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Category: Eat Well. Heal the Planet.

  1. Wednesday, January 24, 2024

    Happy New Year! A recommitment to cooking

    Hello, This Week for Dinner friends! LONG time no talk. I know that I’ve been short of reliable since last summer in terms of planning meals and cooking. The blog has felt it, you have felt it and my family sure has felt it the most (holy eating-out-all-of-the-time 😳). Life has been in flux more than usual this past year. I am knocking on all of the wood as I say the following, but this week is the first time in a long time that feels normal-ish. And, after so many months of dinner uncertainty and eating out, I am beyond ready to get cooking again.

    Carne Asada Salad served with Homemade Cilantro Crema Dressing

    Carne Asada Salad with Cilantro Crema

    With that, here is my food resolution for the year: cook. Cooking is such a lovely excuse at the end of a busy day to breathe. To listen to a podcast, music or audiobook. To spend time with a family member who also likes to cook. To prioritize our health as well as our enjoyment of food. 

    Along with a recommitment to cooking, I will once again consistently post a weekly menu! It’s all a part of the same goal and that weekly check-in with you all here on the blog is incredibly helpful. I hope that you will continue to share your menus and recipes with us each week as well!

    cilantro sour cream enchiladas1 web

    Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas

    That said, I’ve also found myself enjoying a few nights a week where I don’t have a plan, where I swing by the store and just grab a couple things for that night. I used to hate that. I think when the kids were younger and required more physical care there simply was no space for impromptu shopping and cooking. These days, however, there is a bit of room for spontaneity, a flexibility in what we cook and eat that I honestly haven’t felt in 19+ years. (Yep, Cate is 19 now!) I will still create a weekly plan, but I may or may not do weekly grocery shopping and I’m giving myself mental permission to mix the plan up when I feel like it!

    Backlit side view of gluten-free buffalo chicken drumsticks with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing

    Gluten-Free Buffalo Chicken

    One last thing…my cooking resolution also fits in well with the blog’s yearly resolution related to food and the environment. In terms of trash and food waste, cooking at home is automatically a huge improvement. In addition, when you cook at home you have more control over the ingredients and where they come from, making it easier to source local food as much as possible. So here’s to eating well and putting our own little drop in the bucket for Mother Earth.

    I am looking forward to another year of planning, cooking, eating well and enjoying time in the kitchen! 


  2. Thursday, February 9, 2023

    Eat Well, Heal the Planet 2023 Edition!

    For years I make new year’s resolutions that linked the food we eat and/or how we cook to making positive environmental changes. And then I started working for “the man,” which has been great (I love a good 9-to-5 existence, actually…go figure) but has also put the blog (and sometimes cooking) on the back burner. But that focus on the environment had an impact on my kids (yay!) and now they are calling me out on my slacker-ness. My girls and I talked this weekend and decided we need to get back on track. 

    We took a minute to look back at our past resolutions and decided to focus on the following for 2023: 

    1. Eat less meat

    For several years our focused on eating less meat and more plant-based foods. It went pretty well! And then I just didn’t make it a priority any more. But this graphic is constantly popping up in my mind: 

    Carbon Costs of Different Diets

    This so clearly shows the impact that food products derived from pigs and cows on carbon emissions, it’s pretty mind boggling. The girls and I have decided to start focusing on those three middle columns again, which should be hard since we’ve done it before! 

    2. Reduce (or eliminate!) one-time use items like plastic and paper towels

    This one is tough. I will say that our previous efforts have not been for nothing…we definitely use less paper towels and plastic products than we did before and I think we’re still pretty good about it. But I’ll admit I’ve gotten lazy over the last few years. It’s time to be more disciplined once again! Like remembering reusable bags in the back of the car for grocery shopping (thanks, COVID-19, for breaking that good habit). Only using paper towels for grease clean ups. Eating out less. Resisting the urge to pull out the plastic wrap. 

    Eat Well, Heal the Planet 2023 Resolution from This Week for Dinner

    So here we go! Back on the wagon again!

    If you have made similar resolutions, please share! If you want to join along in the journey with us, please do! If you have any tips or favorite products that have helped with either of the above, please put them down in the comments! Here’s to one small change at a time making a difference. 


