Monthly Archives: April 2015

Best Herbs and Supplements for Stress Relief [Infographic]

Tired of living in the age of anxiety? Try one of these gentle, non-addictive remedies.

Trading Recycling for Food and Services

Sustainable Energy awareness platform Revmodo recently reported on the growing success and popularity of recycle for food and services programs that first took off in Brazil and most recently spread to Mexico. It is truly touching to see the enormous success of everyday people donating their time to help reduce waste. It will be very interesting to see future generations come of age in an area demonstrating such a strong example of working to create a more sustainable future as well as the importance of fresh, locally grown produce.

Take a look at the full story below; Do you think a system such as this is possible in the United States? Why or why not? We would love to hear from you in the comments.

The city of Jundiai, Brazil, once struggled with litter-cluttered streets and trash-filled waterways. But 10 years ago, the city government launched a new program, called Delicious Recycling, designed to get more residents to recycle. In exchange for collecting cans and bottles, the city gives residents fresh produce grown in a local public garden. Now, the garden grows more than 30,000 plants to keep up with demand.

Other cities in Central and South America — particularly in Brazil — have similar programs. Curitiba, Brazil, began a recycling incentive program even earlier, offering transportation passes in exchange for recyclables. Residents of local shantytowns are employed to collect more trash, and the recyclable materials are sold to raise money for social services. The city now recycles 70 percent of its waste.

Inspired by the other programs, Mexico City is also now offering food in exchange for recycling.

The city has a major challenge with waste; it closed the largest landfill in the world last year, a 927-acre space that collected more than 76 million tons of trash. Now, the closed landfill will be tapped to generate power through its methane emissions. But every day, the city produces around 12,600 metric tons of new trash, and the government is looking for ways to dramatically cut that. The waste-to-food program is helping. When residents bring in their recycling, they’re given “green points” that can be spent at a local farmers’ market. It’s been a success so far, and the first market was so popular that all three tons of food were quickly given away.

10 Epic Veggie Burgers to Throw on the Grill Now

Veggie burgers are a fun dish to cook and serve in vegan cuisine because there is so much creativity one can put into constructing the perfect burger. Making veggie burger mixes is an easy, try-as-you-go way to add a bunch of good-for-you ingredients, like beans, whole grains and vegetables, in a patty and make it taste like whatever you want. Grilling the patties marries all the flavors and makes an amazing summer lunch. Throw these 10 epic veggie burgers on the grill now.

1. Quinoa Veggie Burger

Quinoa and mushroom lovers must try this patty. Use this recipe as a base and jazz it up with whatever herbs, spices, veggies or toppings you like.

2. The Vegan Eggplant Crunchburger

This vegan, gluten-free burger is decadence on a bun. The recipe author recommends topping them with caramelized onions and a simple spread made with mayo, mustard, and vegan, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.

3. Quinoa and White Bean Burger

These filling patties are packed with protein and fiber as well as other beneficial nutrients. They’re also packed with flavor; the recipe calls for thyme, garlic, shallots, lemon, red bell pepper, paprika and chipotle chili pepper.

4. Red Lentil Burgers With Kale Pesto

In this recipe, start with red lentils, potatoes, almonds and different seeds. You combine these with a nice blend of spices that includes cumin, paprika, coriander and black pepper. After you grill these patties, add the kale pesto sauce, then it place over some brown rice and you have a fantastic meal.

5. Spicy Cauliflower Potato Burger

Serve these spicy patties with roasted peppers, sliced tomatoes and an either guacamole or a chipotle habanero cashew cream sauce. For the Spicy Chipotle Cream sauce, blend 1/4 cup powdered raw cashews, 1/2+ cup water, 5 to 6 garlic cloves, 1/3 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 2+ teaspoons Chipotle Habanero Hot sauce or to taste.

6. Hearty Lentil and Brown Rice Burger

These hearty, flavorful veggie burgers pair well with BBQ sauce and are made with delicious ingredients like green lentils, brown rice, yellow onion and garlic.

7. White Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers

White bean, sweet potato, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, chili powder, breadcrumbs and a few other spices blend harmoniously together for these delicious white bean and sweet potato burgers.

8. Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Portobello mushroom burgers are a classic vegan veggie burger choice. These patties have a delicious glaze over top. Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic,  basil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, then pour over caps and let marinade for 20 to 30 minutes on the grill.

9. Cajun Burgers

The base of these burgers are made from kasha, or buckwheat, which has a deep, nutty taste. It also has a delicious taste from the spices, like thyme, basil, oregano, paprika, mustard powder and cayenne pepper.

10. Reuben Burger

This delicious veggie burger has a spice rub of several spices like coriander, garlic, onion, caraway, fennel and black pepper.

