Should We Forgo Turkey on Thanksgiving? And Why?

You may think that a plant-based Thanksgiving is a blasphemy, and see no reason why we should give up the tradition of eating a turkey, replacing it with a stuffed pumpkin, tofurky, or whatever, but please hear me out.

As much as we like to stick to traditional way of doing things, and protest against changing anything for the sake of TRADITION—the most important criteria for keeping a tradition should be how well those traditions are serving us TODAY, knowing what we know, being who we are RIGHT NOW.

The most important criteria for keeping or changing a tradition should be—how well those traditions are serving us TODAY, knowing what we know, being who we are RIGHT NOW.

And right now our planet is in trouble. Scientists say we are heading towards planetary breakdown, and even if we ended fossil fuels today, our food system alone would send us over 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, with animal agriculture being the worst offender*.

With 8 billion of people in the world, and 80 billion of land animals and trillions of sea animals killed each year; we truly have a huge sustainability problem on our hands, and even switching to “free-range,” “cage-free,” “organic” meat and dairy, as some propose, will only make the matter worse.

turkey
Turkeys do not smile very much! Dang they have no reason, especially on Thanksgiving!

So, back to Thanksgiving.

It is generally believed that in 1621, the Pilgrims invited Wampanoag Indians to a feast in Plymouth Colony to celebrate their first harvest with turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.

Well, maybe it happened like that, but from what we know today, probably not.

Traditions that relate to certain events in the past often bear little resemblance to the actual events—and it’s okay.

FACT: Thanksgiving as we know it was created by ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ author—not the Pilgrims

Sarah Josepha Hale – does that name mean anything to you?

You may not have heard of her, but she is the woman who created Thanksgiving as we now celebrate it.

This may come as a surprise to you, because it’s a little known fact, but without Sarah Jessica Hale there would be no Thanksgiving as we know it.

Without Sarah Josepha Hale—later known as “the Mother of Thanksgiving”—there would be no turkey on the table, no gravy, no cranberry sauce, and no pumpkin pie.

Most importantly, there would be no Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

She was the one who conceived the idea, and then shaped the entire celebration—complete with putting together the menu items and the recipes that are now familiar to everyone across North America and beyond.

Yes, festive thanksgiving dinners were celebrated around the country, but not necessarily on the same day and not necessarily with the same food, and they were not given in the celebration of the 1621 feast.

It was Sarah Josepha Hale, an author, poet and magazine editor, a feminist, and an influential woman of her time (and the author of the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb”) who conceived the idea of the thanksgiving celebration and making it into a national holiday.

She had a VISION, and she CONSISTENTLY and TIRELESSLY WORKED toward fulfillment of that vision. She wrote letters and articles, spoke to people, sent petitions to politicians and presidents—until they listened.

She wrote not one, not two letters—but probably dozens, maybe even hundreds. She did that not for a week or a month, but over the period of many years.

In fact, for forty years, she lobbied any and all politicians she could, ultimately appealing to President Lincoln himself.

She kept doing it, even though probably at the beginning nobody listened to her. But she had not stopped … until it worked.

Finally, in the summer of 1863, on the heels of the decisive battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, President Lincoln granted her wish declaring Thanksgiving a national holiday.

And Sarah Josepha Hale knew exactly how this holiday celebration should look like. In her 1823 novel ‘Northwood; or, a Tale of New England’, she devoted an entire chapter to one such dinner, describing it in much detail, complete with roast turkey, gravy, and pumpkin pie.

As a result of her commitment, her passion, her belief, she single-handedly accomplished a huge goal influencing the lives of millions. She created one of the biggest holiday traditions—Thanksgiving as we know it—which bears little resemblance to the original celebration.

Ironically, apart from the food that is served during this holiday, today’s Thanksgiving bears little resemblance to Sarah Josepha Hale’s vision, either. The rather solemn celebration, that was about giving thanks, helping the poor and feeding the homeless, turned into a thanksgiving extravaganza, complete with the Macy’s Day Parade, football games galore, and enough food wasted to sink a ship.

What Was Done – Can be Un-Done

Unfortunately, what Hale had created with good intentions is hurtful for the animals, for people, and our planet. As a result of her work, commitment, and passion millions of animals are bread every year for the sole purpose of being killed, baked and served as a centerpiece on the Thanksgiving table–while people gather around to celebrate and give thanks.

Unfortunately, that’s her legacy.

Quite depressing, really. Tragic, even.

So why do I even talk about it?

Because what she did – can be undone.

Today, we can create NEW TRADITIONS.

Traditions that are just and COMPASSIONATE, truly HUMANE and JOYFUL.

Traditions that don’t require hurting anyone and don’t damage our planet.

Today, it’s time for new Thanksgiving traditions.

Traditions that are about giving thanks, being gentle and compassionate towards all beings.

If you think that’s impossible, that it will be an affront to the original Thanksgiving celebration that took place in 1621—think again.

The way we celebrate this holiday has very little to do with what the original celebration looked like, and everything to do with a vision of one influential woman, whom we know little about today.

It’s okay to shape new traditions. It’s okay to change traditions. Sarah Josepha Hale taught us how.

That’s the positive part of her legacy.

We can follow in her footsteps—with DETERMINATION, COMMITMENT, and PASSION—to re-invent the Thanksgiving tradition, as well as other traditions around the globe.

And this stuffed pumpkin recipe is a good start.

stuffed pumpkins

References:

According to the IPCC, the food sector is responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. The report states that “food sector emissions alone could add nearly 1°C to global warming by 2100” 1The foods with the highest methane emissions are ruminant meat like beef and lamb, dairy products and also rice, accounting for 75 percent of the projected damage 1.

The report also suggests that reducing meat consumption could be an effective way to mitigate and adapt to climate change 2A study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, found that phasing out all animal agriculture has the potential to substantially alter the trajectory of global warming 3.

1: https://sentientmedia.org/ipcc-report-food-system/ 
2: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02409-7 

3: https://news.berkeley.edu/2022/02/01/global-elimination-of-meat-production-could-save-the-planet/

Stuffed Pumpkin As The New Thanksgiving Centerpiece

If you’re thinking about a plant-based Thanksgiving, you absolutely deserve a showstopping centerpiece for their main course, and this stuffed pumpkin recipe fit the bill perfectly.

Now you too can make a fuss around the centerpiece of the table, discuss cooking techniques, stuffings and their our secret method, and finally stop feeling like we’re missing out on something. Filled with delicious goodness, will have everybody asking for seconds!

