Video: Demystifying Produce at an Asian Market

I love shopping at Asian markets because you can find so many cool different kinds of vegetables, starches, and fruits. But even for me being Filipino, I can find Asian markets intimidating or confusing because there is SO much selection there. I find it mind boggling how many varieties of bok choy there are which is awesome because bok choy is one of my favorite greens.

As another example, have you heard of Banana blossom? There is something inside the plant that is like hunting for Saffron. The leaves are also wonderful for use in salads.

This is a really good video with Chef Mike of Green Vegetarian Cuisine taking us on a tour of an Asian market where the owner of the market describes many of the fresh foods you’ll see and what kind of dishes each is traditionally used in or can be used in. For example, she’s made empanadas using Ube, a purple yam used in traditional Filipino dishes. Now I want to make Ube dessert empanadas.

One of my favorite points that Vanessa, the co-owner, makes is that Asian cuisine is loaded with greens for health because taking pills for health issues is not a big thing in Asia. So true! Better to eat from the Farmacy to prevent the need for visits to the Pharmacy for food related health issues.

So, load up on the greens because it’s better for your health and the planet!

Video: Paul Hawken of Project Drawdown Speaks at UC Berkeley On Food and Climate

If you haven’t heard of Project Drawdown, you must go check it out because it is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. A diverse group of researchers from around the world came together to identify, research, and model the 100 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change.

Paul Hawken was the leader of Project Drawdown and he was a guest speaker at the March 7 session of the Edible Education 101 class at UC Berkeley to talk about Food and Climate. Jump in at the 12:45 minute mark for Paul’s intro.

Of particular interest here at The Flexi 21 is that in the Project Drawdown list the #4 out of 100 most impactful things we all can do to help stop climate change is to eat a plant-rich diet. From their summary:

“If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

According to a 2016 study, business-as-usual emissions could be reduced by as much as 70 percent through adopting a vegan diet and 63 percent for a vegetarian diet, which includes cheese, milk, and eggs.”

It’s pretty amazing to see just how much the Western meat-centric diet impacts climate change. Also of interest included in the Drawdown plant-rich diet summary:

  • $1 trillion in annual health-care costs and lost productivity would be saved.
  • Ending price-distorting government subsidies benefiting the U.S. livestock industry would more accurately reflect the true cost and prices of animal protein.

If you want to geek out, Project Drawdown also includes a technical summary of how they came to their conclusions.

The biggest thing I agreed with Paul in his talk was that the reason he thinks there isn’t more traction and momentum around climate change from consumers is that the overall messages used in the climate change narrative utilizes negative language, and imagery that most people cannot comprehend.

Exactly. The climate change story is centered around too much geekery. The talk is mostly about the gases  Carbon, Methane, and Nitrogen Oxide which you cannot see and starts sounding more like we’re back in science class.

Also using the 2 degrees Celsius danger marker works mostly on people who fear future existential threats. Realistically, most people behave according to the now, their immediate needs, and are less concerned about the future or next generations. Sadly IMHO.

The climate change story should focus more on addressing current human needs, and the narrative needs to be more about things that humans can actually relate to like drought, hurricanes, pollution, and resource depletion. Things that can be seen, touched, and felt.

I also agree that we have to change the climate change narrative to one that is more empowering and based on love than fear. What that story is, I have no idea, but I’m happy to help join in the discussion. Project Drawdown is great because it’s a simple list of easily understood action items.

Video: Highlights of the 2018 Sacramento Vegfest

I went to the Sacramento 2018 Vegfest and it was a fun event! I’m trying to go to more vegan and veg events this year so I can meet new plant-eating friends and discover new foods. Sacramento is not known to be a huge veg town so it’s great to see that in its third year, the crowds were pretty big for something like Vegfest.

I thought it was particularly wonderful to see so many families and kids. In fact, there was a whole area just for kids to play games and learn more about vegan living.