[via One Green Planet]

25 Indigenous Fruits and Vegetables Promoting Health All Over the World

In a recent issue of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s periodical BCFN Magazine, titled Food for Health: Paradoxes of Food and Healthy Lifestyles in a Changing Society, Food Tank co-founder Ellen Gustafson observed that the Western diet has taken over the world in the past 30 years – and the results have been disastrous. Global obesity rates have doubled, pushing the growth of diet-related illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

The bad health effects of this diet, high in refined sugars and fats and full of processed grains and meat, have been observed worldwide. In an article series for Food Tank, the organization Brighter Green has written about the public health problems caused by the increasing availability of high-calorie, low-nutrient fast food in Mexico, China, and South Africa.

Unfortunately, traditional diets and indigenous crops that have reliably fed communities for centuries across the world are rapidly being replaced by unhealthy foods. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that approximately 75 percent of the Earth’s genetic resources are now extinct, and another third of plant biodiversity is predicted to disappear by the year 2050.

But initiatives like the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC)’s Vegetable Genetic Resources System and Slow Food International’s Ark of Taste are working to catalog indigenous species of fruits and vegetables all over the world.

With the help of these incredible resources, Food Tank has compiled a list of 25 indigenous fruits and vegetables from regions around the world.

AFRICA

1. Amaranth: This versatile plant, which grows quickly in the humid lowlands of Africa, is a leafy vegetable typically consumed in places like Togo, Liberia, Guinea, Benin, and Sierra Leone. The plant thrives in hot weather and is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

2. Cowpea: Originating in central Africa, this legume is one of the region’s oldest crops. It is also drought resistant and can thrive in poor soil conditions. In addition to the peas, the leaves of the plant are also consumed as a vegetable.

3. Spider Plant: This green leafy vegetable, also known as “African Cabbage,” can flourish throughout Africa. It is high in protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and micronutrients.

4. African Eggplant:
The plant is an important indigenous crop because it is high yielding, drought-resistant, stores well, and can be grown in poor soil. The leaves of the eggplant are also consumed, and it can represent an important income source for some families.

5. Argan: This tree, native to the southern coast of Morocco, produces fruit containing a valuable hard nut. This nut contains seeds which produce a deep yellow oil with an unmistakable, rich flavor. In Morocco, there are a number of women’s cooperatives dedicated to producing argan oil.
EUROPE

6. Perinaldo Artichokes:
This popular thistle vegetable, valued for its tasty center, is native to the Mediterranean region and originally cultivated in ancient Greece. Perinaldo, a small Italian town near the French border, produces a variety of artichoke lacking spines or a choke and violet in color. The edible flower bud is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and various minerals. This variety of artichoke is drought resistant and very hardy.

7. Formby Asparagus:
Formby asparagus is notable for its coloration: white base, green stem, and purple-tinged tip. The vegetable is rich in protein, fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. It is a valuable addition to any diet because it aids in protein synthesis, reduces calcium loss, and has antioxidant properties.

8. Filder Pointed Cabbage:
The cruciferous vegetable provides a rich source of beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, fiber, and it serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Cabbage can be stored cold for months at a time and is eaten in the dead of winter when other vegetables are dormant.

9. Målselvnepe Turnip: This hardy, root vegetable variety has been improved over the years through selective cultivation in Norway. It has an excellent, yet strong and distinct taste compared to other turnip varieties. It can be eaten raw, roasted, baked, and boiled, and is frequently used to enhance the flavor of soups, salads, stir-frys, and side dishes. The turnip is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.

10. Ermelo Orange: Produced in the town of Ermelo in northern Portugal, these medium-sized oranges are extremely sweet and juicy. Ermelo oranges are distinctive because they have a thin rind and are less fibrous. The fruit is grown on small plots of land overlooking Lima River and pesticides, insecticides, and chemical fertilizers are forbidden in the region.

ASIA

11. Bitter Melon:  Despite its distinctive appearance and bitter taste, this vegetable, originally from the Indian subcontinent, is popular in a number of Asian countries. Those who overlook the vegetable’s warty appearance can benefit in a number of ways from eating this plant. The gourd has cancer-fighting properties, helps cure diabetes, and can help cleanse the body of toxins.

12. Pamir Mulberry: The Gorno-Badakhshan province of Tajikistan has a mountainous terrain ill-suited for the production of typical grains, including wheat and barley. The Pamir Mulberry grows well in this environment and is an important food source during times of crises. The berries can be eaten raw, dried, whole, ground, or as a jam.

13. Okra: The edible green seed pods of this plant are a common ingredient in soups and sauces and popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Okra is also an important export crop in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The vegetable is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and the seeds provide quality oil and protein.

14. Mungbean: The mungbean is important in Asian diets and valuable for its easily digestible protein. High levels of iron in the vegetable help improve the diets of the most vulnerable women and children, and mungbean production offers an opportunity for increased income for small-scale farmers. In addition, the vegetable can fix nitrogen in the soil, making it valuable for crop rotations.

15. Lemongrass: This valuable herb is used in many Asian countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnamese, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Lemongrass possesses many minerals and essential vitamins, which help control blood pressure and prevent heart disease. It is also valuable for its essential oils, which are known to possess anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antioxidant, and anti-septic properties.

