One of my New Year’s resolutions was to follow a more green, sustainable diet. My husband, Wil, and I have attempted this in the past with great intentions, but for some reason or another (generally lack of time or energy), we always deviated from the green highway, deeming it just too difficult to follow. This year, we decided to give it one last college try. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been a sacrifice at all.
I think most people recognize the benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet. However, like many, I never put much thought into the food itself – where it came from and how it was grown. I now know that origin of the food we consume is just as important as the type and amount. Whether you are a die-hard “greenie” or believe that water just tastes better from a plastic bottle, the benefits of adopting a responsibly grown and sustainable diet are undeniable. Responsibly-grown produce may or may not be organic, but it is always raised with minimal pesticides and with care for use and reuse of the soil. Also, as die-hard Texans, Wil and I have a special affinity for beef brisket, fajitas, and southwestern omelets. Organic meat and eggs come free of added hormones and antibiotics. We find a measure of comfort in knowing that the animals we consume were ethically raised and cared for.
Before beginning this latest endeavor, we realized that we could not change our hectic routines, so we changed our approach instead. For those of you who are looking for simple ways to go green with your diet, here are a few tips:
1. Shop at places which offer organic and responsibly grown selections. Though places such as Earth Fare specialize in this, many grocery stores (such as Harris Teeter) have also increased their selection of organic offerings.
2. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) system and support local farmers. We joined the Ambrose Farms CSA, which has open enrollment each season and offers a pickup location at Stono Market. We thought a whole share would be too much for the two of us, so we split the crop with another couple, got fresh, local produce on a weekly basis, and saved money in the process.
3. Make a list of meals for the week and stick to the items on that list. You don’t have to plan huge and fancy dinners in order to eat healthy and eat well. One of our favorite easy meals is cheesy grits with arugula and bacon (or shrimp).
4. “Sneak” greens and veggies into every day meals, such as broccoli into spaghetti sauce or spinach into chili. One of my favorite dishes to date is venison spaghetti with fresh tat soy, onions, garlic, and turnips. My meat and potatoes husband still says it’s one of the best spaghetti dishes he’s ever had.
5. Cook double portions for later consumption. I like to make a “kitchen sink” vegetable soup which contains every vegetable I can locate in my kitchen. I cook a large amount, freeze the rest, and then have an easy lunch or dinner for days when I am tired, overworked, or just lazy.
I’m by no means an expert on green eating, and some days I do better than others with following my new lifestyle. However, I enjoy knowing that my produce and meats are free of genetic modifications, antibiotics/hormones, and pesticides. I also enjoy my food more and have willingly and happily increased my consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eating “green” makes me feel better about myself on the inside, and I think this is reflected on the outside.
The Great Tilapia Caper
- From “The Gorgeously Green Diet” by Sophie Uliano
- Two ½ lb tilapia fillets
- 2 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp capers
- ½ c white wine
- Flat leaf parsley
- Brown rice
- Low sodium soy sauce
1. Heat butter and olive oil in skillet over medium heat. When hot, add fish and cook 3 minutes.
2. Flip fish and add capers and wine. Cook three minutes.
3. Remove from pan and place on warm plates. Pour wine-butter sauce over fish and sprinkle with handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley.
4. Add steamed broccoli and ½ c organic brown rice w/ dash of soy sauce per person.