buying Hellman's and using machines, etc.

                                  It think that a lot of stuff could be done this way under a 100-mile challenge using local stuff. Isn't that how some foods started? Our forefathers came to North America and used their cooking methods from the "old country" on food products they found here? New foods in old ways? Old foods in new ways?