Curried Vegetables and Rice (Vegan)

Curried Vegetables and Rice (Vegan)

Ingredients
75 – 100g Yellow curry paste
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 can regular coconut milk
3 – 4 cups of water
2 large potatoes
1 ½ large carrots
3/4 large sweet onion
¼ head of cauliflower
2 cups loose leaf baby spinach
——————–
2 – 3 cups of rice
4 – 6 cups of water

 

Directions
— Rice —
1. Measure out rice and water into pan (generally a ratio of 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice).
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Cover and turn down heat to lowest or near lowest setting.
4. Let cook 20 minutes.
5. Turn off heat, fluff rice, and check rice for doneness (it should be). Recover until ready to use.

— Curried Vegetables —
While rice is cooking:
1. Measure out curry paste into heavy pan
2. Add vegetable oil
3. Stir fry on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes
4. Add 3 cups water
5. Add 1 can coconut milk
6. Wisk and bring to a boil, then let simmer
7. Cut up potatoes, carrots, onion, and cauliflower into small bite size chunks.
8. Add vegetables to curry
9. Add spinach to curry
10. Simmer until vegetables are cooked, adding additional water as needed.
11. When finished place rice and curried vegetables into bowls and serve.

*** For non-vegan, add approx. 2 chicken breasts or other meat that is cut into bite size chunks.

Water – The Most Taken For Granted Resource

In case you did not know it, March 22, 2018 was World Water Awareness Day. We all know that water is essential for life on earth. We are also very unaware that drinkable/potable water has become a limited resource. There are many reasons for this, most of them born out of neglect and a lack of appreciation for just how fragile our potable water supply really is.

In the past, when there were few people on this earth, the issue of locating good water was pretty much a non-issue — unless you lived in arid land. We easily found water in streams and rivers that originated from rain falling on higher elevations, which in turn originated from evaporation from oceans and transpiration from vegetation, including plants and forests. The water then flowed from the upper elevations to the oceans or it filtered through the ground slowly into underground aquifers.

As time has passed, human population increased. The water problems we started experiencing have not been that more water is being consumed per se, rather the problems began to stem from our populations polluting good water sources, cutting down vegetation and forests, and siphoning tremendous amounts of water from the underground aquifers. A large population in an urban area has its share of issues acquiring water for the  populous but we know how to creatively solve those issues.  If however, there is no water to be had because we ruined the source or the natural Terran water production systems, then it will not matter how ingenious we are  — there simply will be no water available.

This has become the case. We have contaminated and destroyed our water sources. Thus, we are running out of potable water and we have run out of time.

The multiplicity and amount of human pollution is a big, big problem when it comes to water sources. Quite frankly, we have been careless and reckless. Businesses have been allowed to discharge deadly chemicals and radiation into our flowing sources. Poisons from industries of all kinds have leeched into our aquifers (US EPA, 2017c).  Contamination fills our oceans — in particular plastic contamination (Kahn, 2018). Countless warnings not to eat any fish or animals from, or swim in many lakes across the United States (and elsewhere in the world), including the Great Lakes have been issued (Gandhi, et al., 2016). And industry is still being allowed to continue to pollute. Numerous restrictions and regulations on pollution or the industrial precursors to pollution have been loosened  in the last year (Popovich, Albeck-Ripka, & Pierre-Louis, 2018).

Past farming practices and more recently corporate farming practices have loosened pollutants into our water sources (US EPA, 2017a; Food Empowerment Project. 2017). Past and present farming is also sucking dry any available water for irrigation from where it rests below the ground (California Water Science Center, 2017; Eller, 2014; Halverson,  2015). Enormous stretches of land are being cleared of forests so that farming can continue on fresh land  — this eliminates vegetative transpiration from the hydrological cycle  (University of Illinois, 2010).

Plastic in the water.

Rivers, lakes, streams, and the ocean are filling up with discarded plastic (Kahn, 2018). This may not seem like the biggest problem we are facing but that is an illusion. This is indeed a problem that lies in wait like an extremely venomous snake about to strike. Aside from animals (including fish) being trapped, strangled, and suffocated by plastic it holds an even more insidious, evil threat to humans.

