My family has celebrated Earth Day for as long as I can remember. My dad, an environmental engineer, would bring home globe balloons and green-blue swirled bouncy balls for us and we’d spend the whole day playing outside.
This Earth Day marks the 45th anniversary of our commitment to serve as stewards of the environment. I honored the day in DC at the beautiful National Mall with my best friend, L, at a concert to raise awareness for climate change. As excited as I was to see Train and Mary J. Blige live on stage, I was more excited by what I saw around me: thousands of people, young and old, interested in joining the fight to protect the environment.
I truly believe that global climate change is the most urgent problem my generation and those of the future face. This Earth Day, it’s important to think about how every single one of us has the ability to take steps now to reverse threats that plague our planet.
The vegetarian and vegan diets play a tremendous role in reducing greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, conserving water use and decreasing global deforestation rates. I urge you to participate in Earth day by sampling a plant-based meal. By making this simple choice today, you serve as a powerful agent in ensuring our grandchildren inherit an Earth as beautiful as the one we celebrate today.
As a followup to my Meatless Monday recipe for black beans, I thought today would be a great opportunity to share one my most favorite uses of those black beans: tacos!
I find that sometimes my taco shells aren’t wide enough to hold as many toppings as I’d like. In the picture above–you see how my family’s resolved that issue. We like to crush our taco shells and make a big taco salad, with black beans at the base.
Whether you crush yours up or eat them the normal way, black bean tacos are a super easy and healthy veg*n meal. We usually have tacos at least once a week (if not more!), hence the Taco Tuesday!
Tacos also don’t require much measuring of ingredients, but I eat them like this:
Crush one taco shell on your plate.
Add a half cup of cooked black beans
Spread a spoon or two of your favorite salsa over beans
Dice one half of a tomato and add to plate
Chop half an avocado into slices and add to plate
Finely chop four leaves of your preferred lettuce (I use Romaine) and add to plate
If you eat dairy, top your plate with shredded cheese and sour cream
Mix it all up and enjoy!
The best thing is, you can substitute or add toppings as you like. For a spicier taco, add jalapenos or hot sauce. Some grilled green peppers and onions also add nice flavor.
Do you find tacos to be as yummy as I do?
I am so honored to be nominated by Rachel from her blog at https://naturalgroovegal.wordpress.com/ for the Liebster Award! Her blog has a wealth of resources on leading a natural life, please check it out!
As part of receiving of this award, I answered the 10 questions Rachel asked me. Here are my responses:
1) Do you like to cook? Why or why not?
Yes, I love to cook! I love cooking because it’s fun to try new recipes and I get to be sure that everything I make is vegetarian.
1) La Vita Organica https://lavitaorganica.wordpress.com/
3) FoodArchMage http://foodarchmage.com/
My rules for the nominated bloggers are:
– Nominate 10 blogs with under 400 followers, then notify the bloggers via their Blogs, Facebook or other social media stating that they have been nominated.
– Accept the Award.
– Answer my 10 questions on your blog.
– Share 10 facts about yourself to your followers and readers on your blog.
– Make your own rules for your 10 nominated bloggers, or use my rules on them.
Thank you again, Rachel!
Vegetarians sometimes get a bad reputation. People think we’ll fall apart at any moment while others think we have our own special smell. None of these misconceptions bother me, though, as much as one commonly-believed myth: The veg*n diet is only possible for the privileged class, and only those who are rich can afford to be a vegan or vegetarian.
Whenever I hear that vegetarianism is a rich-people’s diet I get confused, then angry. You mean to tell me that the 99 cent bag of lentils I just purchased should be made of pure gold? I demand a refund!
The mainstays of a veg*n diet are fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, grains, and perhaps dairy.
Let’s look at the costs for an easy, home-made vegetarian dinner: taco salad.
1 serving of black beans: ½ cup cooked, 45 cents from canned beans (cheaper by almost 50% if you make yours from scratch)
1 serving of brown rice: ½ cup cooked, 18 cents
1 serving of lettuce: 4 leaves (chopped), 40 cents
1 serving of tomato: ½ tomato (chopped), 30 cents
1 serving of avocado: ½ avocado (sliced or mashed), 60 cents
A few squirts of hot sauce: 5 cents
Optional for vegetarians, sprinkle of cheese: price varies depending on quantity used
I estimated these costs using expensive D.C. prices, so even at a total of $1.98 in the highest cost of living areas, you can enjoy a healthy, filling, tasty meal for under $2. Is it possible to make a healthy meal under your budget with the use of meat? Sure, but I guarantee you’ll be able to make more meals from a pound of lentils, than a pound of chicken—and for pennies on the dollar.
Vegetarianism traces its roots to ancient India. Even today, India is home to the largest population of vegetarians. It may not surprise you to also know that India is a developing country and home to the largest number of poor people in the world. This means that the largest share of poor people in the world sustain themselves on a vegetarian diet.
The fake meat products can break a veg*n’s budget. Those foods are generally over-processed and full of preservatives. I stay away from many fake meat items because I don’t really see the value in them aside from serving as an emergency meal if you’re out of anything else at home. If you can’t afford fresh produce, buy only what’s in season. Or, buy frozen! Frozen produce is picked during peak harvest and can be tastier than its fresh counterpart.
The next time you go grocery shopping, I encourage you to do a price comparison of the items you buy. You might agree that calling a vegetarian or vegan diet “privileged” is ultimately an easy excuse for not giving it a try.
Some weekends you just need to laze around. Perhaps catch up on your Netflix queue or spend a rainy Saturday re-reading your favorite Harry Potter book. On those days, the last thing you want to do is think about what to eat and then spend time cooking and cleaning.
For that kind of weekend, I love having a batch of quinoa ready to customize with whatever suits my fancy at the moment. Quinoa is one of my favorite grains because it’s high in protein, filling and comes in different varieties—including red and rainbow.
All you need to do is cook your quinoa of preference according to the directions on the package. A quarter cup dry is usually one serving. To cook, add two parts water for every one part quinoa (i.e. a half cup of water for a quarter cup dry quinoa). Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Let cook until water is absorbed, or about 15-20 minutes.
Now comes the fun part. Stir in your favorite veggies, beans, nuts and/or spices. After you’ve cooked your quinoa, what you mix into it is all up to you! My favorite combination includes chopped green onions, green peas, corn, chickpeas, salt and pepper.
I like to keep at least a cup of plain, cooked quinoa in the fridge at all times. It lasts for a week and is perfect for those moments when you’re starving but don’t have the brainpower to think of what to make. Quinoa goes very well with that bag of frozen broccoli you don’t know what to do with, or that can of red beans chillin’ in your pantry. The possibilities are truly endless!
How do you like to eat your quinoa?