Almost ten ways to eat healthily on a budget (repost)

kitchgard

Beautiful kitchen garden

Eating with health in mind does not have to break the bank!  The truth of the matter is that cutting out expensive, unhealthy restaurant meals and buying quality produce in the best places can eliminate much of the wasted costs of eating that are associated with the typical American diet.

I came across this blog post from another WordPress blogger, and thought I would share it.  It’s a great list, and it makes the point that healthful eating does not have to cost more.

To give you a taste of what she has to say, here are a couple:

  • Make your own snacks and treats – My own experience with this has saved me bundles!
  • Make a packed lunch – I calculated this a couple of years ago, and I save about $5 a day by packing a lunch instead of driving to a restaurant or fast-food joint to get something for lunch.  Plus, I use the extra time at lunch to catch up on my social media and other reading that I do.

See the entire list by clicking on the source link below.  Thanks pHreshh || HOW TO BE HEALTHY AND COOL MOSTLY for an excellent and informative post!

Source: almost ten ways to eat healthily on a budget

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Wendell Berry on politics and nature

polar-ice-caps-melting“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.” ― Wendell Berry

The general election of 2016 approaches, and I have a strong sense of dread.  I have normally engaged heavily in political fights in social media, but increasingly, it has become counterproductive.  The more anyone tries to convince someone else, the wider the gap grows between them.

What’s really important are issues that must be addressed by all of humanity, and unfortunately, the political process, though anachronistic, still demands attention if these issues are to be addressed for the benefit of the planet.

Quote Source: Goodreads | Wendell Berry Quotes (Author of Jayber Crow)

Photo Source: Ecoble | Twitter: @ecoaussie

There are giants in the land

“Some people think the plant-based, whole-foods diet is extreme. Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery. Some people would call that extreme.”

~Caldwell Esselstyn

When it comes to plant-based nutrition, there are so many “giants in the land” of the enemy that it is much easier to submit to their rule in our lives than it is to subdue them.  Just ask anyone who has ever made a life change from eating a meat-based diet to one of whole foods, based 100% in plants.

assortedplantDr. Esselstyn’s quote (above) is taken from his groundbreaking book,  Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure.  It states the obvious irony: people will go to extraordinary extremes, both in health and in financial expenses, to correct, or treat, the outcomes of a poor lifestyle before they will adopt preventative one if it requires changing what they like to eat.

It’s absurd, and it’s true.  Been there, done that, with 60 years of experience!

Like anything else, however, there is comfort in numbers, and the numbers of doctors, nutrition researchers and experts, and plant-based diet adherents are growing, and this alone will turn the course toward disease prevention and away from disease treatment as the primary “fix” for health.
The benefits of a plant-based diet begin at day one when a person simply decides that disease prevention and/or reversal is their biggest health priority.  Making the decision empowers the other activities that move us physically to the better path, and it feels good just to breathe the fresh air of change.

Source for quote: The Top 100 Vegan and Vegetarian Quotes, and the aforementioned book by Dr. Esselstyn.

Simple Saturday pleasures

Turnips and fennel curry

Saturday finally arrived, with no plans, a stack of books I want to read, and a stocked refrigerator with several things already cubed, diced, turned into a paste, and spiced the way I like it.

I started getting out of bed around 5:30, my body totally “slept out” and ready to welcome the day.  As is my habit, I took a blood pressure reading, and it was the lowest I’ve had in over a year.  This has been the trend lately with better eating, and the accompanying weight loss that has been the secondary benefit.

First up, make some tea.  My favorite tea is “bush” tea from South Africa, also called “red tea”, technically rooibos.  This organic brand from Davidson’s is my favorite.  It also has some dried mint leaves in it, and it’s perfect for a great start to the day.  I added a little ground cardamom and whole anise seeds to spice it up even more with the sweet fragrance that each one brings to the cup.

Perusing the “ready” items in the fridge, and in the mood for some turnips in a curry, I was in luck!  I pulled a small “one-serving size” skillet from my stack of “loud banging noise” cooking vessels with minimal effort, and it woke no one in the house who was still sleeping.

I put in two tablespoons of my curry paste I made for my curry dishes early in the week, consisting of onions, garlic, ginger, and turmeric.  I added about twice as much unsweetened coconut milk and brought it all to a slow simmer.  I added two slices of fresh fennel and a diced turnip, brought it all back to a simmer, covered it, set the stove to low, and sat down with my tea and my pups on the soft couch next to the first light of the morning showing through the glass in my door.

When I finished the cup of tea, I checked on the tenderness of the turnips and fennel, and it was perfection!  After pouring it into my bowl, I added some freshly sprouted adzuki beans and topped it all with some hemp heart seeds.