  3. Sunday, January 9, 2022

    New Year’s Resolution “Back to Basics” + Week 733 Weekly Menu

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    I hope the year has gotten off to a nice start for you, but I have a sneaking suspicion it might be a little crazy for everyone. 2022 has already proven to be quite a ride for me. I won’t get into boring details about work, life, etc…but our family is getting PCR tests tomorrow morning. Pretty sure COVID is making another unsolicited visit to our home. Apparently it missed the memo that the Maynards aren’t hosting guests right now. Update 1/13: None of us have COVID-19, hallelujah! We are definitely sick but at least it’s not that. Phew.

    George Clooney contemplating where he’s been and where he’s going…

    2022 Kitchen Resolution

    A new year means a new kitchen resolution for me. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week. If you’ve been hanging around on this blog for a while, you know that each year I choose a resolution that links what we do in the kitchen to environmental goals. You may also know (or not, that’s fine) that in October 2020, I severed a tendon in my thumb, which turned into a year-long journey of surgeries and physical therapy. Today I can use my thumb again. (Woohoo!) It’s not the same as it was before but it works, so I am grateful. Bottom line, last year I did not make a resolution and I did not cook much at all…mostly because I couldn’t. Hello Fresh is the only reason we cooked at home in any capacity.

    This Week for Dinner New Year's Resolution - Meal Plan, Grocery Shop and Cook

    Which brings me to this year’s resolution. I’m going back to basics, back to what started this blog in the first place. 

    Plan. Shop. Cook.

    I am re-committing to weekly meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking at home. I am fine with the fact that I fell out of practice over the last 15 months – there were many good reasons why that happened. But I am also ready to get back to the thing that not only alleviates stress every week but is just plain good for my family’s health and the environment.

    First Weekly Menu of the Year!

    I appreciate each and every one of you who have stayed here posting menus, even when I wasn’t able to be here every week. I am scared to even say it out loud, but I will be back every week putting our menu up! Starting today! Plus I actually do have a list of photographed recipes to share with you…here’s hoping I can get those published this year, too!

    Week 733 Weekly Menu from This Week for Dinner

    MONDAY:

    • Spicy Chicken Tacos

    TUESDAY:

    • Mushroom Ravioli and Salad

    WEDNESDAY:

    • Homemade Hamburgers

    THURSDAY:

    • Rotisserie Chicken + Mashed Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts

    FRIDAY:

    • Leftovers

    SATURDAY:

    • Takeout Night

    SUNDAY:

    This week in the comments, I would love to not only hear what you’ve got cooking this week but also what your New Year’s resolution is! 


  4. Thursday, January 30, 2020

    2020 New Year’s Resolution: Waste Less Food

    Happy New Year! (I can still say that, right? This isn’t Larry David’s blog so I’m going with it.) Since we still have one more day left in January, I’ve decided it’s not too late to share my new year’s resolution supporting the blog’s Eat Well, Heal the Planet annual goals. Drumroll, please…

    2016 New Year's Resolution: Compost and Waste Less Food @janemaynard

    That’s right, Waste Less Food is back! I am repeating my 2016 resolution because it’s an incredibly important and impactful one, and I personally could do with recommitting to this goal. If you are new to the blog, each year I choose a resolution where our family’s actions in the kitchen impact the environment in a positive way. For 2020 it is all about wasting less food!

    Local Tomatoes from Cyclops Farms | Photo from @janemaynard

    First and foremost, go check out the post I wrote in 2016 the first time I made this my new year’s resolution. There is a ton of great information in that article, including more on the negative impact food waste has on the environment.

    Today I want to build on that original post, providing tips for attacking food waste effectively.

    #1: SHOP SMART

    Being smart about the food you buy is definitely Step 1 in wasting less food.

    Yes, that is Cate is 2009. She is now 15. Unreal.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Create a grocery list before you hit the store. This will help tremendously, both with food waste and budgeting.
    • Buy ugly produce. It tastes the same, I promise. I often will pick up a piece of produce and go to put it back if it’s not perfect, then force myself to put it in the cart. The ugly fruit wants to be loved, too!
    • Buy food from companies like Imperfect Foods. Imperfect Foods sources food that won’t be sold in stores, whether because it is surplus or imperfect (i.e. ugly). I’ve been ordering from Imperfect Foods for quite some time now and love the service. Click here to sign up! (Note: this is my referral link, which means we both get $10 with your first order.)

