Monday, April 18, 2016

Earth Bites for Earth Day

Earth Day is this Friday (April 22nd, 2016)!

Disclaimer:  Graphic pictures are used.

I have always loved this day of celebration for Earth.  It is our home, our breath, our food, and so much more.  It brings us happiness when the sun is shining warm on our face, sunsets make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and with each passing season we get to see all cycles of life.  With each passing human generation, the earth changes.  Change is and can be a good thing, but it can also lead to increased danger and disease.

The main reason I initially was drawn to a plant-based diet was for weight loss/health.  Once I began eating unlimited fruits and vegetables with loads of whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, my eyes were opened to the huge impact our diets have on the planet.  Protecting the environment is just one of the several reasons I have stuck to this lifestyle for nearly 4 years now.

According to a recent article in Science Daily, research is showing that "climate change could kill more than 50,000 adults in 2050 world wide due to changes in diets and body weight from reduced crop productivity..." (1).
The good news is that by making simple changes to the food we put in our mouths several times per day, we just might be able to slow down (maybe stop or reverse when other factors are added in!!) climate change. (2)

Have you thought about the fact that it takes water and food to "raise" the animals that people use for food?  That we use tractors (that use fossil fuels and expel CO2) to plow, plant, fertilize, water, and harvest our crops?  What about all the manure produced from livestock farms?

Here are a few fun facts for you (3):
  • Around 30% of the world's ice-free surface is used to grow food for livestock (pigs, chickens, cows, etc.)
  • In North America and Europe, a cow consumes about 75 to 300kg (34-136lb) of grasses or produce 1kg (2.2lb) of meat produced. Seems a bit inefficient to me...
  • "Each year the livestock sector globally produces 586 million tons of milk, 124 million tons of poultry, 91 million tons of pork, 59 million tons of cattle and buffalo meat, and 11 million tons of meat from sheep and goats. That 285 million tons of meat altogether — or about 36 kg (80 lb.) per person, if it were all divided evenly. It’s not — Americans eat 122 kg (270 lb.) of meat a year on average, while Bangladeshis eat 1.8 kg (4 lb)."

Beyond the fact that I don't condone eating animals, none of these things are inherently bad on their own (in terms of emissions produced).  The issue arises when there are so many of these facilities (not just farms) producing these gases in quantities our planet can just not handle.

By reducing the amount of meat and dairy one consumes (or eliminating it all together!!), the emissions produced would decrease by 1230 kilograms or 1.4 US tons per year (2)!!  If you ask me, that is a pretty simple switch.

To help you start your journey towards helping this beautiful planet we all live on together, I have created a delicious, quick, and easy recipe just for you!  This recipe can be used as a snack or even as a meal!  It is also 100% plants.  To make the recipe even more environmentally friendly, be sure to use local and organic ingredients as much as possible.  For example, instead of buying processed nut butter, buy your favorite type of nuts from a farmer's market and blend them up at home.)

Earth Day Bites

You will need:
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried fruit (like dates, raisins, etc.) 
  • 1/2 cup raw nuts/seeds (like walnuts, cashews, or chia seeds)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
In a food processor or blender, dump in all of your ingredients and blend until sticky.  Scrape down the sides as necessary.  Feel free to add in any other flavors of choice like lemon zest, cacao nibs, or coconut flakes!   When the mix it ready,  it should be able to be molded into a ball easily.  Make several bite-sized pieces, then pop into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  This will help the bites stay together more easily.  Option:  Before serving, roll the bites in chia seeds, coconut flakes, or cocoa powder for extra pizazz.  Share with friends! ...or not...I won't judge :)
The earth is our home.  It is the only one we have, for now, so why not take a small step towards making it as great as it can be.  Not only will eating more plants protect the animals, trees, and planet; it will also increase your own health as well!  Remember, I am not asking for perfection, but the next time you are about to make a meal or sit down at a restaurant, think about the impact your food choices have on the world...and order a veggie burger instead.

What is your favorite way to celebrate Earth Day?  Leave a comment and let me know!