How to make milk alternatives at home

April 8, 2020 by  
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Milk alternatives have become a booming industry. More and more people are choosing plant-based milk alternatives because they can be healthier. These options are also cruelty-free and better for the planet. Plus, in these times when grocery store offerings are sparse, non-dairy milks — or at least the ingredients to make them — are often more readily available and shelf-stable. Here are some tips for making your own milk alternatives , such as oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk and more. Types of plant-based milk Grocery stores typically carry a wide variety of milk substitutes: soy, almond, cashew, hazelnut, oat, rice, coconut, pea-protein and even flax seed. But homemade varieties can be healthier, and during a pandemic when it is hard to come across any milk — vegan or otherwise — making your own plant-based milk could be your only option. Related: How to choose the healthiest, most sustainable milk alternative Advantages of making your own plant-based milk Despite the popularity of brand names, sometimes making homemade non-dairy milk is preferred over store-bought. Consider how COVID-19 has made shopping in the age of social distancing a challenge. Besides, making homemade plant-based milk can save money. You can also control the consistency, flavor and sweetness of the non-dairy milk you make, avoiding unnecessary additives, like oils, thickeners and xantham gum. Homemade milk alternatives also allow you to tailor your recipes for any dietary restrictions. How to make most milk alternatives First, choose your ingredient. If you prefer soy milk, select organic , non-GMO soybeans, as suggested by One Green Planet . For nut milk, select your organic, non-GMO nut of choice, making sure they are raw. The same can be applied to oat, rice, coconut, pea and seeds (sesame or sunflower). These ingredients can all be sourced either online, at stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts or from a local farmer. Thoroughly rinse 2 cups of your ingredient of choice, whether dry soybeans or raw nuts, for example, then let them soak overnight in 5 to 6 cups of water. The next day, remove them from soaking. Discard the water and rinse off the soybeans (or nuts). Next, remove the skins (skip this step if the ingredient of choice has no skins). Add the soybeans (or nuts) to about 6 cups of water in a blender, and blend until smooth. Related: Is almond milk bad for the environment? After blending, strain the blended mixture via a muslin, cheesecloth or fine nut milk bag. Note that twisting permits the squeezing out of more milk from the pulp. After ringing out as much milk as you can, either discard the soybean pulp (in a compost bin) or save the nut pulp. Nut pulp can be frozen for later use in smoothies, pancake batters, oatmeal or granola. Next, place the strained milk in a pot or saucepan. Remember, adding more water determines the thickness and consistency of your milk. For instance, you may add about 1 cup of water to the mixture, or more if you prefer a thinner milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, while frequently stirring to avoid sticking. When at a boil, reduce to medium heat and continue heating or cooking the milk for up to 20 minutes. Make sure to continue to stir often. After the 20-minute span, cool the milk to room temperature. For added taste, stir in cocoa powder, honey or cinnamon while serving. If you want your entire batch of milk to have added flavor, place all of the liquid into a blender and mix in vanilla extract, honey, dates, berries or other fruit. How to make oat milk For oat milk , there is no need for overnight soaking. Rather, you can choose to either soak for just 30 minutes before draining and then blending, as recommended by the Simple Vegan Blog . Or, you can just immediately blend together 1 cup of rolled oats in 4 cups of water for about 30 to 45 seconds before straining. Why under 1 minute? Over-blending can make the oat milk seem slimy in texture, as observed by the Minimalist Baker . Another important adjustment is not boiling nor heating the milk mixture after straining from the pulp — heating will lead to a slimy texture, too. Note that nut milk bags might not work for oats, so try a fine mesh strainer instead. Some folks even go so far as to use a towel or clean T-shirt to strain the milk out of the pulp. How to make coconut milk For coconut milk, the Minimalist Baker recommends using 2 cups of shredded unsweetened coconut. Once you’ve acquired your coconut, blend it in 3 to 4 cups of water, noting that for thicker, creamier milk, less water is best. You’ll still strain the milk with a thin cloth, cheesecloth, nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer. Again, the pulp can be saved for future baking purposes. No need for heating of the strained milk either, just seal in a tight container in the refrigerator. Should you see separation after removing this milk from the refrigerator, simply shake it before use. How to make pea or seed milks For pea milk, Nutramilk follows the same basic methods described above, except there’s no need to boil or heat the strained milk, either. Moreover, pea pulp can be saved for soups or as an added ingredient in just about any dinner recipe. Regarding seeds, Nest and Glow says they must be soaked overnight, but there’s little need to extract skins or boiling the milk. Because they are smaller, their blend time need only be 2 to 3 minutes until finely ground. How to store homemade milk Store your homemade soy, nut, seed or oat milk in an airtight bottle within your refrigerator. It should be good for up to 3 days. Hoping to preserve the milk for longer? Your homemade, plant-based milk can be kept in the freezer for 3 to 5 months. After thawing it, you can choose to also use this homemade milk as a dairy substitute for cooking or baking. Images via Unsplash and Adobe Stock