    Infographic explaining how the company Imperfect Produce works - they source imperfect and surplus fruit from farmers and deliver directly to customers

    #2: FOOD LABEL DATES ARE NOT GOSPEL

    Ignore dates on packaging. Seriously. The only food that the FDA requires a use-by date for is infant formula – no other food has date labeling requirements. The “use by” and “best by” dates printed on food packaging are a guide for enjoying food at peak quality and is not related to food safety. A “sell by” date tells stores how long to display products and, again, is not related to safety.  

    Best Buy Food Label Date on a container of sour cream

    When it comes to determining if a food is safe to eat, use logic, not the date on the package. Color, smell and texture will tell you what you need to know. And always make sure you store food properly to maximize safety and freshness. The USDA has a fantastic article that explains the dating systems used, as well as great tips for knowing if food has spoiled or not: click here to read it! 

    #3: COOK AT HOME AND USE LEFTOVERS

    Cooking at home has huge positive impacts when it comes to food waste and trash. When our family has had busy weeks where we’ve eaten takeout more, our trash bin fills up significantly more quickly, both with from food containers and random bits of food. There are many reasons why cooking at home is a great choice (Michael Pollan lists a few of them in this interview with the Boston Globe), and reducing food waste is one of my favorites! 

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    Leftovers are also huge when it comes to food waste. I used to be terrible about using up leftovers, but now (sometimes to my family’s chagrin) I am a champ getting those leftovers eaten! Whether it’s for my own lunch or dinner for the whole family, leftovers are super handy. 

    #4: COMPOST!

    The first time I made food waste a new year’s resolution, I also committed to composting. Composting is great because if you do end up with some food waste, you are putting it to good use! Rather than sending food waste to the landfill where it will create more greenhouse gases, composting food scraps at home skips the whole extra greenhouse gas problem and you end up with beautiful compost for your yard or garden. You can even compost in a small house or apartment using raised, rotating bins, as they don’t attract critters or cause a stink.  

    I searched my blog and realized that I never followed up with you all about our family’s composting experience. I did in fact start composting in 2016 and we still do it! I decided to compost using raised, rotating bins. I highly recommend them! If you decide to go the rotating bin route, make sure the bin has two chambers, one for “cooking” and one for adding materials while the other side cooks.

    Dual Barrel Rotating Compost Bin from Gardener's Supply

    Click here for a great Composting 101 article from Gardener’s Supply Company. Related, I love Gardener’s Supply Company’s dual-chamber rotating compost bin, which you can buy here

    #5: MEAL PLANNING IS THE BEST!

    Meal planning to the rescue once again! I know I’m biased, what with a blog called “This Week for Dinner” and all, but seriously, people, meal planning is huge when it comes to wasting less food. If your grocery list is based on your meal plan, you are automatically ahead of the game. Buying food that you have a plan for is huge in the fight against waste. If you aren’t meal planning already, hop to it! It’s the best!

    Are you ready to waste less food? So am I! Happy 2020!


  5. Thursday, April 25, 2019

    Chocolate Cashew Energy Bites, a.k.a. Jane’s Addiction (Plant Based, Gluten Free)

    Before I get to today’s recipe, how have I never used the phrase “Jane’s Addiction” on the blog before?!?! Speaking of Jane’s Addiction, I have a new one. (How’s that for a segue?) Okay, so now that I am not eating wheat and peanuts and almonds and dairy and shellfish and apples and cucumbers and basically have become one of those annoying people with too many dietary needs, I am exploring all kinds of great cookbooks for new inspiration. Nate’s cousin Amanda, who is on a low-FODMAP diet, recommended a book called The Low-FODMAP Diet for Beginners. I have already tried a few recipes and flagged about 20 more to try, and so far every recipe is a winner. Today I’m sharing one of them with you, the peanut-butter energy balls. Except I can’t eat peanuts. So I changed it to cashew butter. And made some other changes to the recipe. So actually I’m sharing a recipe for cashew energy bites and not peanut-butter energy balls. 

    Cashew Energy Bites

    These cashew energy bites are not just Jane’s Addiction but Anna’s Addiction and Nate’s Addiction, too. (You’re welcome for the cool band name ideas.) They are super easy to make, pretty darn wholesome, completely plant based, gluten free, and only have 2-3 grams of sugar per bite. Seriously, these little cashew energy bites are the best. Enjoy!

