The impact of climate change is no longer a rumor. Our world is warming, ocean levels are rising, and species are disappearing at a rate much faster than ever predicted. Solutions to help draw down carbon are urgently needed and every one of us must participate in these solutions.
Drawdown is a term being used today to describe “that point in time at which greenhouse gases peak and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis,” as defined by New York Times best selling author Paul Hawken, who wrote the game changing book, Drawdown. Drawdown is a prescription for a sick planet. It is a series of calls to action to help ourselves help ourselves.
Eating Clean and Eating Green, along with eighteen more food related drawdown activities, rank among the top ten most effective means at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, of the 100 proposed solutions to sequester and lower carbon and greenhouse gases, food and responsible food practices rate among the top 10.
Each of us can make a significant contribution to this urgent situation, starting at the level of our plates. Shifting to a diet rich in whole, clean, minimally processed, unrefined, well sourced, properly prepared foods, including plenty of plant matter, is the single most important step we can take today.
The Western diet that has prevailed for so many years, heavily skewed towards meat consumption, carries a steep price tag, since raising domestic animals and livestock for the purpose of filling our plates with meat, accounts for somewhere between 15% and 50% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. It is said that if “cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.”
The World Health Organization weighs in, suggesting that only 10 to 15% of our daily caloric intake needs to come from protein. Much of this can be supplied by a plant rich diet.
I am excited to think of the possible impact you and I can make by opting for more plant based meals. I am even more excited to think that, apart from the chicken breast trend I may have participated in, we can follow an Eat Clean® lifestyle and help change the condition of our planet, as immediately as your next meal.
In the past I have felt that nothing at my personal level could make much of a difference to reverse the potentially cataclysmic path our planet is on, but if we can include more plant based meals on a weekly basis, going from one Meatless Monday to Tofu Tuesday and even a Falafel Friday, we are voting with our dinner plates on a grand scale. We eat at least 3 to 6 times per day. Each of these meals is an opportunity to choose plant based food and do your part for the good of the planet.
On a global scale that number is mind boggling. In a study conducted by the University of Oxford in 2016, it was predicted that if we could adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet (eating milk, cheese and eggs), we could reduce emissions by as much as 70%. That is a number that feels significant. It feels doable, at least from my perspective.
When I wrote The Eat-Clean Diet® Vegetarian Cookbook, I had no idea it would be such a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. With over 200 pages filled with plant based recipes, it becomes a simple matter to change the course of your eating to one more compassionate to our planet. More plants on your plate means less stress on the planet and more health for you.
I invite you to take the Drawdown challenge. How many meatless meals can you incorporate into your lifestyle? I’m here to both participate and accept the challenge. To help you out, here are some of the top recipes from my The Eat-Clean Diet® Vegetarian Cookbook.
Plan on plants for your next meal.
All recipes from The Eat-Clean Diet® Vegetarian Cookbook.
All rights reserved and copyright protected.
MOROCCAN CHICKPEA SPREAD
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: none
Yield: 2 ½ cups
2 cups cooked, rinsed and drained or 1 x 15 ounce BPA free canned chickpeas
1 raw carrot, peeled and chopped
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, not in oil, soaked for one hour, drained, liquid reserved
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch cayenne, or to taste
2 Tbsp tahini sesame paste
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ tsp unrefined sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp fresh mint
Add ingredients except fresh cilantro and mint, to food processor.
Pulse until well blended.
Mixture will be thick.
Add reserved sun-dried tomato liquid, one tablespoon at a time until mixture comes together.
You may need up to ½ cup liquid depending on how thick or thin you like your mixture.
If you run out of tomato water, use water or vegetable stock.
Once desired consistency is achieved, add cilantro and mint and process for a few seconds until herbs are incorporated.
Serve with crudites, baked whole grain tortilla chips or naan.
CAPRESE QUINOA SALAD
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes for quinoa
Yield: 5 x 1 cup servings
½ cup uncooked quinoa or 1 cup cooked
1 ½ cups mixed cherry and mini pear tomatoes, halved
½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls, burrata or use tofu cubes if vegan
2 Tbsp minced red onion
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ – ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
Scrape into a mixing bowl when cooked.
Add tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, burrata or tofu.
In separate small bowl combine minced onion, balsamic, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa and toss to coat.
ELEGANT MUSHROOM AND WINTER VEGETABLE STEW
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 x 1 cup servings
½ cup morel mushrooms, dried
½ cup porcini mushrooms, dried
2 cups boiling water
1 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered or halved, if small
1 pound Portobello mushrooms, stemmed, gills scraped out and cut into 1” pieces
½ shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered or halved if small
1 leek, white part only, washed well, sliced in thin rounds
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ pieces
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Cognac (optional)
4 cups low sodium mushroom or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 cup each parsnip, rutabaga and celery root, cut into ½” pieces
¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, place dried mushrooms. And cover with boiling water to rehydrate.
Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat.
Add half of all mushrooms and cook occasionally until brown.
Transfer to a bowl and repeat until all mushrooms are similarly browned.
Heat remaining ½ Tbsp olive oil.
Add leek, carrots and other root vegetables.
Cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add Cognac if using and scrape any bits off the bottom and sides.
Add mushroom broth and remaining ingredients.
Cook until tender.
Ladle into bowls and serve hot.