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How to make milk alternatives at home

The Nature Conservancys Oregon HQ gets a green renovation

April 8, 2020 by  
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Portland-based LEVER Architecture has breathed new life into The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters with a LEED Gold-targeted renovation. Completed in 2019, the refreshed headquarters has received a much-needed facelift constructed from sustainably harvested materials as well as a new addition topped with a roof garden. Beautiful and sustainable, the addition is also one of the first buildings in the nation to be built of domestically fabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Built in the 1970s, The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters was formerly defined by dark and introverted offices as well as a lack of sizable meeting and event space. To better meet the needs of the highly collaborative organization, LEVER Architecture expanded the building footprint to 15,000 square feet and introduced new open-plan layouts, meeting rooms of varying sizes and a staff cafe and lounge. The Nature Conservancy’s mission of environmental stewardship has also been proudly showcased through updates to the exterior facade and landscaping. Related: Metal-clad Treehouse for “no-commute lifestyles” mimics Portland’s forests The new landscaping that surrounds the building on all sides evokes three types of habitats across Oregon: the Rowena Plateau, Cascade-Siskiyou and forests of western hemlock and cedar. The connection to nature is strengthened by the use of juniper and cedar siding, materials that were sustainably harvested from The Nature Conservancy’s conservation sites. The weathering steel that wraps around the upper portions of the new addition and main building will develop a handsome patina over time to further blend the building into its surroundings. In addition to a sustainable renovation and expansion, the architects have introduced new energy-saving and -generating systems. New rooftop solar panels on the main building produce 25% of the headquarters’ energy needs, while efficient fixtures and building systems reduce electric consumption by 54% and water consumption by 44%. All stormwater is captured and managed on-site. Low-tech passive strategies, such as daylighting and operable windows for natural ventilation, also help cut down the building’s energy demands. + LEVER Architecture Photos by Jeremy Bittermann and Lara Swimmer via LEVER Architecture

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The Nature Conservancys Oregon HQ gets a green renovation

Beyond & Impossible alternative meats: are they actually healthier than the real thing?

