WHAT I EAT IN A DAY, AS A PALEO-VEGAN

WHAT I EAT IN A DAY, AS A PALEO-VEGAN

My journey from eating disorder, to high-carb-low-fat, to paleo vegan below unfolds for you below:

At the time, I truly believed that my new diet was the way to recover from years of under-eating, in a healthy way. In hindsight, any diet that celebrates table sugar and eating pounds of fruit probably isn't a smart idea. In November 2017, I tested positive for hormonal imbalances, had extreme fatigue, and developed Perioral Dermatitis on my face. Obviously, something wasn't working.

     Instead of trying to tackle my diet on my own again, I decided to seek the help of an Institute of Functional Medicine Certified Herbalist and Nutritionist. With their guidance, I have been eating a plant-based Paleo type diet, that avoids excess sugars and increases my daily fat intake. (phew!) It appears that high-carb, low-fat vegan was actually making me sick, and the key for me is balance! I truly hope that this new diet helps me achieve sustainable health, and is also sustainable for the planet. Only time will tell.

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MAKE THIS EASY, PLANT-BASED PIE FOR YOUR HOLIDAY AT HOME

MAKE THIS EASY, PLANT-BASED PIE FOR YOUR HOLIDAY AT HOME

This pie is sure to please everyone who has a sweet tooth... and watch out, because it will disappear fast! It's so good that it may even convert your non-vegan family members... or at least encourage them that plant-based doesn't mean boring.

     Made with chocolate and hazelnuts, it fits just as well with warm holiday dishes as it does with a pile of raw greens and fruits. Thankfully it's a pretty straightforward one to whip up and you probably have the majority of the ingredients hanging out in your pantry already. Even in a blizzard, a skip down to the bodega or corner store for hazelnuts is not out of the question. These measurements can be changed to fit your dietary needs and tastebuds also, so feel free to adjust as you see fit. Bon Appétit!

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WHY YOU SHOULD BE EATING LESS MEAT

Photo by Dominic Dreier

Photo by Dominic Dreier

        I became vegan 3 years ago, after 4 years as a vegetarian, because I care deeply for the environment and wildlife. The decision arose from a startling awareness of the need for a drastic change in my consumption habits and society’s as a whole. I realized, in the beginning, that I could make a positive impact by changing the way I consumed each day. I no longer use plastic bags, stopped purchasing products with biologically harmful chemicals, boycott products with palm oil, and gave up fast, unethical fashion. The most important change I made, however, was with food. I realized that, by giving up animal products for good, I could make a positive change, 3 times a day, 365 days a year.

        Despite these personal lifestyle choices, the motivation for environmental progress on a broader scale lags sorrily behind. The little things that we, as individuals, have been doing to help mitigate global warming are simply not enough. Meatless Monday, an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays (1), while commendable for participants, is not enough to neutralize the massive scale of environmental damage already done. According to the UNDP, “The planet's surface temperature has increased an average of 0.85 °C from 1880-2012, and during the past year, measurements taken across the globe during various periods have reported abnormally high temperatures.” July 2016 for example, was the hottest month on record – ever (2).” 

        Carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that usually comes to mind with regard to climate change, is not the greatest gaseous emission causing rising temperatures. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Methane is even worse for global warming than carbon dioxide is. “For example, over a 100-year time horizon, one metric ton of methane and 21 metric tons of carbon dioxide trap an equal amount of heat in the atmosphere (3).” If methane has 21 times more global warming potential (GWP) than carbon dioxide, we need much stricter regulations on animal agricultural industries and innovative approaches, such as permaculture, to make the industry cleaner (4). Industry responds to the demands of the people, therefore, society as a whole must insist on greater change. Giving up meat once a week is not enough. To safely limit the increase in global mean temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, we must commit to eating less meat every day.

"According to the IPCC, “Methane is even worse for global warming than carbon dioxide is." / Photo of a cattle farm and its waste lagoon in Dalhart- Texas 2013 by  Mishka Henner  titled "feeder"

"According to the IPCC, “Methane is even worse for global warming than carbon dioxide is." / Photo of a cattle farm and its waste lagoon in Dalhart- Texas 2013 by Mishka Henner titled "feeder"

         Well intended agricultural practices of the past century were designed to enrich people’s lives by ensuring adequate nutrition, warmth, and a dignified living space. Such practices were expanded and widely adopted by developing countries who gladly subsidized their establishment in the name of progress. In the second half of the 20th century, however, scientists concluded that many of these same industries are major contributors to environmental destruction and contamination (5), and not the saving grace once hoped for. Industrialized animal agriculture is a prime example. “Domestic livestock such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels produce large amounts of methane as part of their normal digestive process. Also, when animals' manure is stored or managed in lagoons or holding tanks, methane is produced. Globally, the Agriculture sector is the primary source of methane emissions (6).” 

