Continuing in the vein of ethical eating and drinking, I am currently viewing “No Impact Man”(thus the title) and attempting to write this at the same time. Please pardon the perhaps increased nonsensical nature of my blurb.
Little Big Thought # One: Bread from Scratch
A wee project in terms of food procurement, is to make bread or to not make bread? If I get a bread maker, will I truly commit to the process?
There are clear advantages to making your own bread. I have never ever made it myself, and I am pretty sure that I can make a fair go of it with a bread machine. It is not like the golden olden days of putting yeast in a bowl and letting it rise in a warm place, etc etc.
The clear advantages of making my bread:
4. Less ingredients
Disadvantages are harder to pinpoint. Committing to the project requires a willingness to take the time. I will also need to take into consideration where the ingredients are coming from.
In the meantime, the above bread is a pretty good. It is made in Abby, and very natural. In addition to that, the bag is biodegradable. The Little Big Bread and the Hemp Bread are my two favorites. Both can be found in the freezer section at Choices(the last couple of times I checked, they didn’t have the Hemp though), Whole Foods, and other natural type market places. Of course, you could also go to a bakery; a good, organic bakery.
Little Big Thought #Two: Making More and Other Food from Scratch
I have been doing pretty well at making my own food since I’ve been out at my sister’s in her much more conducive to cooking kitchen. I am a take out/restaurant challenged person, as in I like both, a lot. It stems from the fact that someone else can make food better than myself and I like it that way because then I don’t have to do it. But I can make good food. I like it and no one else is eating it, so it doesn’t matter if it’s fancy pantsy, gourmet divine! It just needs to taste good enough to satisfy me, and on occasion, the others I am willing to feed.
Once I started again, I am happy to say that I got back into it. I am not at the stage of eschewing all restaurants and take-out quite yet. I have gone to Gorilla Foods (downtown on Richards, between Hastings and Pender) last weekend and got take-out sushi tonight. Generally, though, this is an area that needs a lot of work, because my inclination is to do the quick and easy (more on my take-out/restaurant kit to come). If I think through the process and lay it down a day or 2 ahead of time, I am good to go. I am working progressively backward to the spot where I am making sure to buy in bulk where I can (eg. beans, lentils, flour, etc) so I can reduce packaging. When it comes to fruit and veg I am paying attention to location location location. To every season, turn turn turn. I think it’s going to be a challenge to rid myself utterly of long traveled, non-seasonal fruit, in particular eg. grapefruit. I am living to improve and improving my life. This is a considerable factor.
Simplicity can be key. I struggle to reduce my consumption in certain areas. The recipe I am about to share with you is amazing, but it asks for a short list of quick, prepackaged items. Having made it, I can see the alternative approach, one where I make my own salsa, tortilla chips, use bulk kidney beans, and make my own bread instead of using hamburger buns. Here is the recipe as originally written. It is simple, delicious, and I will try it in the future with my adjustments.
Salsa Bean Cakes
19 oz (540 mL) can of red kidney beans
1 large egg, fork beaten
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1/2 cup salsa
2 tsp of cooking oil
Mash beans with fork in medium bowl(I mush them with my hands…mashing takes too long and just isn’t as effective. But if that grosses you out, mash away). Add the next 3 ingredients. Stir well. (I am adding my own little adjustment here, because I think it would produce a more manageable bean cake. Put the mix in the fridge or possibly freezer to let it set for awhile. Why? It isn’t possible to do the next step well if the mix isn’t more solidified). Divide into 6 equal portions.
Heat cooking oil in large frying pan on medium. Cook for about 5 minutes each side until browned and heated through.
(For my Weight Watcher’s Pals, this works out to 4 points/cake. Here is the nutritional info too. 142 calories, 5.7 g fat, 18 g carbs, 4 g fibre, 6 g protein, 231 mg sodium)
I topped mine with more salsa, cilantro, tomato, lettuce/spinach, dijon, chipotle hot sauce, cucumber, onion and so on and so on, on an Uprising Bread (local) hamburger bun.
I would recommend heating up the leftovers in some sort of sauce, like a bbq or any tomato type thing, maybe even veggie broth, as they are drier the next day. That can be compensated for by sopping them with condiments too, naturally:)
As you can read, easy peasy. A great alternative to a meat or meatless burger, in my humble opinion.
Little Big Thought #3: When Out and About Fooding Calls, Have Kit, Will Travel
One of the challenges in a very bustling, go from here to there kind of a world (yes, even I find this as an unemployed person), is that the temptation is so super strong to take the easy way out. This easy way includes one use paper napkins, coffee cups, take-out containers, and so on and so forth. I am not great at this, because I am forgetful, but I have made a conscious effort to say, “If I don’t have my kit, I’m not getting take-out.” My success rate hasn’t been super high overall except with my travel mug, but this too, is absolutely going to change. No more excuses. And why? Because of planning. I have packed my lunch and snacks and been eating them in transit since I’ve been out in Coquitlam, because, as it turns out, everything I’ve needed to do has had me in transit at lunch time. Water bottle, sandwich, a couple of pieces of fruit, chopped up veg that travels well, coffee cup (in case), cup for iced coffee (on the other just in case days when something cold is in order), cloth napkin/facecloth as napkin, new underwear as napkin, whatever works for you as napkin, and a hand towel for the bathroom (instead of paper towel). It’s also good to have extra Ziplock or other plastic bags that are sealable. I prefer the zip ones because I am prone to mess making in my backpack, and I find they are sturdy, so I can wash them over and over and use them a gazillion times before they insist upon meeting their demise.
If I am ill-prepared in the morning or I know ahead of time that I am planning on getting take-out, other kit bits include a few empty plastic containers to pack food up in. I have never had any restaurant get irritated with me or say no when I’ve given them my bag of containers to pack my food in. Like tonight when I got sushi and Sunomono; gave her the bag and my little Japanese food mantra, “No ginger, soy sauce, napkins, or chop sticks, please and thank-you!”
This may seem very bulky and like a giant head/ass pain. It is a touch of a nuisance. However, I am very used to toting a lot with me, and it’s been scientifically proven that I feel naked and weird without my backpack or other large bag(s). You get used to it. I am constantly bopping about with sacks in hand, carrying any number of things from groceries, to library books, to actual boulders. I come prepared, and so once it’s a habit, it is far less troublesome. I find it worthwhile because it is one of the ways I’ve had some success with eco improvement. I have a long long way to go to earn/live up to my “Sustainability Superstar” moniker foisted upon me by Kaan of eatlogicalsentences fame (I have to figure out how to set up the link to his site so others can partake of his ceaseless adventures..well worth the read, I think).
Last Little Big Thought of the Day
Do not give up. I am not in it to “Save the Earth”, so to speak. Ultimately, I believe the planet will outlive us regardless; why? Because it is more powerful, and will, in my opinion, continue when we are extinct. We are making the earth unsustainable for our species and taking many many others down with us. This is absolutely no reason not to do what I said above. For me, this awareness only propels me to further thought and action, action and thought.
I am here to do my part and grow and share what I can, so that I can be more respectful, grateful, and be a more gentle presence. I think that the biblical principle (which is the only one I can quote accurately), that is also reflected through all religions and philosophies, is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Where the ethical chain is broken for many is that they do precisely that; they are unkind to themselves, their bodies, the people that they meet or don’t, and this extends out into the natural world. A better way of thinking of this perhaps would be,”Do unto yourself and others one and the same goodness, kindness, respectfulness, with the least amount of harm and the most love you can. Be awake to each moment where this happens, and build upon them.”