Sunday, February 26, 2012

Eat More Vegetables

I thought I'd start with a more obvious tip. It's one that we've all heard, and we all say, "I know, I know." It's hard to get out of the meat and carb (yet oh-so-tasty) rut of the standard american diet. It's hard to get out of the rut of quick convenience food. But vegetables can be both satisfying and quick if prepared correctly. And you don't have to give up meat and carbs! It's good to adopt a way of food preparation that bases meals mostly on vegetables, and uses meat, dairy, and grains as condiments and to add flavor.   Don't get me wrong, I fall back on a good ol' grilled cheese sometimes, but for the most part, I love a big heaping bowl of sauteed vegetables over rice with some cheese or soy sauce on top. Preparing veggies has become an art for me. I'm always trying new combinations using what's on hand. Here are some tips on using veggies:

  • Use what you have. If a recipe calls for some crazy vegetable ingredient (who has shallots just lying around, really!?), use a substitution or just cut it out. Along those lines...
  • Don't use recipes. I mean, they're good to start with or to refer to for new flavor combos, but preparing veggie dishes becomes much easier when you don't have to follow any rules!
  • Start with onions. Lots of onions. Almost any meal I cook starts with sauteing onions in oil or butter. It's the base flavor for most savory dishes anyway (even the uber processed stuff). Plus, there is no better smell than onions cooking. People will think you are a master chef, and you will just have onions sauteing in a pan.
  • Keep some pre-chopped frozen veggies on hand. Washing, peeling, and chopping makes cooking with fresh vegetables a time-consuming task. Fresh veggies are a near nutritional equal to using fresh but take a fraction of the time to prepare.
  • Use butter and cheese! Especially when you're acclimating yourself to the fresh, earthy taste of veggies, smother them with butter and cheese and enjoy them to the fullest! Of course veggies are boring if you're just eating them plain! Plus the fats help you absorb the vitamins. Oh, and don't forget the salt.
  • Start small. Add some sauteed onions, peppers, or shredded zucchini to your marinara sauce. Mix steamed broccoli into your macaroni and cheese. Put lettuce or spinach on your sandwich.
There are more than just health benefits to eating vegetables. Vegetables are cheaper than processed foods and meat. Even cheaper if you grow them yourself! They are easier on the Earth--not as much energy goes into producing them. Also, gardening is therapeutic and fun! Many people don't realize how many vegetables exist that aren't sold at the grocery store. If you haven't heard of or eaten hubbard winter squash, kale, swiss chard, kohlrabi, cabbage, or eggplant, you must run to your nearest farmer's market or seed store and become familiar with them!

For the sake of the Earth and yourself, EAT MORE VEGETABLES!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A piece of my mind...

Over the years, my increasing knowledge of the state of our World has made me a bit of a neurotic. I wonder, how did it get this way? Why don't more people care? How can I fix this mess? People are getting cancer. Children are developing autism and learning disorders. One in 3 Americans are obese! Air is unsafe. Water is unsafe. Soil is unsafe. Food is unsafe. The earth is littered and disrespected. People are belittled and disregarded. 

This deeply troubles me and I don't understand it. There seem to be obvious things that people can do at least slow the ruin of our precious planet and can possibly repair and improve this world. Yet all too often, I'm made to feel wacky, overly worried, neurotic for feeling this way.

These are my tips. Take them as you will, but know that the only motive behind this blog is to raise awareness and to empower. It's to open your mind to things you may not know and encourage you to be mindful of EVERYTHING you buy, EVERYTHING you eat, EVERYTHING you do. It will require SACRIFICE. Warning: You may start to distrust everything.

Forgive my melancholy outlook, but until I see that people are safe and happy and have access to healthy food, clean air, safe water, and honest information, I can't be trusting and I can't be at peace. Hopefully I'll be able to muster up some humor to lighten up this heavy material. Humor is one of the only things that keeps one sane in this insanity. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll help in saving the world and yourself, one neurotic step at a time.