A perfect morning to read, to write, to snooze, and to love life.

When Less is More; Farmers Are Reaping the Benefits of No-till Agriculture | FoodTank.com

This is a great article on the benefits of using a “no-till” method to enhance the soil for growing crops.

For backyard gardeners, like myself, the consequences of lifting the soil to allow oxygen to the roots does not seem like a big deal, since we can easily replace any potential lost organic material by hand, but on a much larger scale, as with farming and large-scale agricultural businesses, the consequences of lost organic material and erosion can be devastating, causing many farmers to resort to, or continue to depend upon, non-organic fertilization and chemical soil amendments.  And, where does that go?  You got it!  Inside our bodies!

As backyard gardeners, however, there is still a benefit to be gained from “no-till”.  In many ways, the backyard garden is perfect for “no-till.”  Weeds can be controlled with minimal effort by hand, and the dependencies on herbicides and non-organic materials for growth enhancement are gone.  As gardeners we focus on the plant, not the field crop.  The basic principle of organic gardening and farming is to protect the soil, whether the grower focuses on the plant or the crop.  The best thing to do is let the soil take care of the plant with as little help from us as possible.

Any gardener who pays even minimal attention to his/her gardens can control weeds and pests, and enhance fertilization, through composting and mechanical methods (pulling weeds, removing pests by hand, spraying foliage with organic fertilizer, and adding generous amounts of compost in just a few minutes per day when necessary).

I’ve been on a two-year hiatus from gardening, but with my new commitment to healthy eating and lifestyle, gardening is back on the horizon.  In gardening I get to enjoy many of the things that make me happy: eating healthy, working with nature as a friend rather than an adversary, spending time getting free Vitamin D from the sun.  Plans are being made for the fall and winter garden prep, and composting has begun in earnest again.

From Food Tank:

No-till agriculture can help farmers reduce erosion, improve soil quality, and sequester carbon in soils.

Source: When Less is More; Farmers Are Reaping the Benefits of No-till Agriculture | FoodTank.com

Hatch chilies paste

It may be my imagination, but I don’t think so.  Hatch chilies have the best flavor of any peppers readily available in the area.

hatchI bought a big 2 lb bag of them over the weekend, and then had to decide how I was going to use them.  I like to make toppings for my veggies and thought this would be a good way to put them to use this time around.

First, I blanched them for about 20 minutes in a very large pot of boiling water.  Then, I let them cool on some paper towels for at least an hour.  I pulled the stems outs and made about three cuts crosswise on each chili, and then tossed them all into my Ninja blender.

Then, I added a medium tomatillo, a small (6 oz) can of low sodium tomato paste, about 1 tbsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of black pepper,  1 tsp of freshly crushed cumin seeds, 4 fresh garlic cloves and a medium red onion, and about 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar.  I whizzed the blender on pulse until it was all very smooth, but still a paste, more than a sauce.

It made 2 pints, one of which I save into the freezer, and the rest I am eating as dipping pastes for my sprouts and raw veggies this week.

The flavor is outstanding, kinda smoky tasting, and sorta like wasabi, you have to be careful not to take too much into one bite.  You’re welcome!  🙂

Why vegan? My reasons.

There have been three primary motivations for choosing to go with a plant-based diet.  I’m sure there are others, but these are my own.  These are not in any special order, and they are equally ranked.  At different times, one may be ascendant to the others, but that’s mostly because I have a particular thing in mind that day.

Day 1 sproutsHealth reasons

From my reading over several years, I believe the evidence is overwhelming, plant-based diets are better for longevity and quality of life.  The work of T. Colin Campbell, particularly, has been the most thorough and most convincing.  The diets espousing the benefits of animal protein over plant-based proteins notwithstanding, the longitudinal research of Campbell and others supports the notion that plant-based is not only adequate for protein, but is superior in every way.  For another book on this particular subject, The Protein Myth, by David Gerow Irving, is definitive.

Senseless animal slaughter

I won’t post the pictures here, but there are so many outstanding books on the subject of how we get meat, along with dairy produce, to our tables, that I believe it is morally damaging and condemnable for me to eat animal products.  One of the best books, written by Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals, opens that window into animal cruelty like no other has done for me.  There are dozens of outstanding books and films on the subject.

Environmental damage

With the evidence mounting that food shortages will become the number one global concern within my own lifetime, we can no longer afford to give up the amount of farmland it takes to satiate the appetites of a meat-eating population.  This, along with the effects of cattle raising, including pigs and poultry, upon negative climate change and water pollution, means to me that continuing to perpetuate this cycle is to commit a major crime against humanity on a global scale.

My reasons may not be everyone’s reason.  But, they have been carefully considered over many years.  The appetite was not hard to kill once the evidence was in.