    Forming Cashew Energy Bites

    Container of cashew energy bites

    Chocolate Cashew Energy Bites
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Adapted from a recipe for Peanut-Butter Energy Balls in the book "The Low-FODMAP Diet for Beginners" by Mollie Tunitsky
    Author:
    Serves: 20 bites
    Ingredients
    • 1½ cup rolled oats
    • 2 generous tablespoons chocolate chips
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt (if you use kosher, use a little less than ¼ tsp)
    • ⅔ cup cashew butter
    • ¼ cup maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions
    1. In a blender or food processor, add the oats, chocolate chips, cocoa powder and sea salt. Pulse until the oats and chocolate chips have been broken down. If you like your bites chunkier, pulse less! If you want things finer, pulse more! I go for a coarsely ground mixture.
    2. Combine the dry ingredients with the cashew butter, syrup and vanilla in a mixing bowl, stirring to combine thoroughly.
    3. Form bites into 1 tablespoon sized balls, place on a cookie sheet, and flatten them out with wet fingers so you have nice thick discs. Refrigerate until firm and store in the refrigerator.

     


  6. Friday, March 22, 2019

    Plant-Based Eating Hack #2: Finding Milk Alternatives…with a little help from your friends!

    Time for another plant-based eating hack, don’t you think? Okay, so, you want to start replacing dairy with more plant-based options. And starting with milk seems like a good idea. But then you go to the store and THERE ARE SO MANY MILK ALTERNATIVES that your head starts spinning, you grab your usual gallon of milk, and walk away in a cold sweat. Here’s the thing, finding milk alternatives is kind of hard for a few reasons. First, there are just so many to choose from. Second, if you do buy one and then hate it, suddenly you have a whole carton of “milk” that either you suffer through or end up wasting. Today I have a suggestion for finding milk alternatives that is not only helpful but fun. Gather your friends and do a milk tasting together!

    Alternative milk tasting party with friends in a kitchen

    Last week I hosted an evening with a group of friends and coordinated a milk tasting. I created a sign-up list with around 10 different types of milk alternatives. We all pitched in, brought one to share, then held a tasting. My friend Laura kept notes on people’s reactions to each product and we discussed our thoughts at the end of the night. We other delicious foods, too, much of it vegan and all of it vegetarian. Plant-based goodness galore!

    10 milk alternatives set up for a milk tasting party

    I wish that I could tell you there was consensus and that XX milk is the best one, but there wasn’t! Everyone’s tastes were very different and every single type of milk we tried had people who loved it and hated it. Which is why the milk tasting party became even more genius once we were actually doing it – since we do all have different tastes, it was really awesome to get together and try out so many different milks at once. We could figure out what works for our own tastes then go home and just buy that type of “milk” from now on. Plus, people could take home the carton of milk that was their favorite, leading to less waste!

    Line up of 10 different milk alternatives

    Even though we didn’t have strong consensus on the products we tried, I do think it’s worth sharing Laura’s notes. We tested the unsweetened versions of each “milk” since we were looking for a cow’s milk alternative for multiple uses. I neglected to put pea protein milk on the list, which I’m regretting because that one is supposed to be great. I’ll have to try it on my own (wah-waaaah). Take all these comments with a grain of salt because, as you’ll notice, many of them contradict one another. That might be the most surprising outcome of the night was how different we all taste things! Please note that where it says “my” or “I” in the comments below, those are quotes from my friends. Only the comments italicized and in orange are my personal opinion.