Plastic not only exudes dangerous toxins (NIEHS, 2010), used in its creation, it also easily absorbs and accumulates major toxins. In particular, plastic sucks and builds up toxic levels of endocrine disruptors,  DDT, modern pesticides, and other pollutants (US EPA, 2017b) together referred to as persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBTs) chemicals or substances. The plastic then degrades into tiny particles and these particles are eaten by fish and other small creatures. The animals eating the particles absorb the toxins from the plastic and the animals subsequently build up toxic levels of the chemicals in their bodies. The smaller animals are eaten by bigger animals who continuously absorb the smaller animals’ toxins, then these animals are eaten by bigger animals, and so on until we as humans eat the larger contaminated animals.

Over time we build up enough of the toxins to start causing chaos to our systems. In particular, we (and other animals) are experiencing low sperm counts, infertility, less desire to procreate, breast growth in males, and many, many other complications (Patisaul & Adewale, 2009;  Diamanti-Kandarakis, et al. , 2009).

We are absorbing toxic levels of contaminants and it will not stop until we die or until we find a way to break this toxic plastic chain of events and stop allowing toxic chemicals into the environment.

What Shall We Do?

Watch here for future articles on how together, we can not only stop these problems in their tracks but reverse them through sustainable methods, and create a world that has a continuous and plentiful supply of clean water for everyone on this earth.

 

References

California Water Science Center. (2017). Land Subsidence: Cause & Effect. U.S. Department of the Interior: U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://ca.water.usgs.gov/land_subsidence/california-subsidence-cause-effect.html

Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Bourguignon J-P, Giudice LC, et al. (2009). Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement. Endocrine Reviews. 2009;30(4):293-342. doi:10.1210/er.2009-0002. Retrieved on March 22 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2726844/

Eller, D. (2014). Growing water use threatens to strain Jordan aquifer. Des Moines Register. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2014/11/15/water-use-jordan-aquifer-restrictions/19040407/

Food Empowerment Project. (2017). Factory Farm Pollution: Pollution (Water, Air, Chemicals). Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from http://www.foodispower.org/pollution-water-air-chemicals/

Gandhi, N., Drouillard, K.G., Arhonditsis, G.B., Gewurtz,S.B., and Bhavsar, S.P. (2016). Are Fish Consumption Advisories for the Great Lakes Adequately Protective from Chemical Mixture? National Institute of Environmental Health Services. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/advpub/2016/10/EHP104.acco.pdf

Halverson, N. (2015). California Is Literally Sinking Into the Ground.  Mother Jones. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/06/california-sinking-drought-ground-water/

Kahn, A. (Mar 22, 2018). The Great Pacific Garbage Patch counts 1.8 trillion pieces of trash, mostly plastic. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-garbage-patch-plastic-20180322-story.html

Kirkpatrick, N. (2015). Devastating photos of the world’s most endangered forests. The Washington Post. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/09/04/more-trees-but-the-same-problems-these-forests-are-the-most-at-risk/?utm_term=.0593debb01c4

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2010). Endocrine Disruptors. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/endocrine_disruptors_508.pdf

Patisaul, H.B. & Adewale, H.B. (2009). Long-Term Effects of Environmental Endocrine Disruptors on Reproductive Physiology and Behavior. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2706654/

Popovich, N., Albeck-Ripka, L., & Pierre-Louis, K. (Jan 31, 2018). 67 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump. The New York Times. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/05/climate/trump-environment-rules-reversed.html

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2017a). Nutrient Pollution. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/sources-and-solutions-agriculture

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2017b). Toxicological Threats of Plastic. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://www.epa.gov/trash-free-waters/toxicological-threats-plastic

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2017c). Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis. Retrieved on March 22, 2018 from https://www.epa.gov/trinationalanalysis

University of Illinois. (2010). A Summary of the Hydrologic Cycle. Retrieved on March 22, from http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/guides/mtr/hyd/smry.rxml

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Part 1: Reduce

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

This phrase has become one of the mantras of the coming age of sustainability. This subset of the sustainable philosophy is being taught in schools, is embraced and promoted by governments, and is being enacted by non-profits and for-profits alike.

Reduce.

