This Pandemic Life: 8 Ways To Show The Earth Some Love Right Now

Happy Earth Month!

Guys this post is late. Like two weeks too late. But my days are all mixed up over here, as I am sure many of yours are too. One of my new mantras is “better late than never” because does anyone really know what day it is? While many things feel ass over teakettle (I have no idea what that means but just heard and now love the saying lol), we should take the time during Earth Month to focus on some positive changes the world is seeing, and some ways we can continue to curb our negative effects on the planet.

From the mess of the world that is COVID-19 has emerged a narrative of beautiful stories of how our planet is responding to its lack of human interaction these days…cleaner air, clearer water, more green space. It’s wonderful that we are allowing Mother Earth to breathe rather than fight the constant stress of us, although sad that it took a pandemic to do so.

Venice Canal Clear NY Post
Venice, Italy Photo Credit: New York Post

 

Air pollution has been drastically reduced in major smog-producing countries like China and Japan; Los Angeles, CA has reported the lowest levels of air pollution since 1995. Water is running clear through the canals of Venice, Italy, and dolphins are returning to Italian ports, many believe from the lack of water traffic and cruise ships docking. However, the silver lining of a cleaner, greener earth amid this terrible time is a bit tarnished, as our health and safety precautions are also having some detrimental effects on the waste we produce.

We are washing everything more – our hands, our clothes, our food, our parcels – as we should, but as a result, we are most certainly using and wasting more water. Gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers create more waste (and unfortunately more litter), as we are using more of these products. Buying non-perishables means we are buying and wasting or recycling more packaging. Online ordering means bubble wrap and boxes for days.

Littered Mask Richmond News
Littered mask Photo Cred: Richmond News

And while we can’t nor should we stop taking the necessary precautions to protect ourselves from the virus, there are areas we can improve on to try and counterbalance our increased waste in other areas:

 

  1. DIY instead of buy – Now’s the time to get creative at home about what you can make to reduce your packaging vs buying. Think anything from coffee to bread, moisturizer to cleaning products. If you can make it, make it.

 

  1. When washing more, take shorter showers – we are using way more water than we have before because we are washing our hands and our clothes and everything else more often. To counterbalance that, take shorter showers and limit baths. Wash up quick and get out.

 

  1. Take advantage of local options – whenever you can, try to choose local if you have access to curbside pick-up or delivery. Think farms, butchers, greenhouses etc that can help you reduce your carbon footprint by buying products that travel the bare minimum to get to you.

 

  1. Reduce your screen time and read a real book – screen time is super addicting right now, and binge-watching shows and binge-scrolling everything is so easy to do. But not only can this have a serious impact on your mental health, you are using and wasting extra power. Try taking the time to read an actual book made out of paper. It’s great for the brain and can reduce your wasted electricity.

 

  1. Get your garden on – whether inside or out, growing your food is a great option to help reduce waste and help the earth and the air. Grow herbs inside, or get a full on vegetable garden going in your yard if possible. This could save you money and trips to the store, which about now is a win-win for everyone.

 

  1. Keep online ordering to a minimum – while it is tempting to order things online like crafts, projects, puzzles, etc. try to keep this to a minimum and use what you’ve got. Online ordering just increases the amount of packaging you are going through, and almost everything these days is packaged to excess. Try to go through what you have, repurpose when possible, and just say no to impulse buying.

 

  1. Eat better to save toilet paper – Yep I said that. Your diet has a big effect on your poop. The better your nutrition, the cleaner your poops should be, requiring less toilet paper. Figure out what foods mess with your poops and avoid if you can. (Shameless plug, but I can help you with this, and am booking virtual appointments right now)

 

  1. Do things by candlelight – seriously who doesn’t love a little mood lighting? Reading by candlelight can feel so fancy, yoga and meditation by candlelight can shift and ground your focus, and who doesn’t love a good candlelight cuddle. Even showering with candlelight can feel so cool. And if you use beeswax candles, you are cleansing the air around you, so bonus. Ghost stories for the kiddos by candlelight anyone?
photo of hand holding lit white pillar candle
Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

What are other ways you can show some love to our planet? We are all learning how precious life is right now, and the life of our earth is no different or less important. And we are all seeing how our actions can have a positive impact on our air, earth, and wildlife. If we shift our focus from what we cannot avoid during this pandemic, to other ways we can improve our footprint, we can learn to adapt and grow for not only the moment, but also for the future.

Levels of Awesome

Healthy food is typically boring and lame. I thought so too…how can food taste good without delicious starchy-ness? Without deep-fried crunchiness? Without meaty saturated fatiness? Well, my friend, it is entirely doable, you just have to add dimensions of flavour to your everyday ingredients. Incorporate these suggestions to make your salads, soups, curries, stir fries, sauces and bakes more flavourful and exciting, without adding extra bad for you stuff. Think of it as increasing your foods level of awesomeness a little bit more every time.

 

Roast Roasted Tomatoes 1

Take plain veggies and supe them up a bit. Roast any veg tossed in a bit of olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and add them to your recipe as you normally would. Roasted grape tomatoes (10-15min), hot or cold, add a sweeter note to salads. Roasted cauliflower dusted with cumin (35-45min) is a great addition to curry for a hint of charred nuttiness. Roasted nuts (5-10min) add body and texture to dips. Roasted garlic (in beheaded clove in tinfoil, 40min) is good in and/or on pretty much everything. Almost any vegetable can be roasted to add another flavour dimension to a dish.

 

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Sautéed/Caramelize

Sautéeing, to the point of caramelization or not, adds a sweet and sticky dimension of flavour. Adding warm sautéed spinach, onions, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, garlic, asparagus, or beans to a salad or omelette can make the difference between an energetic happy chew or a sad, slow chomp. For sautéeing, cook sliced or chopped veg of choice on medium to low heat in 1 tsp of olive oil per handful until desired softness is achieved. For caramelization, cook a bit closer to low and add another drizzle of olive oil to the pan, cooking until veg is super soft and starts to turn caramel coloured. Add balsamic vinegar or hot sauce instead of extra oil for a unique bite.

 

Marinate

It’s not just for meat anymore, although yes, a good marinade can tenderize a nice piece of meat to perfection. Marinating veggies is a great idea too, giving them flavour and juiciness. Marinate cauliflower in curry spice and coconut milk overnight before roasting. Drizzle chopped red onion, zucchini, eggplant and garlic cloves with oregano, olive oil and lemon juice and marinate for an hour before throwing on skewers for the barbie. Even firm cheeses like feta and halloumi can be cubed and marinated in balsamic vinegar to give colour and tang to the outer layer of each piece.

 

ToastToasted Curry Spice

Nuts and spices can become earthier and richer with a bit of toasting. Throw pinches or handfuls of pretty much any nut or spice into a frying pan on medium heat and toast them up a bit. When they start to turn golden immediately take them off the heat and get them out of the frying pan. Let cool and use as usual.

 

Soak

This technique is great for ingredients that are dried or semi dried. Soak dried cranberries or cherries in orange brandy for a brie cheese topper, or as a tasty addition to any salad. Dried whole chilies can be soaked in red wine before being chopped and added to chili, stews or soups. Semi-sundried tomatoes are delicious when soaked in white wine before being tossed in a chunky light vegetable toss. Who am I kidding…soaking is another way to help you get a little buzz on while maintaining good health!

 

What other ways are there to add a new dimension of flavour to a dish? How do you increase your foods awesome factor?