The first time you pull a roasted pumpkin from your oven is transformative. Its fragrance drifting through the house will bring neighbors sniffing to your door. The whole squash looks handsome and autumnal on your table. And then you actually taste it. You take off the cap and scoop a spoonful of tender pumpkin and salty, creamy stuffing, and your eyes widen. You make a mental note to feed this to everyone you know.

It’s that kind of dish. Worthy of a Thanksgiving feast, or the most festive Holiday dinner. And it’s 100% plant-based.

There are many versions of the stuffed pumpkin (or squash) recipe, so take your pick.

A Wonderful Main Dish for Thanksgiving & Holiday Table: Roasted Pumpkin With Stuffing

So this year why not step things up and try this impressive dish. Something that is large, heavy and almost can’t fit into the oven. Something that involves carving and stuffing. Something that makes everybody say oooohh and aaaahh, when carried to the table. A salad rarely evokes that kind of reactions. But a large pumpkin does. Especially when it is brimming with delicious goodness.

Pumpkins are so versatile, the things you can do with them are endless! If you’ve never cooked one before, you’re in for a real treat.  Plenty of chefs have their own spin on stuffed pumpkin. The essential truth is that if you take a good pumpkin, hollow it out and fill it with some combination of herbs, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, bread, and any other delicious, savory thing you like, and then bake it in the oven, you will end up with something over-the-top wonderful to serve to your friends.

There is no need to be intimidated by the size of this vegetable – if you’ve ever made a jack-o’-lantern, you have the skills to prepare this dish and make it into a stunning centerpiece that it deserves to be.

Pumpkins vary greatly in size and thickness of flesh, so cooking times and the amount of stuffing that fits in the cavity will be approximate. The recipe and cooking method are forgiving and adaptable. heck the pumpkin flesh with a knife from time to time and stir around the stuffing with a spoon. When the filling is bubbling and the pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced, it is ready.

Wild Rice & Vegetable Stuffed Pumpkin

Ingredients
•    1 lb. wild rice blend (or white/brown rice)
•    2 lb. fresh spinach, stemmed
•    ¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
•    6 cups sliced button mushrooms (1 ½ lb.)
•    1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
•    1 cup diced celery
•    9 cloves garlic, minced, divided (3 Tbs.)
•    3 Tbs. chopped fresh sage, divided
•    4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
•    2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
•    1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans, or 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
•    1 cup chopped toasted pecans
•    1 6- to 8-lb. cooking pumpkin

Preparation
1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Transfer to bowl.
2. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in bottom of skillet. Add spinach, and cook 4 minutes, or until wilted. Drain, and cool, then squeeze dry, chop, and add to rice in bowl.
3. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery, 4 tsp. garlic, 1 Tbs. sage, and 2 tsp. thyme; cook for 10 minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated. Stir in corn and kidney beans, and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Stir mushroom mixture into rice mixture. Fold in pecans, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut top from pumpkin, and scoop out seeds and pulp.
5. Combine remaining 1/4 cup oil, remaining 5 tsp. garlic, 2 Tbs. sage, and 2 tsp. thyme in bowl. Brush oil mixture over inside of pumpkin. Fill pumpkin with rice mixture, cover with top, and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until pumpkin is tender when side is pierced with knife tip. Uncover, and bake 10 to 20 minutes more.

Enjoy!
Serves 12

SHOCKING Study: Animal Agriculture Responsible For up to 87% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Up to 87% greenhouse gas emissions may come from this one sector!

87%?!

You may think this is a bunch of nonsense, but please keep reading.

According to a study by Dr. Sailesh Rao: Animal Agriculture Responsible For up to 87% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In the past, there have been different estimates, one from the UNFAO at 18%, and then another from Goodland and Anhang at 51%. UNFAO reinterpreted their work and made it 14.5%.

And now, Dr. Sailesh Rao suggested this outrageous number of 87%.

Where did that come from?!

Why are these estimates so wildly different?

The UNs 2006, 18% figure and the World Watch Institutes 2009, 51% figure, are different because the latter accounted for the breathing contribution of animals and photosynthetic capacity of the land used for feeding and housing livestock.

Plus, they’d also used a 20-year time frame for calculating methane emissions, instead of 100. And both were controversial in some circles, especially in the animal industry.

But there is another factor that was missing from these reports.

And that is the opportunity cost of the land use.

It’s a tricky thing to put a number on, but the new study checked out the impact of bringing back the original forest from the 1800s instead of using it for raising animals for food.

Basically by not allowing those trees to grow back after cutting them down, we’re looking at a total impact of 30 gigatons of CO2. That’s around five tons per person.

And it turns out that by itself would be enough to reverse climate change.

The opportunity cost of forests in determining accurate greenhouse gas emissions turns out to be such an enormous factor.

Which is BAD news.

But it’s also GREAT news!

Because that is something that we can change.

If we got rid of animal-based products, replaced them with plant-based alternatives, and changed how we’re using the land, restoring the forests, wetlands, mangroves, and leaving the oceans alone, we might have a shot NOT JUST AT SLOWING DOWN the climate change, loss of biodiversity, water and soil depletion, ocean acidification, and such…

BUT we even may have a chance of REVERSING some of the damage.

But the clock is ticking.

Either we switch to a plant-based food system, or the world as we know it ends.

It may not end tomorrow or after tomorrow, but if the trends continue, that time will come.

Sorry for being so blunt, but such are the facts.

And whatever that number really is, it doesn’t even matter.

Whatever estimates you accept as the closest to the truth—the bottom line is that impact is HUGE, and we can’t ignore it any longer.

Even if it’s half or one third or a quarter, we need to stop pretending it’s not a big deal.

According to the Ecological Footprint Calculator, it would take 1.75 Earths to sustain our current population 1If current trends continue, we will reach 3 Earths by the year 2050 1.

Our planet has finite resources and that our current lifestyles are unsustainable.

We have to address this enormous elephant in our kitchen.

We cannot keep looking at that elephant and pretend he’s a pony. 

We need to take action to reduce our carbon footprint and adopt more sustainable practices to ensure a better future for ourselves and future generations.

And if you are not an herbivore yet, how about becoming one today?

On any acre of land, we can grow TWELVE TO TWENTY times the amount in pounds of vegetables, fruits, and grains as in pounds of edible animal products!

But it’s not just about what’s on your plate.

It’s about making others aware, and especially making the politicians and decision makers aware.

So, share this information with as many people as you can, and demand action from those who are in power.

