Veganism on the rise, record number of sign-ups for Veganuary

January 7, 2019 by  
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Could 2019 be the year of the vegan ? This past week, people all over the world promised to make lifestyle changes with various new year’s resolutions. And, this January, more people than ever have pledged to go meat-free— for at least a month. A movement known as Veganuary started five years ago, and each year the number of participants committing to a plant-based diet during the first month of the year has more than doubled. This year, more than 250,000 people in 193 countries have signed up to make January a month without animal products. According to Rich Hardy, the head of campaigns at Veganuary, on Sunday alone over 14,000 people pledged to go vegan this month, which is a rate of one person every six seconds. “In 2018 there hasn’t been a week that has gone by without veganism hitting the headlines, whether it is a magazine editor being fired or Waitrose launching a new range of products,” Hardy said. “Vegan products are getting a lot better, and it is becoming a lot more convenient to have a tasty plant-based diet .” Related: Is a flexitarian diet right for you? Hardy believes that warnings from scientists about the environmental impact of meat have persuaded many people to consider veganism. This past May, the researchers who conducted the most comprehensive analysis to date on the subject declared that the single biggest thing an individual could do for the environment is to avoid meat and dairy products. Joseph Poore of Oxford University, the lead researcher on the project, says that reducing your impact on the planet is not just about greenhouse gases, and switching to a vegan diet is more impactful than buying an electric car or cutting down on travel. Some people believe that 2018 was the year that veganism moved into the mainstream, and Hardy says that Veganuary aims to be fun and inclusive. He says that even if those who made the pledge fall off the wagon, they should just pick themselves up and remember why they signed the pledge in the first place. Via The Guardian Images via jill11

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Veganism on the rise, record number of sign-ups for Veganuary

The best eco-friendly resolutions for 2019

December 26, 2018 by  
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With the new year looming, resolutions are on everybody’s mind. That’s because the new year is all about new beginnings. Whether that means changing your diet, incorporating more exercise or focusing on continuing education, 2019 can be an amazing year of growth and discovery. While you formulate your list of new year’s resolutions, be sure to include a few goals focused on sustainability. We all share one planet, which means each person needs to do their part to make it last. Making small changes leads to huge results, so even if you start small, resolve to start. Here are a few eco-friendly resolutions to focus on while you enter 2019. Start a compost bin Composting creates a full-cycle process for making the most out of your food and paper products. Begin with a design for your compost bin. Consider the space you have available along with the layout of your yard. Composters work best in full sun since they yield the best results at high temperatures. It will take longer to break down compost on the shady north side of your home, but it will break down eventually nonetheless. Related: Austin passes law banning restaurants from throwing out food waste Compost bins can be purchased online or at your local garden center or home improvement store. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Resin or plastic compost bins will last longer, but are also petroleum-based, making them an enemy of the environment . Wood composters are much more eco-friendly although they will eventually show the wear of weather exposure. Better yet, don’t use a compost bin at all, but just create a loose pile. Regardless of the type you choose, make sure you can rotate the contents occasionally and that the compost receives water and heat. Fill your compost throughout the year with equal parts green (such as lawn clippings), brown (such as brown paper bags or small twigs) and organic food scraps. Not only does this reduce your food waste, but creates nutrient-rich soil for use in your indoor or outdoor garden . Vow to shop with reusable bags As cities and even entire states begin to ban the use of plastic bags, it’s the perfect time to get into the habit of bringing your own bags when you go shopping. Reusable shopping bags are a great way to reduce both plastic and paper bag consumption. Choose some favorites and keep them in your car. Just remember to return them to the car after bringing the groceries inside so you have them next time around. You can take your reusable bag resolution one step further with the purchase of washable produce bags to use as well. Install rain barrels Rain barrels are easy to install and use. Surf the internet or head to the local home improvement store for a rain diverter. This device is installed in the downspout of your gutter system and diverts a portion of the water into the nearby rain barrels. If you receive even moderate rain in your area, it’s easy to accumulate 50, 100, or more gallons of water during the wet months. Use that water during the summer for gardens, lawns, or animals and save on your water bill. Swap out shower and faucet heads The easiest resolutions are the tasks that you perform once and they provide ongoing benefits. With this in mind, take the time to install low-flow faucet and shower heads. By using air to provide a strong pressure, newer water-restricting heads make it so you barely miss the extra water while benefiting your budget and the environment. Eliminate meat one day each week It’s so well researched and documented these days that no one can argue the drastic effects that raising cattle and other livestock has on the environment. Raising meat is resource consumptive, in the amount of both water and land required. The good news is that even if you’re a blood-thirsty carnivore, small sacrifices can make a big difference. Eliminate meat from your diet one day each week. You might find it easier than you think. If you do, increase to two times per week. Each meatless meal means good things for nature . Avoid plastic Plastic is bad for the environment on every level. It requires huge amount of petroleum to produce and never breaks down, adding to the massive waste issues the world currently faces. Set a goal to do your part to avoid plastic as much as possible. It’s no easy task since it is everywhere we turn, but start by noticing the packaging on your frequent purchases. Buy bulk and bring your own containers. Purchase individual fruit instead of the pre-bagged variety. Bring your own produce and shopping bags to the store. Buy food in glass jars instead of plastic. Take your own cup to the coffee shop. Take your refillable water bottle everywhere. Buy tampons with cardboard applicators or move to a menstrual cup or washable pad. Ask the waitress to hold the plastic straw and bring your own reusable straw if you want one. Shop with companies that use environmentally-conscious packaging. Related: Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste Avoid fast fashion Fast fashion is killing the planet. Defined by quick-passing trends, the cheap clothing reels consumers in. But the resources required to produce and dispose of all that clothing earns the industry the title of the world’s number one pollutant . Instead of subscribing to this season’s best that is forgotten a few months down the road, invest in a capsule wardrobe that incorporates interchangeable pieces that suit all your dress and casual wear needs. Buy seasonal and local Your purchasing decisions hold all the power. Use them wisely and make this year’s resolution to buy local as much as possible. Not only does this provide you with the best farm-fresh foods, but it reduces the transport emissions from those manufactured across the ocean to those made just down the road. Gift give the work of local artisans. Attend the farmer’s market. Buy honey, soap and jewelry from local vendors. Think about the journey each product makes and select those with the shortest travel time. Baby steps in your efforts make a huge difference, so remember that you don’t have to go zero waste all at once or give up your car in lieu of a bike. Although it’s great if you want to do those things, start by adding some achievable and sustainable goals to your 2019 resolutions and vow to practice them all year long. Via My Green Closet Images via 955169 , Mike Kenneally , Shutterstock

