3 Things You Can Do to Inspire the Green Revolution

Phillip Sharp, a board member of the Supporters for Agriculture Research Foundation and professor at MIT, writes in NYT today about the urgent need of a green revolution in the near future. The most interesting fact I took away from his article is that California continues to grow 66 different types of food corps–more than any other state in the U.S., even as it enters into it’s fourth year of drought. 

California cities already suffer from some of the worst air pollution levels (agriculture related, of course!). Coupled with its multi-year drought, it’s clear that we cannot continue on with business as usual. Agriculture practices of the past cannot sustainably feed our growing population and warming Earth. While we await technological advances in the way we grow our food, here are three things you can do to ensure food security in the future without over-burdening the Planet:

  1. Waste Less. In 2014, Americans threw away more food than plastic, paper, glass and metal. Food waste is clearly a huge problem and you can easily take steps against doing so. A little bit of meal planning and creative use of leftovers will go a long way in saving you from throwing away perfectly good food. You’ll save money, too.
  2. Eat Plant-Based. It may seem counter-intuitive to eat more plants to save the Earth but studies have shown that eating a plant-based diet is a powerful way to protect the Planet. Emissions from animal agriculture excessively strain the Earth.
  3. Cultivate a Green Thumb. No matter whether you live in an urban high rise or in sprawling suburbia, you can try your hand at growing you own food. Gather a few pots of herbs and place them along a sunny windowsill to get started. Growing what we can reduces the many thousands of miles our food needs to travel to reach our plate. As a bonus, live plants are powerful in creating a calm home environment.

 

 

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In Pictures: Plum Tomato Soup

As promised in my last post, today I’m excited to share my recipe for homemade, fresh tomato soup. This soup uses plum tomatoes that are easily found in the colder months. The best part about this recipe is that it doesn’t require exact measurements and can be easily adapted to use up however many pounds you’ve got on hand.

Ingredients

 

photo (2)

  • Three to four pounds of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. After washing tomatoes, slice into quarters longways IMG_1897 (1)
  2. Place quartered tomatoes into a large soup pot
  3. Fill pot with just enough water to cover the tomatoesIMG_1899
  4. Add cloves and cinnamon
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Let boil for 5-7 minutes
  7. Reduce to a low simmer, cover pot with lid and let simmer for 20 minutes
  8. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutesIMG_1901
  9. Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend tomatoes into the consistency you preferIMG_1903
  10. In a small sauce pan, heat butter or ghee on medium-high for 1 minute and add in cumin and remove from heat.
  11. Add butter/ghee and cumin mixture to soup
  12. Bring soup to a low simmer and stir well
  13. Serve with black pepper to tasteIMG_1907

 

Enjoy! And let this soup keep you warm in the cooler days ahead.

The Decline of Processed Foods

Clearly it’s been a busy fall around these parts but I sure haven’t forgotten about my favorite corner of the Internet. Last night my local grocery store had an incredible sale on plum tomatoes: 3 pounds for $1! That was the only sign I needed to know it was time for endless bowls of fresh soup. I dashed to the store after dinner, my mouth watering at the thought of several dozens of juicy tomatoes just waiting to simmer on my stove, and of course, share with you.

You can imagine my heartbreak, then, when I was met with empty crates at the produce section. The only hint of the juicy, ripe tomatoes were the bruised, and squishy remnants I encountered sitting sadly at the bottoms of the bins. I humbly gathered the last three pounds I found scattered across the store and headed home undefeated.

I’d say it’s no coincidence that Treehugger has an insightful post today about the decline of processed foods in our grocery stores. It’s true: packaged foods strain our overburdened landfills, contribute significantly to cruel animal agriculture practices, and harm our bodies with additives. Earlier this year, the Washington Post published a story on the falling profits of companies like Jell-O and Oscar Mayer.

Now that explains why I was left with the twice-picked over tomatoes. Not a problem for me, though, if it means we are eating healthier and protecting the Planet at the same time 🙂 And since I did manage to round up the last bits of tomatoes, stick around for my recipe later this week.

Have you had a hard time finding produce these days?

Red Meat and Cancer

By now you’ve probably heard the piece of news stirring up controversy on every corner of the web. But just in case you haven’t, I’ll gladly share the memo with you: the World Health Organization just classified red meat as carcinogenic. You read that right. One of the most powerful international health agencies just placed eating red meat in the same cancer-causing level as asbestos and smoking tobacco.

