Julie Green and Keen: learning
Showing posts with label learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label learning. Show all posts
Many people become vegetarian for religious, moral or ethical reasons.  I chose to become vegetarian for the moral and ethical reasons regarding the treatment of animals.  When first deciding to transform my lifestyle, learning how long vegetarianism has been around blew my mind.  Vegetarianism began long before recorded history and has withstood the test of time. 



I think it is important to understand the lifestyle from the various points through history and see how it has benefited human kind.

Going way back to cave men, many anthropologist believe that most early humans ate mainly plant foods and were more gatherers than hunters.  This concept makes the most sense to me.  Knowing how to gather and grow sustainable food is a more reliable source of nutrition than hunting.

Vegetarian ideology is said to have been practiced among religious groups in Egypt around 3,200BCE.  The karmic beliefs of reincarnation were a main factor in vegetarianism for these people. 

In many eastern religions a meat-free diet is fundamental in religious philosophies.  Many religions have doctrines of non-violence and respect for all life forms, including animals.  Vegetarianism has always been one of the main aspects of Buddhism.  The religion focuses on compassion to all living creatures and the respect for all.




Looking at the research, it is clear to me that many of the early vegetarians, besides early humans, practice this lifestyle because of religious and philosophical reasons.  I find this very interesting because those religions are not as common in the United States. 

Vegetarianism was not very common in the US until 1971.  Author, Frances Moore Lappe, wrote a bestseller book titled Diet for a Small Planet that was published in 1971 encouraging people to practice a meatless diet.  His book described that it takes 14 times as much grain to feed an animal than what you get out in meat.  He recognized this as an enormous waste of resources and supported a vegetarian lifestyle to stop wasting the world’s food.





In the 1990’s the American Dietetic Association officially endorsed vegetarianism after overwhelming medical evidence supporting the superiority of vegetarian diets.  Many of my vegetarian friends became vegetarian in the 90’s because of the research and the support of a healthy lifestyle. 

I believe that the vegetarian community has grown rapidly in the past couple years because of the shocking truth behind the meat industry.  There is no denying that our county allows the mistreatment of animals to produce meat quicker at more quantities.  Recent documentaries and research has brought this industry in the limelight.



Vegetarianism has been around since before recorded history and has withstood the test of time.   It has been recorded through many decades in cultures all over the world.  A plant-based diet has sustained humanity for thousands of years, why not join in on this healthy lifestyle?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie


History of Vegetarianism

by on 1/21/2015
Many people become vegetarian for religious, moral or ethical reasons.  I chose to become vegetarian for the moral and ethical reasons rega...
On Friday I went to a good friend’s house to meet up with the girls.  It was so nice, we all brought little hor d’oeuvres and chatted over wine.  They loved the tropical popcorn balls I brought and were amazed I used agave nectar instead of honey and they tasted so good. (find the recipe below!)



As you know whole foods and farmers markets are my thing.  I am always finding ways to make recipes unique using natural ingredients.  Managing a restaurant has given me so many opportunities to learn and try new things.  Now, when I’m at home I create recipes on the fly and spice it up differently every time depending on my mood.

I use agave nectar all the time at home and in the restaurant.  We use it in a lot of the desserts and even some main courses.  There are many natural ingredients that can be used to substitute common processed ones.

Here are my favorite natural additives and replacements:

•    Agave nectar is the extract from the wild agave plant.  It is low in glycemic levels and is a natural alternative to white sugar and other sugars



•    Cacao butter is the raw pure oil from the cacao bean.  It has a rich chocolate aroma.  I love to use it in smoothies, desserts, and in just about any chocolate creation I am making.  It is easy to use because it is raw, it melts easy and blends into any type of recipe.


•    Coconut oil has become very popular recently with its many health benefits.  It is commonly used as a food product and skin moisturizer.  It has a rich buttery taste that is great for cooking.


•    Miso is a salty flavored paste made from soybeans, rice, or barley.  It is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.  I like to use it in soups and adding it to salad dressings and sauces.


•    Tamari is a natural soy sauce made from fermented soybeans and tastes wonderful.



I believe that cooking should be a fun and freeing experience.  I take pride in making food that is good for you and delicious.  Real sustainable food nourishes not only your body but the environment as well.  Try some new substitutes and let me know what you like.

Here is the recipe for the tropical popcorn balls my friends loved.

Ingredients-
•    6 heaping cups of popped popcorn
•    ¼ cup agave nectar
•    ¼ creamy natural almond butter
•    ¼ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
•    ¼ cup unsweetened coconut

Instructions-
•    Cover a baking sheet with wax paper to put the balls on
•    Mix the agave nectar and almond butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat while constantly stirring.  Keep heating until the mixture lightly bubbles and remove soon after.
•    Immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn and macadamia nuts and mix until well coated.
•    Quickly press small handfuls of the popcorn and macadamia mixture into balls and roll in shredded coconut until coated then place on baking sheet and let cool and harden.
•    Enjoy!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie



Ready for another great post on farmers markets?  It is hard not to write about it every time I make a visit.  This morning while mingling amongst a few of my farmer friends, I noticed a couple that appeared to be new to the farmer’s market “scene.”  I went over and introduced myself, it turns out this was their first market.  I shared with them about how much I love buying locally and how farmers markets are the best to do so.  After talking with them, they seemed much more at ease and ready start shopping.

After my encounter with new market goers, I thought it would be great to share a few tips on how to shop at farmers markets if you are new to it and how to experience all that makes it what it is.  So here you go!

•    Go early- I always like to be at the market right after it opens.  There is a large selection and you don’t have to worry about your coveted favorite veggies to be sold out.



