Carrot Greens …To Eat, or Not to Eat?

30562896_m

I grew carrots in my backyard this summer.  The greens were so tall and pretty  that it seemed like such a waste to throw them out.  I went on a hunt to see what I could do with them and discovered  a wealth of info about the benefits of eating them and some amazing new ways to cook them.   Yes, you can eat the carrot tops too. No, they are not poisonous!  If you would like info about the myth behind why some people believe carrot tops are toxic, check out Garden Betty’s blog post for more info.  I recommend buying only organic since conventionally grown carrot greens are heavily sprayed with pesticides, which could be a factor in why some people claim to have had adverse reactions.

Carrot greens are loaded with nutrients and taste delicious!  They are high in protein, vitamins and minerals.  They are a great source of calcium and potassium and contain 6 times more vitamin C  than the carrot root.  They also contain a rich amount of vitamin K and chlorophyll which are both completely  lacking from the carrot root.

So, the next time that you are at the Farmer’s Market and  buy carrots, don’t discard the carrot top greens.   They are not just food for rabbits (insert joke here about how vegans eat rabbit food).

 

Some fantastic ways to use carrot greens include:

Carrot Top Soup

This recipe is from “Willy Street Co-op”. Leave out the parmigian cheese to make it vegan. It is equally delicious without it.    Get the recipe here
.
Carrot Top Pesto

Here is a delicious and easy to make recipe for pesto from “Wholy Goodness”   Get the recipe here.

Sautéed Carrot Top Greens

1 clove of Garlic- minced

1 bunch of Carrot Greens

! tablespoon of Olive Oil

Pinch of Salt

Wash greens well. De- stem and save the leaves.  Heat oil in the pan.  Add minced garlic.  Add greens.  Cook until they soften and leaves turn dark green.  Add pinch of salt.

.
Carrot Top Tea
2 cups of fresh carrot top leaves washed well
.
8 cups of boiling water
.
Pour the boiling water over the tops and allow to steep until the water is cold. Remove the leaves (strain) and drink the tea over ice or reheat to drink warm.

.

Salad

Add carrot greens to any salad for added variety and nutrients

 

Passionate Vegans at the People’s Climate March

This past sunday I participated in the People’s Climate March with an estimated 400,000 other people on the streets of New York City.  Massive doesn’t even begin to describe it.  It was the largest march in history and I was so happy to be a part of it. There were people from all walks of life participating including a vast variety of environmental organizations, religious groups, unions, students, elders, anti- corporate campaigns, peace groups, community groups, scientists, celerbrities…the list goes on and on.  It was a peaceful march and a beautiful celebration of people coming together to support a better world.

Just 3 days before,  I watched one of the most powerful environmental documentaries that I have ever seen…Cowspiracy.  Cowspiracy made the case that the leading cause of environmental destruction on the planet is animal agriculture. The movie is well researched and has a lot of statistics. The data is quite shocking.  As a vegan, I  have heard that the leading cause of global warming is the raising of animals for meat, but I honestly didn’t realize just how serious of an issue this was until I saw this movie and it was all put in perspective.

A just a few of the shocking facts presented include:

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental degradation on the planet.  To put it into perspective, fracking uses 100 billion gallons of water per year, while animal agriculture uses 34 trillion gallons of water.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of all green house gases, as opposed to the 13% that the entire transportation industry combined gives off.

It takes 660 gallons of water to produce enough meat for just one hamburger.  It takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk

1 acre of rainforest (the equivalent of one football field) is cleared every second, with all of the species in it. Most of this is to clear room to graze cattle.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, over- grazing, over- fishing and habitat disruption.

75% of the ocean is now depleted due to over- fishing. It is predicted that we could see fish-less oceans by 2048 if we don’t change our eating habits

For every 1 pound of fish caught, an average of 5 pounds of unintended marine species including dolphins, whales, sea turtles and sharks  are caught and discarded as by-kill.

 

The statistics show that consuming animal products in any form is unsustainable. Often times people think that it is better to eat grass-fed or “sustainable” meat products.  Unfortunately there is no such thing.   The movie points out that due to the amount of land that is needed for grass-fed beef, it is even more unsustainable than factory farming.