Some of my favorite vegan foods had a booth there like Cultured Kitchen who makes a vegan butter called “Better Buttah.” There Garlic Chive buttah is so good and makes an amazing garlic bread!

Jada Spices who makes a vegan Chicken seasoning salt in various flavors that has a remarkable chicken-like flavoring. The salt is great for the flexitarians who are transitioning away from meat yet still want some meat tastes.

There was also a vegan Ethiopian food booth, and I wanted to get a plate but the line was so long the whole time I was there.  You’ll see their food in the video. The line for vegan Soul Food was three times as long. Wow!

It’s exciting to see people here in Sacramento lining up for delicious vegan food.

Product Review: The Impossible Burger. The Plant-based Burger That Will Get You To Think Twice About Beef

The geek in me is one of those early adopters who likes to be one of the first to try something new and innovative. When I first heard about the Impossible Burger, I seriously could not wait to try it more because I was intrigued by the way the texture of the burger looked from the photos. The patty looked like ground beef to me.

I was quickly sold on the premise, “High on taste. Low on impact.” Here is a burger that has 1/8 the carbon footprint and tastes like beef. From a marketing perspective, brilliant!

I first tried the Impossible Burger at Cockscomb in SF. Their Impossible burger comes with lettuce, dijon, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and bread & butter pickles. I didn’t get the cheese because I’m allergic to dairy. Here is a video I did at Cockscomb where you can see the burger and my final opinion on whether the Impossible Burger lives up to the hype.

Spoiler alert. OMG! Is this thing for real? It’s making me see the world differently already.

 

What’s mind blowing about the Impossible Burger is that this isn’t your dad’s veggie burger. If you closed your eyes and took a bite, you’d think it was a regular beef burger. It’s like Impossible re-imagined ground beef using plants instead of cows. It’s like if Mother Nature said okay if we could go back in time and create beef again, we could do it like this. No sentient beings need to be killed. No factory farms required.

The Impossible Burger is a great example of Clean Proteins, protein sources that are akin to Clean Energy. Clean Proteins are proteins that are produced with low carbon and low eco footprints. It’s all about low impact to help stop climate change, further environmental damage, and more threats to human health caused by industrial animal agriculture while having a delicious time doing it.

One thing that surprised me was how good this burger is without ketchup. Sorry, not sorry, but I’m one of those people who puts ketchup on everything. Can’t help it. I LOVE my ketchup! The way the Cockscomb burger is prepared is actually better without ketchup. Never thought I’d say that about a burger.

My only criticism of the Impossible Burger is that it’s primarily being served at high-end restaurants where the going price is averaging almost $20…a burger. At Cockscomb, it was $19 without fries.

But, I get why Impossible is starting with the high-end to make it an aspirational want. It’s a great approach to make plant-based eating cool and desirable. Umami Burger partnered with Jaden Smith for a special Impossible slider trio to help raise donations for Hurricane Relief Efforts.

Fortunately, the Impossible Burger is starting to come down in price because they have opened a new manufacturing facility here in the Bay Area which can crank out 1 million pounds of plant-based meat per month at full capacity, which can supply about 1,000 restaurants.

At Gott’s Roadside, they are selling an Impossible Cheeseburger for $12.99 without fries. Their burger is served with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles & secret sauce on a toasted egg bun. Sadly though, at least to me because I like bread, to make it vegan you have to nix the cheese and order the burger with a lettuce wrap so it ends up looking like the In N’ Out “Protein Style” burger. All of Gott’s buns including their gluten-free bun is made with egg.

Here is the Impossible Burger at Gott’s without cheese. I already knew about the Gott’s egg buns beforehand so I brang a vegan hamburger bun and swapped it after taking the photos so I could eat it. The first photo in the post cover image is the same Gott’s Impossible Burger.

Again, SO GOOD! The patty is a little slimmer than the one at Cockscomb but it’s just as good and meaty. You can see in this closer up photo that the texture of the Impossible Burger looks like ground beef. Gott’s also features Sir Kensington’s Spicy Brown mustard which is amazing!