Let’s start the REVOLUTION.

Because if not us, then who. If not now, then when. 

PS. Sign up for my newsletter if you want to receive more articles from my new book “The Herbivore Solution”.

References:

Check out Dr. Sailesh Rao’s website Climate Healers

The study by Dr. Sailesh Rao, published in the Journal of Ecological Society, argues that animal agriculture is responsible for 87% of greenhouse gas emissions, pointing to the cumulative impact of deforestation for animal farming and annual methane emissions produced by cattle, which “cause more incremental global warming than the annual CO2 emissions from all fossil fuel sources combined” 12.

Who are you? Why are you here? Just curious…

You may already know a few things about me. Namely, that I’m an author, blogger, green smoothie enthusiast, vegan, and maybe a few other weird things.

But here is the thing…

I know nothing about you, except that for some strange cosmic reason, you ended up on one of my pages, reading one of my books or articles, and signing up for my list, entrusting me with your email address and attention.

And your attention, even if for a just few seconds, is priceless.

Because you’ll never get those few seconds or minutes (or hours, if you read one of my books!) back.

So, I would like to know—why did you do it?

Did you have a reason, or it was an impulse?

And what did you expect?

Are you a plant-curious omnivore? Vegetarian? Vegan?

Do you want recipes? Advice? Inspiration?

Information? Education? Entertainment?

Of what kind?

Now, I can’t promise you that I’ll deliver whatever you ask me to, but I can perhaps try.

BTW, I’ll tell you more about what I’m planning to write about in the near future. Some of things may already be familiar to you, some things may be new, struck you as strange, or even weird.

So, if you feel like you’d like to share with me a little bit about yourself, then you share your thoughts below or on my Facebook, Instagram, or via email.

–>>Facebook Link

And if not, that’s okay, too. 😊

Because I’ll just keep writing and trying to figure out my role in the big scheme of things in the universe.

P.S. Do you ever ask yourself these questions? “Who am I? Why am I here?” It’s worth asking yourself these questions repeatedly, again and again, because the answers you’ll get may surprise you.  

If you are struggling, like I did, to go plant-exclusive (or vegan), eating more nutrient dense foods may help.

PS. If you are not an herbivore yet, how about becoming one today?

A study published in the journal Nature found that if more people switched to plant-based diets, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70%, reduce pollution, and free up the land the size of Brazil to plant forests and restore natural habitats — and that’s huge! 

On any acre of land, we can grow TWELVE TO TWENTY times the amount in pounds of vegetables, fruits, and grains as in pounds of edible animal products!

But it’s not just about what’s on your plate.

It’s about making others aware, and especially making the politicians and decision makers aware.

So, share this information with as many people as you can, and demand action from those who are in power.

Let’s start the REVOLUTION.

(More on this coming soon…)

Because if not us, then who. If not now, then when. 

Maca Mocha: If you’re Trying to Quit Coffee or Reduce Caffeine try this Morning Energizer Instead

Here’s a little secret: you don’t need caffeine to start your day!

Or at least, not exclusively, LOL.

For a long time I’ve been looking for a delicious and nutritious alternative to my morning second coffee. (For some reason, I always need two).

I wanted to drink less caffeine, but couldn’t find anything that would be energizing and satisfying enough to warrant the break of fast. (I had been doing intermittent fasting for a while, and even though I stopped now, I am still only drinking black coffee or tea, no milk no sugar, in the morning till late breakfast or lunch).

However, I’ve noticed that after a lot of black tea and coffee on an empty stomach, my belly was not happy, so I decided to try something different.

And this warm maca cocoa drink fit the bill perfectly. It tastes so good! Packed with the goodness of maca powder, cocoa, flax seeds, and plant-based milk, it provides me with a natural energy boost to kick start my day, satisfies my senses, and gives me some serious nutrition for my brain (yay!).

But, Joanna, is it really better than a smoothie in the morning? You may ask. 

Well, it depends what you’re in the mood for. Sometimes a girl just wants something warm (and maybe it’s a sign that the fall is coming).

And if you have a milk frother, then it will be even more amazing, I promise. 

I have to say, flax seeds make this drink very filling and satisfying, so definitely try it. Alternatively, if you don’t have flax, you can experiment with adding chia seeds. The consistency will be different, but the texture can be even more exciting, IMHO 🙂

So, here is the recipe. 

Recipe: Energizing Maca Cocoa Morning Drink

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened plant-based milk (almond, soy, oat, or your preference)
  • 1 tablespoon of maca powder
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground flax seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite natural sweetener (such as maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey for non-vegan option)
  • A pinch of sea salt (optional)
  • A dash of vanilla extract (optional)

Method:

1) Pour your plant-based milk into a small saucepan and heat it over medium-low heat. Be careful not to bring it to a boil; you want it hot but not scalding.

2) While the milk is heating, combine the maca powder, cocoa powder, ground flax seeds.

3) Once the milk is hot, slowly whisk in the dry mixture. Keep stirring gently to prevent lumps from forming.

4) Flavor it Up (Optional): For an extra layer of flavor, you can add a dash of vanilla extract or a pinch of cane sugar or maple syrup.

5) Simmer and Serve: Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. This will not only infuse the flavors but also help thicken the drink slightly due to the flax seeds. Give it a taste and adjust the sweetness or cocoa flavor if necessary.Once everything is well combined, pour your warm maca cocoa morning drink into your favorite mug.

Garnish (Optional): You can garnish it with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or a dash of cinnamon for an extra touch of flavor and visual appeal.

Sip Slowly: It’s hot! Take your time savoring this delightful, energizing drink. Enjoy the subtle nutty notes from the flax seeds and the earthy richness of maca and cocoa.

Now, you have a wholesome and invigorating morning drink that’s caffeine-free, vegan-friendly, and brimming with nutrients. It’s the perfect way to wake up your body and mind without the jitters of coffee. Cheers to a healthier morning routine!

And if you worry about buying exotic ingredients from far away places, I respect that. I try to do that, too, most of the time.

If that’s you, try to come up with a combination that is from ingredients that grow locally, where you live. For me, it would be flax seeds, oat milk, kale powder, and hemp seeds, for example, which is a combination that I might try as well.

However, you should also know that any plant food is much better for the planet than any animal-based food, no matter how it was produced and transported.

So, should you give maca a try?

According to numerous internet sources, maca, the star ingredient in this recipe, has many health benefits.

Energy and Stamina: Maca is known for boosting energy levels and endurance, making it a natural energizer.