July 29, 2019 by  
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Tempting the most loyal of carnivores, plant-based foods are spreading faster than wildfire as restaurant chains like Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, Burger King and White Castle have added alternative meats to their menus, providing vegans, vegetarians and non-meat eaters with popular food options like burgers and tacos. However, a lingering question remains— how healthy are they? Studies Say Many of us remember the infamous 2006 study revealing that livestock and meat production are generating more greenhouse gas emissions than transport. The report, released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was enough to make any carnivore rethink their meat consumption. At the time, Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch and author of the report said, “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”  Related: Impossible Foods tests a fish-less fish protein The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, released a statement classifying processed meat as a carcinogen in 2015 . It also classified red meat as a probable carcinogen. It took a total of 22 experts from 10 countries and the review of over 800 studies to reach this conclusion. They found that consuming 50 grams of processed meat each day (the equivalent of about four strips of bacon or one hot dog) could increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. When it came to red meat, the report found evidence of increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancers. The Big Bucks More and more people are making the switch to a plant-based diet, whether for the environment , personal health or love of animals. As the vegan and vegetarian lifestyles rise in numbers, corporations are taking notice and forming strategies to take livestock out of the equation.  The plant-based meat market is already booming. According to the Good Food Institute, the sale of plant-based meat grew 10% from April 2018 to April 2019 and 37% over the past two years. Last year 11.9% of all U.S. households purchased plant-based meat, which may not sound like much, but that equates to about 15 million households. Plant-based food is currently a $4.5 billion industry and has grown 31% in the past two years. Beyond and Impossible The question of whether these plant-based meats are actually good for your health, however, still has experts debating . Unsurprisingly, the futuristic vegan burgers of two most popular plant-based meat companies in the nation have found themselves under the spotlight. By 2016, Beyond Meat released the first plant-based burger sold in grocery stores (such as Whole Foods) internationally. Impossible Foods began selling their plant-based “bleeding” burgers to fast-food brands and gourmet spots such as Bareburger and Umami Burger in 2017. The controversy first began in 2018 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expressed concern over soy leghemoglobin or “heme,” which is an essential ingredient in the Impossible Foods burger “meat.” The key ingredient creates the illusion of blood and aroma of real meat, and the company found a way to harvest it from plants creating a protein produced by genetically modified yeast cells. Soy is also a key ingredient in popular veggie meat patty brands, Morningstar Farms Garden Veggie Burgers and Kraft Heinz’s Boca Veggie Burgers. Beyond Meat uses beets for color and pea protein isolate, which is processed and is not considered a whole food. The Ingredients Beyond : Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruit Powder, Beet Juice Extract (for color). Related: Cell-based meat could replicate and replace shrimp, lobster and crab Impossible : Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12. Things to Consider While the protein content is similar to actual meat, the plant-based protein used to produce vegan meat is processed. Processed proteins should be eaten in moderation, so more isn’t necessarily better. The process isn’t nearly as synthetic or harmful as say, a twinkie, but it is still something to consider. Both burgers include coconut oil (rich in saturated fat) as a main ingredient, which the American Heart Association has risen concerns about . There is a large amount of sodium in both burgers. Beyond has 390 milligrams of sodium and Impossible has 370 mg. There is also the concerning fact that both Impossible and Beyond have yet to reveal how exactly their burgers are made. The companies consider production methods to be trade secrets, which is understandable in a business sense, but far more complicated than the cow = meat process we’ve all grown up with. When compared to a 4-ounce beef burger with 20 percent fat content, both Beyond and Impossible burgers have fewer calories, fewer grams of fat and the same amount of (or slightly more) protein. Both plant-based burgers have no cholesterol and more fiber than a regular beef burger. So, are these plant-based burgers actually healthier than the real thing? Well, it depends on the individual. High risk for colorectal cancer? Need to lay off the saturated fats or sodium? Your lifestyle, diet and personal health all need to be considered when making the switch to plant-based meats— and that’s between you and your doctor. Images via Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat

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Beyond & Impossible alternative meats: are they actually healthier than the real thing?

RISD student designs a micro-algae farm for home use

July 29, 2019 by  
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Rhode Island School of Design student Hyunseok An has created a prototype indoor micro-algae farm in a bid to sustainably and beautifully integrate algae into our everyday lives. Dubbed The Coral after its coral pattern, the micro-farm takes on the shape of a four-by-four gridded bioreactor that can be mounted on the wall like artwork. The algae that grows inside each square component is rendered visible through transparent containers so that owners can watch as the algae grows and changes color. In 1974, the U.N. World Food Conference declared algae “the most ideal food for mankind” for its rich nutritional makeup; however, popular opinion often dismisses the superfood as nothing more than pond scum. Hyunseok An, who is pursuing a master’s degree in industrial design at RISD , wants to change our perception of algae and promote its health and environmental benefits. Algae, which grows quickly with few inputs, is also lauded for its ability to sequester carbon at an absorption rate that’s estimated to be 10 times greater than typical plants. Related: Soil Algae aims to improve soil quality through algae cultures The Coral comprises 16 cells arranged in a grid pattern with two grams of algae in each culture cell — the recommended daily intake amount. Each cell replenishes its stock on a biweekly cycle so that users will always have access to the sustainable food. As the algae grows and replenishes its stock, the cell changes color from clear to varying shades of green. The coral pattern printed on the transparent cells symbolizes the reversal of “coral bleaching,” a global phenomenon where coral is irritated — the causes can be varied from sea temperature fluctuations or pollution — and expels algae, thus turning the coral completely white. “Through its use and indoor experience, The Coral aims to change the preconception of algae, suggesting a socially acceptable way of reconnecting with algae and bringing it into our everyday lives,” Hyunseok An explained in a project statement. “By doing so, The Coral can help us take one step forward to a better, more sustainable way of living for us and for our world.” + Hyunseok An Images via Hyunseok An

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RISD student designs a micro-algae farm for home use

