21 Days Eating Only What We Can Grow

Mark

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G'day Everyone,

I have decided to try a 21-day experiment whereby I and also Nina (my wife) will only eat what we can grow.


In other words, if we didn't grow it here on our property we can't eat it. For example, we don't have a cow or pigs so we can't drink milk or eat bacon. However, there are some exceptions such as coffee, tea, vinegar, salt, pepper, and several other condiments that we can use to help cook or season foods.

I'll be using this thread/post as a diary to detail the next 21 days. I'll simply edit this post when I need to add something.

Feel free to post your comments or questions below...

Day 1 - 22nd June

We took the plunge this morning and I had my first black cup of coffee without sugar since my old Army days :quiver:

Breakfast: 3 fried eggs with nothing else (except the coffee).
Lunch: Freshly squeezed orange juice, a few pecans, and a pickled egg.
Dinner: Fried mini cabbage and broccoli sprouts topped with fried eggs.

fried cabbage broccoli and eggs 600.jpg


I also had a couple of black sugarless teas but on my second one I added a squeeze of lemon juice and this actually tasted very nice! It's black tea with lemon juice for me from now on... :)

Day 2 - 23rd June

I started the day with another black sugarless coffee and it still tasted awful.

Breakfast: Omelet with baby white turnips, zucchini, spring onion, and garlic chives.
Lunch: Green papaya salad topped with pecans.
Afternoon snack: Fried sweet potato chips.
Dinner: Baby French round carrots with fried eggs on a bed of kale and celeriac.

omelet eggs baby white turnip zucchini garlic chives 600.jpg

green papaya salad topped with pecans 600.jpg

fried sweet potato chips 600.jpg

fried eggs on a bed of kale and celeriac with baby french carrots.jpg

I also had a few more cups of lemon tea throughout the day and into the evening.

So far, both Nina and I are feeling pretty good about this challenge/experiment. Not hungry and apart from the eggs the food seems varied enough (at the moment) to keep us interested.

Day 3 - 24th June

The black coffee in the morning isn't getting any better.

Breakfast: Curried scrambled eggs with garlic chives and parsley.
Lunch: I worked through lunch but had a big glass of mixed citrus juice for afternoon tea from a Marsh grapefruit, Honey Murcott mandarine, and Lane's Late Navel orange.
3 citrus juice mix.jpg

Dinner: Cornbread with some salad and snack of pecans later on.
cornbread made from aztec corn.jpg

This was my first time making cornbread and it was surprisingly good (and filling). Tasted like a giant corn chip biscuit! No milk in this recipe I basically used water instead of milk (plus: 2 x eggs, teaspoon baking soda, teaspoon baking powder, some cooking lard, and seasoning).

Day 4 - 25th June

Well, I took the advice and made my morning coffee with a dash of orange juice (as a substitute for sugar) and I have to say it was pretty good! The OJ took the bitterness away and I could at least have a reasonable :tea:.
dash of orange juice in coffee.jpg

Breakfast: Eggs (again).
Lunch: Cornbread (crumbled) with fermented tomatoes chilies and herbs.
cornbread with fermented tomatoes chilies and herbs 600.jpg

cornbread plated with chilie and fermented tomato 600.jpg

Dinner: Vegetable laksa curry - cabbage, bok choy, turnip, carrot, chilies, ginger, etc
vegetable curry laksa.jpg


Popcorn (homegrown) was a nice treat to snack on throughout the day.
popping corn pop corn.jpg

Overall, it was a pretty good and productive day with enough food and variety.

Day 5 - 26th June

Nina and I are both feeling good! We think the shock of limited cane sugar and simple carbs in our diet is dissipating (feels like we're on detox).

I've lost 3.5 kilos but can't say I've been hungry, however, I can't honestly say it isn't fun restricting your diet like this even if it is healthy. The boys ordered pizza tonight and I would have loved a slice of BBQ meat-lovers. Instead, Nina and I had fried Jerusalem artichoke (I hope I don't die farting tonight in bed).

Breakfast: Fried eggs with cornmeal flatbread - the flatbread was harder to make than I anticipated because I don't have a mill I grind our corn in a coffee grinder which does an ok job, however, the end result is a ground grain that doesn't knead well or stick together (like flour does) so I had to carefully press the "dough" out and I managed to do an ok job. Just water and ground corn but I enjoyed it!

fried eggs with cornmeal flat bread 600.jpg

Lunch: We had leftover veggie curry from last night and a few oranges (eaten not juiced).