Hormone Balance: It can help regulate hormones, especially in women, alleviating symptoms of menopause and PMS.

Mood Enhancement: Maca may improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression, thanks to its adaptogenic properties.

Nutrient-Rich: Maca is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, supporting overall health.

Bone Health: Some studies suggest it may enhance bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Adaptogenic: It may help the body adapt to stress and maintain balance in various bodily functions.

All of these sound great to me. AND it tastes great!

It’s important to keep in mind that individual responses to maca can vary, and it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before adding it to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Sip on our warm maca cocoa morning drink and cheers to a healthier morning routine!

Remember that individual responses to maca can vary, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before adding it to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Perfect Breakfast & Brunch: Green Smoothie + Veggie Scramble with Tofu

Today I want to share with you a delicious recipe for a veggie-tofu scramble with one special secret ingredient, called kala namak. (And if you’re not familiar with kala namak, I have to warn you that the first time you try it will amaze or disgust you!) It’s a perfect follow-up to a green smoothie on a lazy Sunday morning.

(Side note: I used to have a smoothie first thing in the morning, and then about 11-12AM I was ready for another smoothie, or something more substantial. Today my routine has changed, and I don’t make smoothies as often. I often fast the whole morning, drinking only coffee or water, and then go straight to lunch.)

The recipe below is a perfect breakfast/brunch or even lunch/dinner dish – it’s healthy, low-fat, and cholesterol-free. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare, or less, if you do some prepping, like chopping your veggies in advance.

But first a picture of my smoothie….(yum…)

morning-green-smoothie

(You can even put a some tofu into a smoothie, as I did here, to make it more filling. :-))

Veggie Scramble Recipe (with Tofu)

If you don’t love tofu, you are certainly not alone. For me, it wasn’t the love at first bite, if you know what I mean ;-). However, as I experimented more and more, I learned to absolutely love it. Now I cannot imagine my life without tofu and I use it often, at least a couple of times per week.

If you’re new to tofu, it’s worth to try different brands and types, and experiment with recipes. For example, the silky tofu is just to die for in deserts (such as this chocolate mousse), while the super firm one will do great in veggie-tofu scramble or stir-fried in slices in sesame oil with some soy sauce and maple syrup.

Part of the success of the tofu scramble may be in the recipe. When I first tried tofu scramble, I used Isa Moscowitz’ recipe from the “Vegan Brunch” book, and the dish turned out perfectly.

If you think of tofu scramble as a bland, boring dish, that’s a sad substitute for an egg-scramble; you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Isa’s tofu scramble is by no means bland, bursting with flavor and aroma. You won’t miss eggs, I promise! (Unless you are a die-hard meat-and-dairy eater like my husband, that is, but even he’s gotten used to the scramble and now loves it just as I do).

The Secret Ingredient for Egg-Free, but Just-Like-Eggs Dishes

Over time, I modified the recipe to suit my taste and the contents of my pantry. One major modification has been adding a big pinch or two of kala namak. It’s an ingredient that makes all the difference in recipes that traditionally used eggs, such as egg salads, mayo, etc.

Kala Namak or Himalayan black salt, sanchal, kala loon or black lava salt is an ingredient you absolutely must have in your kitchen! It adds an AMAZING EGG FLAVOR to otherwise all plant-based, egg-free, cholesterol-free, cruelty-free recipes, such as no-egg salad, tofu no-egg scramble, egg-free mayo, and many others.

If you’ve never tasted it you’ll be SHOCKED just as I was when I tried it for the first time (I swear my eyes got as big as the saucer in which I mixed my first no-egg salad). I was expecting an okay taste and was absolutely blown away at how similar to chicken eggs it smelled and tasted. It was so very strange and cool!

Turns out that chicken eggs’ taste has nothing to do with the chicken, but everything to do with the Sulphur content of the egg. And it’s the Sulphur compounds in the black salt (which is actually pink in color) make the salt taste and smell JUST LIKE CHICKEN EGGS.

(Note: Those who are not accustomed to black salt often describe the smell as similar to rotten eggs. Some people find the smell offensive, just like the smell of slightly rotten eggs, in fact, for some reason my egg-loving family consider the smell of the salt by itself repulsive, but don’t worry, once the black salt is mixed with other ingredients of the dish they love it. So don’t worry, even if you find the smell questionable, once it’s incorporated into the recipe—it’s much more subtle, deepening the flavor of the whole dish.)

You can buy black salt at most Indian grocery stores or order kala namak online.  There are many brands at different prices, such as these — Black Rock Salt Fine (Kala Namak) or The Spice Lab Indian Kala Namak Mineral Salt.

Veggie Scramble Recipe (with Tofu)

How to Cook Tasty Tofu Scramble: Low Fat, Low Calorie, Low Cholesterol Recipe Perfect for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or Dinner

Tofu Scramble Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, crushed with your fingers
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp kala namak or regular salt
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (optional, I like to simply sautee in a little bit of water, but maybe if you want to really brown the tofu, you can use some olive oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I used more, just because I like it)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb firm or extra firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 slice of vegan cheese, use the one that melts well (optional)
  • Fresh black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix the spices (cumin, thyme and turmeric and salt) together with the water in a small cup.
  2. Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Sauté the garlic in olive oil for about a minute.
  4. Break the tofu apart into bite-size pieces and sauté with the garlic for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Get under the tofu when you are stirring, scrape the bottom, and don’t let it stick to the pan, using a spatula to get the job done.
  6. The tofu should slightly brown on at least one side.
  7. The water should cook out of it and not collect too much at the bottom of the pan. If that is happening, turn the heat up and let the water evaporate. Conversely, if the scramble seems dry add splashes of water until it’s nice and moist.
  8. Add the spice blend and mix to incorporate. Add the nutritional yeast, vegan cheese, and pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Notes

Total Prep And Cook Time: 20 Minutes Serves 4 - 6 Nutrition Data Per 117g Serving: 107 cal, 3g carb, 7g fat, 251mg sodium, 1g fiber, 11g protein, low Cholesterol, good source Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Selenium and Manganese.

https://greenreset.com/tofu-veggie-scramble/

Veggie Tofu Scramble

Scramble Variations and Add-Ins

You can include these additions to your scramble by themselves or in combination with one another:

  • Potatoes: Cook 1-2 potatoes, cubed, in water until almost tender. Strain and add to tofu to brown on the skillet.
  • Mushrooms: Chop the mushrooms and add to tofu.
  • Onions: Chop 1 small onion. Add along with the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Proceed with recipe.
  • Red Bell Peppers: Remove stem and seeds and finely chop 1 red bell pepper. Add along with the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Proceed with recipe.
  • Another great ingredient to add is vegan cheese. Choose one that melts well, it will add wonderful cheesiness to the scramble.

