With the Israeli elections imminent, it is well to consider the issue of public policy and food. For instance, the Green Movement, as Israel’s green party has recently joined Tzipi Livni’s HaTnuah party and considers regulation of food production to be a significant componet in improving the country’s environmental policies. Livni, herself a vegetarian since age 12, will be convening a gathering of vegetarians next week to highlight areas where a more sustainable food policy should be pursued.
There are two underlying motivations behind the necessary policy reform. Environmentally, the pollution produced by agricultural operations, particularly from livestock is enormous. Six years ago, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization reported that the international meat industry produces18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, even more than transportation. The contribution of pesticides and fertilizers to water pollution is well known. In a recent long-term study of Israel’s stream, a research team I headed found that non-point source pollution, largely from agricultural sources, were the primary contributor of pollutants to Israel’s streams, rather than industry or even sewage.
Hanukkah often feels like a week-long calorie splurge. Between the fried latkes, sufganiyot (Hebrew for doughnuts), and chocolate gelt, the extra calories can really add up quickly in our diets. But maybe there’s a way to enjoy the holiday’s celebration of oil and sweets a bit more healthfully? Indeed there is!
Resist the urge to deep fry. Try a baked latke recipe, and if you really are craving that extra crispiness achieved from frying, pan-fry them in a small amount of oil and then finish them off by baking in the oven.
Pack in some fiber. Instead of using white flour, use whole wheat flour to get some extra fiber into your latkes. You can also mix in other vegetables into your potato latkes, like zucchini, carrots, and parsnips, to boost the fiber and antioxidant content.
For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time to overindulge, give in, and stuff ourselves to the brim — not so different from most Jewish festivals that revolve around food. You’re probably expecting me (a holistic health counselor and nutrition student) to give you a list of all the things not to eat, right? Well, what if I told you that you could eat to your heart’s content on Thanksgiving, with a small catch? Follow 4 simple tips.
The turkey is the star on Thanksgiving so I won’t ask you to change that (though I will advise you to purchase one that is free-range and request that you refrain from deep frying it!). Instead, I’m just going to make some suggestions for how you can switch things up a little this year for the remaining items on your table. Though we’ve all become accustomed to similar dishes year after year at Thanksgiving, adding some new recipes into your holiday repertoire can really do wonders for your waistline, wallet, and the planet.
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