Live Well
November 2018

Using Your Power to Prevent Climate Change

At the beginning of October, a report by a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report on climate change. You can read the whole report here. The conclusions of the report are that climate change is happening faster than we had thought. A New York Times article notes that, “The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty.”

While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with this information, it’s also important to remember that there are simple steps we can take to help mitigate some of the effects of climate change:

  • Eat less meat, poultry and dairy products and, if you do eat meat, poultry and dairy products, try to find grass-fed or pasture-raised sources. According to an article in the New York Times, “Worldwide, livestock accounts for between 14.5 percent and 18 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.” (Source: www.nytimes.com/2018/01/25/climate/cows-global-warming.html). Eating a plant-rich diet can have a significant impact on reducing global carbon and methane emissions.
  • Eat grains other than rice. According to research done by Project Drawdown, a coalition of scientists and researchers dedicated to identifying, measure and model different solutions to climate change, current methods of rice cultivation are responsible for roughly 10% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, and 9%-19% of global methane emissions (Source: Drawdown: the Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken). Switching to grains such as barley, farro or quinoa can start to reduce the effects of rice production.
  • Shop local. Buying food locally and in season minimizes the carbon emissions that occur when food is transported across the globe. It also helps support small farms and farmers.
  • Compost your food waste. Composting nourishes the soil and a well-nourished soil helps sequester carbon. Or, better yet, minimize as much food waste as possible. According to Project Drawdown, “The food we waste contributes 4.4 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere each year…”

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Worthwhile

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
on Netflix

If you, like me, are a fan of Chef’s Table, I highly recommend this four-part series by Samin Nosrat. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a documentary based on Nosrat’s book by the same name. Part cooking and part travel show, the documentary is a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. Nosrat takes us to four different countries to show us how the four basic elements are used in that cuisine.

In the first episode, Nosrat travels to Italy, where she demonstrates how fat – which she considers to provide the essential flavor of a dish – is used in different ways and different dishes. In the second episode, she travels to Japan to explore how salt – which enhances a food’s flavor – is used in a variety of foods. She then travels to the Yucatan, in Mexico, to show how acid is used in the cuisine to balance the flavor of a dish, and adds brightness to a dish. The last episode takes place in California, where Nosrat teaches us about heat, which she calls “the element of transformation.” If you get hungry watching the documentary, you can always refer to the recipes in the book!

Good food is a function of salt, fat, acid and heat and how these interact with ingredients to bring out their flavors. These four elements create dishes that are so much more than the sum of their parts!

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Articles

Articles of Interest:

  • How can we expect children to be productive in school if we are not feeding them healthy foods? Food is as critical to a child’s brain as it is to his or her body. READ WHY HERE
  • It’s a sad state of affairs when the government values money more than children’s health. READ ARTICLES HERE and HERE
  • A very interesting article on the link between the rise of obesity and the farm bill (which still hasn’t passed). READ ARTICLE
  • As Michael Pollan said, “Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.” READ ARTICLE