This era in history may be remembered as the "Peak Age", a brief time when nearly all materials used to power and create our society reach the maximum extraction and production potential. Past this point, all of these resources become increasingly difficult to extract until they are no longer economically viable resources to be using. There are hundreds of examples of resources, currently embedded in our industrial society, which have reached their peak in the 50 years surrounding 2010, but the one which will most impact our society is petroleum.

The goal of living for 100 days without oil is to understand the extent of our dependance on oil in American society today. Specifically, how it will affect my life, as a 25 year-oil living in Minneapolis, MN. By using myself as a metric I can take a close and conscious look at where oil dependance occurs in all aspects of our daily lives : How we transport ourselves from one place to another, what we eat, how much waste we create, how water is cleaned and transported, where oil is used as; an energy resource, in conventional medicine and for hygiene and how oil affects how we entertain ourselves and communicate with others. By demonstrating how someone would be forced to live without using any oil resources, outlining both what the sacrifices will be as well as the benefits, we can can identify the many systems which will have to be re-designed in a world without cheap oil, and explore a new way of living in which we live in an energy balance.

(At the bottom of this page is a link to my version of a flow diagram of 'Where Petroleum Exists in Our Daily Lives' (using information from the Energy Information Administration-Annual Energy Review 2008 fig 5.0 Petroleum flow) click and zoom to enlarge)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


19 August, 2010

miles biked-18.5
gallons of water -8.0125 (6.985 surplus)

Today has been a big day for expanding food options.  Raw foods for at least part of my diet are going to become essential because of my limited electricity budget.  I began researching raw foods and what motivates people who have switch over to this diet;  one family, who's website is here ( has an interesting story:
they also have some wacky videos-if you've got some time to kill :):

This isn't the only story I came across about people reversing serious medical conditions through eating more raw, organic greens and vegetables.  The film "A Beautiful Truth" ( trailer here: ) talks about Dr. Max Gerson, a physician in the early 1900's who came up with a cure for cancers and other serious diseases that centered around eating a raw, vegan diet full of nutritious organic foods.  Like many people who solved problems in radical and unconventional ways, he was perceived as a threat to conventional practice and was eventually poisoned with arsenic.  His family continued his legacy, healing people by teaching them about "Gerson Therapy"-a method that allows your body the ability to heal itself when fueled with powerful nutrients found in raw organic foods and continue to run a healing center in Mexico.  While I haven't done much research on raw foods yet, there does seem to be a significant evidence that eating raw foods can be a huge health benefit, and is a much easier way for our bodies to digest food (allowing more nutrients to be absorbed). 

Virajita (who has been working on integrating raw foods into herself and her families diet for a few years now) explained to me that after starting to eat raw she began to look back into her own cultural foods in India and consider why almost ALL traditional Indian foods are cooked. Being an ancient culture it is unusual that so many foods are cooked. She found that because India is such a tropical, hot climate, these recipes evolved out of a need to kill bacteria in raw foods.  She began to look at the ingredients in each recipe and found that almost all recipes included some kind of digestive agent (such as cardamom) which would be necessary for people to properly digest these foods.  Evolutionarily, our bodies are designed to digest raw foods much more easily than cooked foods.  Many ancient recipes found in different cultures around the world contain digestive agents of some kind if they are cooked, and also often contain a balance of fats, acid and nutrients necessary for digesting and absorbing these nutrients. 

This brings us to processed foods.  If our bodies have a hard time digesting and processing even cooked foods, lets think for a minute about how hard of a time we would have digesting and using foods that have a huge amount of preservatives, and color and flavor additives.  hmmmm :) oil.

With all kinds of fresh, local vegetables available to us even in a climate like Minnesota, why aren't more people cooking and eating these foods instead of eating fast food or pre-made meals from boxes (both packed full of oil-based or oil-enabled additives).  The answer is probably convenience, and a general lack of education of what kinds of nutrients you can get from fresh produce that you can't find in a box. 

I had an idea that I that I ate a fairly healthy diet before starting this project a week ago, however I have been amazed at how much better I feel on even day 5 of this project only being able to eat local, organic vegetables, dairy and meats.  The other thing I've noticed is that I ate the same vegetables/fruits all the time (zucchini, bell peppers, onions, strawberries and bananas).  I'm now realizing now how much variety of local foods there are, and the need to eat a variety of vegetables to get the range of nutrients we need.  A lot of foods that I never really ate have become staple foods while in season. The only problem with this new diet; the only sugars and fats I have eaten are in the sunflower oil I cook with, and sugars found in fruits and honey.  I never quite feel full eating this kind of diet, and I'm constantly craving something with more substance, bread, fat and sugar.  

I can't buy bread from the co-op because even though its made locally, the ingredients may not be local. I got on craigslist to look for bread makers and found a lot, but when I started looking at them many were in surrounding suburbs.  This normally wouldn't be an issue, but now that I can only get around by bike, even a 20 mile one-way trip becomes an all-afternoon or all day event.  Finally I found a bread maker for $10 in St. Anthony (8 miles away).  While at the co-op looking for bulk flour I came across two amazing finds: Local, bulk maple sugar and Hope Creamery Butter packaged in a vegetable wax paper which can be composted!!! YES!!! Butter and sugar!  I also got local, organic maple syrup for sugar and flavoring.  There is bulk maple syrup at the Wedge as well, so when my container runs out I can use it to fill again. 

A last note, I'm watering a friend's garden while she is in Belgium and get to reap the benefits of everything being ripe in August.  Fresh picked cherry tomatoes and mint.  I made mint tea today which was excellent (iced and hot).  Thanks Arlene!


  1. if you are still needing any bread, i bake mine from a sourdough starter i cultured myself, and it's quite good. the bread needs only starter (which is just flour and water fed), flour and salt. if you have a line on local flour, i'd be happy to bake for you for free. again, i'm in south mpls.

  2. You might consider adopting a primal diet which would eliminate the need for grains and simplify food procurement. By adding adequate amounts of protein and fats to your diet you will find that you are not hungry. For info go to or read his book The Primal Blueprint, author Mark Sisson.