Go veggie for a day!

October 29, 2013

Meatless Mondays: healthy, sustainable – and doable!

Meat has a dark side that’s very difficult for any meat eater, me included, to acknowledge: it has a large environmental footprint.  That footprint includes:

  • On-farm impacts like emissions from trucks, tractors and both ends of animals, particularly cattle
  • ‘Upstream’ impacts from the manufacture and transport of farm inputs like feed and fertilizer (plus, in some cases, deforestation to produce feed)
  • ‘Downstream’ impacts from processing, packaging, freezing or chilling, transporting and retailing

It’s estimated that it takes about 20 times as much fossil fuel energy to produce a calorie of beef versus a calorie of plant protein.  Ouch!

If you’re among the many who are not quite ready to commit to a 100% vegetarian or vegan diet, why not try going Meatless on Mondays?  It’s a simple lifestyle change that can have a huge positive impact, and it’s a lot easier than you think!  Here’s a 2 minute video of recipes, and here’s a website with info, recipes, networking opportunities and more.

See you in the veggie burger lineup next Monday, or any day!

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Are your consumption habits dictating your lifestyle?

In Your Money or Your Life, authors Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez invite readers to:

  • Track every penny they spend for a month, and then tally those figures into spending categories like food, entertainment, vehicle payment, vehicle expenses, mortgage, clothing, etc. (it’s possible to estimate, but honest tracking is much more accurate and revealing)
  • Determine what their net (IE after taxes and deductions) hourly income is
  • Calculate how many hours of work it is taking to pay for each of those spending categories

Here’s the key point: when we earn money, we are trading our time – our precious life energy, and the only commodity we have that is exclusively ours – for dollars.  A simple exercise like this can help us realize just how much of our (irreplaceable) time we are trading away for the things we consume – and whether, upon reflection, those things are worth that time they are taking from us.

Today, it seems so many of us are busy to the point of making ourselves unhappy and unwell.  Perhaps working through the above three steps can help us reflect, step back and reassign our precious life energy to things that are more important, more meaningful and more fulfilling.  That’s my hope for Canadian Thanksgiving Day.

(For more about Life Energy, check out Radical Simplicity by Jim Merkel.)

Efficiency in the kitchen

October 2, 2013

Simple cooking and baking practices to save money and energy

The stove is probably the biggest energy user in our kitchen; there’s a reason for that massive power cord!!  But a few simple techniques can help most cooks save in the kitchen:

  • Use reflective foil drip pans under stovetop elements; in addition to catching spills, they reflect more heat up to where you want it
  • Use a microwave where possible; it uses less than a quarter of the energy of a conventional oven to do the same job
  • A small pot on a big element wastes nearly half of the element’s heat, so match the pot size to the element size
  • Preheat ovens only when necessary; except for baking, most foods can be cooked without heating (and the oven is the biggest energy user in a stove)
  • Turn things off a few minutes before cooking is done, and ‘coast’ to completed cooking; ovens can be turned off 15-20 minutes early

For many more similar kitchen tips, visit here.