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bringing along reusable shopping bags and choosing local foods when pos- sible, plus sustainable seafood and free trade, organic and hormone-free foods. The Socially Responsible Agricultural Project offers more eco-shopping tips, such as carpooling grocery trips and avoiding products with more than five in- gredients, at

Prepare and Serve Eating Ecology

Daily Decisions Make a Difference by Judith Fertig


onsuming food has such an enor- mous ripple effect that making small changes, one meal at a time,

can reap big benefits. How we choose, prepare, cook, serve and preserve our food can improve nutrition, weight loss, cost savings and the environment.

Decide What to Eat Choosing what we eat is critical. New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman believes that no food is absolutely off limits because, “It’s all in the way we use these things.” Yet, he adds, “The evi- dence is clear. Plants promote health.” For the past few years, Bittman has experimented with eating vegan for breakfast and lunch, and then indulging at dinner. “It’s just one model of a new way of eating,” he says, “but it makes sense on many levels. By eating more plants, fewer animals and less pro- cessed food, I’ve lost 30 pounds and my cholesterol and blood sugar levels are normal again.”

When a friend sent him a 21st- century United Nations study on how intensive livestock production causes more greenhouse gas emissions than driving a car, Bittman realized how a

48 Chicago North & North Shore

change of diet is a win-win for him and the environment. For a wake-up call on how our

food choices affect the planet, the Center for Science in the Public Inter- est offers a short quiz at EatingGreenCalculator.

Identify Good Sources “One of the most ecologically con- scious things you can do to make a great meal is prepare it with food that you grew yourself,” says New York- based lifestyle writer Jen Laskey, who blogs at “Plant a small vegetable garden and a few fruit trees in your yard or join a local community gar- den. Even sprouting an herb garden on a windowsill will make a difference; plus, everyone in your household will appre- ciate the choice in fresh seasonings.” Kansas City Star journalist Cindy Hoedel suggests planting parsley, basil, dill and other herbs every three to six weeks in eggshells in a sunny window after the outdoor growing season for a year-round tasty harvest. When shopping, renowned activ- ist, author and eco-stylist Danny Seo, of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, suggests

Righteously “On average, each person throws about $600 worth of food into the trash every year because of spoilage,” says Seo. Instead of rinsing food before storing, which causes more spoilage, he recommends cleaning it right be- fore meal preparation. Buying what’s in season (and thus

less expensive) makes sense, advises Hoedel. “When you find fresh produce on sale, buy it in large quantities and boil it (one to five minutes, depending

This recipe is from The Wellness Cook- book for a Healthy U, by Dr. Dena Mendes.

Sloppy Oatmeal Kisses

1 cup organic rolled oats ¾ cup chopped walnuts 2 cups fresh cranberries or fruit juice sweetened cran-raisins ¼ cup organic, extra virgin coconut oil 12/3

cup no wheat/no gluten flour 2 organic, free range eggs ¼ cup of agave nectar or maple syrup 1½ tsp baking soda, natural aluminum free

1 tsp vanilla Pinch sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all

the ingredients together in a bowl. Roll dough into golf-ball sized balls and flat- ten. Place on a cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes, or until crisp.

Visit for health tips and more information from Mendes, and to download her entire cookbook of healthful and nutritious recipes.

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