Electricity, fracking, greenhouse gas emissions, we all need to do our part to help out our environment, and in an election year, it seems like the emphasis on these and other moves toward the preservation of vital soil of organic farmlands rather than those currently vulnerable to disease will take priority with those of us concerned more about the health of our children than the polarized electorate. Sustainability is a big topic, and we know that food is just better for many reasons when we compare organics to GMOs. But how else can we do our part? These bigger environmental challenges require collaborative solutions, but there are a few practices we can all do on our own to make a small difference.
Bring your own: A reusable water bottle that is! According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only around 9% of plastic waste is actually recycled. There are many options made from BPA-free glass or stainless steel. Opt for a reusable bottle instead of a plastic bottle.
Walk: Exercise is important, but with the longer days and mild evenings, simply taking a walk in the neighborhood where you live can bring benefits far beyond your waistline. Find a friend or take your child or pet on a long walk every day.
Ride: Ride your bike to work or spend an afternoon out on the bike trail with family. I find that I see more people riding their bikes while on vacation at the shore. Why don’t we ride more at home? It’s fun, great exercise, and non-polluting.
Reuse: Instead of packing your lunch in a disposable bag, pick up a cool reusable lunch bag or a stainless steel bento box. Your food will stay fresh and fashionable.
Swap: When the seasons change our wardrobes do too, instead of always buying new clothes, organize a clothing swap with your friends and shop in each other’s closets.
Upcycle: Landfills are already overflowing with unwanted items, think outside of the box about how you can reuse instead of throwing out.
Repurpose: Instead of getting rid of old furniture, try refinishing it or painting it in a fun color. This gives you a fun project and brings trash to treasure.
Cook at home: Making just one additional meal at home each month instead of eating takeout can help reduce the more than 100 million plastic disposable utensils which are thrown away in the U.S. each year.
Grow your own: Summer is a great time of year to try your hand at gardening. Plant a few seedlings and see what happens with a little love. Your wallet will thank you and so will the earth.
Lets capitalize on the “cook at home” and “grow your own” suggestions above. My suggestion this month is a quick and easy dish that you can use to spice up those home grown vegetables. I call these Montreal Vegetables because the combination of seasonings together is more widely known as “Montreal Steak Spice” seasoning. Minus the steak, the Montreal seasonings make for a delicious addition to just about any vegetables in your summer garden.
Montreal Spice Blend
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. caraway seed
1/2 tsp. coriander
Vegetables (you can really use any vegetables you like)
green and orange bell pepper
Using a mortar and pestle (or coffee bean grinder), grind seeds together until combined. Sprinkle over vegetables and grill or roast.