Eat Local Challenge – Surprises

As I begin this Eat Local Challenge (Day 2) I’ve come across a few surprises that I should have anticipated, yet, you know how things go…

1. It’s Hard! – My definition of “eating local” for this challenge is anything grown and/or produced in Wisconsin. This limits my choices in ways that surprise me, usually as I’m just about to order or consume something and I have to think about where it came from first. Last night, for example.

This low-carb diet has me drinking only water, diet soda (I used to drink very little soda before this), and coffee. Last night I decided to shake things up a bit and made some sugar-free Crystal Light to drink.


Yeah, Crystal Light is neither grown in Wisconsin (can chemicals be “grown” anywhere?) nor is it produced in Wisconsin.

What I learned before chugging the now-won’t-stop-tempting-me-simply-because-I-can’t-have-it beverage is:

a) there are so many innocuous things in my daily diet that I now can’t have during this challenge (a.k.a. I’m getting more aware of our national food system), and

b) Ew, what am I doing putting so many chemicals in my body? I think this challenge will help me banish some unhealthy processed foods from my life Disclaimer: I’m not saying Crystal Light is unhealthy, per se, just that this example made me realize how many things in our lives are processed who-knows-where and made out of who-knows-what.

2. SunDrop is Local! – Those who know me and/or came from my hometown of Shawano, WI might be shocked to hear this, but I completely forgot that I can, indeed, have some locally-made diet soda! As I mentioned above, diet soda is something I’ve caught on to because of my low-carb diet. I used to not drink soda of any kind that much, but the diet stuff has become my one glimmer of sweetness in a sugar-free wasteland.

SunDrop = Heaven's Ambrosia

Turns out, I don’t have to give up that ray of hope during this two-week challenge. Twig’s Beverage of Shawano, WI is a longtime bottler of SunDrop, also known as Heaven’s Ambrosia to those from this little lake hamlet.

Even better is that I’m heading up there this weekend (Shawano County Fair, oh the small town wonderment) and will certainly be picking up a bunch of the brew in glass bottles. Because why just drink soda when you can be amazed by its true deliciousness, too? Seriously, drinking soda from a glass bottle is the only way to go. Trust me on this.

3. Plan Ahead & Plan Some More! – My beginning stumbles during this challenge largely stem from my lack of planning. I had it in my mind that I would hit up the Saturday farmers’ market and get my fill in local produce, meats, and cheeses. What I didn’t think about is that this challenge started on September 1st, a.k.a. Thursday, a.k.a. two days before Saturday.


Since I’ve been so derelict in my duties, I’ve gotten by breakfast at Alterra and lunch at Comet Cafe to tide me over until I can make the market. Expense I wasn’t planning for, but, then again, it’s awesome that Milwaukee gives me so many restaurant options for eating local.

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2 Responses to Eat Local Challenge – Surprises

  1. Laura says:

    Rishi Iced Teas are on sale right now at Whole Foods Prospect. I am trying to quit soda myself and they make a great stand-in. Far better than soda. All you have to do is find someone growing stevia and you could sweeten it locally, without the sugar.

  2. Mandi says:

    Thanks for the tip! I definitely do NOT want to get into the habit of drinking soda again – diet really isn’t much better than regular with all of the sodium. I’ll definitely try the Rishi Tea!

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