Ian’s month eating only food grown, foraged - or ‘scraped off road’
ASELF-CONFESSED coffee and curry fan has set himself the challenge of surviving for a month eating food that he has either grown, foraged or ‘scraped off the road.’
IT consultant Ian Evans had always fancied taking more of a ‘good life’ approach to food since he moved from Bristol to the rural village of Wrington 15 years ago.
And this October he has set himself the task of only eating food which he, or others, have grown themselves and items he has foraged.
And he’s already packed his freezer with meat - after finding a deer which had been knocked down on the road outside his house.
“I had always dreamed of self sufficiency,” said Ian, a father of two. “But I never got round to it.
“So I thought a good month to do it would be September or October at harvest time.”
Ian spent time preparing for his challenge - which he has named Bactober - buying a bread maker and starting to brew his own beer.
His mum also found a yoghurt making machine which she used in the 1970s and was squirreled away in the loft.
Ian also foraged wild garlic and collected nettles to make nettle soup.
“I am a type one diabetic and have been for most of my life, so I have to be quite organised already when it comes to food, “he said.
“But this challenge has taken it to a whole new level.”
As well as the food which he forages, grows and finds, Ian has also allowed himself very basic supplies of rice, flour, vinegar, butter, rice, porridge oats and milk to use as ingredients in making meals.
He also has some vegetables in his garden, such as tomatoes and chillies and the benefit of a green fingered father-in-law who has an allotment in Pill who has been supplying him with vegetables.
Other goodies, including mushrooms, have come from foraging trips in nearby woods.
One thing Ian is really missing though is potatoes.
“We haven’t grown any potatoes at home, and I had really started to miss them,” he said.
“But the other day a friend of mine in Wrington arrived with some.
“She was clearing out her stable and found a load of potatoes growing wild in a pile of horse manure, so I had them.
“They were delicious.”
The local scout leader in the village also supplied Ian with some homemade elderfower champage, while another friend gave him some walnuts which he had grown on his tree at his place in Slovakia.
Ian has also become quite a whizz in the kitchen.
“I had a fantastic pizza the other night” he said. “I made the dough base and then made a paste out of the tomatoes I had grown in the garden.
“I then added some onions we had grown and some of the venison from the freezer. It was the most delicious pizza - one of the nicest I’ve ever had.”
He’s even managed to keep up his social life, taking his own beer to the pub.
“I organised to take my beer to the
social club in Congresbury and pay them corkage, “he laughed.
“So my social life hasn’t suffered. “Some of the locals asked to try my beer and said it wasn’t bad at all and better than some you buy in pubs.”
Ian has hit a low point though - when one of his meals didn’t turn out quite as planned.
“I’d had a hard week and hadn’t planned well enough so I ended up with just some rice for tea, “he said.
“I put some of the wild garlic that I had picked in with it. It was inedible - totally hideous and it ended up going in the recycling.
“Instead I had a flapjack for dinner. At that point I did wonder if I’d make the whole 31 days.”
Ian says the challenge has made him have a greater appreciation of food.
“You hear stories about the Second World War when there was a real shortage of appetising food,” he said.
“But people used their imagination and came up with some great meals and had a good diet.
“Now people just go to their local supermarket to get what they need, when they need it.
“This challenge has allowed me to learn new things and I am appreciating food more.
“My tastebuds have probably been wrecked over the years by strong coffee and the fact I put Tabasco on everything.
“But now they have had a reprieve and I am really starting to taste food better.”
Eating such a diet also has other benefits. In the first 10 days of his challenge Ian has already lost a quarter of a stone.
“Although it was never part of the plan, the weight is just falling off,” he said.
Ian still has a few weeks to go to complete his challenge but says there are part of its he will continue after October. “I am going to continue to make my own bread and yoghurt as it tastes better than anything you can buy in the shops,” he said.
“And I will keep brewing my own beer. “We tell ourselves that because it came from the supermarket it’s better than what we can make ourselves but this is so not the case.
“It does take time to plan and prepare but it’s more productive than sitting in front of the television in the evenings.”
Ian does have a few things he is looking forward to tucking into when he goes back to ‘normal life.’
“I really fancy a curry,” he smiled. “And I have missed tea and coffee incredibly.
“Oh and a nice, good old English fry-up will go down a treat too. And perhaps a McDonalds and a tomato juice with Lea and Perrins and Tabasco sauce.”
Ian is writing a daily blog about his challenge. You can follow him on Facebook at Bactober
We tell ourselves that because it came from the supermarket it’s better than what we can make ourselves but this is so not the case
Ian Evans is spending a month eating only food he has grown or foraged - he is pictured inset below with the heart of a deer which he found dead at the side of the road