In honor of Earth Day we thought we would share a few earth friendly tips from our kitchen to your kitchen. Eating "green" is healthier for our family, reduces our grocery bill, supports our local farmers while making a positive effect on our environment.
Our first tip is to try and buy organic and/or biodynamic when you can. Organic foods are safer for our environment and our family because organic growers don't use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Pesticide use degrades soil, air and water quality, while threatening our health. Pesticide use has been connected to cancer, alzheimers, parkinsons, autism, asthma, ADHD, allergies and other inflammatory conditions. Similar to organic farms, biodynamic farms forgo pesticide and herbicide use but even take it one step further by rotating their crops every year which enriches the soil, resulting in more nutrients to our foods.
Educate yourself on the foods that retain the most and least nutrients so you can limit your pesticide intake. Visit the Environmental Working Group - www.ewg.org to find out more.
Second tip is to start choosing climate-friendly foods! Beans, vegetables, fruits and whole grains are less expensive and also better for our environment.
According to a United Nations report, the livestock industry creates about a fifth of all greenhouse gases and takes up 30% of the earth’s usable land. Vegetables and other produce don’t even come close. If each family of four eliminated 1½ pounds of meat once a week it would be equivalant to trading in a standard sedan for an ultra-efficient Prius hybrid according to Gidon Eshel, a professor of physics at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Not only would you be attributing to cleaning up our earth but you will also save a few pennies at the grocery! It's really a win win.
One of our favorite vegetarian meals is aduki bean tacos! (see below) Aduki beans are small, red beans that originated in China. Like other beans, aduki beans are packed full of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and B vitamins. All this nutrition gives us long-lasting energy, strengthens our bones and aids our digestion. And they taste delicious!
Thirdly, watch your waste! A recent study showed that the average household wastes 14% of it's food purchases. Start planning your meals, composting and being more mindful of how hungry you really are.
Lastly, eat local. Did you know the average American meal contains ingredients from 5 different countries!! Buying locally not only reduces the pollution and energy use associated from transporting, storing and refrigerating food but it also supports our local farmers. A great resource to find some local farmers in your area is www.eatwild.com. Visiting a local farmer's market is another great way to start adding some local foods to your meals.
Those are just a few earth-friendly tips to help you start being more mindful about the food choices you make and how it not only effects our health but also our environment. Below is our aduki taco recipe which is always a hit with the whole family!
Aduki Bean Tacos
Mix together 2 cups cooked aduki beans, 1 t sea salt, 1 t pepper, 1 t chili powder, 1 t garlic powder and 1 t minced fresh cilantro.
Serve on corn tortillas with grated cheese, fresh salsa and diced avocado. Serves 4-6.