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?

The Not-So-Glam Vegan

The New York Times recently published a story about a vegan family set in their beautifully breezy home in California. Over a plate of artfully arranged beet ravioli complete with aged cashew cheese, the author asserts that a plant-based diet has become less stigmatized as a proclivity of the hippie dippie type, and become more “glam,” like an ephemeral fashion trend. Say what?

The truth is though, that neither of these representations could be further from the truth.

Veganism isn’t just a personal hobby–it is a lifestyle dedicated to safeguarding the Earth’s, animals, and our own health. The underlying basics of plant-based eating are decidedly not glamorous. Legumes, vegetables, and grains comprise the poor (wo)man’s diet.

If I eat these carrot sticks in a really cool way, will I be glam?

Maybe this really yellow lighting will make me and my carrot stick look glam?

Who is the real face of a vegan diet? It is you! The overtired student-athlete, the superhero stay at home dad of three children, the hardworking young professional, and the retiree, enjoying hard earned freedom. What are the dishes you enjoy each day? I bet they’re something like:

  • black beans and wild rice
  • toast and sliced avocado
  • quinoa and sweet potato
  • seared tofu and sautéed spinach
  • pasta and fresh marinara with basil

Sure it’s nice to enjoy a gourmet dish of nut cheese nachos, but the staples of our diets are wholesome and delicious in themselves. Veganism is accessible, tasty, simple and enjoyed by the most diverse arch of global citizens.

Why Beef is the New SUV

John Sutter is an award-winning journalist and my favorite environmentalist on CNN.

Yesterday, he wrote a compelling story on the inconvenient truth of beef consumption. You can read it here.

holy cow!

holy cow!

His quick and dirty findings: Eating a little more than a half pound of beef is equivalent to driving 70 miles!

Holy cow is right!

You don’t need to be a 100% committed veg-awarian to fight global climate change. By simply swapping meat from one meal a day, you can reduce emissions by the equivalent of 70 miles. That’s a pretty big deal.

Fruits and Vegetables around the Web

Continuing along in our month-long celebration of Fruits and Vegetables, here are three stories I found interesting from around the Internet:

David Festa, Vice President of the Environmental Defense Fund, blogs about how eating fruits and vegetables saves the Earth.

Nicholas Bakalar of the NYT’s Well blog reports that children throw the away fruits and vegetables they are given at lunch. How can we make them more appealing to kids?

Larry Schwartz writes on Salon about the 24 fruits and vegetables that will help you live longer.

A Surprise Unveiled

Earlier this week I mentioned I’d be revealing an exciting addition to my blog in honor of Fruits and Vegetables Month.

And here it is:
 E-Guide Cover
An E-Guide! Available on Etsy as a digital download, this guide was written to help my readers who are just beginning their plant-based journeys. It’s designed especially for those of you who want to eat greener not just for your health, but to protect our Planet’s precious resources as well, and aren’t sure where to begin.
It’s a very short guide at just 13 pages and it’ll be a quick read. My intention is for it serve as a reference for incorporating fruits and vegetables into your meals each day. It’s something I hope you come back to when you need help deciding whether to buy canned or frozen produce, organic or conventional fruits and vegetables, and tips for snacking on them.
Connect with me if you’d like to know more about the E-Guide.
My treasured readers can visit this post here for a sneak preview of what’s in the E-Guide.  Even if you don’t like kale, these basic prep methods will serve you well with other leafy vegetables.
Coming up later this week, I had a lovely chat with a farmer local to me here in DC about selecting fall produce.  Though her tips didn’t make into this short guide, I’m so excited to share them with you later. Stay tuned!

Plant-Based Living around the Web

Here are a few of my favorite recipes and stories from the week.

A crafty second life of wine bottles: Treehugger shares a neat way to create something functional and pretty by recycling.

General Tso’s no chicken bowls: Oh My Veggies shares a yummy recipe for a main or side dish.

Climate change intensifies drought: New York Times shares a thoughtful article on how the relationship between climate change and the California drought.

What’s the most interesting green tip, recipe, or idea you’ve learned recently?

Pura Vida: 3 Reasons Costa Rica is Leading the Global Environmental Movement

I was lucky enough to spend a semester abroad in Costa Rica my junior year of college. The friendliness of everyone I met—from my host family to street vendors immediately took me aback. The fresh fruits were unlike anything I found at home. And it was also in this most bio-diverse country, among the cloud forests and active volcanoes, where I experienced an environmental re-awakening.

Costa Rica has proven to be at the forefront of solving national environmental challenges, setting an example not just for developing countries, but for industrial nations as well. Here are three recent efforts that remind me of what I loved the most about Costa Rica—it’s commitment to celebrating and protecting our precious planet:

1. Clean Energy During the first 75 days of 2015, the country used 100% sustainable sources of energy. Even now, Costa Rica relies on wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal sources for more than two-thirds of its energy needs.

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Time.com

2. Ban on Hunting for Sport Costa Rica is the first country in Latin America to place a ban on hunting for sport. In light of the recent outrage over the killing of Cecil the Lion, organizations all over the world are taking steps to defend animals and their right to live.

3. Promoting Eco-Tourism Forget spending your precious vacation days shopping for more knickknacks. You probably don’t have room in your suitcase for them, either! Costa Rica is a phenomenal place to be an eco-tourist. You can relax in thermal waters heated by volcanoes, zip line through the rainforest, watch sea turtles nest on the bay, or hike along a national park while monkeys play in the canopy above.

Which countries do you think are doing a good job in protecting the planet?