Changing your diet can be as effective in reducing emissions of climate-changing gases as changing (or eliminating) the car you drive, installing a geothermal heating system or doing away with the clothes dryer. In fact, according to the Worldwatch Institute and the World Health Organization, our dietary choices have significantly more impact. Support for a more vegetarian way of eating also comes from former chief economist of the World Bank and Stern Review author Nicholas Stern, who will be in attendance at the UN meeting on climate change in Copenhagen from December 7 to 18. Sweden has become a leader by introducing grocery and restaurant labels that list the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the production of the foods one chooses.
Whether you go veggie one day a week or seven, you can nourish and warm yourself by making a lesser impact on the planet. The following recipes are from Raising Vegetarian Children by Jo Stepaniak and Vesanto Melina (McGraw-Hill).
Warm red cider
Makes 3 3/4 cups
This aromatic drink is welcome after an afternoon outdoors. If you prefer, replace the cinnamon sticks and whole cloves with 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground cloves. As cranberry cocktail is usually sweetened with sugar, you may wish to replace both juices with a sugar-free apple-cranberry-grape juice blend.
2 cups apple juice
Makes about 8 cups
Pasta in a creamy, cheesy-tasting sauce, with or without tomatoes, is a favourite with young and old. This delicious meal is dairy-free, low in fat and high in protein, vitamins and minerals. For a wheat-free and gluten-free version, use rice or corn pasta instead of wheat macaroni. Nutritional yeast flakes are available from natural foods stores and help give a cheesy flavour. (They taste quite different from other types of yeast.) As this dish cools, or if leftovers are refrigerated, the macaroni will absorb moisture from the sauce. To make the mixture more saucy, add a little water or tomato juice when you reheat it.
2 tablespoons olive, safflower or other vegetable oil
Gee Whiz Cheez
Makes 2 cups
2 cups cooked or canned (15-ounce can) white beans, drained
The following food and nutrition classics, co-authored by local dietitian Vesanto Melina, make excellent gifts: Becoming Vegetarian, Becoming Vegan, Raising Vegetarian Children, The Food Allergy Survival Guideand the Raw Food Revolution Diet. For consultations, phone 604-882-6782 . www.camd58.sg-host.com