During my last Primal Health Course module I found myself feeling a twinge of discomfort. In the unit, Mark Sisson stresses the importance of making local food a priority in one’s diet; in the recommended spectrum of produce choices, local fruits and vegetables rank at the top (higher than certified organic!). Primarly adapted, my husband and I eat a lot of vegetables. And we live in Alaska. And it’s winter. Would I have to give up eating vegetables from my Washington CSA during our long winter season? In the past, a detail like this, no matter how small, might have derailed me from an eating plan. For example an unplanned indulgence during the week could lead me to declare, “Well, this week’s a wash. I’ll just start over on Monday.” The all or nothing mentality, in other words, striving for perfection that doesn’t exist, was a common occurrence in my life. If I couldn’t be perfect, why do it at all? Now I can see how unreasonable this is, but at the time it was how I let my thoughts operate.
I am happy to say that that initial feeling of discomfort gave me pause to do some reframing. Maybe I couldn’t enjoy local veggies all winter (except for year-round microgreens: check out The Grove’s CSA!), but there are in fact many primal advantages to living in Alaska. Almost all of the protein we consume (in the form of fish, moose, grouse, ptarmigan) is local. In the summer we make sure to catch enough salmon, halibut and rockfish to last the winter. During the six months when the lakes are frozen, Tom (my fishing-obsessed husband) supplies us with an abundance of fresh pike, which he catches through the ice.
We made a choice to live in Alaska, which (for us) means buying non local produce in the winter. I believe that we can celebrate what we do well, and not worry about our lack of local winter veggies. They will be back in the summer, and then we will be damn near perfect! ;)
Pike, a mild white fish, can be found in Alaska, the northern midwest and southern Canada. Pike are considered an invasive species in our area as they devour young salmon and breed prolifically. (My husband and his ice fishing buddies have named themselves “The Crusaders”- as in crusading for the salmon.) Luckily pike are absolutely delicious, especially when prepared according to Tom’s special method:
“Drop a tablespoon of coconut oil into a cast iron skillet and heat to medium high. Add the pike fillets and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Fry each fillet just a couple of minutes (depending on the size of the fish) and then flip for a few more minutes.”
The Northern Fish Nutrition Guide states that 8 oz of uncooked pike flesh has 43g of protein, 286 IU Vitamin D, 60g of selenium, and 411 Omega-3 mg of fatty acids.
Some might avoid pike because they are bony, but with practice it is quite possible to remove all of the tiny Y bones. (Here is a tutorial.)
What can you do to eat local in your area? Do you have a garden or keep chickens? Can you grow basil in your window sill? Do you have fish you can catch in nearby lakes or rivers?