This goes against nearly everything our modern consumer-based businesses stand for. Advertisers and product manufactures would have you believe that all things have a limited lifespan — the shorter the better. Said another way, they would like you to believe all items always need replacing at some point in the future — better sooner than later.

Food containers are marked with “Best buy” dates that have no bearing on whether the food is still  nutritious. Furniture is made easily breakable and crumbly from pressed board rather than wood or other more sturdy material. Society has been conditioned to think school children and adults need new, designer items that always go out of fashion rapidly.

Advertisers prey on everyone,  insisting that you always “need” something they have and that it will provide you with “love”, “happiness”, “reputation”, and/or “bliss”. Grocery stores have small shopping carts for children with flags mounted on the front that say “future shopper” (aka consumer). The list goes on and on, all in the name of profit.

Consumerism is actually a very bad practice because it teaches society to use resources and then throw them away as soon as possible. Often the “garbage” ends up in growing land fills, out car windows, and much finding its way to our waterways and oceans.

 

If we want reduction to be successful, the question we must all begin to ask ourselves is “Do I need it or do I want it”. Advertisers, stores, and manufacturers spend fortunes devising ways to make you think you “need” something when in reality it is just a “want” in disguise. Children and young adults are very susceptible to this psychological manipulation and it can continue to affect our mental outlook for most of our lives — unless we begin to see through the advertisement fog.

To break through this marketplace conditioning we need to begin to think in the following manner: “Is it food, shelter, clothing, or direct social contact?” These are the human “needs”, the rest are wants. Lets refine this list and remove the brainwashing advertisers have instilled upon us.

 

Food – “Does the item I am considering supply the nutritional value I need to physically survive?” We certainly do not need refined sugar or corn syrup. Unfortunately a large share of modern consumer food usually has one of these. Generally we do not need added sugar in our food. A sweetener can always be added during consumption if desired.

We do not “need” soda pop or chips to live. We do not “need” fast food. We just need basic, reasonably nutritious food to live and there are many ways to get it without caving in to the modern “want-needs”.

Nutritional knowledge and cooking skills are important. Our society as a whole is rapidly loosing this knowledge and these skills. They should be taught in ALL schools, to ALL students.

 

Shelter – Frankly, all you need is a good tent. The Native Americans have known this for eons. Soldiers know it. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts know it (or they ought to). Anything beyond this is more of a “want”, but . . .

If we want to be practical and compromise a little with “modern” thinking, then lets ask the right questions. “How big of a house do we need and what do we really need in the house?” Housing should be just enough to be sufficient to protect us from the elements and to make life relatively safe and comfortable. We DO NOT need big new houses all the time, despite what the marketers and realtors say (they make pretty good money you know selling you big new houses).

The point is, we really need to think through our shelter purchases and try to devise a way to be modestly comfortable. In addition, we really should try to have our accommodations help us be more in touch with nature and the Earth. Modern housing has isolated us from nature – and that is part of the problem we are now facing. Because we have isolated ourselves from nature we do not easily see the damage we are doing to our only real home, Earth.

 

Clothing – “How often do we REALLY need new clothes?” The simplest, honest answer is “When they wear out”. The purpose of clothing is to protect us from the elements. Anything else is “bling” or show, not need.

To me, worn out means they no longer serve their purpose. If my jeans have holes they can be patched. Or, I can go to Goodwill or a reuse store and find more. I have not had “new” clothes in decades because there is “no need”. Once in a while I do need a crisper pair of reasonably clean business clothes, only because that is the modern business paradigm, but I do not “need” to replace them too frequently. Most of the time my older business clothes become my around the house clothes.

When it comes right down to it, unless we have growing children we really do not “need” replacement clothes very often. And, when it come to children’s clothes, there is absolutely nothing wrong with hand-me downs, used clothing, or garage sales. Used clothes worked just fine for my growing years — they served their intended purpose – protecting me from the elements.

Anything else would have been to satisfy “want”. Most often that “want” was insidiously pushed into our youth culture by advertisers. Children should learn the value of what they already have and the difference between “want” and “need”. It is our duty to teach them this so that we protect them from manipulation and help provide them with a sustainable future.