Hong Kong welcomes Veda, the first vegetarian restaurant inside upscale hotel Ovolo

February 27, 2019 by  
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Hong Kong’s vegan and vegetarian scene has proliferated in the last few years, and now the autonomous territory of China has its first vegetarian restaurant within a hotel. Veda, inside the freshly revamped Ovolo Central Hotel, is open for business. Well-known Australian vegetarian chef Hetty McKinnon devised the menu, and MALE and KplusK Associates designed the space. Despite an upsurge in the availability of veg foods, Hong Kong is still the world’s third largest per capita beef consumer, according to Beef2Live . McKinnon isn’t necessarily trying to convert everybody. She’ll be happy to reduce consumption. “I remain undaunted in my vision to win diners over with the other major food group: vegetables!” she told afoodieworld.com . “I think it’s a matter of communication — even though the food I create is vegetarian, I want people to understand you don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat it. My food is inclusive, it’s for everyone — carnivores and herbivores alike. My recipes are not centered around the ‘without’; rather they are 100 percent focused upon the ‘with’ — with food, with flavor, with texture, with creativity, with thought.” Related: These are the world’s top vegan cities Diners will find lots of Asian influences on the menu, from Nepalese momos made with ricotta, spinach and smoked chili to a congee featuring shitake mushrooms, quinoa and kale chips. Desserts include dark sponge cake and a vegan fig cheesecake with caramel sauce. While everything on the menu is vegetarian, the many vegan options are clearly marked. The Ovolo Central has a modern look. Its façade boasts a glazed black metal grid that invites ventilation and natural daylight. The hotel describes the décor of its 41 rooms as having an “edgy, rock-n-roll vibe” with many commissioned artworks. The 700 square foot Radio Suite, designed by award-winning firm ALT-254, takes up the hotel’s entire top floor for unbeatable Hong Kong views. Ovolo is a private, Hong Kong-based, family-owned hotel brand with properties in Hong Kong and Australia. McKinnon has high hopes for Veda. “Hong Kong is a sophisticated, food-loving city with truly international people, so I strongly believe that they will embrace this new, healthier way to eat,” she told afoodieworld.com. “I applaud Ovolo for their forward-thinking approach to the future of food. A predominately plant -based diet is the way of the future — without getting too political, eating meat-free is one of the single biggest ways to reduce your impact on the earth . Frankly, it’s the smarter way to eat, for your body and the planet.” + Ovolo Central Images via WEILL

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Hong Kong welcomes Veda, the first vegetarian restaurant inside upscale hotel Ovolo

Recycling can get kids free books in southern Italy

February 27, 2019 by  
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An Italian bookseller has come up with a novel way to promote recycling . Michele Gentile, who owns Ex Libris Cafe in southern Italy, is giving away free books to children in exchange for plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Michele Gentile said he thought of the recycling program, because he wanted to inspire children in the small town of Polla to read and pay attention to the environment. To that end, his book giveaway is offered to school kids who donate one aluminum can and a plastic bottle to his shop. Related: Bottle recycling in Oregon hits 90 percent record high “My goal is to spread the passion and love for books among those people in Italy who do not usually read while at the time helping the environment,” Gentile explained. The idea for the initiative came after Gentile collaborated with a nearby middle school on an aluminum recycling project. Working together, the schoolchildren and Gentile collected enough cans to purchase books for an entire classroom. His new program took off from there and has already spread into northern Italy . Gentile hopes his work will continue to make headlines and become a worldwide initiative. The free books come from customers in Gentile’s shop who have donated money to purchase a “suspended” book. The idea stems from a World War II practice in which customers would buy two coffees : one for themselves and another for the next person in line. Gentile has been using the extra books as part of his recycling initiative. While Gentile’s program is a great way to recycle and get kids to read, it also brings awareness to the growing problem of plastic waste. Single-use plastics make up around 26 percent of all the plastics in the world, only 14 percent of which are recycled. Plastics that end up in landfills take around 500 years to decompose, posing a major concern for environmentalists. Cutting down on plastic waste is important if we want to better the environment for future generations, and recycling programs like Gentile’s book giveaway are a great way to meet that goal. Via CNN Image via Public Domain Pictures

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Recycling can get kids free books in southern Italy