        Methane output, however, is not the only contributor of animal agriculture to climate change. The practice has negative impacts on our planet in many ways. Producing animal products for human consumption provides fewer calories than if we ate the feed crops ourselves [see table (7)]. Corn and soy production necessary to feed cattle, chicken, and pigs require tremendous input from fossil fuels, as well as substantial quantities of fresh water – itself a scarce commodity in drought stricken areas. “In 2011, 41 countries experienced water stress – 10 of which are close to depleting their supply of renewable freshwater and must now rely on alternative sources. By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people will be affected by recurring water shortages (2).” Deforestation is happening on a global scale as oxygen producing, CO2 scouring trees are eradicated from the landscape to make room for crops and pasture land (8).

            Sewage runoff from industrialized animal agriculture is another problem for our environment and global temperature. Leakage from Manure lagoons and holding tanks can enter fresh water systems, creating dead zones around the world, and increase acidification of our oceans. Despite being landlocked they indirectly contribute to the bleaching of our coral reefs and are making our oceans uninhabitable for marine life (9). Oceans are already over-fished. According to the WWF Living Planet Report, “Factory fishing has emptied the seas of 40 percent of sea life, and nine out of 10 fisheries in the world are either overfished or full-fished today (10). The last thing we need to is eat more fish in place of pork or beef.

pHOTO detail OF A CATTLE FARM and ITS WASTE runoff into a manure AGOON -DALHART, TEXAS 2013 / BY  MISHKA HENNER  TITLED "FEEDER"

pHOTO detail OF A CATTLE FARM and ITS WASTE runoff into a manure AGOON -DALHART, TEXAS 2013 / BY MISHKA HENNER TITLED "FEEDER"

        The underlying cause of global warming is complex to say the least. The way our consumption choices affect the ecological balance in one part of the world, they can also affect natural systems across the globe [e.g. Greenland’s Ice Sheets (11)]. Global Warming is the largest threat to humanity and our entire planet, and we created it ourselves by doing too little or nothing at all. Of course, we were not alone. The opportunistic enthusiasm and financial backing of giant corporations operating worldwide are leading us to a future Earth that is uninhabitable for wildlife and humans alike. Our individual decisions do make a difference, and every effort to affect change counts, but we cannot tackle this battle without more far-reaching changes in our daily lives. 

        Meatless Monday, albeit a step in the right direction, is no longer enough. We can move beyond excessive animal product consumption with balanced diets that do not include meat at all. But we also need fast, global action from those in power to support these changes. Global Industry and agriculture must move beyond meat as the source of their profits. Individuals, once educated and driven to demand change, can only do that: demand change. Governments, united to save life as we know it, are the crucial force behind meaningful progress. Together with action from those in power we can stop this planetary disaster.


REFERENCES:

1. “Why Meatless? - Meatless Monday.” Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about-us/why-meatless/

2. UNDP (2016). “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://www.by.undp.org/content/belarus/en/home/post-2015/sdg-overview/goal-13.html

3. IPCC/WMO/UNEP. "Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation of Climate Change: Scientific-Technical Analyses." Prepared by IPCC Working Group II. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

4. Holmgren, David (1997). "Weeds or Wild Nature" (PDF). Permaculture International Journal. Retrieved 10 September 2011.

5. Contaminants in the Environment. Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/observations/contam/

6. EPA (2010). Methane and Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Natural Sources. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA.

7. ASN, J. S. (2014). Sustainability of plant-based diets: Back to the future. Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/100/Supplement_1/476S.full

8. Mongabay. (2016). Amazon Destruction: direct drivers of deforestation in Amazon countries. Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://rainforests.mongabay.com/amazon/amazon_destruction.html

9. Garling, B. (2015, February 12). What’s the role of factory farming in ocean degradation? Retrieved November 01, 2016, from https://www.mission-blue.org/2015/02/whats-the-role-of-mass-animal-agriculture-in-ocean-degradation/

10. 60 percent of global wildlife species wiped out. (2016, October 28). Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/60-percent-global-wildlife-species-wiped-161027151043413.html

11. Milman, O. (2016, March 04). Greenland's ice melt accelerating as surface darkens, raising sea levels. Retrieved November 01, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/03/greenland-ice-sheet-melting-global-warming-feedback-loop

Find out more about Conference of Parties (COPs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) here: LINK ,and more about the work that the UNDP is doing here : LINK

