So let me be the first person to tell you that a) I’m not perfect and b) I made a mistake.
Many of the recipes I have shared with you guys so far have included tomatoes. My recent research has led me to realize that tomatoes are often grown in hot-houses because they are a summer fruit craved all year round (and people stopped putting up with green tomatoes “ripened” by chemicals that had no taste). Greenhouses and hothouses are different things. Greenhouses are a great way to grow your fruits and veggies using glass to trap heat in. A hothouse is a heated greenhouse. Therefore, tomatoes and other hothouse-grown produce are energy intensive. Temperature, ventilation, humidity, light, water and carbon dioxide are all kept at prime levels. This leads to delicious produce that can be eaten year-round and may even be locally grown, however, some environmental hazards come from the production of this produce.
So… the question comes down to whether you’re willing to put up with canned tomatoes (which are canned at peak season but include packaging and have lost some nutrients)… or should you buy tomatoes that have been flown from all around (since produce is always in season somewhere)… the third choice is to continue buying the locally grown tomatoes because at least they’re fresh produce (meaning they keep their nutrients) and you’ll be supporting your local economy.
Here’s what I’ve come up with: we can only do what we can. There will always be some environmental costs to our eating (and I love food too much to stop eating). That’s the price we have to pay due to overpopulation and the industrialization of our food industry. Therefore, what we can do is to continue to ask questions about where our food is coming from. Just because our meals can’t be completely “green” doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continue to try to eat in a more eco-friendly fashion… it just means that we can’t be upset if we have to buy an out of season tomato every now and then. Every little bit counts.
I’m sure that this won’t be the only time I have to apologize for making a mistake. I am not, however, going to stop using tomatoes in recipes. They are very good for you and summer is coming soon! Further, now that I realize the implications of the tomato, I will do what I can to extra “greenify” the recipes they are in.
Here are a few recipes that I love that don’t include the tomato. I hope they can hold you over until the brilliant summer months that I call tomato season.
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
- 1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin
- pumpkin pie spice
- agave nectar
- golden raisins
- coconut butter (not necessary)
So I have been feeling under the weather and have not been really stoked on eating anything. Therefore, I made one of those comfort-foods that you can eat regardless of how you feel sort of things. I microwaved the oats, pumpkin, and vanilla soy milk together for about 2 and 1/2 minutes. Then I added the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, agave, and raisins. I topped it with coconut butter (which like L says is like crack) but it was more for aesthetic beauty than for flavor. It was a great home feeling pick me up! (It is kind of a hybrid between two recipes from Whole Wheat or Bust!).
Two things about this breakfast:
- I used canned pumpkin because pumpkins are obviously not in season. If you find canned pumpkin at this time of year stock up! When I was looking for it a while ago it took me 3 different shopping trips to find it! Or, stock up when it’s in season in fall.
- I realize I’ve talked about the perils of the packaged food. I am, however, human, and as I’ve stated, you can’t be 100% green all of the time. I used organic pumpkin, and the rest of the ingredients were things that I had lying around. Just do your best.
- 2 eggs
- Any cheese you have lying around
- Any veggies you want… I used:
- Red bell pepper
- Sugar snap pea
So I used some of the leftover veggies from last nights stir-fry to make this delicious lunch omelet. I cooked them up with a little bit of olive oil and when they were done I placed the eggs into the leftover oil in the pan. I cooked the egg until it stopped being liquid on the sides before I added the cheese and veggies. Then I cooked until all of the egg was no longer liquid.
- Yay for leftover meals!
- I know what I’ve said about animal products. But again, I’m not perfect and since I don’t eat meat eggs and cheese make for good protein.
- Don’t trust anyone’s word as 100% correct. I do my fair share of research and do the best I can to help you “green” up your diet, but I make mistakes.
- Always ask questions. Most produce departments (or other departments depending on what you’re making) have a person who can answer.
- Do research! I know I’ve learned a lot and I’m having a great time doing it!
- An easy recipe to follow is to buy locally. There may be times (like with the tomato) that this may include some energy intensive process, however, more often than not this is going to be the easiest way to “green” up your produce. In times that it is not, at least you’re getting fresh produce that is normally in peak season (when all produce tastes better and includes all of its nutrients).
- Even though canned and frozen produce increase transportation and packaging, they’re still better than not eating produce. Plus, much packaging is recyclable which can help offset the eco-costs of producing this packaging.
If anyone is out there and curious about anything in particular, let me know! I’d love to hear from you! And you’re all always welcome to question my statements. Like I said, I’m not always right. I do my research but I make mistakes like anyone else.
This site will help you find local food in your area.
And… as an addition to yesterday’s post, check out this site to get your carbon foodprint (it’s a very limited version but still fun).