Posts Tagged With: going green

Greener Eats

Healthy food is currently making a resurgence in popular culture. Even the all-mighty villain of good eats, McDonalds, now offers apple slices as a side choice for their kids meals! As food trends go, I think this one is here to stay. But why exactly are your eating habits so important from a sustainable standpoint?

Whether or not you go fully vegetarian/vegan or remain omnivorous, eating less meat is a cheaper, healthier and more environmentally friendly way to go. Livestock and meat production is highly land, energy and resource intensive. If you’re in for a long read, the Vegetarian Society has a very in-depth piece on the environmental benefits of going veggie. One of the main points is that worldwide, farmed animals produce more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s entire transport system (18% of the total vs about 13%).

If that number doesn’t jump out at you, then don’t worry. You don’t need an environmental justification to enjoy vegetables! Cooking without meat (or dairy, if you so choose) allows you to be much more creative. Instead of relying on fat and meat to flavor everything, you get to experiment with the whole rainbow of spices and natural flavors. Plus, cooking your own vegetables means you can make them exactly the way you like them best, whatever that means to you.

Or, if you’re not ready to fully commit to a meat-free lifestyle, you can follow in the footsteps of one of the most famous food writers, Mark Bittman, who writes for the New York Times. Bittman is a member of the growing movement of people who define themselves as “flexitarians”. Not vegan/vegetarian all the time, just more often than not. He sums it up perfectly in this article, titled “Going Vegan, if Only for a Day”.

While I am not personally a vegetarian or vegan, I try and live a little lighter on the planet by choosing more vegan options. One of my favorite ways to do this is by exploring food blogs. There are thousands on the internet, but I’ve found a few vegan/vegetarian blogs that I’m just obsessed with. I’ve shared a few below, I hope you check them out and enjoy them as much as I do!

Produce on Parade

I list her first because Katie, an Alaskan vegan with a healthy sense of humor and adventure, is quickly becoming one of my favorite food blogs – period. She lists tons of comfort food, vegan style. I guess it comes with the territory when you live somewhere that cold! Her awesome recipes come complete with beautiful photographs, so I highly recommend you check them out!

Rockstar Recipe: I have yet to try any of hers yet, but her Coconutty Cinnamon Roll Pancakes look out of this world!

 

Cooking Stoned

No, he isn’t really stoned. However, Jerry James Stone is an EXCELLENT chef. A vegetarian, Stone often dabbles in vegan or gluten-free recipes, all accompanied by cute instructional videos and recipes.

Rockstar Recipe: Everything I’ve made by his recipes has been great, but his Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Crushed Pine Nuts and Parmesan are a hit among all of my friends, and they’re so easy to make!

 

The Vegan Stoner

This website is downright adorable. Every recipe is illustrated by cute, cartoony depictions of the ingredients that look, well, a little high. Sarah Conrique and Graham I. Haynes are the designers behind the recipes and drawings, and their mission is to offer vegan recipes that don’t require an extensive kitchen of ingredients or complicated instructions to prepare.

Rockstar Recipe: I’m a big fan of their Cashew Ambrosia Salad. It’s creamy, nutty and sweet. They even have a cookbook in select stores, with even more doodles and cheap, easy vegan recipes.

Oh She Glows

Angela Liddon’s vegan blog is one of the most popular and established in the genre. She has hundreds of popular recipes, and updates frequently. In addition, some of her recipes are gluten-free, soy-free or free of processed foods. There’s a ton of recipes to choose from, so get ready to fall down the rabbit hole of vegan cuisine.

Rockstar Recipe: I love her Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash with Black Bean Guacamole for a hearty and flavorful meal. I recommend plenty of her desserts as well, for those with a sweet tooth.

 

Budget Bytes

While this food blog may not be particularly vegetarian or vegan themed, this is my all-time favorite food blog. Beth caters to those with good taste and slim wallets. She does a price breakdown of every recipe for the budget-concious readers, which is great. She has a drop-down menu on the side that has vegan, vegetarian and vegetables categories.

Rockstar Recipe: I’m currently working my way through her recipes, but Beth so far has not disappointed. Recently I made her Island Rice Pilaf  for my roommates and they ate up every bit. Although, to be fair, it’s like that with every one of Beth’s recipes.

 

Bon Appétit!

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Categories: Tips | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s an Ecological Footprint?

Your ecological footprint is a measure of how much land it would take to produce the resources necessary to sustain your lifestyle.

Your ecological footprint is a measure of how much land it would take to produce the resources necessary to sustain your lifestyle.

Maybe you’ve started to dip your toe into the waters of the sustainability movement, and you’ve heard some chatter about footprints. Carbon footprints, global footprints, ecological footprints — any kind of footprint, really. “What gives?” You may ask. Well, I’ll tell you.

The most accepted”footprint” these days is an ecological footprint. An ecological footprint is “a measure of how much biologically productive land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes, using prevailing technology”. It’s also another way of expressing carrying capacity, which is the total population a certain set of resource sources and sinks can sustain and absorb. The USA has the largest carbon footprint of any nation on Earth, which means that even though we may not have the largest percentage of the global population, we use the largest percentage of resources.

When you fill out a footprint calculator, it asks about certain behaviors, including how much you spend on your electricity bill, how often you eat meat and how often you use fossil fuels. It takes these behaviors and gauges how much land is necessary to produce all the food, fuel and power to keep you at your standard of living. It then tells you how many Earths it would take to produce all the resources needed if everyone on the planet lived the exact same way you did.

When you fill out this quiz, you may be alarmed to find that your footprint would take 3, 4 or even 7 Earths to sustain over the long run. While you can lower this through making more more sustainable life choices (i.e. conserving water, eating less meat or using alternative transportation) there is a certain amount of this calculation that is immobile the second you click “USA” as your home nation. The US uses resources to produce crops, maintain an army and basically do things every government does. We just happen to do it more wastefully than most.

FInding out your personal ecological footprint is a great way to put your lifestyle choices in perspective, and to see what kind of an impact your lifestyle and choices make. Interested in finding out how you score? Check out this handy calculator to find out for yourself.

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