Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow, the environment, and crop failures (Environmental Issues)

We ended up getting somewhere between 5-10 inches of snow in the D.C. metro area/Northern VA (the snow depth at my house is about 7-8 inches), and according to the weather forecasters we may get some more snow on Friday and also next week too.

I like snow but it is very unusual for this area to get this much, the natural pattern is one huge snow–maybe 8-12 inches–every 8 or 9 years. We had a lot of snow last year in two super huge storms one right after another (which was also not part of the natural pattern, since we usually don’t get over a couple feet of snow, and don’t have two major storms within days of each other). We also had a major snow storm, I think in March 2009. Most of the time, in regular years, we usually get maybe 1-3 inches every once in a while during the winter time. As an environmentalist/biologist, changes like this really worries me. Other changes have been really worrying me too, like one day it is freezing cold and the next day hot. Or seeing mosquitoes out of season, or trees blooming at the wrong time, or leaves changing colors too early or too late. I’ve lived in the D.C. area my whole life–except for my undergrad years–(I am 32 now) and none of these are part of the natural patterns in this area.

Another concern that I have is crop failures all over. I’ve noticed this a lot more as a business owner (many ingredient prices are going drastically because of A LOT of crop failures or poor crop yields world wide, which I will post about shortly. There is a long list of ingredients whose prices have been changing over the last couple years. Noticed it as a hobby crafter, pre-business, but as a business owner been noticing it even more especially when many prices have doubled or more). But I’ve also noticed this as a consumer too, like cranberries not being available (a couple years ago) or pumpkin last year (there was a shortage of canned pumpkin during the holidays for a few weeks), etc.

Note: parts of this post (the above information) are also posted on Earth Alkemie's (my all natural, green skin care business) blog.

I hope one day (soon) I can get back to doing environmental field work/education/community work. I really miss it (I had to give it up because of my health issues in recent years). I try to live my life as eco-friendly as possible, but am always trying to find ways to be even more green :) One thing that I will start doing again, is posting on this blog more regularly again (another thing I miss doing!).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Miniature Earth (Environmental/Social Information)

Someone on a forum I frequent posted this powerful video called 'Miniature Earth'. Basically it shows the world's population in terms a community of 100 people. Very eye opening, and very well done, intense.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, hypoglycemic friendly (Vegetarian Foods and Hypoglycemia information)

Here is a list of some of my favorite vegetarian and vegan cookbooks that are also hypoglycemic friendly (or that are easily converted to hypoglycemic friendly foods). I will post others at another time.

I am only vegetarian (I eat eggs and dairy) but my favorite veggie cookbook is actually a vegan one called 'Vegan With A Vengeance' by Isa Chandra Moskowitz". I love this cook book because the recipes are very simple to make, full of flavor, and absolutely delicious (she really knows how to use herbs and other ingredients to enhance taste; she's absolutely brilliant). Moskowitz also has a cookie and also a cupcake book that is really good too.

I've mentioned on my blog a few years ago, that it is sometimes hard to convert vegetarian recipes into something I can eat (since I can't eat white/refined flour, white sugar/refined sugars, or too much carbs, since I feel really sick and my symptoms flare up). But I've found that vegan cook books, especially ones that use a lot of whole grains and alternative sweeteners like agave, are easy to convert or don't even need any conversion. (I can have a little agave, but I still feel sick if I have a lot at one time). The author uses a lot of different grains and also things like agave, and when she doesn't, I've found the recipes are still easier to convert into something I can eat (like using whole wheat pastry flour for white flour. And instead of white sugar, try agave or coconut sugar).

She has a few other books that I hope to get soon (I have her cupcake book too but want her others). Parts of her books are viewable on google books. For 'vengeance' most of the recipes are breakfast things like scones.

I also like Madhur Jaffrey's 'World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking'. This book is not vegan (some recipes contain dairy and eggs) but many recipes are vegan, and many that aren't vegan you can substitute vegan ingredients for. I love this cookbook, the spice combos used are authentic and the dishes are tasty, very yummy. The recipes are from many different cultures around the world. Some recipes are a little complex or time consuming to make, but they are worth it. I like making several of the lentil dishes. I remember once E.G. and I made paneer (which is an Indian cheese, it took a lot of milk but it was damn good!).

Peta (People for the ethnical treatment of animals) has a vegan cookbook called 'Compassionate Cook: Please don't eat the animals'. It is one of the classic vegan cookbooks, and one of the first I ever got (I've been veggie for over 16 years). The recipes are very basic (some of them are a little bland, and need to have additional spices added to them. But other recipes are delicious) but there is a lot good info in it. There are several recipes from vegan and vegetarian celebrities, as well as quotes from famous veggies throughout time.