I wanted to make a scramble with potatoes, so I cooked 2 small potatoes, cubed, and added them to the tofu to brown with the spices. I also had wanted to make a veggie scramble separate from the tofu (I wanted to add A LOT of veggies), so I sauteed them in a separate pan. I used some garlic, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper and spinach. I didn’t use the same spices as for the scramble. I only added a bit of tamari sauce and pepper. I served it together with tofu.

It was a delicious and very satisfying brunch!

tofu-scramble03
how to make tofu scramble

This scramble recipe is really filly and versatile. Try it for brunch, lunch or casual dinner; on Saturday or Sunday. (Or any other day, really :-)).

Making tofu scramble

4 Tips For Tofu Scramble Success

Here are some more tips on how to make tasty tofu scrambles:

1. To make the best tofu scramble, choose extra firm tofu.

2. Some people like to press their tofu before using it in recipes. (Personally, I never do that, but you may want to try.) To make the scramble, remove tofu from the package and wrap it in a paper towel. Then, wrap it in a dish cloth. Place wrapped tofu between two cutting boards with a few heavy books on top. Press for about 15 minutes. You’ll notice the water draining out of the tofu.

3. Crumble the tofu into a bowl; toss with spices (ground turmeric will give your scramble a golden hue), nutritional yeast, and a few dashes of tamari or soy sauce. Mix until well-coated. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes while you prep the veggies.

4. Saute the veggies in a touch of oil or veggie broth until just tender. Set aside. In the same skillet, brown tofu, then fold in the veggies. I like zucchini and fresh corn in the summer; mushrooms, bell pepper, and broccoli anytime of year; and sun-dried tomatoes, collard greens, and pesto in the fall. (For more tips, see this article in Vegetarian Times).

5. Be sure to add some kala namak

The Myth of Moderation (and how it applies to smoothies and everything else in life)

‘Everything in moderation’ goes the saying.

And there’s wisdom in that.

But moderation can be a tricky thing.

There is this hidden danger that will make you trip and crumble down a slippery slope before you even know it.

Let me explain.

When it comes to our health, there are two extremes—one is chasing every new thing (diet, supplement, pill), which is exhausting, second—not doing anything, because, well, doing requires effort, and it’s exhausting.

The third approach—which most of us follow—is somewhere in between.

We are trying to keep everything ‘balanced’ and do things ‘in moderation.”

This, BTW, can still be exhausting—but also dangerous and because most people’s idea of what moderation or balance even are is skewed in modern society.

Because here is the thing…

Moderation in the wrong thing is still wrong.

Moderation in doing the right thing may not be enough to balance out the wrongs.

(Most people get this all wrong.)

So, trying to ‘balance’ the bad with good may not work.

And this applies not just to health.

How about damaging the natural world, depleting natural resources, cutting down the Amazon, waging wars, and other shenanigans we humans do far beyond moderation. How about moderation in beating children or endangering their future, or hurting animals?

In all of these cases, what would MODERATION even mean?

If you agree that hurting our planet and animals is wrong, and you want to ensure the best possible future for your kids (or even just yourself), then the idea of eating meat and dairy in any quantity is appalling.

In all of these cases the concept of moderation just doesn’t make sense.

Whenever possible and as much as possible, we should stop doing the ‘wrongs’ and focus on the ‘rights’, especially when they are easy, such as switching to a plant-exclusive diet.

But let’s pick something less dramatic, like soft drinks.

Just looking at portion sizes of various processed juices and beverages, trying to have them in moderation is still bad and should avoided as much as possible.

Even skipping the XXL size and going for a medium or small size is not ideal, as they both are loaded with processed sugar and other undesirable ingredients.

Of course, having a cola once or twice in a blue moon won’t kill you.

But when we have sugary food and drinks, the reward center in the brain lights up making it incredibly hard to stop eating. It’s not your lack of willpower, it’s science working against you.

So, it’s best to make it a habit to skip these thinks altogether, and just opt for water.

But what about smoothies?

Well, there are smoothies and there are smoothies, LOL.

Many smoothies sold in the stores are highly processed and loaded with sugar. If you’re trying to stay away from sugar and reduce calories, then it’s best to skip them altogether, or only have them occasionally.

And how are green smoothies different?

For starters, YOU make them, so YOU control their content.

When I started out, I put lots of sweet fruits into the mix, like bananas, peaches, and pineapple, while today I’m often opting for more savory tasting combinations, even adding ingredients like frozen cauliflower, zucchini, or beans—may sound like a CRAZY idea for smoothies.

So, if you insist on the concept of moderation—you may choose to add sweet ingredients to your green smoothies in moderation. And you may add nuts in moderation, as well, as they are quite high in calories.

But even if you make a smoothie that tastes sweet, the greens and other veggies, plus nuts, seeds (if you add them)—will provide your body with loads of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, which slows down the absorption of sugar, plus they’ll satisfy your hunger AND your sweet tooth without being high in calories.

How is that for a winning combination? 🙂

And if you’re making savory smoothies, blended salads, or soups, the moderation principle takes care of itself — because you can’t overeat on those things.

Here is me throwing all moderation in the wind and over-eating on HUGE salad with broccoli and spinach.

Don’t try this at home with pizza or fries. LOL.

And be weary of everything that comes with a long list of ingredients that you won’t find in a farmer’s market and can’t even pronounce.

Most of the processed foods are literary engineered to taste good. I saw a documentary on how they do it — it was scary because those foods force you to overeat, and make you addicted — and it’s done with full knowledge, using science, ON PURPOSE, so no matter how much you’ve had, you can’t resist; you always want more.

This makes applying moderation to modern processed foods is virtually impossible and almost impossible to do a mere mortar without secret superpowers of self-control, restraint, and wisdom, LOL.

And applying moderation to animal foods is still hurting animals and the planet.

Your safest bet is sticking to whole, unprocessed plant foods as much as possible.

And green smoothies made from whole plant foods are just that.

Even if they are blended, they are still amazing for you.

So, just have them. As well as other whole plant foods.

Throwing the moderation out to wind 😉

Drink to your health,

Joanna@GreenReset.com

P.S. You can find my Green Reset and other books on Amazon.com, or they’ll be soon available direct from my own Joanna’s shop that I’m building.