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

17 easy ways to upcycle worn out sweaters

January 7, 2019 by  
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Wardrobe upcycling is nothing new. After all, when you think about it, clothing is made from cloth. Lots of other things are made from cloth. So when your clothes have served their functional purpose as attire, why not use that material for other things? Sweaters are a great example of apparel that can be given new life in a variety of ways. From leg warmers to satchels, the pieces and parts of your old sweater will serve a new purpose. If you’re onboard with refusing to trash that old sweater but don’t know what to do with it, here are some ideas to get the juices flowing. Let us know what you come up with too! Doll clothing If you have a little person in your home, you’ve likely got baby dolls or Barbies around too. It’s always fun to mix up wardrobes, even for the toys, so drag out the sewing machine and make sweaters for your kid’s pals. Sweater boots Yes, you read that right and you know they sound cozy. Sweater boots are actually just a cover for your shoes. Cut off the sleeves of your less-than-favored sweater and attach them to the sides of your shoe for an existing sole and an entirely new style. Roll over the top and add a button for a trendy appeal. Pet clothing Just because your sweater started out as human attire doesn’t mean Fido will take offense. After all, dogs get cold too. So make a few adjustments and let your discarded sweater bring warmth to the four-legged members of your home. Wine bags and gift wrap Along with brown paper, fabric has long been an ideal choice for gift wrap. It adds depth and character, plus it can be reused endless times. Wrap a square box with fabric and hand sew it together at the seam or add a fabric bow to the top. Use the sleeve or other scrap fabric to make a wine or liquor bag for a unique and cozy look to your gift. Throw pillows The bed and couch can always benefit from a facelift. Considering the amount of time you spend in, on or near both, creating new throw pillows makes perfect sense. Simply recover an old pillow with your sweater material. If you want to design a throw pillow from scratch, lay out the pattern to accentuate hems, necklines, and buttons on your finished product. Related: HOW TO: Recycle a sweater into a cuddly pillow for your couch Throw rug Following the theme of a quilt, put together a patchwork area rug for the pets, the kids’ rooms or the kitchen. Stuffed animals Some of the most adorable stuffed animals are homemade, and old sweater material offers a lovely, cozy and rustic feel. You could create a patchwork design on larger animals or use one solid piece of sweater fabric for the body of your stuffed bear, dog or monkey. Kids pants While you’re decking out the dog and the dolls, you might as well give the kiddos some winter pants too. Imagine the adorableness of tiny legs wrapped in the warmth of sweater sleeves and your design is already half-way done. Gloves, hat and scarf Sweaters represent warmth so why not carry that theme through to its second life. Use the different sections of your sweater to create fingerless gloves that could be long or short. Then make a matching scarf in the traditional long rectangular design, turn it into an infinity scarf, or even braid sweater lengths for a unique spin. A beanie hat made from the same material will pull the entire look together. Drawstring bag When you purchased your sweater many moons ago, it was likely because you liked the pattern. Keep that happiness in your life by turning it into a multi-use drawstring bag. Turn your sweater upside down and create grommets holes throughout the bottom band. This becomes the top of your bag while the rest of the sweater body forms the bag portion. Quilt The tradition of quilting goes back hundreds of years as a way to turn discarded fabric scraps into something useful. Today, sweaters can serve that purpose well. Simply collect squares of sweater fabric and layout the design you want. After sewing all the squares together, add a backing and enjoy the warmth of those old sweaters for many additional years. Hand warmers and satchels Even the smallest scraps can be put to use when upcycling your old sweaters. Sew two squares together and stuff them with lavender and/or essential oils for a lovely drawer satchel. You can make useful hand warmers in a similar way and fill them with rice. These can be heated in the microwave time after useful time. Related: Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles Coffee, plant or teapot cosy Sweaters are cozy and that’s the reason they make a perfect cosy. You’re probably familiar with the mainstream foam cozies sold to keep your soda cold, but what about keeping things warm? Wrapping your coffee cup in wool is a sure way to keep the heat in longer. Use a sweater sleeve to make a coffee sleeve. Embellish however you please. You can use the same idea to make cozies for your flower pots or even your teapot. Let your imagination soar! Tissue box cover Yes, these are still a thing. After all, who wouldn’t rather look at a sweater print than the mass-printed cardboard boxes that your tissue comes in? Socks or leg warmers Socks from sweaters? Yes! Warm your cold feet this winter with your favorite old sweaters. Once again, recycling sweater sleeves makes it easy to add a button and turn them into leg warmers (they’re back in style you know) or those adorable boot socks that also protect your leggings from the rough top edges of your boots. Hot pads Your kitchen benefits from the color and print, while your hands benefit from the protection. Cut squares and finish the edges or make a handmit. Either way, make sure your fabric is thick enough to protect you from burns. Headband Turn your favorite old sweater into your new favorite headband or hair scrunchy with a little creativity and some elastic. Via Apartment Therapy , Treehugger Images via Shutterstock

