Earth Day is quickly approaching April 22nd and I, as many of us may be thinking, what should I do on this day to better help the environment and the world we live in. I know one thing that I will be doing this day if not every day is EATING. Yes, on Earth day I will be eating lots of dishes that are not only good for me but good for the earth as well.
Don’t be scared when I say this word, but all of the following dishes in this article are vegan. That’s right, vegan. Now you don’t have to be a vegan to eat like one, even if it is for just a day. Yet I encourage you to try it, even if you’re not fully on board, try going vegetarian or plant based for the day as the Earth will thank you for it.
But why choose to eat vegan on Earth Day? What’s the big deal? Well “to produce one pound of animal protein vs. one pound of soy (plant) protein, it takes about 12 times as much land, 13 times as much fossil fuel, and 15 times as much water”, which over the course of time has some serious effects on global warming and climate change (1). Also “raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and growing feed crops) now uses a staggering 30% of the Earth’s landmass.” and leads to “nearly 80% of land deforest(ation) in the Amazon” (1). Mass production of meat is one of the leading causes for climate change with its effects of carbon emission and deforestation.
With that being said, eating your way through Earth Day may be one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to help Mother Nature on this day. To get your Earth Day of eating started, I have provided a few of my favorite (completely vegan) breakfast recipes to kick-start your morning!
The first and probably the easiest of all recipes is avocado toast. All you need to do it toast up a slice of egg free bread and top with a couple slices of avocado. In this photo I dusted the toast with hemp seed hearts for some extra omega 3’s and paprika for a little kick in the morning. Avocado toast is also great when mashed with lemon juice and drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil for a savory note to your breakfast.
Vanilla Almond Granola
The next recipe I have is a basic granola recipe. You can substitute whatever nut butters and add in’s you desire, then play around with it the more familiar you are with the recipe. Here I have a vanilla almond granola, which starts with ¼ cup of melted almond butter, ¼ cup of coconut oil, and ¼ cup of agave syrup. Add in 3 cups of oats, 1 cup of almonds, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix together and spread on a baking sheet to bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes!
Green Cacao Pb Smoothie
This may sound frightening but trust me with this one. The smoothie is sweet, rich, and creamy, as you have no idea that spinach is the factor turning it green. Grab a cup of soymilk, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, a banana, 2 tablespoons of cacao powder, a cup of ice, and a handful of spinach if you’re brave. Blend on high and finish with your desired toppings!
Breakfast Potato Hash
My all time favorite of vegan brunch recipes. This hash is spicy and savory and is a great way to start my day when I’m feeling extra hungry in the morning. Start with ¼ cup of onions and green peppers sautéing in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until translucent and add a clove of minced garlic. Add in 2-diced potatoes and cook until tender and golden. Add a can of rinsed and drained black beans, cooking until heated. Add in salt and pepper to taste and chili powder for a little heat if desired. I like to top my hash with avocados and fresh cilantro to cut through the heartiness of the dish and add some bright colors.
Whether you’re vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, or full on carnivore, try eating meat and dairy free for Earth Day. Even if you don’t like it and it’s not for you, it will help the environment that much more. Earth Day isn’t about saving the entire planet in the face of 24 hours, its that small progress and little changes that could make a bigger difference in the long run.
1. Get Ready to Save the World. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2016, from http://www.chooseveg.com/environment
Freshman seeking a BS in Dietetics/Nutrition, Fitness, and Health Cooking Instructor