Monday, April 2, 2007

Green Kids Rule

One great outcome for moving to Los Angeles has been my hightened awareness for social responsibility. Although there are many causes in need of assistance, there are two primary efforts which I have focused my attention: the ethical treatment of animals and environmental protection.

Animal rights is part of my everyday life. When you live by example, you create a certain level of awareness. People I have never discussed animal rights or veganism with, are adopting vegetarian habits because they see it.

Farm animals are complex and unique. They are as capable of feeling pain and frustration, joy and fear, just as those dogs and cats we welcome into our families. Yet industrialized agriculture treats them merely as eggs, meat, and milk-producing machines, instead of the living and sensitive beings they are.

Supporting your environment is a win-win proposition. You feel better when you take action to help our Earth, and the planet benefits, too. You'd have to travel far and wide to find a soul who says they want to trash our Earth. But unknowingly, people who sink their teeth into a juicy burger are harming the environment. Consider these two:
  • On average, feeding a meat eater requires 3.25 acres of agricultural land each year. In contrast, a vegan needs just one-sixth of an acre
  • More than 4,000 gallons of water are needed to produce a single day's worth of food for the typcial meat eater. A vegan requires 300 gallons.

Getting an early start on a healthy and active lifestyle is an important advantage to going "green". Here are some delicious and healthy alternatives to kid cuisine - oh, and Bessie will thank you!

Skinny Burritos - Put 1/2 c. beans (black or pinto), two heaping tablespoons brown rice, salsa and sliced avocado, across the bottom two inches of a whole-wheat tortilla. Roll up and don´t worry about tucking in the ends, it´s fun this way. They should be no more than 2 inches in diameter (skinny!).

Are you puddin´ me on? Without gelatin! In blender put 1 box silken tofu, 1 large banana, 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave sweetener, 1 cup vanilla rice milk or soymilk. Blend. Add a little more rice or soymilk if needed for desired consistency and you can vary amount (more or less) of sweetener as well. Serve in cute cups.

Edamame - Pronounced kind of like "and-your-mommy," are steamed green soybeans. Fun to eat right out of the pod, just steam and toss with a little sea salt. You can also find dried edamame at Trader Joe's.

Salads with Crunchies – Chop all kinds of veggies, serve with a basic oil and vinegar dressing (1 part olive oil to 3 parts vinegar, salt and pepper to taste). Top with choices like roasted soynuts, shelled sunflower seeds, toasted sesame seeds, chopped roasted almonds, crunchy corn nuts or even popped popcorn! Fun!

Almond Butter Apple Dip – In a small bowl put 1 cup almond butter, 2 TB. maple syrup and 1/2 cup warm water and whisk together. Arrange sliced apples around bowl with the dip and watch it disappear. Good without the extra sweetener as well.

More healthy and kid friendly recipes will be coming soon!

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