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17 easy ways to upcycle worn out sweaters

12 plant-based recipes for a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner

November 15, 2018 by  
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For many people, Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without a turkey on the table. But with diet trends turning toward vegetarianism, veganism and flexitarianism , people are starting to break away from the traditional turkey dinner for health, animal welfare or environmental reasons. Luckily, there are amazing plant-based dishes that you can prepare for a mouth-watering Thanksgiving feast, making it easier than ever to skip the turkey. Here are some ideas for main dishes that will replace the turkey on your table, plus some side dish and dessert ideas that will keep the food at your celebration completely plant-based. Main dishes Classic seitan roast Forget the tofurkey — try this basic meat substitute for a savory, meaty main dish that you can use for Thanksgiving day, and any extras will be perfect as salad toppers or sandwich fillings. This recipe comes from One Green Planet , and it does have an involved process. But the results are totally worth it. Seitan pot roast Another idea from One Green Planet , this recipe is not the traditional pot roast your mom would make, but it is the perfect recipe for a large Thanksgiving dinner. The biggest plus about this dish is that you make it in a slow cooker. Just throw everything in the pot, and let it cook while you make your other dishes. Related: 6 vegan and vegetarian turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving Lentil shepherd’s pie This recipe from Plant Based Cooking is perfect for picky eaters, vegan or not. Lentil shepherd’s pie is loaded with mushrooms, carrots, peas and garlic mashed potatoes, and you can easily refrigerate or freeze it. Vegan lentil loaf with gravy Perfect for the holiday season, this recipe from Vegan Heaven is easy to make, super healthy and beyond delicious. You will impress your family with this main dish, which takes a little over an hour to make and bake. Vegducken This is a vegetable main dish that will have your family and friends talking long after Thanksgiving is over. This recipe features roasted butternut squash stuffed with eggplant, zucchini and whole scallions. Then, you layer it with a puree of sautéed mushrooms, red onion, chickpeas, scallions, red lentils and gluten-free breadcrumbs. Side dishes Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing with gravy You might be able to skip turkey at Thanksgiving, but no one can live without the stuffing. This delicious vegan recipe from One Green Planet takes a little time to make, so you might want to prepare it a day in advance. Vegan pumpkin biscuits Free of dairy , egg, corn, soy and yeast, these pumpkin biscuits from Vegan Richa are easy to make and perfect for any guest at your Thanksgiving dinner. They feature fresh sage and thyme, and they are a savory side dish that is crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Buttermilk vegan mashed potatoes Who says you need dairy products to make fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes? This recipe from The Vegan 8 calls for just eight ingredients to make creamy mashed potatoes that are full of flavor with a buttery taste that comes from apple cider vinegar. They will be one of the most-loved dishes at your Thanksgiving dinner. Smokey maple roasted carrots with lemon thyme drizzle If you are looking for an easy side dish that you can throw together, try this recipe from Veggies Don’t Bite . Not only is this carrot dish loaded with flavor, but the lemon thyme sauce will make you want to lick your plate clean. Related: The best in-season veggies to buy at your local market for Thanksgiving dinner Vegan green bean casserole This casserole is so creamy that you won’t believe it doesn’t contain dairy. Using raw cashews, unsweetened almond milk, bread crumbs, onions, garlic, flour, EVOO, mushrooms, white wine, soy sauce, salt and black pepper, this dish from Hummusapien will be so good, no one will know its vegan. Desserts Vegan pecan pie This recipe from the Center for Nutrition Studies is a healthy, vegan alternative to the popular holiday dessert . It is decadent, but not too sweet, and it is gluten-free and soy-free. Chocolate ganache mousse pie If you want to add a chocolate dessert to your menu, here is a delicious option that has a cookie crust and light filling that will make any chocolate lover happy. Images via Pixabay and Shutterstock

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12 plant-based recipes for a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner

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

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