Winter Solstice–Warm & Wet: Global Warming??*

* I actually like the term Global Warning, that is, this is Mother Nature’s way of warning us that we need to change our ways to heal the planet.

December 21st was the first day of winter, but the weather was so warm in PA, I thought it could easily be the first day of spring. If this is global warming, I feel guilty feeling good about the warm weather, but cannot deny that I am concerned. But if it is *global warming or warming, as I call it, you may be surprised to learn that eating a meatless diet is a positive step to a smaller carbon footprint. Here is a photo of dinner plates and how each diet compares to our carbon footprint. (Source: http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/food-carbon-footprint-diet )


 

Since a vegan diet is the smallest footprint, I thought I would post a mini-review of a new cookbook I received on my birthday. It is called: The Everything Vegan Cookbook by Jolinda Hackett with Lorena Novak Bull, RD.

 

Chapter One is called “The Vegan Revolution.” Here is where Jolinda, who posts about vegetarian diets on www.about.com Guide to Vegetarian Food, provides her philosophy on why she switched to a vegan diet about one dozen years ago. (A vegan eats a totally animal-free diet [no dairy or eggs] and uses no animal products such as silk or wool or leather and does not keep pets. Their motto is Ahimsa, do no harm.) She explains why she eats vegan for the animals, for the Earth, and for personal and global health.

Here is one important fact from that chapter: Just one individual switching from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet reduces carbon emissions by about one and one half tons a year. That’s more than eating locally grown food and trading your SUVB for a hybrid. (p. 5. The chapter includes tips for getting started and creating amazing meals,as well as shopping tips.

I think this book is a good place to get started on a vegan diet if you are afraid you will miss some of your foods on your meat-centered diet. The recipes are divided into chapters as well:

Chapter 2: Appetizers, Sauces, and Dips
Chapter 3: Vegan Breakfasts
Chapter 4: Salads and Salad Dressings
Chapter 5: Soups
Chapter 6: Vegetables, Stir-Fries, and Sides
Chapter 7: Rice Entrees and Sides
Chapter 8: Classic Pastas
Chapter 9: Whole Grains
Chapter 10: Miscellaneous Mains
Chapter 11: Tofu
Chapter 12: Seiten, TVP, and Tempeh
Chapter 13: Delicious Desserts

There are also two appendices. Appendix A is a Protein Comparison Table and Appendix B are Recommended Online Resources. Also, the text is printed in a green ink that is easy on your eyes.

As you can see, the book is comprehensive in its scope, so you are sure to find several recipes that will spark your interest in experimenting with veganism, if not as a lifestyle, then a way to reduce your carbon footprint a little at a time. With 300 recipes, even I can find some that fit my standards of fresh, lightly prepared dishes.

Since soup is my favorite food this time of year, I am featuring a recipe for a soup broth that you can use for almost any soup recipe.

Shiitake and Garlic Broth

Ingredients : Yields 6 cups of broth

1/3 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
6 cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 onion, chopped

1. Combine all ingredients in a large soup or stock pot and bring to a slow simmer.

2. Cover and allow to cook for at least 30-40 minutes.

3. Strain before using.

Per 1 cup: Calories:8   Sodium: 5 mg  Fiber: Og  Protein: Og

(My note: The fiber and protein will show up when you use the broth to make a soup with tofu or beans and veggies. es)

Vegetarian Dashi: To turn this into a Japanese dashi stock for miso and noodle soups, omit the bay leaf and thyme and add a generous amount of seaweed, preferable kombu, if you can find it!

(My note: Whole Foods, local health food stores, and Asian markets carry a variety of seaweeds.)

The Everything Vegan Cookbook is published by Adams Media and costs $16.95.

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