Here is the FAQs about the Impossible Burger which includes the nutritional information and a locator so you can find out if the Impossible Burger is being offered at a restaurant near you. Impossible does not have any retails sales yet so you cannot buy it at a grocery currently. When that happens, I’ll be one of the first people at the grocery store because I want to make some Impossible spaghetti sauce and sloppy joes.

Have you tried the Impossible Burger? What did you think of it?

 

Polar Bears Are The Metaphoric Canary In The Coal Mine For Climate Change. This Dying Polar Bear Is A Warning

Straight up, this is a painful video to watch, and it made me cry in a heartbreaking way. I am posting this video and story because we need to get as many people as we can to see this footage. This is the canary in the coal mine for climate change.

 

I cannot imagine what wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen was feeling watching this polar bear suffer and die in real time. He explains in this National Geographic article, “Heart-Wrenching Video Shows Starving Polar Bear on Iceless Land,” why he didn’t attempt to feed or put the polar bear out of its misery and you’ll get it. Please read the whole piece because it has a good deal of useful information and insight.

Although devastating, I am glad Paul shot this video. This polar bear did not die in vain, and his death can serve as a powerful message for humanity. He says:

“When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death,” said Nicklen. “This is what a starving bear looks like.”

This is the reality of how climate change is currently impacting the planet, and how it will eventually impact the daily lives of us human beings when it gets to the point where we can no longer grow food or get fresh water because of climate change compiled with a global population that is expected to hit 10 billion people basically adding another China and India amount of humans by 2050 which is only 32 years away.

It is not being overly dramatic saying that we are running out of time because it is the truth. We must take action now to stop our devastating contributions to climate change despite having an irresponsible POTUS that pulled our country out of the Paris Agreement.

This polar bear is our warning sign from Mother Nature.

COP23: The Role of Livestock Reduction in Meeting Climate Targets And Other Related Animal Ag Events

At this year’s United Nations COP23 event in Bonn, Germany, there was an official side event called “Reducing Livestock’s Long Shadow.” The event was sponsored by ProVeg International and Green Course.

This event was the only official side event at COP23 about animal agriculture and climate change. This topic should be a main COP event because industrial animal agriculture impacts climate change more than the entire transportation sector according to the UN FAO.

But hey, let’s find ways to make industrial animal agriculture’s impact on climate change a bigger topic globally so that next year at COP24, this topic does get a main event.

Thankfully, the “Reducing Livestock’s Long Shadow” event was recorded and it’s on YouTube. The video includes the talks from the panel members and audience discussion. The panel was excellent and there was so much great information not only on current data but also on possible action items.

 

The panel speakers included:

*******

Besides this “Reducing Livestock’s Long Shadow” event, Brighter Green wrote up this great blog post of other food and climate change related events.

Less Meat Less Heat did this great re-cap post with photos of their launch of Put Climate on Pause Coalition that proposes the adoption of a two-valued reporting standard for Global Warming Potential (GWP), that includes both 20- and 100-year timescales to give a broader view of the impacts of SLCPs (short-lived climate pollutants), including methane and nitrous oxide from agriculture.

When methane and nitrous oxide are included in the short-term 20 year picture, the impact of industrial animal agriculture on climate change bumps significantly because the leading cause of both gases are from guess what? Yeah. Methane has 86 times the warming potential of CO2 over 20 years (GWP20) versus 34 times over 100 years. (GWP100).

I wrote about how Methane is worse than you think in this post, “10 Staggering Facts: How Massive The Industrial Animal Agriculture Problem Actually Is.”

And lastly, I want to give a shout out to these activists from ASEED Europe who led a protest of the Livestock Industry’s lobbying at COP23. Bravo!