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10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas

November 21, 2018 by  
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Choosing to live a healthy, vegan lifestyle can be an easy choice to make, but when it comes to actually following through and cooking those meals every day, it can seem like a complicated, time-consuming task. Not to mention, recipes can easily become repetitive. Cooking plant-based meals doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little planning and a smart grocery shopping strategy, you can make quick and easy vegan dinners every day of the week. Here are 10 dinner ideas to help keep your diet full of nutrients and flavor that won’t require you to spend hours in the kitchen. Creamy vegan one-pot pasta This Asian-style recipe from Vegan Heaven is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Loaded with veggies and seasoned with red curry paste, garlic cloves and coconut milk, this one-pot recipe is super easy to make, and it takes less than a half-hour to prep and cook. This dish is packed with flavor and will save you a ton of time. Vegan Philly cheese sandwich Red bell peppers, sweet onion, chilies, black pepper and spices, along with some vegan cheddar and seitan strips on a hoagie roll create a perfect vegan Philly that you will crave. This recipe is from Healthy, Happy, Life, and it is easy and fun to make. Related: 12 plant-based recipes for a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner Vegan Swedish meatballs Just because you are a vegan, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy meatballs! This recipe from Rabbit and Wolves makes a super quick weeknight meal and takes about 20 minutes to throw together. Vegan grilled burritos with black beans, rice, avocado and salsa crema This may seem like a gourmet meal , but you can put it together super-fast, and it is loaded with flavor. The recipe comes from Veggies Don’t Bite, and when your family takes their first bite, they will think you spent hours in the kitchen. Spicy chickpea veggie burgers It can be difficult to make a veggie patty that sticks together, but this recipe from Running On Real Food does the trick. They take about ten minutes to prepare, and you can mix up the spices in the recipe to get the flavor you want. Hearty white bean vegetable soup Who doesn’t love a bowl of hot soup on a cold day? With just a few ingredients, you can make a ton of soup with this recipe from Hello Glow, and it will fill your tummy with veggies. You can also easily mix things up and experiment with different flavors. Related: 10 vegan sources of protein you can grow at home Easy vegan Alfredo pasta This creamy recipe from Rainbow Nourishments features cashews, garlic and onion, and you can use raw zucchini noodles or gluten-free pasta. Just remember to soak your cashews the night before. Hummus pizza with veggies Another recipe from Vegan Heaven, this pizza uses hummus instead of tomato sauce, and has toppings like cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and artichokes. The dough is also super easy to make and has just four ingredients – flour, instant yeast, salt, and olive oil. However, you can also opt for a ready-made crust if you are running short on time. If you are a pizza lover and would like a vegan option with tomato sauce, try this simple vegan pizza from The Minimalist Baker. Vegan no-bake peanut butter energy bites If you need a boost of energy to start your day, or a good snack during the afternoon, try these three ingredient energy bites from Beaming Banana. This sweet and salty snack is addictive and easy to make. Vegan potato pancakes This recipe has simple ingredients like potatoes, onions, flour, and a little jalapeno to spice things up, and they are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, these potato cakes from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken take just a few minutes to make, and they are potato perfection. Via Vegan Heaven , Healthy Happy Life , Rabbit and Wolves , Veggies don’t bite , Running on Real Food , Hello Glow,  Beaming Banana , It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken and Rainbow Nourishments Images via Lars Blankers , Stevepb , Nadya Spetnitskaya , MootikaLLC , agamaszota , PDPics , gate74 , JESHOOTScom , rawpixel and coyot

