The phrase “going green” can mean many different things to different individuals. Kate Behrenhausen is just one woman who commits herself to a healthy diet and only buys produce that is locally grown. This is how Kate makes her own footprint on the green scene.
Kate believes that “going green" "consists of small individual changes that are made for the benefit of everyone.” Kate considers herself to be a pescovegetarian. A pescovegetarian is someone who follows the normal vegetarian diet, yet allows themselves to consume fish. Fish is the only meat they will consume.
The only problem with consuming fish is that sometimes fish contains mercury. Mercury is not healthy to consume. Mercury can enter ponds, lakes, and rivers through pollution. If mercury enters the water, it can also enter the fish that live in the water. High levels of mercury in the body can cause harm to a human’s kidneys and brain. Some symptoms of mercury poisoning include irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems. Although this issue can propose a problem, the advantages of being a vegetarian and on occasion consuming fish is still healthier than consuming red meat.
Vegetarians are people who do not eat meat, fish, poultry, or any slaughterhouse by-product such as gelatine. They live on a diet of nuts, grains, seeds, vegetables, and fruit. Vegetarians that choose not to consume anything containing dairy products or eggs are considered to be vegans. The vegetarian way of life first came about when people started to question the cruel way in which animals are oppressed. The beginning of the 19th century marks the first attempt at organizing a vegetarian movement in the United States. The exact year was 1807, when Reverend William Cowherd suggested people abstain from “flesh eating.” The reverend’s wife published the first vegetarian cookbook in 1812. The Vegetarian Society was established in 1847. In 1849, the Vegetarian Messenger was established, making it the first monthly magazine written for vegetarians.
Vegetarian food is widely available in shops and restaurants. It is fairly easy to cook and saves money. People need to realize that it is no sacrifice to give up meat when someone has so many great vegetarian recipes to choose from. People can buy ingredients for these meals at supermarkets, markets, and corner shops. Vegetarian Society Online calls vegetarianism a halfway house for those who wish to become vegan. Medical studies have proven that vegetarians are less likely to develop illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diet-related diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. A well-balanced vegetarian diet provides all essential nutrients for good health.
It is such a growing movement that restaurants cannot afford not to offer vegetarian meals on the their menus. For someone who is trying to become a vegetarian, the first step would be to treat themselves to a vegetarian cookbook! Someone can also adapt their favorite meals such as lasagna and shepherds pie by using textured vegetables instead of meat. It is also important to always read labels. Remember not to be put off by foods that are unfamiliar. You have to be willing to try new things if you are willing to try out a vegetarian diet!
A vegan diet shares all the same benefits as a vegetarian diet, but vegans must be careful to get all their nutrients from the plants they consume. They do not consume any dairy products or eggs, so it is especially important for them to get their calcium intake in another form.
Kate's Healthy Choice
Kate chooses to eat fish because fish is her main source of protein. She chooses a healthy vegetarian diet because too many resources go into producing meat. There is also the pollution coming from actually raising the livestock that we are later going to consume. There are not as many resources needed to grow veggies. Kate believes that instead of clearing off the rain forest in order to raise livestock, we should be using it to grow crops especially in tropical places. Kate always reminds herself that a longer ingredients list equals more energy and resources to produce the product.
Although Kate is a pescovegetarian, her husband is not a vegetarian and does consume meat, but he does not eat meat very frequently. Kate herself never considered being a vegetarian until her roommate in college introduced her to the lifestyle. Kate chose to eat more vegetables and fruit, and when she again tried to eat meat, it made her sick. It was only then that she made the conscious choice to remain a vegetarian. In college it was slightly difficult to keep a vegetarian diet because there were not many options in the dining halls, but some colleges do offer vegetarian and vegan menus. Kate eats seafood mainly for the protein. Eventually she will probably attempt to cut fish out of her diet as well.
Another thing that Kate does in order to remain "green" is that she only buys locally grown produce. This can be difficult at times because sometimes a person may need a certain ingredient that is not available. This makes it all worth the wait when the produce does make its way in season. Kate uses something called a “seasonal menu” to keep track of what is in season. A seasonal menu is only a small pamphlet that states what is in season at different times.
The main place where Kate finds all her produce is Central Market. Central market is located on North Market St. in Lancaster City. This is located right here in our own Lancaster County. The market has been around for almost 275 years! People use this market place not only to buy produce, but also to meet with friends and family. Central market began as a place where farmers and others could sell their goods in little sheds with nothing but a small table and small roof to cover them. At one point there were over 400 stands located here in the square. Central market was protected and sought out because of the fear that the selling of safe, wholesome foods might be jeopardized. Today central market serves mainly as a home to families who have harbored the same stands for many generations. It is made up of farmers and producers who gather to sell fresh, wholesome foods to Lancaster County.
Another one of Kate’s hobbies is her blog, which can be found at www.mainlyveggie.com. Her blog is a website, which she updates biweekly where she posts vegetarian recipes for others to try. She publishes the recipes and takes photos of the finished products after she has cooked them. The point of her blog is to show others that it is not impossible to cut meat out of your diet. The driving force behind her blog is that it keeps her motivated to continue trying new things. It also pushes her to continue to buy only locally grown produce. The blog is not anything overly professional and the recipes are easy enough for anyone to try. At least once every couple of weeks Kate also tries to include a vegan recipe on her blog. Kate is a strong believer in the idea that everyone should at least try to consume one vegetarian meal per week.
Black Bean Chili w/ Orange and Cumin
One of Kate’s favorite dishes is black bean chili with orange and cumin. In order to make this meal you need:
• 1 orange
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 2 chopped onions
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed
• 3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
• 2 cans diced tomatoes in juice, undrained
• 4 tsp chili powder
• 3 tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
To prepare the meal follow these steps:
1. Grate enough orange zest to equal 1 ½ tsp and set aside, juice the orange and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add to the onions and cook, stirring occasionally for about 6 minutes.
3. Mix in the garlic, tomatoes, beans, and the orange juice and stir in the spices. Simmer over medium-high heat, stirring often for about 15 minutes.
4. Stir in the orange zest and the cocoa powder, season to taste with salt and pepper, adding hot sauce if you wish.
Kate loves to read books that promote a healthy vegetarian lifestyle and one of her favorites is a book written by Barbara Kingsoliver named Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Kingsoliver writes, “If every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels every week.
Kate tries to buy organic foods as often as possible. Although she believes that organic foods may not actually be healthier for someone to eat, the money collected goes toward small families instead of big companies. It is also better for the environment. Another thing to consider is that organic food is more expensive because they do not cut corners like big companies do in order to produce their food.