 

Direct Social Contact – This is included because it is a human “need”. We all need direct social contact with others. People who become isolated from direct social contact by at least one person (and preferably more) for long lengths of time often become highly neurotic and phobic. Look at what happens to people in situations where they become “shut-ins” in their homes. This often happens to elder widows or widowers who do not have other family relationships.

We need direct social contact but it does not need to cost us. If we would walk more in our neighborhoods and talk with neighbors, sit out on our porches or front steps more and talk with neighbors, or go out and engage in groups with common interests more  we would have this need satisfied.

There is no need to gather in shopping malls, that is again the marketers “brainwashing” coming into play and we fall right into the trap, especially the youth.  Hobby groups are good and do not need to cost a lot of money. We can gather together to help a a neighbor accomplish a task and have a pot-luck dinner.

There are thousands of ideas. Do things that combine getting back in touch with nature and socializing. Group or community gardens. Help a neighbor start a garden. There is so much more we can do.

One last note: Gaming is not socializing. As a matter of fact it has been proven to be socially destructive most of the time based on modern “war” type games and it has also been proven to potentially become a real addiction. Addiction is not helpful in promoting a sustainable future.

 

Resolution –  The key to all of this is to become active. Commit to learning and doing. Break the marketer molds we have been cast into. Know the difference between a “need” and a “want”. And, know what your needs really are. Knowledge is the key and the power that can help all of us – together – to make this world a much better place for those that follow in our footsteps.

Easy, Healthy, All Vegan Lunch

This salad – (All Organic, Totally Vegan) Spinach, Romaine Lettuce, Alfalfa sprouts, Bean sprouts, Portabella mushrooms, Red (green) pepper, Yellow (green) pepper, Green pepper, Carrot, Purple cabbage, Celery, Broccoli, and Cauliflower. Dressing – Infused Olive oil, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with mother).

Served with Easy Vegan Cornbread topped with local honey. Include a hand-full of peanuts (not shown) or other legume on the side to add the additional type of protein needed since the sprouts might not have enough.)

The organic vegetables were actually quite cheap because we have a store in town that deals in only organic foods and produce. It is well supported by the town folk. Would your town support an organic food store? If not, why not? Once we know the why not – locally, we can begin to form better solutions – locally, to help our people have more nutritious and healthy foods 

Is this on your local school lunch menus? If not, why not? Not all salads are alike – If your school has a salad what is in it? Iceberg lettuce and some off-the-store-shelf dressing with bad oils and high-fructose corn syrup does not a healthy meal make. Don’t be shy. Call your school and inquire about what they are feeding your children. Don’t let them slide – make sure they specify. Perhaps a visit to your school is in order to see what is being served? Get the truth – your kids deserve your effort.

Easy Vegan Cornbread

I spent some time looking and I simply could not find a Vegan cornbread recipe that was like the down-home cornbread that my Mom made. I wanted a sustainable Vegan recipe so I decided to improvise and make my own. The recipe turned out delicious, light, and fluffy and sorry Mom but mine is better even than yours.

This recipe is just like the classic but without the milk and egg. The ingredients I used (see picture of ingredients) were what I am currently going through in my pantry. Sugar was standard white sugar but I will improve that in the future. I am using up the older cornmeal before digging into the organic. Also, the grape seed oil is good for you but you can use other vegetable oil instead.

Easy Vegan Cornbread

Ingredients
(Use organic products when possible)
1 ¼ cups (150 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (90 g) cornmeal
¼ cup (50 g) sugar
3 teaspoons (12 g) baking powder
1 cup (240 ml) lite coconut milk (about 7% fat)
¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (7 g) of freshly ground golden flax seed***
3 tablespoons (45 ml) of hot water***

Equipment
One 8-9 inch (203 – 229 mm) baking pan
One medium sized bowl
One small bowl
One tiny bowl
Large wisk
Heavy duty spatula or spoon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 deg Celsius).
  • Grease the 8 or 9 inch (203 – 229 mm) baking pan.
  • *** In tiny bowl, make a “flax egg” by adding 3 tablespoons (45 ml) hot water to 1 tablespoon (7 g) fresh ground flax and let set a few minutes. It should turn “guey”. This is the egg replacement used for binding.
  • In medium sized bowl, add first four dry ingredients. Wisk together.
  • In small sized bowl, add coconut milk, vegetable oil, and “flax egg”. Wisk together.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir with spatula or large spoon until thoroughly moistened.
  • Pour moistened mixture into 8 or 9 inch (203 – 229 mm) pre-greased baking pan.
  • Bake 20 – 25 minutes on center rack of oven.
  • Insert butter knife into center to check of cornbread for doneness. It should come out clean. If not, add 3-5 minutes more baking time but beware too much time can dry out the cornbread.