If You Need Help Choosing a Turkey Meat Alternative

If you are doing your first plant-based Thanksgiving, let’s give you a standing round of applauds! *cheers*

Here is a good video if you decided to go with a turkey meat alternative but have no idea which brand to get because hello there are too many choices. Yay! There was a time when Tofurkey was it. Thankfully, you now have many choices and the turkey-less meats are getting better.

 

The top brands are Tofurkey, Field Roast, and Gardein. Not in the video, Trader Joe’s also has a Turkey-less roast with gravy. Enjoy!

Movie: Cowspiracy The Sustainability Secret

The movie An Inconvenient Truth inspired many people to start taking personal action to help stop climate change. The movie that really motivated me to start taking personal action on climate change was Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret because this film really opened my eyes to not only how much animal agriculture was impacting climate change but how environmental groups were barely talking about animal Ag at all.

In fact, in An Inconvenient Truth the topic of animal agriculture’s impact on climate change is not even mentioned.

The movie Cowspiracy not only motivated me to start cutting down on my meat and dairy consumption, I’m 90% plant-based now, but the film galvanized me to become an activist to help educate more people about Animal Ag’s impact on climate change and help get them to take action not only economically by our food choices but also socially and politically to help influence our politicians to create better legislation and protections around food’s impact on climate change.

Here is the trailer for Cowspiracy:

 

You can watch Cowspiracy on Netflix, or purchase an online stream yours forever for $4.95 from the filmmakers themselves at Cowspiracy.com so they get all the profit.

TAKE ACTION:

The folks at Cowspiracy have their own 30-day Cowspiracy Vegan challenge. It’s a challenge one you can easily do also using resources from The Flexi 21 like our plant-based recipes and meal ideas along with product reviews of plant-based food products.

BONUS CLIP:

Cowspiracy hosted their first conference called COW-CON in Berkeley, CA in 2016. It was a great event! I learned so much more.

One of the best speakers at COW-CON was former factory farm rancher now animal activist and vegan advocate Howard Lyman who was one of the best and funniest speakers at COW-CON.

Howard is featured in Cowspiracy as well as the film Meat The Truth that we’ve also recommended watching. Here’s Howard’s CowCon talk.

Movie: Meat The Truth

Filmed in 2008, but still very relevant today, Meat The Truth is presented in a long version like TED Talk by Dutch MP Marianne Thieme, the leader of the Party for the Animals which became the world’s first party to gain parliamentary seats with an agenda focused primarily on animal rights. The party hold seats in the Dutch parliamentary and the European Parliament.

Meat the Truth is a great introduction to animal agriculture’s impact on climate change and the environment particularly of livestock factory farming which creates more worldwide greenhouse gas emissions than that of all transportation combined – cars, trains, boats and planes combined.

 

Movie: Food Inc.

Food Inc came out in 2009 but still to this day is one of the best films about the business side of our food system. You will get an eye opening picture of how farms, Big Food, Big Ag, special interests groups, and our government actually work within our food system…and it is not in the best interest of the higher good of people, animal, or planet.

Food Inc. came out almost a decade ago and what is frightening is that not much in our food system has changed. In fact, some of the issues raised in Food Inc have gotten worse particularly the influence of special interest money on politics.

After watching Food Inc in 2010, I stopped eating chicken.

You can watch the movie on Netflix is you have an account, or you can watch for free at Documentary Movie.com. Also, you can watch Food Inc on PBS.org if you have Passport membership.

TAKE ACTION:

To learn more about the food industry facts revealed in the film, visit TakePart’s gallery 18 ‘Food, Inc.‘ Facts Everyone Should Know.

There is an official “Food Inc Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It,” available at Amazon* in paperback or Kindle which answers questions brought up in the film in more depth through essays by leading experts and thinkers. This book will encourage those inspired by the film to learn more about the issues, and act to change the world.

Here is the trailer:

 

*There is an Amazon affiliate link attached to the hyperlink. Through your purchase, we get a small percentage to help fund The Flexi 21 work. Thank you!

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