Welcome to a behind the scenes look at the specialized diet of Ryan Reidy.
Ryan used to eat like everyone else, but his journey to nutritional enlightenment started in high school when he decided to join the restaurant business. As he worked his way up in a career that lasted 16 years, he learned about the ins and outs of food preparation. After realizing that he no longer wanted to pursue a career in the food industry, he turned to teaching, but he didn’t forget the valuable information he learned about food. When asked about his prior restaurant experience, Ryan explained he learned, “I don’t want other people to prepare my food.” He witnessed how the taste, health, and cleanliness can be compromised when you trust other people to prepare your food. Ryan realized that making his own food would be a more satisfying and cost-effective alternative.
In college, during the late 1980s, he continued his journey to become educated about food production. He learned how food choices impact the environment and how what you eat is directly tied to socioeconomic issues. He consequently made the decision to stop eating meat, unless he caught or killed it himself, in an effort to work towards a healthier, less environmentally damaging diet. He ventured on a quest to only consume what he makes, grows, or kills himself.
Ryan made the first step, to support his new way of life, when he started growing a garden in 1998. He incorporates the seasonal fruits, and vegetables that grow in his garden as a main part of his diet.
The next reform Ryan implemented in his diet was the elimination of dairy products. He was influenced when his “sweetie,” an acupuncturist, explained why dairy is unnecessary and how the dairy industry is harmful to the environment. Ever since 2004, Ryan has considered himself a vegan, although he still eats the eggs from his backyard chickens and any animal that he catches or kills himself.
The choices that Ryan makes about food definitely affect other aspects in his life. He brings the ideas he has about food to the garden at school and the nutrition class, which he helped Ms. Hughes start. He thinks food is important to think about because everyone needs to eat, and choices about food affect the environment and the world economy. If you want to learn more about food, Ryan suggests getting involved in food production, possibly here at the Oceana garden.
Ryan’s Typical Saturday Morning Breakfast:
2 Slices homemade bread
1 Egg (laid by his very own chickens)
1/2 Green onion (grown in his garden)
Avocado (when they are in season)
Homemade mayonnaise, ketchup, and hot sauce