If you’re a resident of a Western hemisphere, you know that this news is probably not going to be received well by most of our meat-loving friends and family. Lest they counter with the notion that animal consumption is a hallmark of the developed world, the U.S. government also affirmed the benefits of a plant-based diet earlier this year.

I’m thrilled that these influential organizations have used their platforms to promote plant-based eating. Food is indeed fuel for our bodies. But it’s also one of the very best ways to protect our health and safeguard the Planet each and every day. So thank you, WHO and other agencies, for disrupting and renegotiating the way we think about food.

4 Items to Always Have in the Kitchen

Putting together a meal can be a struggle when you’re caught in the fast pace of our busy lives. To be sure I’m never without the the basics for a healthy meal no matter the time of day, here are four essentials I always have on hand:

oatmeal to the rescue

oatmeal to the rescue

1. Oatmeal: Instant or old-fashioned oats are perfect for breakfast, or even lunch and dinner when you’re really in a pinch. Oats are ideal for busy mornings because all you need to cook them in is water. You can dress up your oatmeal with whatever you have on hand; berries, dried fruits, nuts, or seeds. Full of protein and fiber, oatmeal is your best bet when you’ve got just a minute to get out the door.
2. Frozen vegetables: Some days you come home and all you see in your vegetable compartment is a wilting bunch of green onions. Keep a bag of frozen spinach, broccoli or mixed vegetables in your freezer so that you always have a vegetable on hand.
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3. Beans: Beans combined with a frozen vegetable from above come together to create a healthy, filling meal when dinner is the last thing on your mind. I like to have both canned and dry on hand, but canned beans are especially nice to have when all you can think about is satisfying your growling tummy after 10 hours in the office.
4. Grains: My favorite grain is quinoa because it’s filling and tastes yummy all on its own. White or brown rice is an excellent substitute if you prefer. Grains are a blank slate to serve up with some spices, a can of soup, or a side of sweet potatoes.
A final bonus is that you can stock up on each of these items when they’re on sale.
There you have my four essentials for plant-based living. Which items are you sure to have in your kitchen each day?

Getting Classy with Pomegranate

Yesterday my Dad made my heart soar when he texted me a picture of his lunch. I imagined him, chest puffed with pride, at the beautiful meal he had created for himself. And I had to give him credit–it really was a work of art:

Wouldn’t you agree?
food imitates art

food imitates art

Look carefully at the picture. There’s something there that really just pulls the whole meal together and takes it to next level. Sure, the home made taco shell adds a fantastic touch, but I’d say it’s those ruby gems that just class it up even more.

Pomegranate seeds are so elegant. Do you think so, too? Not overly saccharine, but bursting with flavor, we should make more use of them. I love eating them by the spoonfuls after someone who loves me very much (hi Mom and Dad!) has done the hard work of freeing the little seeds from their shell.
But have you ever tossed them into a salad? Into a taco bowl? Sprinkled some over your oatmeal? These glass-like beauties really elevate your dish. They turn everyday meals into a sparkling celebration. Pomegranate seeds are Nature’s gift of confetti.
How do you dress up your meals? I’d love to know!

Sweet Potato is Your Fall Bae

Crunchy leaves. Later sunrises. Fall is here to stay, no doubt about it. I’m not going to lie and say I’m super pumped about the sudden chill–summer is my favorite season. It’s in my blood. I’m a desert rat what can I say?

If I had to pick one thing to be excited about for the cooler days ahead, though, it would surely be hanging out in the kitchen warmed by an oven cooking a delicious meal. And what might be inside that oven, you’re probably wondering, that could be so delicious?
Subtle yet dazzling. Muted but bold. What could it be?
Sweet potato, that’s what! This fall you’ll want to eat as much of it as you can get your hands on. Here’s why:
The nutritional value of this root vegetable is out the roof. Every vitamin you could imagine, sweet potato’s got you covered. A few of the benefits you’ll gain from eating one of these babies–potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Fiber. That alone makes up for the summery fruit you’ll be missing in colder days.
They are incredibly versatile. I mean just think about the possibilities. Sweet potato chips, mashed sweet potato, sweet potato curry…the list goes on! Whatever you’re in the mood for, sweet potato will be there for you. This brings me to my last point…
How can you resist this face?

How can you resist this face?

They ooze warmth. Indeed, sweet potato is best served warm. They very act of preparing it to eat requires you to heat it in some way, whether over the stove, or in the oven. However you choose to prepare it, eat it right away. Sweet potato will warm your frozen heart in no time.
What are your favorite ways to prepare sweet potato this fall?