Tag Archives: Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day, Earthlings!

Happy Earth Day
image found on http://suvannamacchapilates.com/

 

We only have one planet to live on (at least for now) and we’ve got to do a better job taking care of it.

For me, everyday is Earth Day in the choices I make and the actions I take:

  • consuming a plant-based diet
  • shopping for locally grown produce
  • reusing bags when I go to the store
  • filling up my reusable water bottle
  • shutting off the water while brushing my teeth or doing dishes
  • recycling more than I throw away

and so much more!

There’s always more I could be doing, but I like to think that I’m making great efforts to do my small part.

I pulled together some great resources for you to learn more about Earth Day, discover ways in which you can help the planet, and encourage you to consider going vegan, if not for your health and for the animals, then for the Earth.

Drought has been a hot topic here in California as of late, as the state is in its fourth year of consistent severe drought. It’s not just the state of California experiencing problems, however, as nearly half the country is experiencing some form of drought, or abnormal dryness. California’s legislature is urging people on the local level to reduce the amount of water consumption, but we must also look to a larger scale; particularly, consider the effects of animal farming. Many of the resources I list below, show how eating a plant-based/vegan/vegetarian diet, even just one or two days a week, can make a huge impact on our environment.

http://www.cowspiracy.com/ – download and watch the groundbreaking environmental documentary, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret for just $1

http://bit.ly/1J6z7m2 – MSNBC video asking you to Consider Going Vegan

http://time.com/3772160/earth-day/ – Time magazine: Meet the organizers of very first earth day

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/eatfortheplanet – What’s on your plate? Join the social media campaign #eatfortheplanet

http://www.chooseveg.com/environment – Choosing veg is a better option for the planet

meateatersguide

 

What efforts are you making to help create a more sustainable future?

Earth Day and Meatless Monday

While this blog has always been about meat free recipes, with many posts in honor of Meatless Monday, I have never really gone into my personal beliefs for eating a meat-free lifestyle. Since Earth Day happens to fall on Meatless Monday this year, I thought it was a great time to talk about the benefits that plant based eating has for your body and for the planet.

My decision to not eat animals came fairly early in life, at the age of 15, after joining the animal rights club at my very progressive Brooklyn high school. I borrowed a cookbook from the head of the club, with the intention to offer my family occasional alternatives to the meat centric dinners we ate on a daily basis. Instead, when I learned about the hormones, antibiotics, bacteria, parasites and additional toxins that were transferred to humans when consuming commercial meat, poultry, and seafood, I said “no thank you” and took my vow of vegetarianism. Over 16 years later, I have never looked back, never regretted that decision, and never once even had so much as a craving for meat.

That was the deciding factor for me in choosing veg, but there are so many reasons I’ve stayed veg and made it my profession (and personal mission) to teach people how to incorporate more fruits, veggies and whole grains into their diets, and help them to do it through my vegan personal chef services.

For starters, a whole foods, plant-based diet is disease fighting! When done correctly, vegetarian and vegan diets are naturally low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and have been shown to reduce heart disease risk. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, plant eaters suffer less disease caused by a modern western diet (i.e. coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, type II diabetes, diet-related cancers, diverticulitis, constipation, and gall stones, among several others).

Next, a plant strong diet is good for the planet!  In this VegNews article, EcoVegan Gal, Whitney Lauristen, sums up the top 5 Ways that Being Vegan Saves the Planet.  Eating plants protects our soil, conserves water (it takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of plant foods), it saves energy (a Cornell study found that producing animal-based protein requires eight times more fossil-fuel energy than creating plant-based protein), clears the air, and combats world hunger (more than 700 million tons of human-grade food goes into animal agriculture each year, which could instead be used to eradicate hunger).

So whether you choose to eat veg just once a day, once a week, or once a month, know that your decision is helping to improve your own health and the health of this beautiful blue and green planet we call home.

Here’s a yummy idea for a quick and easy Meatless Monday dinner!

