Fine & Raw Chocolate in Brooklyn, New York, has mastered the craft of making exquisite raw treats. When you try their chocolate bars or truffles it feels like you are eating food rather than chocolate. Chocolate making is an art form and they have fun at it as well. If you are trying to satisfy your chocolate fix, searching for the perfect vegan gift to send someone, or plan on treating yourself or others this Halloween, find Fine & Raw on Treatmo. Your chocolate will be on its way in just a few taps. The treat stream let's your friends see what you've bought as well so you can share the experience!
Vegan sushi options in the past have usually been limited to cucumber or avocado rolls. However, with the popularity of nori seaweed as a health food and its use to make nori rolls, the rise of creative and delicious vegan seaweed rolls is growing unabated. In fact, you could argue that the concept of sushi is much better suited for vegetables than for fish or other seafood.
First, it takes much less effort to harvest and chop a few vegetables from the garden than to cultivate an entire fishing industry to make this meal. Second, you can combine many more ingredients with thin slices or strips of vegetables than wrapping up a singe piece of fish or processed crab resulting in more robust flavor. Lastly, it is much healthier and cleaner eating! So enjoy the rainbow of plant-based food options wrapped in nutrient dense nori and keep a look out for the expanding options of nori rolls at plant-based restaurants around the country!
In some dense urban areas, almost 100% of the produce comes from outside sources. This usually means that access to fresh vegetables and fruit is limited or comes at a very high price. For those who are used well several well stocked grocery stores to choose from, a wide variety of farmers markets on Saturday morning to enjoy, or even a small farm within a short driving distance to purchase recently harvested greens, this can make eating a healthy diet difficult to maintain and to enjoy since fresh vegetables have a much better flavor than food that has had to travel great distance to reach your kitchen table.
Some cities are overcoming this limitation by going vertical and allowing the construction of rooftop gardens. With a range of new ways to grow vegetables in a restricted space such as hydroponics or turning green rooftops into farms, access to fresh produce seems within reach. According to NPR, this trend is evident in Chicago where space is at a premium and where there are already 359 green rooftops that are well suited to convert to gardens. One such green roof has 20,000 square feet of space and is now the largest soil based rooftop farm in the midwest. While there are some barriers to doing this everywhere such as building structural issues and permits, it does have potential.
A similar concept is being tried in Baltimore, where 97% of the produce comes from outside the state of Maryland. According to this article from Johns Hopkins Magazine one project is underway to build a hydroponic garden in a 320 square foot shipping container to demonstrate the feasibility of growing food in a small space. In a city where there is a dense urban population, many abandoned buildings, and local demand for produce, the conditions are right for trying out the concept. By utilizing these spaces with the hydroponic farming concept, more produce will become available that can support the demand and even play a role in the city school system to feed students for instance.
In the future, more buildings will be designed to accommodate a variety of farming methods in and around the structure. In fact, several buildings around the U.S. and the world have already demonstrated that concept. The photo above from Singapore is a very modern example where the garden is on a separate structure spanning across the tops of three buildings. Until more architecture like this exists, enterprising companies and individuals will continue to explore ways to grow produce from existing spaces on urban rooftops as we improve access to fresh healthy food.
A recent study by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health confirms the benefits of cooking food at home instead of eating out or consuming processed foods from the grocery store. The study also showed that those who cooked at home consumed fewer calories when they ate out.
"When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar, and less fat than those who cook less or not at all—even if they are not trying to lose weight," says Julia A. Wolfson, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and lead author of the study. Source
While it's not always easy to cook at home when schedules are busy, there are ways to simplify:
-Learn to love what you cook. When the food you make tastes better than than the food you can purchase, you might be more motivated to cook at home more often. It's not hard to learn how and just takes a bit of practice.
-Combine packaged foods with home cooked additions. For instance, you may not have time to make butternut squash ravioli. But you can make a sauce filled with sautéed vegetables and pour it over the packaged ravioli you find in the frozen section of the store so you get at least some fresh ingredients.
-Make food in bulk and make it ahead. This practice becomes easy when you pick a day of the week or weekend to make something you really enjoy and make enough of it to fill a large bin. This could be a mixture such as rice, beans, tofu, and frozen veggies including peas and corn. This mixture can be heated or sautéed and eaten as a rice bowl, put into burritos, and even mixed into salads. When you get good at it, you can cook food in bulk without taking too much time away from your other in house activities.
Lastly and most importantly, have ingredients well stocked in your kitchen. Spend money at the grocery store early in the week so your valuable food allowance goes to buying raw vegetables and fruit that you'll turn into healthy and amazing homemade meals!
Creating easy access to fresh vegetables is one way to encourage healthy eating. Sidewalk gardens which use the unpaved areas between streets and sidewalks for planting have been tried in many places to do this. LA City Council approved curbside gardens in March of this year with some restrictions regarding visibility around driveways. Advocacy groups have pushed hard for the gardens so that people could grow their own food especially in areas described as 'food deserts'.
After visiting the Pacific Northwest this summer, I discovered a wonderful example of a curbside garden in Langley, a small island town in Washington State. The municipal garden was grown with great care and displayed ample vegetables ready to be harvested, included kale, chard, pumpkin, and squash. Nice groupings of blooming flowers made the garden look more like a landscaping project than a vegetable garden and a pleasant site when walking by.
Since the garden is public, all who pass by can harvest the vegetables. As the sign below recommends, take a few and leave a few. With curbside gardens like this in abundance, more people may be tempted to take a few and eat healthier.
Make Simple Vegan Meals