    • Hemp: favorite, I drink it every day; neutral flavor; can taste plant base; chalky; bland; watery; grainy
    • Flax: silkier; creamier; good texture; watery; neutral flavor; my new favorite
    • Oat: smooth; sweet; closest to milk; thicker; best so far (Jane note: oat is my personal favorite and what I use daily – I think oat milk had the highest approval rating of the night! Note: Most oat “milks” taste great, but the brand Pacific Organic is awful, do not buy that one! And Oatly is my favorite brand!)
    • Coconut: watery; dirty water; bad after taste (Jane note: I don’t love coconut milk that comes in a carton, and some canned coconut milks have a weird flavor to me. That said, Thai Kitchen’s canned coconut milk is FANTASTIC and that is what I use in oatmeal, coffee and for cooking.)
    • Macadamia: texture is good; bland; watery, like skim milk; really good
    • Almond: tastes like almonds; refreshing; fresh; good; fabulous (Jane note: my friend Chelsea made her almond milk from scratch, which is why it was so freaking awesome, but if you find a good brand I think the comments would still apply!)
    • Cashew: tastes cashew-y; good texture; sour; good but not great; my favorite that I use in coffee every day
    • Soy: taste like edamame; simple and easy; after taste; actually, better than I was expecting
    • Rice: too sweet; can’t believe it’s unsweetened

    A note on sugar content. Oat and rice milk both have naturally occurring sugars, although rice is higher than oat, and both rice and oat have less sugar than regular cow’s milk. Most of the other milk alternatives had 0 grams of sugar.

    Voila! Finding milk alternatives isn’t as bad as you think, as long as you get a little help from your friends. Have fun!


  7. Friday, March 15, 2019

    Megan O’Rourke, Sustainable Agriculture Professor at Virginia Tech, Shares Her Thoughts on Organic Farming (Ep. 51)

    Episode 51 Podcast Header: Interview with Megan O'Rourke, PhD, on Organic Farming

    In episode #51 of the podcast, I get the chance to interview Megan O’Rourke, professor of sustainable agriculture at Virginia Tech. If you’ve been following my Eat Well, Heal the Planet posts this year, you know Megan! She’s our resident scientist, providing all kinds of great info around food, farming and the environment. In case you missed it, yesterday we published a post with a quick guide for mindful food shopping as well as Megan’s thoughts on the current state of organic farming. Today’s podcast interview builds on that article. Megan is a fantastic resource and I am delighted to share her with you! 

    Shownotes:

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Click the play button below!
    • Via an app: Search “This Week for Dinner Podcast” on your favorite podcast app (iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, Spotify, etc.).

    Other Stuff!


  8. Thursday, March 14, 2019

    A Quick Guide to Mindful Food Shopping Choices + Thoughts on Organic Farming

    For quite some time now I have purchased mostly organic food, my reasoning being that it was better for the environment and biodiversity. As I’ve started doing more reading about different diets and their impact on the environment, questions around organic food keep coming to mind. I turned to our resident expert, Virginia Tech sustainable agriculture professor Megan O’Rourke, and asked her what she thought about organic. That simple question led to several conversations, a podcast interview, and Megan writing her thoughts on organic for us, which I am sharing below in this post. The bottom line? Yes, organic has benefits, sometimes environmental. No, it’s not clear cut and as easy as saying that buying organic is the best choice. As with pretty much anything related to food and the environment, it’s complicated!

    As Megan and I talked, I asked her if it would be possible to make a quick reference guide for people who want to be mindful about what impact their food is having. Megan agreed and gave me an excellent list of things to think about. I turned it into an “If…Then…” list, which highlights a few values around food and some of the choices you can make to support those values. 

    Chart with "If, Then" statements, providing a quick guide to mindful food shopping choices

    Since there are no easy answers, for our family I’ve decided to concentrate on reducing our consumption of cow products (both meat and dairy), focus on more plant-based eating and buying our food as locally and seasonally as possible. Megan, as you will learn in her article below as well as in our podcast interview that will publish tomorrow, really likes to focus on buying food locally and growing foods that make sense for where she lives, thereby reducing the need for chemical interventions. As you look at the “If..Then…” list I encourage you to identify those values and choices that make the most sense for you and your family. If we are all making efforts where we can, we will make a difference! 

    Why organic? What is the real impact? Is there a real impact?

    By Megan O’Rourke, Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech

    There is a lot of confusion about organic agriculture, so Seufert et al. published a review paper in 2017 describing what science does and does not know about the real impacts of organic agriculture. They broke down the impacts into three broad categories: environmental, productivity, effects on farmers, and effects on consumers. They then subdivided these broad categories into 26 specific metrics of public interest and compared the relative impacts  of an acre of organic land to an acre of conventional land. Interestingly, the authors assert that we basically don’t know anything about 10 of the metrics of interest. These include effects on soil erosion, water use, pesticide leaching, and farm wages. In fact, we only have high certainty about a few things. Fortunately for consumers, most of our certainty revolves around organic produce quality, such as lower pesticide residues and higher phytonutrient, mineral, and vitamin content than conventional agriculture. Scientists are also pretty certain that organic land produces lower yields but higher profitability than conventional production, while improving the soil and providing habitat for wildlife.