So, take care, and stay tuned! 

That one thing instantly sold me on green smoothies…(and it’s why I started GreenReset.com)

I could list many good reasons why green smoothies are good for you (find some of them in my books, “Green Smoothies for Families” and “Green Reset Challenge”).
But is it just hype?
There are people who don’t see what the fuss is all about.
Isn’t it enough to just “eat your veggies”?

It could be.
But how many greens and veggies have you eaten today? Or this year?
Admit it.

There are exceptions, of course, but statistics don’t lie.
And they reveal that an average person eats a meager quantity of vegetables, and almost no greens.

Now, I’m not implying that you’re an average person. By no means. 😉
But even people who THINK they eat a lot, DON’T REALLY CONSUME THAT MUCH.

Why does it matter?

Let me share my story about what green smoothies did for me.

I always liked fruits and vegetables, and I always ate a decent amount of whole plant foods. And thankfully, I never had serious health problems or with my weight.

Every fall, I’d get hit with flues, runny noses, colds, and allergies. They would last for 3-4 weeks, or even longer, not just a week or two like they’re supposed to.
It sucked.

So, each year I kept dreading the cold season—hated feeling sick with passion, and I wondered if there was anything I could do to change that.

That is when I heard of raw foods, and I thought maybe that could be the answer. So, I tried it, and I lasted a few months (lost 10+ pounds in the process), but eating this way was not easy. I knew this was not sustainable and I couldn’t last long on this kind of diet, especially having a family and a little son. My husband thought I went totally nuts (and bananas!). LOL. I’m laughing now, but believe me, it wasn’t funny.

Frankly, it felt very limiting and … boring.

And then I came across a woman named Victoria Butenko, who popularized a drink called a green smoothie.
It was simply a blended concoction of sweet fruits with lots of greens.
She had plenty of her followers raving about those drinks and what they did for them—getting rid of all kinds of pesky diseases and chronic problems, so I knew I had to try them.

And after one sip, I was sold.
Even my husband and my son loved them—so I started making them all the time, and in huge quantities.
I literally loaded big carts of greens and fruits at farmers’ markets and BJ’s to have a full week’s supply of ingredients.

You should see the look at some people’s faces when they saw me loading on bananas or lettuce! Priceless!

I awaited the fall and winter season with curiosity and apprehension.
If that didn’t work, I don’t know what would.

And you know what happened?

In September of that year, I started experiencing the worse flu symptoms EVER. (Especially bad was mucus coming out of me, like during the worst cold, sorry for graphic details. Honestly, to this day I keep wondering what that was about—and I have a few theories which I may share in the future).

So, that lasted till October. And then it stopped.

And since then—I have never had a bad cold ever again.

I maybe had a runny nose or a sore throat, but even that didn’t happen every year. And it would last only for a couple of days at most.

Now, was that all a coincidence?

Maybe.

Will it work for everyone?
Probably not. It depends on so many factors.
In medicine, a ‘study of one’ is irrelevant.
It’s coincidental, anecdotal, or whatever.

But when I started GreenReset.com (at first, I called it GreenSmoothiesPower.com, but that domain was way too long, and I came up with a better name), I heard such stories again and again.

So, are green smoothies like a magic potion?
Of course not. It’s not like you’ll gulp down a smoothie and be cured of anything in that instant.
But there is also no miracle drug or pill that would cure all diseases.

And if you have green smoothies (or green blended salads, or even just big salads) regularly, in substantial quantities, these things are as close as they get.

Plus, they also did another thing for me, but I’ll tell you about it in another post.

To your health,
Joanna

P.S. You can read this article on my blog or you can sign up to have it delivered straight to your email. Plus, you can find my books at https://GreenReseet.com/store, which is a new thing that I’m building. 🙂

Is Mental Decline in your Future? The Importance of Taking Care of Your Brain and Body

My mom has dementia and may even have Alzheimer.

That is a scary thought that I keep confronting every time I see my mom, go with her to doctors, or even talk to her on the phone.

As it becomes clear that her problems are beyond just simple memory slips (who doesn’t have them?), or difficulties expressing herself when she speaks (I have that all the time, and so do many people who are healthy), difficulty finding stuff (now, where did I put that key?)—I search for reasons.

And I search for solutions.

But there’s this the terrifying thought that there is no cure for this.

Do you even know what is the statistics of dementia and Alzheimer’s in the US? I didn’t.  

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s. Additionally,11.3% of people aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia.  Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the seventh leading cause of death and is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

It’s estimated that about 50% of people age 85 and older have dementia. Approximately two out of three Americans experience some level of cognitive impairment at an average age of approximately 70 years. For dementia, lifetime risk for women (men) is 37% (24%) and mean age at onset 83 (79) years. Mar 31, 2020 (link to the source in the notes).

DID YOU KNOW THAT?

You may be too young to worry about that, but what about your parents, and grandparents? Your more mature friends?

Most of us want to live a long life, but if that is supposed to be my future—then I don’t know…

So, what do the doctors say about my mom? They don’t know for sure what it is yet, so they bombard her with all kinds of brain scans and evaluations—apparently diagnosing Alzheimer’s is based on symptoms and elimination of other possible causes.

But beyond that—they don’t offer much advice or hope.

So, I don’t know how it’s going to turn out for my her and what’s ahead of us. It may be too late for her to turn this around, and all we can do is try to slow it down.

But invariably when I read authors and doctors whom I trust it comes down to this—

Take care of your body. Take care of your brain. And they will take care of you.

Of course, in life anything can happen. I could die in a car crush tomorrow or get some debilitating disease I have no control over. And that is the bad news.

But the good news is that WE HAVE MORE CONTROL THAN WE THINK.

And EVERYTHING YOU DO MATTERS.

What does that mean?

Well, for example, do you have high blood sugar levels? High blood sugar is not just the cause of diabetes. It can cause heart disease, for example, and it can contribute to the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The same with inflammation, inadequate nutrition (lack of omega 3s, vitamin B12, D, or other), toxins in your environment, lack of exercise, stress, constant sleep deprivation, etc. And yes, genes do play a role, but only to a certain extent.

And you may not have control over all of these factors.

So, what can we control?

What can we all do to make sure that we give ourselves the best possible shot at a healthy and long life?

Read the article “13 Things you Can do Keep Your Brain Sharp And Prevent Mental Decline (and a Whole Lot of Other Problems)”

13 Things you Can do Keep Your Brain Sharp And Prevent Mental Decline (and a Whole Lot of Other Problems)

Don’t roll your eyes at me for writing this, but thank me, instead!

