Green Living 2011
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Green Living

Going green by eating green: Seven magic local foods

Going green by eating green: Seven magic local foods

Guacamole: It can be a side dish or a spread on a main course.
Pesto: Another fragrant herb-based spread or dip
Salad: To mix it up, try a different green like kale, and add dried fruits.

"Going green” is more than swapping your car for a bike, giving up meat, or canceling your cable TV. Living a greener life has to do with little changes in all parts of your life that are less drastic than putting solar panels on your roof.

It’s about taking small steps to reduce your footprint in the world.

In the kitchen, it has to do with eating local, eating raw and eating clean. Want to become a “locavore”?

Focus on eating foods grown or produced within 100 miles of you. Clean eating encompasses foods that aren’t harmful to the environment, animals or our health. And eating raw means that you don’t eat processed foods, or foods heated to over 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s all about getting closer to nature and being cognizant of where our foods come from.

Now that we have our definitions, here are a few examples of “green eating” that you may already be eating. Guacamole? It’s a no-cook dish. Smoothies? Those count too. Also note that eating green doesn’t have to mean no meat. That’s a personal choice, and you can be conscious of where your food comes from by eating meat too.

  1. Hummus: This is a great addition to a vegetable tray, a topper for salads instead of dressing, or diluted with more olive oil to make a pasta sauce. Made completely in the food processor with fresh ingredients and chickpeas (canned, not raw), hummus is something you can make quickly at home to last all week. (This recipe is the reason I stopped buying it at the store).
  2. Guacamole: We all love guacamole. Like hummus, it goes with vegetables, chips, tortillas or on a salad. It can be a side dish or a spread on a main course. You know what to do with the guac.
  3. Pesto: Another fragrant herb-based spread or dip, pesto is based on basil and comes together in a food processor with cheese, olive oil and other flavors.
  4. Raw truffles: That is a fancy word for chocolate nut balls. These are basically homemade Larabars in a ball shape. Versatile to flavors or shapes, these truffles are also great as a snack or dessert. With few ingredients like cashews, almonds, coconut and cocoa, you can whip these up fast and keep them in the freezer until they’re gone.
  5. Smoothies and juices: Fresh fruit and vegetables — you can’t go wrong. Blended with ice, milk, and any other mix-ins, a smoothie or juice is a refreshing snack or meal. Adding spinach to a smoothie is a great way to get some extra leafy greens in. It tastes like banana, promise. If you don't own a juicer or don't want to make a mess, head to Whole Foods and let them juice for you.
  6. The big salad: Another easy way to combine fresh and flavorful foods, a salad is foolproof to prepare and can be as simple or complex as your palette desires. To mix it up, try a different green like kale, add dried fruits, or try a no-lettuce salad like a sampler plate of vegetables with different dippers.
  7. Yogurt bowls: For breakfast, use yogurt as an alternative to milk and add various cereals, nuts, a homemade granola, oats, dried or fresh fruits. Cereal would make it not completely “clean” if it’s a processed one, but you get the idea of not using heat for a meal.

It’s also wise to start small with a grand plan and think in simple terms. You want foods that are close to their origin. If you decide to incorporate more raw or uncooked foods into your diet, start with a few meals a week and escalate from there if you like it.

It could take months or years to change your eating habits, and if you aren’t completely behind the reasons you’re doing it, success isn’t likely.

Also remember that nothing will happen if you eat Oreos or drink soda. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Eating clean all the time is very hard, as you have to think about the whole life of your food from where it came from geographically, to how it was raised, to the time period it took to get to you and how it was handled. Do the best you can for you.