How has the weather been in your neck of the woods? Here in Illinois, it has been raining like crazy and progressively getting colder since last Sunday. It was even predicted to snow on Wednesday evening! Luckily, the snow never came and I am now looking out at a partly sunny, 60 degree day.
Since January, I have been making and posting videos on my YouTube channel. Since beginning to move into our new town home, I have just not found the time or drive to make and edit a video; however, I do plan on sharing more recipes and lifestyle tips there in the future! This blog is taking shape as a platform for more science and practical living tips. When it comes to explaining more complex topics, it is easier for me to type it out. For some reason, it just makes more sense in my head when I type compared to when I speak...
That being said, I would like to share with you all a few facts about our Mother Earth since Earth Day is just around the corner. BONUS: If you celebrate Easter, the recipe shared below can also be a fantastic treat! Simply mix the ingredients together and dip into some melted chocolate for edible vegan Easter eggs!
Earth Day is Saturday (April 22nd, 2017)!
Disclaimer: Graphic pictures are used.
I have always loved this day of celebration for Earth. It is our home, our breath, our food, our life! 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 generation, the earth changes. Change is and can be a good thing, but some types of change (like weather patterns and extinction) can 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 many reasons I have stuck to this lifestyle for nearly 5 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 grain...to 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 in some cases 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. All it takes to begin is just one plant-based meal per day. Think that's difficult, take a look at these foods that are already plant-based:
peanut butter and jelly sandwich
spaghetti and marinara
oatmeal with raisins
cereal and plant-based milk
rice and beans
stir fry with vegetables and tofu
grilled cheese (using plant-based cheese)
THE ENTIRE PRODUCE SECTION AT YOUR GROCERY STORE!
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, 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.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”- Mahatma Gandhi
What is your favorite way to celebrate Earth Day? Leave a comment and let me know!