Happy Earth Day Everyone! Today, and Everyday, we need take the time to appreciate and respect this wonderful planet that we call home. Earth is where we live, work and play and we all must do our part to keep our home healthy for future generations. Let’s try our best to think locally and take conscious steps within your own family – such as conserve energy, recycle, try to eat sustainably.  Every little bit helps to conserve our planet and protect our nature – plants, animals and environment.

For 2019, the Earth Day Network is inviting everyone to join their campaign entitled: “Protect our Species”. We can and we must work towards protecting the world’s threatened and endangered species! Their message is that we can slow the rate of extinctions and even enable the declining, threatened and endangered species to recover by joining together globally and taking immediate action. Check out their website for more information,
Source: https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/endangered-species/earthday2019/

Let’s start within our own community! While there are many ways to respect our planet, we have some Earth Day ideas that will get you started right at home. “Lettuce” help get your whole family involved in these activities!

4 Earth-friendly Ideas for your family:

  1. Buy local food to reduce the distance from farm to table:
  2. Look for organic food to support farmers who practice organic farming that is free from toxic pesticides. Also purchase food from companies who use organic ingredients.
  3. Compost your kitchen scraps. Use your green bins so that kitchen garbage is diverted from the landfill. Or use a backyard compost bin so you can turn waste into fertilizer for use in your garden.
  4. Grow your own organic garden. If you have some space in your backyard garden, then think about growing some vegetables. Many vegetables can even be grown in containers, for example tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, peppers.

Since it is Earth Day, let’s also try to be more planet-friendly and eat food that comes primarily from plants. As we read in the new Canada’s Food Guide, we should strive to choose protein food that come from plants more often. But rather than a complete changeover to plant-based diet, we would suggest that you try to incorporate more plant-based meals into your current food plan. For example, you could try a meatless meal once a week as a way to introduce the concept to your family. We know change can be difficult so if you take small steps to introduce a variety of different options then that will be much easier for you and your family to succeed.

Here is a great list of Plant-based Protein options to get you and your family started.  Plant-based diets offer all the necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and  minerals for optimal health, and are often higher in fibre and phytonutrients. Plant-based includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean you never eat meat or dairy, but you are choosing more of your foods from plant sources.

PLANT-BASED PROTEINS *

Here is a list of plant foods that contain a high amount of protein per serving:

  1. Soybeans
  2. Lentils
  3. Chickpeas and most bean varieties
  4. Spelt and Teff
  5. Hempseed
  6. Green Peas
  7. Blue-green algae (Spirulina)
  8. Amaranth and Quinoa
  9. Ezekiel Bread and Other Breads Made From Sprouted Grains
  10. Soymilk
  11. Oats and Oatmeal
  12. Wild Rice
  13. Chia Seeds
  14. Nuts, Nut Butters and Other Seeds
  15. Protein-Rich Fruits and Vegetables

*Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-for-vegans-vegetarians#section1

In this section, we asked Karen Gilman, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, to provide valuable answers to our questions related to plant-based diet. We have also compiled a helpful Q&A below:

Q1. Within our own family, we can do our part by adopting a plant-based diet. We asked Karen to provide a few key benefits for our bodies when we switch to plant-based foods?

Karen: Plant-based foods have been linked to a number of health benefits among which is heart health. As plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, beans and legumes are rich in fibre and low in saturated fat they can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure thus reducing our risk of heart disease.  The fibre and protein in these foods is also helpful in managing blood sugar levels. This helps keep us fuller long which may help with weight management. There is also some research that supports a plant-based diet may reduce your risk of some cancers.

Q2. Many people are concerned that they will not get all the protein and nutrients they need by eating plant-based. What types of plant-based foods do you recommend to get the most nutritional benefits?

Karen: One of the biggest concerns about plant-based diets is that it will be difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs. And most specifically there is a concern about protein. It is possible to get these nutrients when you follow a plant-based diet as long as you are eating a variety of foods.  And fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes all have protein!  However, there are a few nutrients like Vitamin D and B12 that are more difficult to get on a plant-based diet. You should make sure to discuss your dietary preferences with your healthcare provider so they can advise whether or not you should consider taking any supplements.

Additional info: If you are looking to add more plant-based proteins, but aren’t quite sure how, Karen offers a free Healthy Veg Call so book some time to talk to her today! Telephone: 416-949-0164

Contact Karen Gilman, Registered Holistic Nutritionist TM

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