And please read it and implement as many as you can.

Don’t just roll your eyes at “another healthy -lifestyle advice – who even reads this stuff??? And go on living your life as our culture conditions us to live. Which means eating too much of the wrong stuff, constantly worrying about all kinds of things that keep coming at us from all directions, being stressed during the day at your job, and at night—becoming a couch potato, binge watching one television series after another, ignoring your passions, only getting in touch with people through your phone.

(I know that’s probably not you, but most of us are guilty of many wrongdoings against our bodies.) 🙁

We all want to stay sharp, enjoy life to the fullest, and savor every moment. So, why not take action now? Trust me; this could be a game-changer for your life.

Do you want to sharp, enjoy life to the fullest, and savor every moment? I’m sure you do – so JUST DO IT, OKAY??

Trust me; this could be a game-changer for your life.

13 Things you can do to prevent mental decline (and a whole lot of other problems):

  1. Eat a healthy diet (of course!). This means eating foods rich with vitamins and antioxidants. Leafy greens, vegetables, mushrooms, nuts and seeds, fruits, beans, plant protein foods, such as tofu, whole grains (limited, if you’re trying to lose weight, plus, be cautious of gluten). (Notice that I don’t mention fish, and if you’re already plant-based or vegan—this is obvious for you, and if not, I will write another article about it as it may require more explanation.) And of course, green smoothies are great, so check out these 6 Recipes for Healthy Brain.
  2. Supplementing your diet with certain important nutrients is a must, in my opinion, and in the opinion of doctors, such as Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He recommends at minimum DHAs from clean, plant-based sources (i.e., algae, which BTW is where fish get them as well, so let’s stop depleting our oceans and eating sea creatures’ bodies that contain more toxins than we know). THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT FOR VEGANS. Plus, vitamin B12, D, and maybe others.
  3. Get Moving (duh!): Regular exercise is a no-brainer (pun intended). Vigorous physical activity gets the blood pumping to your brain, improving oxygenation and overall brain function. Physical activity is good for your brain health because it improves blood flow, cognitive function, memory, and emotional balance. Physical activity can be any moderate-to-vigorous activity that gets your heart rate up and your sweat flowing. Aerobic exercises, such as running, jogging, biking, swimming, or dancing, are fantastic for your brain.  
  4. Live your life with purpose and passion. This is super important as it reduces stress and makes your life worth living. It makes me sad to watch my mom, who pretty much lacks those things, so she focuses on things that make her feel depressed, such as how old she is getting and her deteriorating mental health.
  5. Challenge yourself mentally. Keep your mind active by playing games, puzzles, and other types of brain training.
  6. Make a special effort to pay attention and concentrate.
  7. Get better organized to reduce the need to remember things.
  8. Socialize. Maintain meaningful relationships with people in the real world.
  9. Reduce stress. Learn and practice relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, or other things.
  10. Get quality sleep.
  11. Stay away from drugs, alcohol, and smoking.
  12. Maintain healthy environment – this we may not be able to control, but, for example, all kinds of toxins, mold, pesticides, herbicides, etc. – we can try to avoid them as much as possible.
  13. Take care of problems before they arise or early on by testing yourself regularly. (If you want to learn which tests are good to have done, read the whole article here.)

So, there you go.

You may be disappointed. 

Just, same-o, same-o.

No new discoveries for miracle pills that you can gulp down and be on your way to doing what our culture conditions us to do—which is overeating the wrong things, constantly worrying about all kinds of things that keep coming at us from all directions, being stressed during the day at your day job, and at night—becoming a couch potato binge watching one television series after another, ignoring your passions, only getting in touch with people through your phone.   

Our culture has a knack for conditioning us to live in ways that aren’t always kind to our bodies and minds. But we don’t have to!

But, really, we need to be DEAD SERIOUS about this thing, or it will come back and hurt us in unimaginable ways.

Can you imagine yourself losing memory?

Not being able to express yourself?

Losing touch with the present?

Getting confused and scared?

Not being able to recognize your loved ones?

THIS STUFF really scares me even from a distance and it now becomes even more real as I watch what’s happening to my mom. (She is 80 years old right now and doesn’t have all these symptoms, but who knows what will happen in a year or two.)

Let me repeat the statistics: Almost two out of three Americans experience some level of cognitive impairment at an average age of approximately 70 years. For dementia, lifetime risk for women (men) is 37% (24%) and mean age at onset 83 (79) years. Mar 31, 2020. It’s estimated that about 50% of people age 85 and older have dementia. (Link to the source in the notes).

So, it’s always good to give yourself a reminder and a little nudge.

(Although if you need a good kick in the butt, I am just giving you one, remotely! Can you feel it?)

Till the next time,

Joanna

PS.

I am not a doctor and don’t give medical advice, but some of the tests I’ve seen are being recommended and I’m planning to do most of them soon are:

  • Homocysteine
  • Hemoglobin A1c, Fasting Insulin
  • Lipid Panel: Total Cholesterol, HDL, Triglycerides, LDL, Cholesterol/HDL Ratio, Non-HDL Cholesterol
  • Complete Metabolic Panel: Albumin, A/G Ratio, ALT, AST, BUN/Creatinine Ratio, Calcium,
  • Creatinine, Globulin, Glucose, Potassium
  • Complete Blood Count: White Blood Cell and Platelet
  • Hs-CRP (high sensitivity C-reactive protein)
  • Hormone status: Estradiol, DHEA-S, Total Testosterone, Free T3, Reverse T3, Free T4, TSH,
  • Progesterone, Cortisol
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12, Folate
  • Vitamin E (Vitamin A, E, b-carotenold Panel)
  • Heavy Metals Panel: (Hg, Pb, As)
  • Serum Zinc and Serum Copper (Total)
  • Ferritin
  • RBC Mg
  • MMP9

6 Smoothies for Healthy Brain

Here are five delicious and brain-boosting smoothie recipes that are low in sugar:

1. Berry Brain Boost Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup of blueberries (rich in antioxidants)
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries (high in vitamin C)
  • 1/4 cup of plant yogurt, such as coconut (for creaminess and protein)
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seeds (source of omega-3 fatty acids)
  • 1/2 cup of spinach (packed with nutrients)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened plant milk or water
  • Ice cubes (optional)
  • 2 dates or some stevia (to sweeten, optional)
peanut-butter-banana-smoothie01