 What was almost equally as disturbing as the statistics in the movie was that major environmental groups  didn’t realize or refuse to even mention that animal agriculture is the number one problem destroying the environment.  The movie explores this issue and some of the motives behind it, hence the “Cowspiracy”.  The movie was brilliantly put together and I left feeling motivated to get the word out to every single person I know.  We are running out of time and the entire earth depends on getting this info out there and taking action.

IMG_0732

It seemed serendipitous that I watched this film just days before attending the march.   It felt like this was our opportunity as vegans to spread the word since the biggest contributor to the problem is not known to many people.  It was a massive platform filled with our target audience (people that wanted to heal the earth) and it was our chance to shed some light on the truth.  It was important to help those who were already deeply interested in change as well as the passers-by.  I was proud to stand with such a lovely group of like-minded people.  We handed out flyers and got in to deep discussions.  We were embraced by many.   And whether or not people made the switch to vegan overnight, the seeds were planted either by reading a sign, having a discussion or receiving a pamphlet. It was an important day. It didn’t matter who funded the march, or the motives behind it.  What mattered was that we got to stand together for something that we believe in and share it with the world on a massive scale.

I find that people come to veganism for 4 different reasons… Animal rights, Health, Spirituality or for the Environment.  Since this post is about the environment, here are some more statistics:

Vegans Save Every Day:

  • 1100 gallons of water
  • 45 pounds of grain
  • 30 sq. ft. of forest
  • 20 pounds of CO2
  • 1 animals life

I encourage everyone that is reading this post to see the movie Cowspiracy. Attend a screening and buy dvds. Share the info with friends and family.  The time to act is now! www.cowspiracy.com  

 

IMG_0716

Vanessa with the director/producer/writer and star of the movie Cowspiracy, Kip Andersen

 

IMG_0725

 

 

 

Nutritional Powerhouse: Chia Seed Pudding

IMG_0752
Chi-chi-chi-chia! As a child I used to love chia pets.  Little did I know that those tiny grey seeds were sprouted, nutritional powerhouses.  I used to be fascinated by the fact that when you just add water to the seeds they develop a gel like substance and that was all that you needed in order to stick the seeds to the chia pet.  That gelatin- like property is part of what makes them so good for you.  When eaten it slows down the absorption of sugars and prevents blood sugar spikes.  This is especially good news for diabetics as well as anyone who wishes to lose belly fat.
Some of the other amazing benefits of chia seeds include:
High in fiber
Good for your gastrointestinal tract
High in Omega-3 fatty acid
Rich in calcium
High in protein and is easily utilized and absorbed
For more detailed information about the benefits see source 
 
Chia seeds also make a fantastic Egg Substitute.  Here is a link showing how to make an “egg” to use in vegan baking using only chia seeds and water!

My favorite food to make with chia seeds is Chia Seed Pudding.  It is very easy to make, loaded with nutrition and can be eaten for breakfast, a snack or for dessert.  The flavor can be versatile depending on the toppings that you use.   I like to use fresh, seasonal fruit.  Some topping suggestions are bananas, coconut, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, fresh figs, walnuts, pistachios, cacao and chopped almonds.

 Chia Seed Pudding

IMG_0749

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups vanilla coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • fruit/nuts  of your choice for topping

 For a fall treat: add a 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon of pumping pie spice and top with walnuts 

 

 

 

Directions: 

Combine chia seeds, milk, vanilla and maple syrup in a bowl.  Stir well to mix ingredients.  Let stand for 30 mins.  Stir again to distribute the seeds that have settled.

Cover and place bowl in the fridge overnight.  Distribute pudding into clear serving glasses or bowls.  Top with fruit/nuts  of your choice.

Beanfield’s Chips Review

Hands down Beanfield’s takes the prize for my favorite chips ever!!!

BeanfieldsLogo

They are Vegan, Corn- free, Gluten free, non- gmo and they remind me of Doritos, only better!

 

“So what are they made of if they are corn and gluten free?”     Rice and Beans… and honestly you would never know it!!!

Because of this combo they have 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving!

These chips have a wonderful, flavorful taste and I have found them to be quite addicting.  Luckily they are a healthy alternative to other brands.

beanfields chips

I was able to sample all of the flavors and my favorites are Nacho and Ranch.

The other flavors include Barbecue, Sea Salt, Pico De Gallo, Salt and Pepper and Unsalted

Here is their website where you can buy them by the case or locate a store near you that carries them…

http://www.beanfieldssnacks.com

HAPPY SNACKING!!!