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10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas

Vegetarian diets could help avert one-third of early deaths, new research finds

April 26, 2018 by  
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Vegetarians, rejoice! While scientists have long touted the health benefits of  plant-based diets , they may be even more effective than we thought. According to new calculations from Harvard University scientists, one-third of early deaths might be avoided if people switched to a  vegetarian diet. The scientists’ research suggests that we have underestimated the positive effects of a vegetarian diet. For example, while figures from the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics  suggested that 141,000 deaths a year in Britain were preventable, the new research from Harvard has produced a much higher figure: about 200,000 lives could potentially be saved each year if people removed meat  from their diets . Related: Here’s what could happen if America went 100% vegan Harvard Medical School epidemiology and nutrition professor Walter Willett, a speaker at the Unite to Cure Fourth International Vatican Conference , said, “We have just been doing some calculations looking at the question of how much could we reduce mortality shifting towards a healthy, more plant based diet, not necessarily totally vegan , and our estimates are about one third of early deaths could be prevented. That’s not even talking about physical activity or not smoking, and that’s all deaths, not just cancer deaths. That’s probably an underestimate as well as that doesn’t take into account the fact that obesity is important and we control for obesity.” Committee for Responsible Medicine president Neal Barnard, another speaker at the conference, agreed that people should be more aware of the health benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets. He said, “I think we’re underestimating the effect. I think people imagine that a healthy diet has only a modest effect and a vegetarian diet might help you lose a little bit of weight. But when these diets are properly constructed I think they are enormously powerful.” Via The Telegraph Images via Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash and James Sutton on Unsplash

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Vegetarian diets could help avert one-third of early deaths, new research finds

Breast cancer spread connected to amino acid in asparagus

February 16, 2018 by  
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Scientists have linked the spread of the disease breast cancer in mice to a compound that’s in asparagus and several other foods, The Guardian reported . Studies with mice revealed asparagine drives the advance of the cancer , and when researchers reduced asparagine, the amount of “secondary tumors in other tissues” dropped. Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute director Greg Hannon told The Guardian, “This is a very promising lead and one of the very few instances where there is a scientific rationale for a dietary modification influencing cancer.” Research with mice showed the amino acid asparagine is important for breast cancer to spread, and scientists think the process could be similar in humans. Researchers found that blocking the amino acid hampered the spread of the cancer. Hannon said in a statement , “It could be that manipulating levels of asparagine in the body might be used as a way to boost a patients’ cancer treatment.” Related: Many anti-aging products contain ingredients that can cause breast cancer The researchers blocked asparagine in mice tested, which had an aggressive type of breast cancer, to reduce the cancer’s ability to spread with the drug L-asparaginase. Giving the mice a low-asparagine diet worked to a lesser extent, according to The Guardian. There’s still a lot work to be done. The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute cautioned research is in the early stages and “doesn’t form the basis for DIY diets at home.” This work also doesn’t seem to offer a cure for cancer; per the press release, “So far the story suggests that lowering asparagine levels blunts the ability of cancer cells to spread in mice, but doesn’t affect the original tumor.” Lowering asparagine didn’t prevent breast tumors from forming, the researchers found. Hannon said, “The difficulty is finding ways to study this in the lab that are relevant to patients. It’s a challenge, but I think it’s worth pursuing.” The journal Nature published the research online this week . 21 scientists at institutions in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States contributed. + Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute + Nature Via The Guardian Images via Stephanie Studer on Unsplash and Tambako The Jaguar on Flickr