 

The Awakening – A Revolution About Living

We are currently in a time of mass awakening, an awakening to the fact that we will soon run out of resources and that what resources we do have will soon be polluted to the degree that they are unusable. A perfect example is the city of Cape Town, South Africa where four million individual humans very well may run out of water by mid-April or soon thereafter (Welch, 2018). Can you even imagine the chaos that will transpire when that happens. Worse still, this is just the first of many large cities that will experience loss of water and other resources alarmingly soon.

We do not have to let this happen. There is a way for all of us on this earth to live together and each have the resources we need to live comfortably. The concept is known by a rather simple word, sustainability. In short it means, we live on this earth in such a way that any resource we use will be replaced in a natural and timely manner,  anything that is left over from production or use is returned to the ecosystem as material used to regenerate new resources, and we use no more than we need and we use it wisely.

For example, why are we not using quickly renewable resources like hemp as sources for pulp paper production rather than trees (Hemphasis Magazine, 2004)?  Composting vegetable remains from cooking our meals that would have been thrown in the trash is a perfect example of returning resources to the ecosystem. Becoming a Vegan rather than eating meat is a completely natural and perfect solution to only using resources we need and using them wisely.

Kauffman (2016) States, “Each cow emits approx. 66 to 79 gallons of methane every single day. There are currently (as of 2016) 88 million cattle in the United States. That’s between … (5.8 billion and 7 billion) gallons of methane per day. Together, these cows reportedly produce more methane than landfills, natural gas leaks, and fracking combined.” (p. 30) And that is just beef, not pork, or chickens, their waste decomposition, etc.

Our human body digestive systems are built to live on plants, from our teeth type to our intestine length and makeup. Millennia ago we turned to meat when plant food was scarce yet now we produce enough plant based food to feed the entire world many times over…. BUT our industry is set up to make money by feeding our abundance of good food to animals so that businesses like the fast food industry can make insane profits by selling meat burgers.

There are many things that can be easily done to fix our problems. The first thing is awakening others. This is already happening but we all need to keep reaching out to each other and waking those asleep from the false dream that they have been led to believe. We need to begin acting to produce and support solutions to our ailing world. Sitting back now will only get us all killed by means of apathy and neglect. Do we really want to leave a sick and dying world to our children. If not, pay attention now. Learn how easy it would be to fix these problems. The greatest difficulty that the people of the earth face is that we need to begin strictly thinking in terms of people instead of profit. Once that occurs we will certainly be on our way to a beautiful future.

References

Hemphasis Magazine. (Spring, 2004). Why hemp paper? I thought wood was best. Retrieved on March 18, 2018 from http://www.hemphasis.net/Paper/paper.htm

Kauffmna, J. P. (2016). Conscious Collective. Retrieved on March 18, 2018 from https://www.amazon.com/Conscious-Collective-Awareness-Joseph-Kauffman/dp/0692595015

Welch, C. (March 5, 2018). Why Cape Town Is Running Out of Water, and Who’s Next. Retrieved on March 18, 2018 from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/02/cape-town-running-out-of-water-drought-taps-shutoff-other-cities/

Call For Articles on Sustainable Living

This is a call for articles on any and all things regarding sustainable living, loving, and life. Thoughts, words, and deeds that can help your fellow human survive into the foreseeable future. Topics can include things like, but not limited to, book reviews, vegetarian and vegan food and recipes, farming and gardening practices, need for change opinion articles, and more. This is your chance to help make the world into a far better place for yourself and those you love.

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March 18, 2018

Because …

The Time is Now
for Change …

Before It’s Too Late to Say, “I’m Sorry
To the Earth and Those You Love.