•    Bring a few reusable bags to carry your yummy purchases in.  Farmers usually don’t supply their own bags.


•    Bring small amounts of cash.  A lot of famers don’t have change for large bills.  Some larger markets have ATM’s nearby and with technology some farmers even have their own credit card readers.

•    Try new things.  Sometimes the most odd looking vegetable or fruit is the best tasting.  Try new weirdly shaped, unfamiliar or interesting veggies and fruits, your taste buds will thank you!  Every once in a while I find strawberries, like this one, in quite unique shapes.  I sometimes feel bad eating them because they are just so neat.


•    Talk to your farmers!  It is not every day that you get to talk to the person who grew your big juicy tomato. The farmers are often keen to talk with you about their harvests and tell you about the land.  And if you’re lucky, they might even share some of their recipes on how to cook it!  After talking, it is easy to make good food choices and personalize exactly what is on your plate.


•    Ask questions and create a community environment.  Get to know those around you, chat about your best finds, and enjoy the experience.


I’m sure you know from all my posts I really love farmers markets, eating seasonally, and buying locally.  I believe that they are a great place to find fresh, affordable, and delicious fruits, and veggies!

Farmers markets are for everyone!  Don’t be discouraged if you are intimidated on your first visit, trust me, I was too.  I encourage everyone to try to get the most out of local farmers markets and learn to love them as much as I do!

Go Green and Staying Keen,

Julie

Since becoming vegetarian and learning about all the toxins we freely accept throughout daily life, I have tried become more conscientious about using natural and environmentally friendly products in my home.  We don’t realize that the chemicals that are used in modern cleaner build up in homes and can cause asthma, eczema, and allergies.


I have slowly progressed into becoming all natural in my home.  As a disclaimer to this post; know that become organic and chemical free does not happen overnight.  It took me quite a while to find ingredients and recipes that worked for me and were cost effective.

Finding the products were a little challenging at first, but I realized I wasn’t looking in the right stores.  When I found ones that suited my needs, I was shocked at how much more expensive they were compared to common cleaners.  They were nearly double the cost.  I became turned off at the price but I knew it was something I wanted to do so I found a few solutions.  I went to a health food store and found a much larger selection although they were still pricier than chemically filled cleaners I gave them a try. 



After a few months of home use I could definitely tell a difference.  Now, I didn’t have to hold my breath or end up coughing every time I sprayed the counter or washed the windows.  The products not only cleaned my house well, they kept me feeling healthy. 

Although I loved using those products, they were costing me a little more; I went online and found a few recipes to make your own natural products.  I found a lot of information on this blog: Wellness Mama Click here.  After making a few different types and finding the ones I liked, I was saving so much more; even more than when I was still using the chemical cleaners. 
Here are a few natural products I use to clean my home

•    Lemon Juice- Cleans glass and mirrors, effective against most household bacteria (one of the strongest food-acids)
•    Coconut Oil- Wood polish
•    Apple Cider Vinegar- laundry deodorizer
•    White Vinegar- Unclog drains, removes grease, mildew, odors, some stains, keeps vegetables fresh
•    Baking Soda- Deodorizes, cleans stoves and ovens, softens water
•    Cornstarch- Cleans windows, carpets, and rugs, polishes furniture



There are so many other natural cleaners and different ways to combine them to create great natural products.  I highly suggest trying to switch over to a few natural cleaners and see the difference for yourself!

Go Green and Staying Keen,

Julie

Go Green at Home

by on 8/16/2014
Since becoming vegetarian and learning about all the toxins we freely accept throughout daily life, I have tried become more conscientious a...
Even when you think you know it all…there are always new things to learn and innovative ways to be creative with your food.  I have been a vegetarian for more than five years and still feel like I keep learning new ways to cook and incorporate different ingredients into recipes.  Everyone at the restaurant is so knowledgeable and happy to share ideas and experiences to all that want to listen.  Working at a vegetarian restaurant has catapulted my learning into something even more than I thought possible.  It is definitely what makes working there so great!  


My brilliant chef has not only been my herb garden instigator, but also been my personal cookbook the past couple months.  He is always suggesting new ways to make dishes and how to add a little “pizazz” to an old recipe.  Somehow he can concoct a fresh recipe out of ingredients you would never thought about putting together.  His enthusiasm for vegetarian cuisine is great for our restaurant’s morale, the patrons who come here, and most importantly their taste buds.
As the manager, I have to learned to wear many hats; public relations, human resources, customer service, contracting food and so many more. I have also learned about sourcing food and what to look out for when purchasing goods.  Our restaurant always strives to yield fresh and original blends of ingredients in every dish.  I enjoy purchasing from local farmers that do not process their products.  By buying straight from the farmers you can be assured they have not be cross contaminated any of the products with meat; which is extremely important in our restaurant.  We purchase a few ingredients from a restaurant distributor, but we always make sure that it has been certified as vegetarian by the American Vegetarian Association.
Farmers Market- Meeting with local farmers

The knowledge I have obtained about foods and herbs from working in the restaurant is abundant.  I have a better understanding of ingredients and how they work in to create an unforgettable favor.  I have learned even more about how different types of foods yield important nutrients that are important in a vegetarian diet. Don’t worry I will post be posting my experiences with you, my friends, and family.
Oh, the things I have learned…J I never expected to learn how to order ingredients for a restaurant or working directly with patrons to create new dishes that appeal to them.  I am proud of how far I’ve come and what still lies in front of me.  I hope I never stop learning! 

Go Green and Keep Staying Keen!

Julie

Learning never ends

by on 7/18/2014
Even when you think you know it all…there are always new things to learn and innovative ways to be creative with your food.  I have been a ...