Dinner: Fried fartichokes - Honestly, it's an excellent carb and we both enjoyed eating it.
Jerusalem artichoke in hand.jpg

pan fried Jerusalem artichoke with a squeeze of lemon 600.jpg

I have another excellent tuber ready for harvest that we can enjoy during this 21 day period and I'm releasing a video on it tomorrow (so it's a secret) but this veggie is a great substitute to potato with only half the carbohydrates.
 
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Ezyesta

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I think we need to start sending Mark egg recipes!

I'd be making a 'sweet leek' carbonara with all those eggs. Substitute the leeks for any allium, but essentially sweat them down, and then add the eggs as you would any proper Italian carbonara.
 
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Geo

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Good luck Mark!

It ought to be a challenge :)

People in my country the live on the coutry/rural side do this a lot, but they all (or almost all) have dairy products (home made) and flour from their own grains... without those... I don't know.. I'm rooting for you though! If it gets hard maybe think about planting some grains on a small patch to have some roughly grained flour on your next attempt :)
 
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Geo

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Oh and for a more "pleasant" and healthy drink, we use to drink a lot (and I mean A LOT) of mint tea, cooled. Without sweeteners when it's hot it's not easy to drink, but if you let it cool completely, it's a refreshing drink, albeit a bit bitter. If you ask me... in some cases... it can compete with beer (taste-wise).

Didn't you have a small bee hive to get some honey from? To replace sugar when you really need something sweet?
 
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Mark

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Good on you Mark!

How is your herb selection? I love making tea from things I collect around the garden. Mint & Basil make a great base, then you just add things & see how it turns out.
Yeah Andrew got heaps of herbs but really only made lemon grass tea so far - might need to try more :)
 

Mark

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Didn't you have a small bee hive to get some honey from? To replace sugar when you really need something sweet?
Yes you are correct we do have a small native bee hive that could be used for some honey but not usually through winter unfortunately...

I'll take your advice on the mint drink thanks and yes I wish I had my own dairy producing milk and cheese etc this is one of my favourite foods :)
 
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ClissAT

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Sounds to me like its time you got a milking goat!
You must surely have enough browse from your garden prunings to keep one in good nick.
Then you would have milk, cheese, yoghurt from the get-go. Along with another source of animal manure for your compost.

Cos on the diet you have so far shown you will be fading away to a shadow in no time!
Eat far more sweet potato, pumpkin and pulses like bean seeds or madagasca beans.
Use carrots and pumpkins as sweeteners in baked goods by first boiling, then mashing, then caramelizing them gently.
Don't forget the most nutritious part of the pumpkin is the seeds and centre pith. I used to cut them out, clean and wash them, blah, blah.
Now, I just scoop them out with my hand and throw the lot straight in the hot frying pan with spices like garlic, salt paper etc. Yum.
The pith sticks to the pan, don't throw that away, use it as a base to make sauce for your veg or meat by adding a small amount of water and scraping it all off the bottom.

Don't forget all your weeds and seeds. Seeds from mustard greens or cobblers pegs for pepper, samphire or portulaca from the beach for salt, portulaca from the garden for salt. Many common garden weeds make excellent salad greens providing minerals not available in or usual garden veg. Dandelion root makes excellent coffee and the young leaves make great lemon flavoured greens for salad or to make long soup as do many other leaves.

If you've got cassava, arrowroot, yams or taro growing now is the time to harvest that. Only dig one cassava root per day or it will go black.
Make sure you take both bark layers off. Slice down the root then unroll the first bark, then repeat cut down the root and remove the second white bark layer.
That leaves a much thinner inner white root to slice and fry, boil, steam or add to pressure cooked veg. Or to dry for flour.


Make dried fruits in your drier that will provide sweet treats.
Did you use up all the apple vinegar you set down last year? Do you have kimchi or sour kraut?

If your panama berry is producing fruits they can be boiled down and filtered to make a strongly sweet syrup.
Many fruits will make a good fresh jam without use of sugar. Just store in a cold cupboard as you will use it up in a couple of weeks.

The old timers used to dip fully open bottlebrush or hakea flowers in the boiling tea billy for sweetener, after first giving them a good shake!
Time to make flour out of dried banana, sweet potato or pumpkin (or coconut if you grow them).
You'll need to use zanthun gum, guar or agar agar in place of gluten in your baked foods or even in your pita or unleaven breads or crisps.
Better start culling the egg layers too before you run out of energy! :sarcasm::eat:

Living off your own produce is a full-time job! It takes all day to make enough food for just that day.
I've done that! For me it was a mug's game!

But always a good experiment that everyone should do at least once to know just how difficult it is to provide all your own food.
 
