Posts tagged tea

The Law of Unintended Consequences

I’ll admit it: when I got the book reviewed last week, Skinny Bitch, I had no real intention of becoming vegan (well, no more than usual, anyway), I simply wanted to learn more about healthy food choices and eating a plant-based diet. Vegan diets are good for the whole planet? I had no idea. But now, one week later, I’m slower than your Great Granny at the grocery store, reading all the labels, trying to remember whether ingredients were on the Good or Evil list. The other day, I ate soy yogurt, for pete’s sake! True, when I read Fast Food Nation a few years back, it inspired a similar quest to eliminate fast food from my life, but I’m not usually one to just jump wholeheartedly on a bandwagon. What’s going on?

Ingredient List

The book recommends not going cold turkey if you’re used to a carnivorous diet, but being kind of an accidental semi-vegetarian most of my life (my parents never could figure out why I preferred asparagus to ice cream at ten), I figured I was close enough to try. Rather than set up for failure, I simply aimed to reduce as much as possible with each individual food choice, and keep a food journal to track progress. One week in, it’s been pretty enlightening.

From the first day, I could feel a difference. I stuck vegan that day, but already I could tell it wouldn’t be cold turkey for me. Oh no, I’m still thoroughly hooked on milk products. The next day, I allowed myself cheese on top of pasta, and ate some peanut M&Ms after dinner. Okay, opiates, refined sugars, and artificial colors. Could be worse. Day three must have been, like the book predicted, when my body started to digest itself, which although it sounds awful, they promised was a good thing, once you expel all the toxins and stop feeling like crap. Which I definitely did on and off all day. Already, I could feel the direct effect of putting butter on my wheat toast in the morning, and of eating a bean and cheese burrito from Del Taco. Buouyed by the book’s promise, I stuck it out and promised myself I’d stop eating so much junk. Yesterday, I was back on my feet, and feeling good. Tried soy yogurt, in a moment of particular devotion. Ummm… not going to make the regular shopping list yet. But almond and rice milks will, for sure. Suddenly, I understand why everyone at Whole Foods looks so great. Ralph’s (Safeway) is definitely NOT vegan friendly. To be honest, it’s no less expensive either.

Strangely, the first thing I’ve noticed about this “food vision quest” I’m on is that my skin brightened up immediately, and has been getting softer by the day. Not bad for an added bonus! Those little enzymes must be hard at work putting things back together again. Also, in an effort to stop drinking so much soda and caffeine, I’ve been exploring the world of teas. I discovered Tulsi Ginger Tea (caffeine free) from Organic India, and it’s love at first sight. It reminds me of Celestial seasonings Tension Tamer tea, minty and rejuvenating. And the literature included listed so many health benefits of Tulsi (“Holy Basil”) that I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of it before, especially since it said it had been revered in India for darn near 5000 years!

Tulsi (Holy Basil) Tea

So there you have it. Though this blog is about getting off the grid, I realized how much better for the planet and for my local community it would be to eat locally produced vegan foods. In the end, the foods you eat DO have a huge impact on the footprint you leave. I wasn’t planning on cleansing, or making a definitive vegetarian choice this week, but Skinny Bitch’s arrival nudged me (with a cattle prod) to get started if I ever wanted to stop being a half-assed foodie hypocrite. So I am. And me, my glowing complexion, and my newfound tea are loving every minute of it. You can do it, too. Read Skinny Bitch to find out how forgoing animal products will save you and the environment and help avert the global food and energy crises. If you haven’t read it already, read Fast Food Nation. That should put you over the edge, for sure! Or pick a hard-hitting book on some other topic and scare yourself into making that change you’ve been toying with. After all, in our entropic world, building your spirit will require you to actively participate, and there’s no time like the present to start. In fact, that’s the only time you’ll ever start anything. So do it now!

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Hope You’re Thirsty!

Water, water everywhere! As you already know, water, the fresh, drinkable kind, is an increasingly scarce resource these days. Which is why you take short showers, water gardens at non-peak sun hours, and put off washing your car every week (at least it’s a great excuse!). But did you know that every 8 oz. cup of joe you slurp down in the morning uses 140 liters of water? Or that every cup of tea uses 35 liters? Better hope you’re thirsty!

Cuppa Joe

You see, the real water use of a product includes not only the eight ounces of H2O that you put into the coffee maker, but also the water used in the growth and processing of the plant that becomes your morning wake-up potion. Even if you make a habit of conserving water directly, your buying habits can make a HUGE difference in the amount of actual water your lifestyle consumes. To find out more about your REAL water consumption, visit www.waterfootprint.org and use their handy water calculator to determine whether that weekly BigMac is using more than it’s fair share of your budget (trust me, it is: 1 lb of beef requires a staggering 8,000 liters of water to produce!).

While you’re there, check out the data on the nations of the world and how they score on their water footprints. Compare the nations’ abilities to limit their consumption to domestic supplies. You’ll probably be surprised.

So next time you’re at the market, consider buying more foods that have a minimal water footprint, rather than water-heavy meats and processed foods. And if you need a jolt in the morning, try tea instead of coffee, or even better, an alternative combination like fresh fruit and a morning walk. After all, with so many of the world’s population literally running out of potable water to drink, it’s one of the most effective ways you can help to share the wealth.

As a parting shot, take a look at this booklet, produced by the World Wildlife Fund, concerning agriculture and the environmental devastation caused by “thirsty crops”.

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