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Why Eat a Plant-Rich Diet?

By Carol Monson


The most comprehensive assessment of direct and indirect greenhouse emissions says that more than 50% come from raising livestock. If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.


Drawdown ranks a plant rich diet as number 2 to 4.  A 2016 study from the University of Oxford says that emissions could be reduced as much as 70% with a vegan diet, and by 63% with a vegetarian diet by the year 2050. Psalm 24:1 reminds us that the earth is the Lord’s.  And it follows that we should care for it, as well as for our own well-being. Greenhouse emissions destroy so much of the “good” air we need to live and thrive, as well as increase global warming.

 

In the Bible, we don’t find references to eating meat until after the flood. Of course, there is no prohibition against eating meat. But the plant rich diet our biblical ancestors followed was very beneficial to their health!

 

Concerned about getting enough protein?

Adults require 50 grams per day. In our country, the average adult consumes more than 90 grams. We do need to get B12 from a supplement if we are a  strict vegan. If we are older, we should be taking this anyway. Eating too much protein can lead to certain cancers, strokes, heart disease. We should take vitamin B12 if we eat a plant rich diet.

 

Besides health benefits of a plant rich diet, what are some other benefits? This diet can feed more people leading to a sustainable future for a global food supply. It can also help with water management and terrestrial ecosystems, and reduce the suffering of animals.

 

Recent research shows that transition to a plant rich diet may be the most effective way an individual can help with the climate crisis. Isn’t that good news? We can help our beloved community every time we pick up our metal fork when eating our lentils or veggie burgers! It is a win-win situation.

 

How to get there:

Try meat substitutes made from plants. Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers, Black Bean Burgers are just a few. More are showing up. I make a lentil loaf and three-way chili from lentils. (No grease to worry about). Also try using lentils instead of rice.


In Genesis 25:29, Esau sells his birthright for a thick stew of red lentils. While we don’t advise you to do such a thing, lentils are certainly delicious and nutritious!  Per Green American, rice production results in about 10 lbs of greenhouse emissions per 2.2 lbs of rice. In comparison, lentils produce 2 lbs of emissions per 2.2 lbs. Plus they promote soil health and contain high fiber and protein.


In many recipes, lentils can be easily substituted for rice. I haven’t tried this yet, but oh do I love my lentils! Also be aware of cheddar cheese as it comes with a whopping 46 lbs of emissions per 2.2 lbs. Another great bean is chickpeas as they have only 1.4 lbs of emissions per 2.2 lbs.

 

Here are some fun recipes you can try:


Chickpea Curry in a Hurry

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15 oz) can – drained

½ cup vegetable broth

1 ½ cups diced tomatoes

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp curry powder

1/3 cup unsweetened dried coconut

10 oz. bag of frozen chopped spinach (Fresh also works)

 

In large saucepan, add all ingredients except spinach. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Break up spinach with a fork, cover and continue until spinach is cooked. I have often served this with pasta.

 

Lentil Loaf

1 cup uncooked lentils

2 cups cheddar cheese

½ cup Parmesan cheese

One small, minced onion

¾ tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

½ tsp thyme

One egg – beaten

2 cups soft whole wheat breadcrumbs (I save the heels of my bread, freeze them, and then when I need them crumb them up)

One 8 oz can tomato sauce

 

Use greased 9x5 loaf pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

 

Cook lentils in boiling water until tender (about 20-30 minutes). In large bowl combine (slightly mashed lentils, cheeses, onion, seasonings, and breadcrumbs.) I often use my hands to mix it up well. Pat into loaf pan. The recipe says to pour enough tomato sauce over to cover the top, but I have found I like it better if I cook the loaf for 40 minutes, then pour enough sauce over it to cover it for the last 10 minutes. Since I have enough loaf left, I save the rest of the sauce for when I heat the loaf up again. If you like to put the sauce on at the start, then it recommends you add heated sauce over the cut slices.

 

Black Bean Spread

2 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained

½ cup large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, mashed

½ medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup mild salsa

2 Tbs fresh lime juice

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

 

In a bowl mash the beans and avocado together with a fork until well blended and only sightly chunky. Add all the remaining ingredients. The recipe says to place about ¼ cup of the mixture in the center of a lettuce lead and roll it up. I like it as a sandwich spread.

 

Cincinnati Chili with Attitude

1 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups cooked lentils

1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 Tbs minced garlic

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 Tbs chili powder

1 tsp cocoa

¼ tsp cinnamon

12 ounces linguine

 

Sauté onions. Add everything except pasta. Simmer chili for 20 minutes. Serve over pasta. To prepare in slow cooker, sauté the onions. Transfer them to slow cooker, add the rest of ingredients except pasta. Cook chili on low 5 to 7 hours.


Eating a plant-based diet is good for you and good for our mother earth. Enjoy your plant-based culinary adventures!




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