    But, here’s the spoiler. While I am a sustainable agriculture researcher with lots of facts and figures at hand, I almost never buy organic myself. Why?  I have both rational reasons and emotional reactions to the current state of organic agriculture that guide what I do. Let’s start with the rational reasons. 

    With grocery store organic, I don’t really know what I’m getting. Grocery store organic is often far from the bucolic small farm dream we imagine. Organic produce is much more likely to come from a megafarm in California than from your local family farm, and these megafarms simply practice chemical substitutions. Any poisonous chemical derived naturally and approved by the National Organic Program can be used in organic production. For example, some heavy metals like copper, which accumulate in the environment, are used extensively in organic production. Other pesticides, such as pyrethrums extracted from chrysanthemums, are allowed in organic production while their synthetic cousins, pyrethroids, are not. Synthetic fertilizers are not allowed in organic production but organic fertilizer companies mine bat guano from Chile and ship it up to California. Bat guano has essentially the same chemical properties as synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. When it comes to organic meat, I find the rules about organic meat production unethical. Organic farmers cannot use antibiotics on sick animals without the animals being deemed nonorganic. This can cause animals to suffer and be culled early instead of being treated humanely (which, by the way, is allowed in European organic practices).

    Now on to my more emotional responses to the current state of organic. Perhaps one of my least rational reactions to buying organic produce is that I find it bourgeois. While I am solidly privileged middle class in reality, my gut feels like buying organic is spending money excessively. Furthermore, the scientific benefits of organic produce are not significant enough for me. For example, while organic on average has a higher nutrient content in side-by-side comparisons with conventional food, this health benefit pales in comparison to simply eating more vegetables and a greater variety of produce. Also, as a scientist, on the whole I trust the capacity of science to make life better for us. For example, there was a time when I was skeptical about genetically modified crops, but now after talking with countless farmers, I appreciate how GMOs (which are banned in organic foods) can improve farmer health and reduce their exposure to insecticides. I also think that pesticides used responsibly can be like tiny miracles. When we are sick, we go to the doctor and get medicine. When plants get sick, they need some medicine too. While pesticides can be overused, I don’t prescribe banning them. We use chemicals all the time to make our life better and easier, so why shouldn’t farmers be allowed synthetic products in their toolbox?

    Another issue I have with organic is the bureaucracy. Organic farmers need to pay money, keep extensive records, and allow regulators onto their farms to inspect every aspect of their operation. As a natural rebel, the idea of allowing a stranger to nitpick about my choices of production would drive me crazy. I’ve talked to farmers who can’t pass inspections because they used landscape cloth around their blueberry bushes as that was not considered organic enough. When my husband and I had a CSA farm years ago, we did not certify organic because of the cost and bureaucracy. If you have $5000 in gross sales or less you can claim organic; otherwise you cannot market with that label. We took the Northeast Organic Farmers Association “Farmers Pledge” to market under. We pledged to grow organically and to respect workers’ rights. The national organic standards say nothing about worker conditions, pay, or labor rights.

    For me, organic was great for learning about pests, which I love doing, but I will no longer farm organically at home starting this year. You can either stick to just growing what grows well in your area without spraying and watch your crops lose 50 percent plus yields, use organic chemical substitution, or use lots of physical barriers that create loads of trash (which only works for certain plants anyway). I now see no hope in growing an orchard on the east coast without spraying something. I saw total losses year after year. That’s my new challenge this year – to manage my new orchard well by picking a crop with as little pesticide as I think I can get away with.

    These are some of the reasons why I personally don’t buy (or farm) organic. For me, I would be most inclined to support organic if I perceived a substantial environmental impact, but I’m not convinced of this with the modern industrialization of the organic industry. If I were to prioritize my organic purchases to avoid pesticide residues, I would focus on organic versions of the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen list: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, sweet peppers, and hot peppers. (Click here for the Environmental Working Group’s 2018 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.) For me eating as locally as possible and eating less meat makes a bigger difference, so that is what I focus on. We all have different reasons that are important to us when considering what food to buy and give to our families – having information can help us make the best choices to support our values and also make a positive difference in the world. 