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Vicky

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I was pretty excited when I saw that challenge, I'll do it one day, maybe get hubby a stack of his favourite freezer meals and leave it at that for his dinners and just head out to the caravan and look after my own meals there. I agree with ClissAt, it is a full time job, one best shared with another person, it could even be fun? Have you ever watched the Farm Vids? there is: Victoran Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm and a few others - even one about building a castle somewhere in France - a team of three archeologists/historians live for a year using only items from that time period to manage a small farm and provide for themselves. Has some pretty good useful information in them even if it is all based in England. With the three of them, they have cows or goats and sheep and cows and pigs so they don't really go without for long!

If you have never tried cold press coffee, it is much nicer than what you get out of a machine or even a plunger. I think it is one cup of coffee grounds (breadcrumb consistency if you grind your own) to four cups of water, let it sit for 24 hours and drain - very well. You can heat the coffee on the stove if you don't want cold coffee in the mornings. It is very smooth, a bit less bitter perhaps, quite easy to drink without milk or sugar but not without both? You could probably mess with the ratios to suit your taste but if you leave it to soak longer it does get a bit more bitter like what you get when you make coffee with hot water :)
Sugar cane, Sugarbeet, stevia and sorghum all produce a sweetner or syrup of some kind but again, effort (and knowledge) to extract it! Sorghum also is a good gluten free flour.
Do you get mushrooms growing there? It has been a good year for them here, I've been harvesting from patches where I had mulched quite heavily with really old straw/hay and testing them by sprinkling salt on the gills, if they turn yellow or gooey don't eat but if not, they could be good eating?
Well done so far, will be very interested to follow along :)
 
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ClissAT

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Oh Vicky, I didn't think about sugar cane! I even grow it myself for a sweet treat but didn't think to include it in my sweet list in the previous post.
I watched those tv shows.
Certainly was an eye opener and shock for the participants, particularly in the early days when they were setting themselves up with foods that take longer to create.
 
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JoshW

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Our fam watched the trailer on my lunch break today (working from home). Looking forward to your wrap up video, but feel free to upload like a weekly how it's going, even if it's on SSM2.

I've been drinking long blacks now for 8 months, ex-army workmate of mine got me on them. Turns out was suffering lactose intolerance this whole time and feel so much better these days. Only thing is now the reaction much worse if I forget the lacteeze ahahaha. My wife has started on the long blacks as well out of habit - she still loves a good latte though.

You'd be pleased to know Mr. 2 can almost say "self sufficient me" and calls you garden man on sight ahahaha.
 
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GKW

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Go hard Mark...will be watching with great interest over the coming weeks.

Yep lemon in tea....big tick.............but I feel ya pain re no sugar in the morning coffee. However some people do put orange juice in their coffee in varying amounts and ways. As you always like to experiment in the garden give the combo ago....on vid for the viewers and pass your verdict. A really strong expresso and a dash of home grown OJ.

 
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ClissAT

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It might depend on how much added sugar there was in that OJ.
They say they don't add extra sugar but they sure add a lot to bring the OJ up to the level equal to natural juice full of overripe sugars.
 

Mark

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Sounds to me like its time you got a milking goat!
That would be very handy right now.
Did you use up all the apple vinegar you set down last year?
Yes we did! Great memory Clissa... We eat/use a lot of vinegar - I really need to make more.
If your panama berry is producing fruits they can be boiled down and filtered to make a strongly sweet syrup.
Great idea!
Better start culling the egg layers too before you run out of energy!
LOL...
But always a good experiment that everyone should do at least once to know just how difficult it is to provide all your own food.
True :)
 

Mark

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I agree with ClissAt, it is a full time job, one best shared with another person, it could even be fun?
You know, we are secretly enjoying it (so far...) and I think doing a challenge like this with someone else does make it somewhat easier or fun. Let's see how we are in a week :)
 
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Letsgokate

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Good on you Mark I was going to suggest the native Bee honey but already covered. Certainly set yourself a challenge. Just don’t get yourself sick. With covic now is not the time to have your immune system run down. Get lots of juices, and smoothies into you.

If you have your own nuts growing you could do nut milks, or coconut milk if you grow them.

In baking I’ve used apple purée and jam.

Do you grow Agave, another sweetener or stevia

I am currently growing spuds, have spuds actually growing, planted in April all going very well.

Interested in what egg recipes you come up with.

If you did Aquaponics you would have your own fish to eat
 
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Mark

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If you have your own nuts growing you could do nut milks
Thanks Kate, yeah we have pecans and had a great harvest just recently too so we're hooking into them.

Aquaponics and keeping larger livestock are all valid especially if you were to do this full-time!