Yamadilla
Serves 2.
Ingredients
2 tortillas, at least 10″ round
1/2 Cup cooked black or pinto beans
1 Cup cooked sweet potatoes or yams (I like to peel, cube and steam mine for about 8 minutes)
Veggies of choice (ie mushrooms, onions, red peppers, broccoli, spinach)
Favorite non-dairy cheese, optional
Avocado or guacamole

Directions
1. In a medium or large skillet, heat a small amount of oil over medium-low heat. Add veggies in order of longest cooking time (for example, onions will take longer to cook than mushrooms) and saute until they are all tender.  You may also use the veggies raw, if preferred.

2. In small bowl, lightly mash the yams with a fork, until desired texture is reached. I like mine to be a bit chunky.

3. Lay tortillas plate on a cutting board or on plates. Spread with non-dairy cheese, if using. (I use cashews blended with water, nutritional yeast, salt, chipotle powder and other seasonings). Add about one half of the ingredients in layers to each tortilla, spreading evenly but not too thick.  (If it looks like it will explode when you fold it, use less and save some to eat outside of the tortilla.)

4. Cook tortilla open faced in the skillet or place in a toaster oven for about 5 minutes, until insides are warmed and tortilla just starts to get toasted. Fold carefully and cook for another few minutes on each side, if desired for crisper exterior.

5. Use a sharp knife to cut into wedges. Serve with avocado or guacamole and your favorite salsa.

Earth Day 2013 and Reflection on the Boston Explosions

This post comes at a very solemn time. It’s hard to put out the usual food and recipe posts when I have so much more than food on my mind.

What is on my mind is the future of our country, our species and our planet.

Yesterday, I spent most of my day avoiding all sources of news and social media, which means it wasn’t until evening that I learned about the explosions that went off during the Boston Marathon.  Needless to say, I was shocked by this news and also felt very isolated having learned it so late in the day.

I went to Emerson College in Boston; the main campus and the dorms that I lived in for four years are located on Boylston Street. I worked at the long ago closed TGI Friday’s at Copley Square (yeah, not the healthiest of places to work). I would walk past the site of the bombings on a near daily basis. Boston Marathon is always on Patriot’s Day, and always a local holiday in Boston; no work, no school.  It is frightening to think that if this tragedy had occurred 12 years ago instead of yesterday, many of my friends could very well have been standing where the bombs went off, and maybe I would have even been with them.  It reminds me of learning the news of September 11, 2001 in a similar manner to how I learned about the marathon explosions (albeit learning that news early in the day).

My heart goes out to all those who have lost their lives, their limbs, their loved ones, and their sense of safety and security.

Acts of terrorism, whether homegrown or foreign, are a tangible reminder that our planet and our lives are in jeopardy.

How does this all tie in to Earth Day? Well, these instances are not the only threat that we face on a daily basis. April is Earth month; April 22 is Earth Day and a time to raise awareness for the future of our life on this planet.

On April 22, people will come together to mobilize for environmental change. In light of this recent tragedy, I view events that create a sense of community as needed more than ever. Community gives people an outlet to share ideas, to rally towards a common goal, and to feel a sense of strength in numbers against all that tries to break us down.

There will be Earth Day events around the country and around the globe, so I encourage you to seek them out and join with others for a cause that we have control over — to make change for our planet, our safety and our future.

Here are just a few of the events going on in the next few weeks in the Los Angeles area:

April 17 thru 19
Going Green Film Festival – Downtown LA

Saturday, April 20
Topanga Earth Day Festival  (two day event) – Topanga
Earth Day Festival and Bike Ride – Monterey Park
Earth Day Celebration at Descansco Gardens – La Canada

Sunday, April 21
STAR Children’s Earth Day – Culver City
Venice Beach Pier Earth Day Beach Clean Up – Marina Del Rey

Sunday, May 19
WorldFest  – Lake Balboa (Woodley Park)