All posts by Zoe Yarymowich

Veggie Fajita Pasta

A pasta so simple to make, even I can do it! Is vegetarian, can be made vegan. Is spicy, adjust to preferences.

  1. 16 ounces linguine
  2. (1) 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  3. (1) 8 oz container vegetable stock
  4. 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
  5. 1 large (or two small) red onion, thinly sliced
  6. 8 cloves garlic
  7. 1 large red bell pepper
  8. 1 green pepper
  9. 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  10. 1 tablespoon salt
  11. 1 teaspoon cumin
  12. 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  13. 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  14. 2 sprigs cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  15. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  16. Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  17. 2 1/2 cups water
  18. 1/3 cup Sour cream, Full-Fat Greek yogurt or vegan alternative (optional, makes it creamy and cuts the spice a little)
  19. Limes (optional)
  20. Parmesan cheese or vegan equivalent (optional)

Preparation:

  • Slice garlic, onion and peppers thinly.
  • Boil ingredients in a large (preferably heavy bottomed) pot or high heat , stirring frequently for 11 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow liquid to be absorbed into the pasta for a few minutes, then serve immediately.
  • Optional: Season to taste with salt & pepper, garnish with cilantro. If not vegan serve with sour cream or greek yogurt and parmesan cheese.

Can last in the fridge for a few days but is best served fresh

 

Zero Waste & Food

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One night as I lay in bed, I wondered to myself: where does nail polish go when we throw it away? Being someone lucky enough to have access to the internet, I never have to wonder anything for long. So I sat up and googled it. Little did I realize the rabbit hole I was about to fall into.

Waste is something I have always hated. Zero Waste guru Bea Johnson, has similar feelings. Her family of four produced only one mason jar of waste a year. The family lives by a tier of five rules: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot.  They refuse junk mail, single use plastic items, and freebies. Reduce what they own to boost the second hand market. They reuse things they have and recycle and rot (compost) what they can and the rest lives in that year’s mason jar.

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Johnson claims that one of the biggest producers of waste in our homes is food related waste. Food that is tossed into the trash instead of composted, as well as food packaging made of plastic such as plastic bags, single use plastic utensils, coffee cups and travel containers all contribute to landfill. While some of these items might be recyclable, Johnson warns that they are transformed into something that isn’t recyclable; meaning that they will ultimately end up in landfill. In addition to being wasteful, these items are actually dangerous for our health because the plastic can leech into the food we consume. According to Johnson 15% of an items price, covers packaging, which she suggests that we are literally throwing our money away with the trash.

The Johnson family goes to the grocery store fully equipped. They bring a variety of different sized reusable bags, a number of mason jars and glass bottles for liquids. They shop the perimeters of the store, putting the bakers bread in her organic bags, asking butchers, deli clerks, and cheese mongers to put her glass jars on the scale, and zero it before placing her food inside. Her family’s produce goes into mesh bags so that the cashier can easily see what’s inside. For the items that must be purchased with packaging they try to avoid plastic and instead buy items with packaged with glass, paper, metal, wood, or wax paper. In addition they buy as much as they can in bulk or from stores who sell their products in returnable containers. Johnson claims that shopping this way has improved the quality of her family’s diet because it keeps them from buying processed foods.

Johnson’s blog and book have started a movement and inspired many including Lauren Singer founder of Trash is for Tossers and The Simply Co (a zero waste detergent company). Both urge that the movement isn’t radical and that even the smallest steps in the right direction amount to massive contributions to saving our planet.

To Find out more, you can find Bea Johnson on:
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, or visit her website.

To Find out more about Lauren Signer visit:

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, or visit her website and The Simply Co.

Permaculture – Sounds bacterial…but it isn’t really

“Taking back the land” has been a call in societies in times of strife. On a world scale, the need to take back the land to fight desertification is the next major crisis. The world’s food basket is being emptied by a mismanagement of the macro-climates of the world. Areas that were once lush and populated with animals are turning into deserts. This system failure cannot go uncorrected.

During his presentation at Concordia’s “Bite Me Week”, Graham Calder, founder of P3Permaculture introduced the concept of permaculture as a regenerative design science; a positive solutions approach to live with the earth. Of a “Permanent Cultural System” if you will. Permaculture has a 3 tier Ethics system that provides a framework to respond to a vast array challenges:

Earth care – Environmental friendliness, balance and sustainability

Fair Share – Of surplus resources equally between people, access for everyone (animals included)

People care – Human rights

The approach can be applied to all sorts of things, from water management to heating with the goal being to create self sufficient, and self abundant systems. It is modelled after the observation of nature and integrating these principles in designing sustainable human societies. The problem with many of our systems is that they rely on constant growth until the system inevitably collapses, like our capitalist economy. Problems also stem from corruption in the management of surplus. Permaculture foster circular systems that can operate infinitely.

What does this look like? Experts sought to solve the problem of soil erosion in areas destroyed by human activity. These areas didn’t lack rain, but the soil was so dry and hard that the water wasn’t able to seep in. Instead it would remain at the surface and trickle away or evaporate. These experts observed the natural movement patterns of animals and noticed how it contributed to the fertility of the land.

By grouping the animals in large herds and moving them to mimic nature (in patterns as if they’re being chased by predators) it helps to cover the soil. This movement also prevents the overgrazing of plants. The animals manure and urine in turn help to replenish the soil. By applying these movement patterns to dessert areas, they were able to revitalize the soil. Who would have through that all we had to do to save the planet was to go back to our roots?

If you’re interested in learning more watch the video below or visit the website: p3permaculture.ca

 

Hungry for Change

From hunter gatherers, to 21st century civilization quiet a lot has changed in terms how we grow, manufacture, prepare and eat food. Have you ever thought about the responsibilities of food producers? Is it in their best interest to keep us healthy? Or are they out to maximize profit? The documentary, Hungry for Change delves deeper into the marketing, and chemical composition of food as a way to explain wide spread obesity in America. When companies include additives in food that make us crave even more food, this leads to over-eating and weight-gain. The films includes many interviews with experts in the food industry. Their interviews are grouped together thematically and despite their vastly different backgrounds, it’s incredible how common their stories are.

Hunger for Change explains how in our western society where there are food surpluses we live with an attitude of ‘not enough’. Experts suggest that marketers use sophisticated campaigns that influence shoppers to not only be swayed by the marvellous packaging but also to buy more. This is a recipe for dissatisfaction, in the long run.

The documentary also tackles topics such as how health is more than simply good diet and exercise, it’s includes mental and emotional wellbeing. How food and our emotions are deeply interrelated and marketers know this. ‘Comfort foods’ refer to junk foods we probably ate as kids which we naturally associate with fond memories. Eating these kinds of foods regularly sets a chemical chain reaction that give us instant gratification but in the end leaves us in a never ending cycle of ‘feel bad, eat bad’. Worse yet many of the foods we eat everyday contain ingredients like MSG which encourages an increase of food in-take. It does so by enhancing flavour; making food taste better. They hook a customer on a particular food and food manufacturers hope that they’ll be a customer for life. Unfortunately, in too many instances our food choices minimize what we need and replace it with what we crave. While we have more food than ever, we’re starving- we’re starved of nutrients.

Sleep and self-love are proven as powerful dieting tools as espoused in Hungry for Change. Most us us need more sleep and who wouldn’t want more love? Thus, the solution lays in a wellness appreciation that encourages good health for our body, mind and soul.

The documentary urges us to think next time we go into the grocery store, to consider: Where does my food come from? What goes into my food? What is my intention with food?