It’s kind of rough being a food columnist in January. Oh, everyone’s excited to talk to you in November and December; family is coming into town, the holiday debauchery is in full swing and everyone wants to know where’s the best place to eat. What have you had lately that’s amazing? Where can I find the best…[insert your favorite holiday treat here]?
But come Jan. 1, it’s a whole different story. Suddenly those same people who wanted to gab on heirloom bacon and gossip about who has the best seasonal cocktail menu are suddenly teetotalers and cleansers, giving up their lardons and bourbons for kale and green smoothies.
I try to be moderate in all things, and I try very hard not to swing to the extremes that come so easily this time of year. In fact, I gave up New Year’s resolutions a few years ago as a bad habit. But it’s a habit I’m willing to take up again as I offer you some suggestions for a different (dare I say better?) kind of resolution.
Shift 10 percent of your food budget to local food. This could be the most important resolution you ever make. Buying locally ensures that the farmers who will save our sorry butts when the next revolution/apocalypse/financial cliff comes will still be around when we need them. It also helps us to think, eat and act more seasonally, which is better for our environment, our bodies, our communities and our wallets, to be honest. Can’t make the commitment to 10 percent? Try 5 percent. Or 1 percent. Or just shift to buying one thing locally that you currently buy from somewhere else. It makes a difference.
Eat more veggies. Rather than proclaiming that you’re going to lose 20 pounds or run a marathon or get back into your skinny jeans, why not simply resolve to put a vegetable on your plate at every meal. That’s right: every single meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. How different would your diet be if you did that? I don’t care if they’re bacon roasted Brussels sprouts or carrots drenched in butter; it’s a step in the right direction (and a delicious one, I might add).
Give up chains. Do you eat out a lot? Do you mostly eat at locally owned restaurants, or at mega-chain restaurants? I’ve got nothing against chains in general—truly—but it breaks my heart when the votes come in every spring for our Best of the West awards and people list Chili’s as the best restaurant in East Boulder County (yes, this happens). If you’re reading this column, I’m most likely preaching to the choir, but we as a community are blessed with so many good restaurants, it seems like a crime not to get to know them.
Don’t know where to start? Email me. (firstname.lastname@example.org) I’ve got tons of good suggestions.
And I tend to be pretty lonely this time of year.