Monday, April 14, 2014

Meatless Monday: The High Cost of Meat

Meatless Monday’s avowed goal is to help reduce meat consumption by 15%, to improve the health of our planet, as well as our personal health.

Thus, as we count down to Earth Day 2014, this seems a good day and a good place to share some sobering statistics on the costs of the escalating demand for meat. 


The World Watch Institute recently asked the question: Is Meat Sustainable? It concluded that “Like it or not, meat-eating is becoming a problem for everyone on the planet … it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future —deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” World Watch claims that “per-capita meat consumption has more than doubled in the past half-century, even as global population has continued to increase. As a result, the overall demand for meat has increased five-fold. That, in turn, has put escalating pressure on the availability of water, land, feed, fertilizer, fuel, waste disposal capacity, and most of the other limited resources of the planet.”

Food Day shared the infographic below that sums up some of the costs of meat production and outlines in the "Driving Range" section the impact of going without meat one day a week for a year.

Infographic shared by Food Day

Time reported today that the retail cost of beef has reached its highest price since 1987 — $5.28/pound — as ranchers cope with severe drought conditions and Chinese and Japanese markets put increased demands on a limited supply. For various reasons the cost of pork and chicken is also on the rise.

Each day during the month of April, the EPA has posted a new action step on its blog. Yesterday’s tip was; “Think about the life cycle.” The EPA pointed out that “Forty two percent of carbon pollution emissions in the U.S. are associated with the energy used to produce, process, transport, and dispose of the food we eat and the goods we use. In every one of these stages of the life cycle, we can reduce our impact.” Here is the link to their fact sheet: Reducing Food Waste Basics.

If and when you choose to eat meat, keep in mind that meat has a high price tag — in terms of your budget, and, more importantly, for the environment. Don’t waste it — not one single bite.


On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Shorts: Counting Down to Earth Day 2014

The coming weeks are full of significant days, religious and secular, for reflection on how we live our lives and the state of the world in which we live — Passover (April 14-22), Tax Day (April 15), Easter (April 20), Patriot’s Day (April 21), and Earth Day (April 22). 
The original Earth Day logo

On Earth Day we are not called to religious services or family gatherings; we do not have the day off; we are under no legal obligation to observe it. But I hope that, like me, you choose to celebrate Earth Day every year. 

On April 22, 1970, Americans observed the first Earth Day, an event envisioned by Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin).

Less than one year later, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened its doors. According to information on the EPA website, “EPA's mission is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment—air, water, and land—upon which life depends.”

Part of the EPA’s task is to educate citizens about ways in which they can save energy and resources. Each day during the month of April, the EPA has been posting a new action step on its blog. Here is a selection of previously posted tips. Click on the tip for the whys and hows.

Visit the EPA’s blog for more suggestions. You will find that these “Green” ideas will save you money, too.

Let’s all become a little Greener as we count down to Earth Day together.

Have a good weekend, and come back again soon.

Why Saturday Short Subjects? Some readers may recall  being dropped at the movie theater for the Saturday matinee — two action-packed feature films with a series of short subjects (cartoons or short movies, sometimes a serial cliffhanger) sandwiched in between. Often the short subjects were the most memorable, and enjoyable, part of the morning. That explains the name. The reason behind these particular posts is that we are all short on time. My Short Subject posts should not take me as long to write or you as long to read (or try).

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meatless Monday: A Better for You Brownie

Thanks to my cousin Angela for sharing this recipe with me a few weeks ago. I finally made a batch to share with friends and they were a big hit.

These brownies are for everyone: brownie lovers, vegans, followers of a gluten-free diet, and anyone looking for a healthier, while still tasty, treat.


Yes, that’s correct! The surprising main ingredient in this delicious dessert is a can of drained and well-rinsed black beans. The beans plus 1/2 cup of quick oats take the place of flour in this vegan-friendly, lower carb brownie recipe.


Since I was in unfamiliar territory, I followed the recipe exactly, choosing agave for the sweetener and coconut oil for the fat. I used 1/2 cup of SunSpire Fair Trade 42% Cacao Semi-Sweet Baking Chips[These delicious chips are available at the Elm City Market in New Haven. To find a store near you, enter your zip code here.] 

Check here for nutrition info provided by Katie.  The beans and oatmeal supply a significant amount of protein and fiber, something you won’t find in the typical brownie.

These brownies did not rise as high as the brownies I usually bake, and their appearance was a little nubbier. People noticed, but I followed Katie’s advice and did not share the secret ingredient until they had taken a bite. Quelle surprise!

As Katie warns, be sure to blend the ingredients well, using a food processor if you have one, and don’t skimp on the chocolate chips. 

One more thing — they are even better when topped with a small scoop of something frozen in the vanilla or coffee flavor range.

Try ’em, you'll love ’em!

Have a great week!


On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”