I want to make a promise to you before you read, because I know this vegan/ environment stuff is scary stuff. I know because I was too scared to care or to pay attention myself. I was too scared, until I realized a couple important things. The first?
It's kind of crazy that I have to preface ANY argument of any kind by using the "science matters" card, but, sadly, I think we can all at least agree that in this day and age I do.
So there it is: the concept we all need to embrace this Easter as fervently as we do chocolate. Mmmm chocolate. (I promised not to scare you. Otherwise, this would be the time to bring up the upcoming planet-wide chocolate shortage. However, that is way too scary for even me to contemplate. So let's get back to less scary things like meat and water and science.)
100% absolutely, US-grade guaranteed, the world needs us to pay attention, simply because... science. Because the polar icecaps are melting, which means ocean levels are rising.
Because we're depleting our underground aquifers faster than we're replenishing them. Because, most of all, climate change is a thing. A very real, very scary thing.
But we're getting too scary again. I promised not to scare you, and I KEEP MY PROMISES.
So here's the worst part, and guess what? It's not scary. I promise. The worst most Orwellian craziest part of all is how it's so easy for us to help, to make a difference, to be the change.
Easy AND fun AND not scary at all.
For instance, how hard is it to not eat meat as often? That's it. Eat less meat. In another recent post, I pointed out that we could all save the world by-- and this is ABSOLUTELY SCIENCE-Y THE WHOLE TRUTH-- not doing laundry as often. That's it. So this not eating meat as often thing is kind of like that not doing laundry as often thing. SO easy.
And here is the best, easiest reason why:
For every pound of beef you don't eat, you save a whopping 2,500-5,000 gallons of water.
Don't worry about going vegan if the word or concept or lifestyle freaks you out. Just east less meat. Eat more fruit & veggies. As a non-chef myself, I can promise you, non-meat recipes are SO much easier to make and clean up than the smelly, bloody, meaty kinds.
I could go into other benefits: weight loss, clearer skin, more energy, a brighter outlook. But I shouldn't even have to play those cards, because the only card that matters is the one I already played: science matters. The Earth matters. And yes, you are part of the Earth.
You matter, too.
Now here's the two easy recipes I promised! The first recipe I like to call...
Recipe 1: A Green Smoothie That Doesn't Taste Like a Disgusting Bitter Salad Because Mmmm Peanut Butter
I found this original recipe in a magazine and decided to try it. You can really tinker with this one and end up with dozens of delicious variations. The one I ended up most emulating is the one below (with pics above).
1 bag of frozen berries (I like the blue kind, because the final mixture ends up purple, and I can tell my toddler it's Twilight Sparkle Ice Cream and get her to consume kale, guys. KALE!)
2 tablespoons of almond butter (peanut butter works equally well and is highly, HIGHLY motivating towards you actually making this thing. Do not skimp on this part!)
2 handfuls of fresh kale leaves
1 handful of sunflower seeds (optional: I just like the extra crunchiness and texture)
1 pouch of applesauce (optional)
1 small container of coconut water
Mix on high until well blended. Add a handful of ice cubes if desired and mix again until smooth. So filling. So delicious. So healthy. Enjoy!
Recipe 2: Mémé's Soup or 4 Ingredient Soup
(Or 1 onion if leeks are unavailable.)
(You can use plain ole Russet. I make this soup so often, I've started playing with potato varieties.)
(You can use less or more depending on how big you want the soup to be or how much you like cabbage.)
(I add more, because I like the extra sweetness.)
*1 sweet potato
(Optional-- it makes the soup sweeter, and I like that. Also, sweet potatoes are wicked good for you. Not part of the traditional recipe, though.)
Simply chop these veggies up in smallish chunks. Throw them in a pot and top them with filtered water. Let it boil until soft. After you mix it with whatever you have at hand, you can season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
I used to add milk and cheese, because I was too lazy to mix the veggies up before I discovered the Cuisinart Smart Stick. The blend is tasty enough to stand on its own without the need of adding any other ingredients, barring salt. It takes 30 seconds to stick the hand-held blender in your pot of boiled veggies and mix up this surprisingly delicious mélange of simple vegetables. It usually makes enough to last me 3 or 4 days. I've also recently started adding dried red pepper flakes. My husband adds sherry vinegar and thyme to his.
This soup doesn't need much to be delicious! It's simple peasant food and what many French, non-vegan people eat every single evening for their supper along with a fresh baguette. I remember once my sister and I got in the breadbox and devoured the baguette my grandmother had fetched fresh from the baker that morning. A daily chore. I will NEVER forget the utter horror and incomprehension on my poor grandfather's face when he was informed he would have no baguette with his dinner. I actually enjoy this soup on its own or with crackers, but some nice hot rolls-- or a baguette!-- help make this soup feel fancier!
French-American dual citizen on a green journey, making a Paris out of Philly or a Philly out of Paris, depending on the day.