AUSTRALIA AND OCEANIA

16. Lifou Island Yam: This starchy tuber plays an important role in both nutrition and food security in many Pacific Island nations. The vegetable is also very versatile–it can be roasted, fried, grilled, boiled, smoked, or grated. Yams are important because they can be stored for long period of time, and the vegetable has a social and cultural significance on many islands.

17. Bunya Nut:
Bunya nuts have long been a prominent food in the culture of Australian Aboriginals – so much so that, prior to European settlement, Aboriginal tribes would travel long distances to attend festivals celebrating the Bunya season. The Bunya nut is similar to the chestnut both in appearance and taste. The nuts grow on enormous Bunya pines in the few rainforest regions on the continent, but these trees are increasingly less commonly found.

18. Kumara: Also known as the sweet potato, kumara is cultivated in many Pacific Islands and was a staple crop for hundreds of years. The vegetable is a great source of protein, vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber.

19. Perry Pear:
This formerly wild variety of pears are pressed for their juice. The pear juice is then transformed into a fermented alcoholic beverage. The perry pear was introduced into Australia by the English, but its production is still very limited, and many of the perry pear varieties are currently facing extinction. During the height of gold-mining in Australia, perry pears were used to make a safe low-alcohol content beverage for miners.

20. Rourou (Taro Leaves): In a number of Pacific Island countries, such as Fiji, taro leaves are eaten and used in various cooking techniques. The leaves provide an excellent source of vitamins A and C. The leaves also have a social importance in ceremonial feasts and are a good local cash crop. In addition, the corms of the giant swamp taro plant have the potential to help feed a large number of Pacific Island countries.

AMERICAS

21. Yacón: Also known as the Peruvian Ground Apple, this root vegetable was cultivated throughout the Andes for more than a millennium. Because the vegetable consists mostly of water, it provides isolated inhabitants with a refreshing food resource. Yacón also contains inulin, a low-calorie, high-fiber sweetener that aids digestion while inhibiting toxic bacteria.

22. Papalo: This popular herb, known for its strong skunk-like smell, is used in the American Southwest, Mexico, and South America. Papalo, typically eaten as a garnish, is valued for its medicinal properties, including regulating blood pressure, relieving stomach disorders, and addressing liver problems. This unique herb has a hardiness to heat, allowing it flourish in hot climates.

23. Hinkelhatz Pepper: The Hinkelhatz pepper has been cultivated by the Pennsylvania Dutch since the 1880s. The plant produces small, heart-shaped peppers with a red or yellow color. Hinkelhatz peppers have a stocky, spicy flavor, so they are frequently pickled or pureed into a pepper vinegar used as a food topping. The pepper is important because it is cold-tolerant, pest and disease-resistant, and a prolific producer.

24. Nova Scotia Gravenstein Apple: This variety of apple is an early-season favorite in Canada because it can be used for a host of different purposes. The flesh is tender and crisp, and the apple’s juice is sweet-tart and intense. The apple is eaten fresh, but is also great for cooking, makes a flavorful cider, and can be stored cold for months at a time.

25. Guayabo: The green fruit, native to Uruguay and southern Brazil, has an appealing sweet and sour taste. In addition to its balanced taste profile, the fruit provides excellent nutritional and medicinal value because of its superior mineral and antioxidant content. In Uruguay, the guayabo is readily adapted to shallow soil and a mountainous environment, allowing the fruit to thrive even in the wild.

Maybe your 2014 New Year’s Resolution Should Be Eating Vegan Mayo

Why eat Vegenaise if you aren’t a vegan? Mayo can be enough of a culinary risk of its own (we try not to think about it too much). Well, apparently Vegenaise is AWESOME. So swears Slate writer Katherine Goldstein in the slightly hyperbolically titled “The Most Incredible Condiment You Probably Aren’t Using”:

The flavor was much lighter than regular mayo, and had a pleasing balance of flavors that made regular Hellmann’s taste both too sweet and too sour by comparison. Vegenaise’s texture is pleasantly smooth and airy, and much less goopy than store-bought mayo.

Did we mention that it’s made with solar power and is totally GMO-free? And it comes in fancy flavors like pesto, roasted garlic, and BBQ? OK, this is sounding pretty good …

As I tried it on a range of foods … slowly but surely, I realized its motto was right. Vegenaise, shockingly, tastes better than mayo. As an added bonus, it has less saturated fat and cholesterol than the regular stuff. And while many meat substitutes have ingredient lists that read like a science experiment, Vegenaise actually has no additives or preservatives.

Lest you discount Goldstein as a freak Vegenaise evangelist, she force-fed 15 coworkers the stuff, and 12 of them preferred it to regular mayo.

There’s only one way to find out if Vegenaise is actually better than mayonnaise, as its tagline claims: Try it. Hey, that’s a way better New Year’s resolution than going to the gym, right?

[via grist]