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.

 

 

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.

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.

Free for My Readers

As we enter into our last week of Fruits and Vegetables month, I’m offering my EGuide free to my treasured readers through the end of September. At just 13 pages long, it’s designed to help you answer the fundamental challenges of plant-based eating: simple and adaptable preparation methods, selecting between fresh and frozen, tips for snacking on produce and a few more topics.

Email me at: mitali (dot) shah (dot) 17 (at) gmail (dot) (com) and I’ll send you the PDF.  I’m excited for your feedback after you have a chance to check it out.

Email me at the address above for your PDF copy

The Radical Radish

During Fruits and Vegetables month, and all year long, produce like avocados, strawberries, and kale always find a place in the spotlight. There’s no doubt about it: their acclaim is well-deserved given the powerful punch of nutrients they deliver. Today, though, I’d like to shine the limelight on an equally healthy yet decidedly an underdog in the produce department: the radish! Read on for 3 reasons the radish is totally radical:

It’s a root vegetable. This means that you’ll be able to find it year-round if you live in a temperate climate. In the right conditions, root vegetables grow at any season, which means you’ll have an easier time finding it in your local grocery store.

It’s packed with nutrients. In a one cup serving of radishes, you’ll get more than 25% of your daily Vitamin C needs.  The leaves of this root are also packed with anti-oxidants, so be sure to add those into your salad. Eating radish ensures you’ll have nothing to throw away because you can benefit from both the stem and root.

You're talking about us?

You’re talking about us?

It comes in many varieties. You’ll find white, purple, and red radishes, each with its own taste. I love radishes for their strong flavors. Dice a couple up and sprinkle throughout your favorite salad combination. There’s no need for much dressing when you’ve got radishes to spice up your salad.

The next time you’re looking for a flavorful side dish with no prep, slice up some radish! Though they may be the underdog, radishes are totally rad, dude!

In Pictures: Savor Summer Fruit Every Season

While I may not be able to wear my white dresses anymore, the end of summer doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy fresh berries all year long. Maybe you just picked up a few pints of blueberries on sale at the supermarket or enjoyed one last trip to the farm and picked your own; the thought of surviving cooler months without juicy berries too much to bear.

Well, you’re in luck because in a few easy steps you’ll be able to enjoy your fresh summer pickings all year long!

This is my favorite way to freeze fruit like berries and pineapple. Sure, it does require an extra step or two beyond simply throwing them in the freezer, but I really think the end result is worth it. This method of freezing your fruit allows you to remove as much or as little as you need without getting stuck with a solid block you need to thaw to separate. It’s perfect for mixing fruit into smoothies, oatmeal, muffins, and just plain snacking!

I’ve used strawberries in this example but the method is pretty much similar for other fruit you’d like to freeze. Here are the four easy steps:

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1. Chop the stems off your strawberries. I prefer to chop the tops off first before washing them because then the dirt/pesticides from the top doesn’t mix in with the rest of the berry.

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2. Wash and dry your berries. The important part here is that you thoroughly dry your berries after washing them. I dab them gently with a paper towel to absorb any remaining water. The better you can dry them off, the fewer ice crystals they’ll form when you freeze them.

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3. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place strawberries on the pan and take care to leave space between each one.

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4. Freeze berries on pan for 3-4 hours. Be sure to keep the baking pan flat when you lay it in the freezer. Once berries are frozen, remove them from the pan and store them in a freezer-safe bag. Store bag in the freezer.

After each piece has room to freeze separately, you can put them all in the same bag without fear that it’ll turn into one huge blob. You can freeze blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries with the same method–just no stems to chop off first. With fruit like pineapple, chop it up into bite-size pieces and place each piece on the pan to freeze.

In a few easy steps, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying summer fruit every season!

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!