 ***This article is part of a collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ethical Writers Coalition.

Tascosa Cattle Feed Yard In Bushland, Texas 2013 by  Mishka Henner

Tascosa Cattle Feed Yard In Bushland, Texas 2013 by Mishka Henner

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Renee Peters

Renee Peters is a NYC-based model, blogger, and advocate of mindful, sustainable living. She strives to be a role model by using her platform for positive change. Through her blog, Model4GreenLiving, Peters seeks to reshape the way people think about environmental issues and provide practical tips and everyday actions for readers.  Peters uses social media to promote that same message, as well as one of self-love and body-positivity. She also volunteers, is an environmental activist, and is an avid learner of anything relating to the planet and its health. For booking inquires visit Muse Models NYC or Nomad Management Miami.

I'M DYING TO TRY THESE NEW, NYC, PLANT-BASED RESTAURANTS

     There is something to be said about the plant-based movement, when so many new innovative, and delicious plant-based restaurants keep opening up. Manhattan and the surrounding Burroughs have always been a haven for vegans and vegetarians, providing a huge number of restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and juice shops to chose from.

     New York City already boasts the most extensive list of restaurants in my Plant-based Restaurant Guide, and until this point I have tried all of the restaurants myself. I am excited to discover even more, all having opened since January 2015, that I have yet to enjoy and am dying to try! Check out the newest plant-based restaurants of NYC, and experience them for the first time with me.

00 + Co

Image courtesy of  matthewkenneycuisine.com

Image courtesy of matthewkenneycuisine.com

00+Co, a new plant-based pizza concept from Matthew Kenney, opened its doors in New York City’s East Village in February 2016. Serving small plates, organic pizza prepared in a wood burning oven, vegan ice cream and organic wines, 00 + Co showcases Matthew Kenney’s delicious, beautiful, vibrant, and nutritious cuisine in one of New York’s favorite neighborhoods.
— www.matthewkenneycuisine.com

by CHLOE.

Photo by  Lisa Elaine Held . courtesy of  Well+Good.com

Photo by Lisa Elaine Held. courtesy of Well+Good.com

by CHLOE. is 100% vegan, plant-based and kosher certified. Our menu is free of meat, dairy and egg products and contains no saturated animal fats, cholesterol, added preservatives and/or artificial flavors.

by CHLOE. is committed to using seasonal & locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. All menu items are preparedfrom scratch including our patties, condiments, sauces, cheeses + grab and go offerings. All Sweets by CHLOE. are baked fresh in-house daily.
— www.bychefchloe.com
Image courtesy of  Andrea Strong

Image courtesy of Andrea Strong

Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, the award-winning vegetable restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side. Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in the city and the leader of the vegetable-forward movement. The restaurant’s original location only had 18 seats and was open for six years, during which time it became the first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive two stars from the New York Times, was recognized by the Michelin Guide five years in a row, and won awards from Gourmet Magazine, the Village Voice, and many others. Its new location opened in January, 2015 and it was the first restaurant in the city to eliminate tipping and share profits with its employees.
— www.dirtcandynyc.com/amanda-cohen
photo by  Sarah Elliott

photo by Sarah Elliott

Indian cuisine is rooted in the belief that food should provide nourishment for your body and balance for your life. INDAY is born from this tradition: a place where you don’t have to decide between eating delicious, exciting food and eating healthy, responsible food.
— www.indaynyc.com
Image by  Geert Teuwen . COurtesy of  Well+GOod .

Image by Geert Teuwen. COurtesy of Well+GOod.

Le Botanitse is a healthy, delicious, plant-based, organic food & natural wine bar. It is a responsible food concept that cares about health and our planet, and is a positive way to appreciate food. Everything we serve is 100 % Botanical, 99 % Organic, and Gluten-free.
— www.lebotaniste.us
Photos by  Stephen Johnson  courtesy of Nix

Photos by Stephen Johnson courtesy of Nix

Nix is a new restaurant from Michelin-starred chef John Fraser, drawing on his personal passion for cooking with vegetables. The menu will feature an array of affordable and seasonal dishes, largely sourced from the Union Square Greenmarket, along with an innovative list of cocktails and wines, all served in a fun and lively Greenwich Village atmosphere. Opening first for dinner only, Nix will also serve lunch and brunch beginning in the late spring.
— www.nixny.com

     Have you tried any of these delicious, plant-based restaurants in NYC? Do you have any favorite restaurants that you don't see featured here? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I love hearing from all of you... and especially trying new food. Thanks, as always, for reading!