January 2016 Edition
Did you know...
Your brain is 73% water. It takes only 2% dehydration to affect your attention, memory and other cognitive skills!
Earth-friendly 2016 Diet Resolutions
Too many of us have become Eco-Zombies... careless about the relationship between the health of the planet and the health of our own bodies and minds. From farm to fork, the way food is grown, processed, and distributed affects not only its quality and variety, but also impacts our health and the sustainability of Mother Earth. That's why a lot of people who are concerned about both the size of their waist and recent extremes in climate change are making Earth-friendly dietary choices.
A useful starting point for understanding the relationship between the environment and your health is "planetary boundaries," or tipping points in our planet's natural air, land, and water systems. Recently, a team of 28 internationally renowned scientists identified these boundaries and related changes in natural systems, such as air quality, biodiversity, and land use. Breaches to these boundaries and the altered environmental trajectories could result in rapid, irreversible changes that threaten the conditions under which humanity can thrive on Earth. According to the scientists, 3 of the 9 planetary boundaries have already been crossed: climate change, biodiversity, and the global nitrogen cycle. The direct and indirect effects are seen in loss of biodiversity; soil, air and water pollution; polar ice melting; rising sea levels; species endangerment and alterations in habitats; and inadequate development of water and land resources to meet food and energy needs. These changes have unchangeable effects on human health, including increases in food and waterborne disease; disease carried by wildlife (e.g., Lyme, West Nile, and Ebola), malnutrition, and rising rates of cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, and diabetes.
Our reliance on factory farms - Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs-is a big contributor to environmental rifts and the degradation of health. Most meat, poultry, eggs and dairy sold in the U.S. come from CAFOs, a major driver of deforestation, habitat destruction, and climate change. To prevent disease and promote faster growth, these animals are given hormones and antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance, a serious public health problem. Animal feed consists largely of subsidized Genetically Modified (GMO) grains grown with toxic pesticides and fertilizer, which end up in the water supply and on our produce.
"Grass-fed" beef may be more humane for animals but even the most humane farming practices wreak havoc on ecosystems. We have to feed billions of people, too many of whom consume too much of any kind of meat.
Fish aren't off the hook, either. Over fishing has depleted many marine species and degraded marine ecosystems. Fish farms face similar problems to CFAO's. When it comes to reducing the negative impact food production on the planet, reducing seafood consumption is part of the equation.
Earth-friendly Diet Resolutions
Every day, you have the choice to choose a healthy, Earth-friendly diet consisting of more fruits, veggies, and legumes and no (or less and more carefully chosen) meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. In turn, you'll create a healthier future for Mother Earth.
Grow Your Food. Growing food helps save money, reduces the environmental cost of factory farming, and is educational to the whole family. Use organic soil, compost, and practice conservation-friendly watering to help your garden grow.
Eat Organic, Seasonally & Locally. Choose organic and in-season foods from local farms and markets to support your local economy.
Go Meatless. Just 1 day a week, try replacing meat-based recipes with savory vegetarian or vegan options.
Fish with Care. Like beef, farm raised fish also contain chemicals and antibiotics that affect our health and the environment. Choose locally caught or wild caught fish.
Start a Farm-to-School Program. Talk with local public schools about partnering with CSA farms and serving vegetarian options to students.
Support GMO Labeling. The only way to know if a food has been genetically manipulated is for labels to indicate products are GMO-free. When it comes to your inbox, sign petitions for GMO labeling laws.
Food for Thought. . .
"Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success."
- Swami Sivananda
Each day, Americans toss out enough food to fill the Rose Bowl stadium! As much as 40% of edible food in the United States goes uneaten. That's a drain on your wallet - $28-$43 a month. All that uneaten, but perfectly good food doesn't just lay waste to your budget; it rots in landfills and pollutes the planet.
While your virtual self is looking for spare change in that mountain of food trash, we've got good news: With a little mindfulness, there are easy ways to reduce your footprint and put money back in your pocket!
Net-Zero Your Fridge. Before you restock, make sure it's emptied of all edible food. If you really must stick to a shopping schedule, try freezing, canning or preserving foods.
Befriend Your Freezer. Most frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. Freeze leftovers if you won't have the chance to eat them before they go bad.
FIFO Your Meals. Plan and cook meals using the "First In, First Out" rule. Place the most recently bought items toward the back so older items, in the front, are used first.
Use Leftovers. Look for recipes that will help you get creative with using leftovers.
Shop Smarter. Plan your shopping and avoid impulse buys. If you have no idea how much food your family wastes in a month, do what restaurants do to manage profit and loss: keep a log of what you buy and what you throw away.
Get Savvy about Expiration Dates. "Sell-by" and "use-by" dates are manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. The dates are not federally regulated to indicate safety, except on certain baby foods. Not sure if you should keep a food or toss it? Search online for a shelf life guide.
Bought Too Much? Donate or Compost. Non-perishable and unspoiled food can be donated to a food bank, soup kitchen, church, or a neighbor in need. Perishable food you can't donate can be composted to recycle their nutrients and nourish the planet.
Recipe of the Month
· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
· 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, thoroughly washed and chopped
· 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets and thinly sliced
· 5 cups organic low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth or bone broth
· 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
· ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· 1 tablespoon minced parsley
· Pinch of ground red pepper
· 1 tablespoon snipped chives
1. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the cauliflower, broth, salt and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, then cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
2. Let the soup cool slightly. Puree the soup, in batches, in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and add the parsley and ground red pepper. Heat the soup through and garnish with chives before serving.
Quartered or chopped artichoke hearts, zucchini or other squash, diced/shredded onion, spinach, kale or any other greens that you like can be added.
The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.