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28 October 2014

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Ben Jackson
Ben Jackson

Ben's 100 Mile Diet

BBC Radio Leicester's Ben Jackson has been on a diet, the 100 mile diet. But what is the diet and was he able to stick to it? Read on for Ben's diet diary entries...

BBC Radio Leicester's Ben Jackson set himself the ultimate local challenge, the 100 mile diet. The diet involved only eating food which had been produced within 100 miles of the BBC Leicester Open Centre.

"It's not all been plain sailing though. I can't use pepper for example, or stuff the chicken with a lemon, or indeed cover it with olive oil!"
BBC Leicester's Ben Jackson

Was he able to stick to the rules? Read Ben's diet diary here...

Day one

Today I am pioneering a new diet, the 100 mile diet, where I will count my carbon rather than my calories.

It started in the Canada, it's spread to the US, and now I am bringing it to Britain, and more importantly to Leicestershire.

For the rest of this week I will only eat food produced within a 100 mile radius of the BBC Leicester Open Centre.

The plan is to support local producers, to eat seasonally, and to reduce my impact on the environment. I am cutting down on the food miles, and taking my diet to back to its Leicestershire roots.

I want to find out if it is really possible to only eat food produced within a 100 mile radius of my home.

Day Two

Nicky and Tim from Picks Farm
Nicky and Tim from Picks Farm

Well, 24 hours into my 100 mile diet I'm feeling really optimistic about being able to source all of my food not only from within 100 miles, but from just within the county. I've already got hold of a great organic chicken and some bread from Melton Mowbray.

Today I'm off to get fruit and vegetables from a farm shop in Barkby Thorpe, and then on a recommendation from one of the listeners to the Breakfast show I'm going out to a farm near Market Harborough which specialises in locally produced food.

I'm going to cook the chicken tonight for supper. It's big enough to make several other meals, so I'll keep you posted on how far I can make it go. Until then it's going to be lots more toast from the Melton bread!

Oh and before I go, I have a confession to make, I scoffed a handful of raisins on the show this morning. Oops! 

Day Three

The chicken cooked a treat last night. Absolutely delicious! It had a much better flavour than the supermarket birds we've all become used to.

Ben's cooked chicken
Ben's cooked chicken

I also cooked the vegetables that Tim and Nicky at Picks farm in Barkby Thorpe gave me, and again they tasted so much more of themselves, they would never have won a beauty competition, but they tasted just fantastic.

Now I've got the chicken cooked I feel a bit more in control, because there's plenty left for sandwiches and I'm going to make a chicken soup with the carcass tonight.

It's not all been plain sailing though. I can't use pepper for example, or stuff the chicken with a lemon, or indeed cover it with olive oil! Unless that is you have an olive grove in the bottom of you garden, in which case email me!

Anyway, off now to find a butchers specialising in local meat...

Day Four

Well, it's been an amazing week.

When I began this experiment I though it would be hard work to find producers and retailers who were passionate about food created within the allotted 100 mile radius. In actual fact I've found that you only need to scratch the surface to find seemingly hundreds of people who're trying to source the best food as locally as possible.

Take yesterday. I went out to a butchers in Broughton Astley, it's a lovely family business in the middle of the village producing some of the best meat I've ever seen.

Hamburgers and sausages
Ringrose butcher's fresh meat produce

The reason they do it? Well, they just want to do it properly, they work on the principle that if you're going to be a butcher you may as well do it as well as you can rather than just buying in pre-packed, pre-cut mass produced meat products. I found the same attitude with everyone I spoke to.

The week ended with the Breakfast show coming live from the kitchen here at the BBC Open Centre, it was a real celebration of just what we have on our doorstep here in Leicestershire and Rutland.

For me the diet doesn't end here, ok so I might indulge in the odd lemon or glug of olive oil, but my veg is all going to be local, and as for meat, well I want to be able to know where it came from and that means buying locally.

Apart from anything else it's great fun, so why not give it a go?

Good luck!

The Breakfast Show Guide to Leicestershire Farmers' Markets:

Burbage Farmers’ Market (1st Saturday of the month, 9am to 2:30pm; Windsor Street)

Castle Donnington Farmers’ Market (2nd Saturday of the month, 9am-12.30pm; St Edward's School)

Hinckley Farmers’ Market (3rd Thursday of the month, 9.30am-2.30pm; The Market Place)

Leicester Farmers’ Market (last Wednesday every month, 10am - 3pm; The Market Square, Market Place, Leicester)

Loughborough Farmers’ Market (2nd Wednesday of the month; Devonshire Square)

Market Bosworth Farmers’ Market (every fourth Sunday of the month, 9am to 2:30pm;  Market Square)

Market Harborough Farmers’ Market (first Thursday of the month; The Square)

Measham Farmers’ Market (every fourth Friday of the month, 9am to 2pm: Measham Leisure Centre)

Melton Farmers’ Market (every Tuesday 8.30am-2pm; every Friday 8.30am-12.30pm; Melton Mowbray Cattle Market)

FARMA accredited Farmers' Market in Melton (every first Saturday; Nottingham Street)

last updated: 02/06/06
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