    Quick Guide to Mindful Food Shopping Choices

    For Your Health and the Earth’s

    • If you do not want GMOs in your food, then buy organic.
    • If you want to reduce your personal exposure to pesticide residues, then buy organic or at least buy “The Dirty Dozen” organically.
    • If you want the most nutritions versions of produce, then buy locally and seasonally.
    • If you want the highest quality, most delicious produce, then buy locally and seasonally.
    • If you worry about the working conditions of migrant farm laborers, buy locally.
    • If you want to help conserve biodiversity, cut out or cut back on dairy and meat (shift from beef to pork to poultry).
    • If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, cut out or cut back on dairy and meat (shift from beef to pork to poultry).
    • If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, cut out or cut back on dairy and meat (shift from beef to pork to poultry).
    • If you want generally nutritious food at the best price, buy conventional produce and cook (this is better than eating processed organic food).
    • If you want off-season produce, buy conventional produce (there are many fraudulent organic imports).

     


  9. Friday, February 22, 2019

    Plant-Based Eating Goals and the Carbon Costs of Different Diets (Ep. 48)

    Welcome back to the podcast! Yep, the podcast is back and today I’m launching Season 3. It’s been two years since my last episode (where does the time go?) and I’m excited to get this show back on the road. Going forward the podcast will be a mix of quick episodes with helpful tips, tricks and more as well as interviews like I’ve done in the past. We’ve got some great interviews lined up that I can’t wait to share with you! Today for the podcast I’m introducing this year’s “Eat Well, Heal the Planet” new year’s resolution to focus more on plant-based eating.

    Carbon Costs of Different Diets

    Shownotes:

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: Just search “This Week for Dinner Podcast” on your favorite podcast app.

    Other Stuff!


  10. Friday, February 15, 2019

    Friday Show & Tell: ‘This Week for Dinner’ is finally on Instagram, plus some great podcasts about plant-based foods

    It’s Friday Show and Tell time!Screenshot of This Week for Dinner's Instagram page @thisweekfordinner

    This Week for Dinner is on Instagram!

    So, my blog turned 12 last week. I totally forgot about the blog’s birthday, so, you know, Happy Birthday, Blog! Good job on 12 years and all that. Anyway, I’ve been on Instagram forever but have never focused exclusively on food content because, well, Instagram was sort of my happy place where I did whatever I wanted. It still is, but I have finally pulled the trigger and got This Week for Dinner going on Instagram. I would love love love it if you want to follow me over there. I’ll share content from the blog as well as the podcast (which will be starting up again soon!), the weekly menu and great food! The handle is simply @thisweekfordinner.

    Recent Podcast Recommendations

    Two of my favorite podcasts had some great episodes lately talking about plant-based food. They’re really well done and super interesting, so I definitely want to share them with you!

    Science Vs from Gimlet Media

    Science Vs

    I love Science Vs, it’s a delightful science podcast by Gimlet media and the host Wendy Zukerman is one of my favorites. Anyway, they recently did an episode about vegan diets, looking at different vegan and anti-vegan claims (like vegans are better for the environment and you need cow’s milk to be healthy) to figure out what was true. You can listen to the episode here: Vegans: Are They Right?

    But what I really want to share is the follow up episode about milk alternatives, or shmilks as Wendy calls them. It’s a super short episode that looks at the environmental impact of soy, almond, oat and cow’s milks. At the end of the episode, my 11-year-old Anna said, “Well, it looks like probably our whole family should start using your oat milk, huh, Mom?” You can listen to the episode here: Soy, Almond, Oat Milks: Are They Udder Bull?

    Freakonomics Radio - The Future of Meat Episode Recommendation

    Freakonomics

    Freakonomics is another of my favorite podcasts. Their recent episode The Future of Meat is fascinating and great food for thought. Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods, is interviewed extensively and he has really thoughtful ways of looking at the future of food and meat production. (Fun fact: my husband Nate’s company synthesized DNA for Impossible when they were developing their ground beef product. Cool, huh?)

    That’s all for today! And, as always, show and tell is for the whole class! Feel free to share whatever you want in the comments below!