2. Green Energy Smoothie

  • 1/2 banana (for natural sweetness)
  • 1 cup of kale or spinach (rich in vitamins and minerals)
  • 1/2 avocado (healthy fats)
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (fiber and omega-3s)
  • 1 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder (caffeine for alertness)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut water
  • Ice cubes (optional)

3. Nutty Banana Brain Booster

  • 1 ripe banana (natural sweetness)
  • 1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter, or other nut or seed butter (protein and healthy fats)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder (antioxidants)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (supports cognitive function)
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Ice cubes (optional)

4. Tropical Turmeric Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup of pineapple (vitamin C and natural sweetness)
  • 1/2 inch piece of fresh turmeric (anti-inflammatory)
  • 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger (cognitive benefits)
  • 1/4 cup of plant yogurt, such as coconut (for creaminess and protein)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk (light or full-fat)
  • A dash of black pepper (enhances turmeric absorption)
  • Ice cubes (optional)
  • Some date syrup, maple syrup (to sweeten, optional)

5. Walnut and Banana Brain Booster

  • 1 ripe banana (natural sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts (rich in omega-3 fatty acids)
  • 1/4 cup of rolled oats (fiber and nutrients)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (flavor)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened plant milk
  • Ice cubes (optional)

5. Chocolate Avocado Delight

  • 1/2 ripe avocado (healthy fats and creamy texture)
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder (antioxidants)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of date or maple syrup (optional for sweetness)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • A pinch of sea salt

Instructions for all Smoothies:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Adjust the consistency by adding more liquid if needed.
  4. Taste and sweeten with honey or stevia if desired (remember, the riper the fruit, the sweeter the smoothie).
  5. Pour into a glass and enjoy your brain-boosting, low-sugar smoothie!

These smoothies are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients that support brain health. Feel free to customize them to your taste and dietary preferences. Enjoy!

Food and Biosphere—How Are They Related? And is our current food system putting our biosphere in danger?

The biosphere is as important as life itself because it is all of life. Without the biosphere, Earth would be a lifeless planet, such as Mars or Venus.

It seems obvious that without healthy biosphere, we not only won’t be able to produce healthy food but also maintain good health as a species.

And yet what our current actions we are putting our biosphere in danger, which basically means we’re cutting the branch we are sitting on—and that is not a smart thing to do.

Question: What is the number one activity that damages our planet’s biosphere that can also be fixed relatively easily and quickly?

Before we address this question, let’s talk a little more about what biosphere is.

What exactly is the biosphere?

Biosphere is a part of the Earth where all organisms (plants and animals) live. They live in thin upper part of oceans and everywhere on/within the land mass. At higher altitude, UV radiation and low temperatures disable life to spread. In the deep ocean, life is present in the depth of up to 500 m below oceanic floor.

The biosphere is a self-supporting and self-regulating system. Some scientists even think of the biosphere itself as a living organism. It’s been maintaining its delicate balance for billions of years.

But then we humans came around, and we’re putting so much stress on it we’re disrupting that balance.

We’re taking our planet and our precious biosphere for granted.

It’s always been here.

We can’t imagine it not being here. 

But—what if we damage it beyond repair?

Is it even possible?

Why do we need to take better care of biosphere?

Here are some facts about our biosphere that you need to know:

Compared to the other spheres (lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere), the biosphere is fragile.

Most organisms require particular levels of pH, water, nitrogen, carbon and oxygen among other things in order to survive. All conditions required for life must be met and maintained within this thin layer of groundwater and lower atmosphere.

Even though our planet Earth may seem very large to us, but the biosphere is very thin by comparison.

How can we protect and preserve the biosphere?

Some things may come to your mind, like reducing the use of fossil fuels, restoring damaged ecosystems by planting trees on land where forests have been cut down, in short—learning to live in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment, plus supporting activities that operate in ways that minimize damage to the environment.

All of these are valid.

And you probably already know that.

But none of them are quick and easy fixes.

There doesn’t seem ONE SIMPLE way to FIX MOST OF THESE PROBLEMS QUICKLY and efficiently… or is it?

So, what is the number one activity that damages our planet’s biosphere that can also be fixed relatively easily and quickly?

It’s our food system.

The way we produce food—and the animal food in particular—is the driving force behind a number of crises, including the climate change, biodiversity crisis, health crisis (including antibiotic resistance), ocean depletion, water pollution, deforestation, and the crisis of ethics (whereby we raise billions of animals in squalid conditions and kill them at very young age to eat them, even though more humane, healthful, and sustainable plant alternatives exist).

And this is NOT animal factory farm crisis, because the pasture-bread, grass-fed, free-range meat and dairy products are even worse in terms of how unsustainable they are (we would essentially need several planets to feed the global population on these types of foods).  

We’re essentially EATING OUR WAY TO EXTINCTION.

And not just our extinction—

Extinction of MOST OF THE SPECIES THAT INHABIT THIS PLANET TODAY.

If you think this is an exaggeration—then you should know that the largest extinction since the times when dinosaurs were alive is going on RIGHT NOW. It’s called the Sixth Extinction.

Is there hope?

YES, ABSOLUTELY!

We must cultivate hope. But we also must take well informed action.

We’re in a unique situation to save earth as we know it, and save the life on it now and allow a livable future for those coming after us or we could ignore things, act like nothing’s happening or when we get around to it and allow it to continue on its current path to possibly be destroyed.

And all of us can help—which means all of us can become heroes, fighting for the greater good.

So, what’s at stake?

The extinguishing of our own species and thousands of other species—that’s what’s at stake.

We can essentially make or break humanity and our entire biosphere—that could be at stake.

So, what needs to change?  

We need to stop those practices and habits that we administer every single day on a collective basis globally, that create an unnecessary and proportionately large resource footprint, beginning with—

THE FOOD WHAT WE EAT AND OUR AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS, which have the largest environmental footprint of all.

THE ANIMAL FOODS WE CONSUME IS A LARGER RESOURCE GUZZLER THAN ANYTHING ELSE WE DO; IT ALSO HAPPENS TO BE THE VERY EASIEST TO CHANGE. 

So, whether you’re ready to go completely plant-based or not, cutting down beef and other animal products, reducing the consumption by third, or half would be a step in the right direction.

Even though it’s not a time for baby steps, it’s better than nothing.

Don’t do nothing because you want to do everything.

We’re on very real timelines and it’s much worse now than it was ten or even five years ago. And any action you can take today toward a more plant-based diet is the right thing to do.