Eco Briefs

eco tip

Eating Greener

Tips for Plant-Based Living

Eating Greener, Image: Nina Firsoval/Shutterstock.com
Nina Firsoval/Shutterstock.com

Eating more fruits and vegetables as part of a plant-based diet is catching on. In 2019, more than one third of Americans said they plan to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets to achieve their wellness resolutions, according to data company YouGov. For those new to “green eating”—and even for veggie-minded veterans—lots of helpful information is available now on what to consider in buying, preparing, re-using and discarding food.

The Environmental Working Group’s website at ewg.org/foodnews makes it easy to research pesticide levels in produce. Check out the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen—the most toxin-free and toxin-heavy fruits and vegetables—along with related news and developments.

Home deliveries of local and organic produce can save time and gas consumption from shopping. Some of the leading regional services include Fresh Direct (FreshDirect.com), Sun Basket (SunBasket.com), Green Bean Delivery (GreenBeanDelivery.com), Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks (FreshPicks.com) and Territory Foods (TerritoryFoods.com).

Composting combines food scraps with lawn and garden trimmings and more into a nutrient-rich, natural garden fertilizer. A useful guide to composting basics by the Environmental Protection Agency can be found at epa.gov/recycle/composting-home.

The phenomenon of food scrapping—using the parts of produce in recipes that are often thrown out—saves money in shopping, is easier on the environment and pleasingly leads to creative and innovative meals.

A number of cookbooks are dedicated to the subject, including Cooking With Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems into Delicious Meals, by Lindsay-Jean; and Hard and Scraps, Peels, and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home, by Jill Lightner.

Plant-based foods can be swapped for traditional ingredients in countless recipes. MotherEarthLiving.com explains how aquafaba—the water from a can of beans—can replace egg whites, even in meringues. Bananas, applesauce and ground flaxseeds or chia seeds can substitute for eggs to bind baked goods. Coconut oil can replace butter and nutritional yeast can do the job of parmesan when sprinkled on pasta.

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