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Breast cancer spread connected to amino acid in asparagus

The world’s largest wildlife sanctuary proposed for Antarctica

January 17, 2018 by  
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While the US is busy trying to open more precious areas to fishing and drilling , a campaign led by the EU and Greenpeace seeks to protect an area the size of Germany in Antarctica. A nearly 700,000 square-mile area around the Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea would become the world’s largest sanctuary if the proposal is accepted, protecting killer and blue whales, seals, penguins and other sea life. The idea for the massive sanctuary was initially put forth by the EU and then backed by Greenpeace. Multiple EU countries support the idea, and the concept will go to conference in October. Not only will the sanctuary be essential for protecting wildlife, it will also go a long way towards mitigating the effects of climate change. Related: Meteorologist warns collapse of two Antarctic glaciers could flood every coastal city on Earth One of the major impacts of protecting this area is that it would eliminate krill fishing within its borders. Krill is a major component of the diet of many animals, from penguins to whales. Countries including Russia, Norway and China are active in the krill fishing industry, which means getting their approval will be essential in the process. Via The Guardian Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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South Pacific islands introduce ban on western junk food

February 3, 2017 by  
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South Pacific islands are banning western junk food in favor of a more nutritious diet. As the islands can grow organic, local food themselves, leaders in Torba, a Vanuatu province, said they want to ban imported foreign food. Their goal is to be the first organic province in Vanuatu by 2020. Torba is Vanuatu’s most isolated province, according to community leader Father Luc Dini. Around 10,000 people reside in the province; most are subsistence farmers. But Dini said the remote islands are experiencing an intrusion of foreign junk food, the most popular of which have been sweets, biscuits, tinned fish, and rice. In contrast, the islands can yield pineapple, yams, paw paw, shellfish, crabs, and other fish for what Dini sees as a healthier diet. He told The Guardian, “It is easy to boil noodles or rice, but they have almost no nutritional value and there is no need to eat imported food when we have so much local food grown organically on our islands.” Related: Michael Moss Investigates How Junk Food is Engineered to Be Addictive Dini also leads the local tourism council, and starting this week, with the support of other local chiefs, he has ordered tourism bungalows to serve only local, organic food. He aims to introduce legislation in the next two years to wholly ban imports of foreign food. Vanuatu’s central government, in Port Vila, has been supportive, according to Dini. “In other provinces that have adopted western diets you see pretty young girls but when they smile they have rotten teeth, because the sugar has broken down their teeth. We don’t want that to happen here and we don’t want to develop the illnesses that come with a western junk food diet,” he told The Guardian. “If you really want to live on a paradise of your own, then you should make do with what you have and try and live with nature .” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons and Harsha K R on Flickr

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South Pacific islands introduce ban on western junk food

Ecofriendly Elixir: How To Save Water By Drinking Alcohol

December 28, 2015 by  
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Okay, we’ll admit it, you can’t actually save water by drinking alcohol. After all, saving water by drinking alcohol is like cutting out sugars from your diet and then doubling-down on pasta and bread – it’s a zero-sum exercise. But you can help…

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Ecofriendly Elixir: How To Save Water By Drinking Alcohol

10 vegan probiotic foods that boost immunity & promote good gut health

November 8, 2015 by  
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There is never a bad time to add some ‘good’ bacteria to your diet. Probiotics are often taken in supplement form to help strengthen immune defenses , especially on the cusp of the winter flu season. Pills and chalky powders aren’t the only way, though. It turns out there are some delicious alternatives available – and some of them might take you by surprise! We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite vegan foods that naturally contain the healthy bacteria your body needs to maintain proper digestion and intestinal health, in addition to protecting you from sickness and infection. These probiotic foods aren’t just good for your guts, they are really tasty additions to anyone’s diet . Read on to learn about 10 awesome options for adding healthy bacteria to your menu today. READ MORE >

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10 vegan probiotic foods that boost immunity & promote good gut health

Researchers discover that architecture has an impact on which microbes thrive around you

September 29, 2015 by  
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Microbes: our bodies are made up of them, our environment is teeming with them, and when they get out of balance, things go bad quickly . And while most of us are aware of the impact our diet and antibiotic use has on the bacteria, fungi and viruses that surround us, it’s a pretty safe bet that most of us haven’t considered how design impacts these microbes. But new research from the University of Oregon suggests that design has a vital influence on the balance of microbes in any given space, and the balance can shift from room to room depending on the design. Given the fact that humans spend a vast  majority of their lives indoors, it could mean big things for our health. Read the rest of Researchers discover that architecture has an impact on which microbes thrive around you

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