Posted by: MMA | June 7, 2010

Monday 7 June 2010

Welcome to Meatless Mondays Australia!


Well, it’s officially here…winter, that is. The weather getting colder, the days getting shorter, your breath misting in the crisp morning air. To help you survive the start of our coldest season, we share with you seven ways in seven days to help you re-enenergise if you are feeling the effects of the cold weather, especially on those chilly mornings. We are also delighted this week to feature a wonderful winter-warming meat-free recipe from a guest contributor, Paula Goodyer. Plus, we reveal the hidden nutrients of the delicious and healthy carrot, offer a World Environment Day memento, and finally, we give the Thumbs Up to a green printing company that is really taking a stand to help the planet.

You can help too. Reducing your meat consumption is not only good for you, but it’s also a simple and painless way you can do your bit to help the environment.


Please Make the Pledge by subscribing to our newsletter and join us in our commitment to Meatless Mondays – for the people, for the planet.

Make the Pledge!

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Food of the Week

Carrots

Carrots are full of nutrients and are a rich source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Beta-carotene gives the carrot its distinctive orange colour and is well known for its ability to convert into Vitamin A in the body, the vitamin essential for healthy eyesight.

Carrots contain:

  • Beta-carotene/Vitamin A
  • Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium
  • Vitamins B6, C and E
  • Dietary fibre

Carrots have been shown to:

  • Improve eye health
  • Aid kidney function and liver health
  • Boost immunity
  • Reduce the risk of some cancers
  • Protect against heart disease and stroke
  • Reduce inflammation in the body
  • Help to remove mucous from the nose and throat

Beautifully sweet, raw carrots make a satisfying and healthy snack. Carrots are extremely versatile – they can be juiced, added to salads and sandwiches, cut into sticks and used with dips, and they make a tasty addition to a variety of cooked dishes and soups. No matter how you choose to eat them, they are beneficial to your health and should be enjoyed often.

And don’t forget to look for the locally grown product so you don’t add to your carbon footprint. If your greengrocer or supermarket doesn’t stock locally grown produce, please encourage them to do so.

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Recipe of the Week

Paula Goodyer’s Ribollita – Italian White Bean Soup

This week’s recipe comes to us compliments of Paula Goodyer, author of the Sydney Morning Herald blog, Chew on This. This is what Paula had to say about her fabulous recipe:

“Meatless Mondays in our house coincide with an evening gym class, so dinner is usually a thick legume based soup made at the weekend – ready to heat up when we arrive home. It’s great food for curling up on the couch – and veg-ing out.

Ribollita, a rustic Italian soup is a winter staple – you can adjust the ingredients according to what vegetables you have around, and increase the amount of stock depending on how runny or thick you like your soup. For anyone on a budget, this is good nourishing ‘poverty cuisine’ – really cheap to make. This recipe should serve 4.”

Ingredients
1½ cups dried white beans (e.g..cannellini or great Northern beans) soaked overnight and cooked. These beans take less than an hour to cook and yield almost 4 cups of cooked beans. If you have bay leaves, add a couple to the cooking water
2 large onions, chopped
1½-2 litres vegetable stock
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, chopped roughly
2 sticks celery, chopped
Olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 chopped tomatoes
A few leaves of cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage) – but any leaves will do e.g. cabbage, bok choy or spinach
A little fresh chilli or a few chilli flakes
A couple of sprigs of thyme or rosemary if you have it
Any stale chunky bread – e.g. Turkish, ciabatta, sourdough – torn into chunks
or two potatoes, cut into small chunks

Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil. When they’re soft, add all the other ingredients, except the bread and cabbage. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender – about 30 minutes, then add the bread and leaves and cook for a few more minutes until the leaves wilt and the bread has soaked up the soup.

Serve dusted with black pepper and some chopped parsley or basil if you have it.

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Healthy Habits

Surviving Winter – 7 Ways, 7 Days

Much of winter is spent indoors, all rugged up next to a heater. We have little energy and there is an air of sluggishness. The ‘winter blues’ set in, characterised by feeling low in mood and lacking motivation. To ensure that you don’t succumb this year we show you seven ways you can use over seven days to help you beat the winter blues and embrace the cold season.

1. Avoid wearing dark heavy clothes that will just weigh you down, inside and out, and make you feel slow. Try instead layers of bright-coloured clothing that will not only give you warmth, but also brighten your environment and mind every time you catch a glimpse of colour.

2. When you can brave the cool crisp air, try and spend a little time outdoors and get 15 minutes of sun to top up your Vitamin D levels. For those days when the sun does not break through the clouds, visualise the sun – it won’t give you the Vitamin D you need but it will brighten your outlook as you imagine the sun’s warmth on your body. Sunlight exposure releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect your mood so keep your curtains up during the day to let more light in, and sit near windows whenever you are indoors.

3. In winter our digestion becomes a little sluggish and our digestive fire that influences our general energy levels is low. This slows our metabolism, resulting in an accumulation of toxins and unwanted side effects such as bloating, indigestion and constipation, as well as decreased immunity, energy and vitality. When our digestion is working efficiently, we have more energy and a strong resistance against colds, flus and other illnesses. A great way to put a little fire in your belly and aid digestion is with a Digestive Appetiser:

‘Ginger Digestive Appetiser’ Prepare a mixture of thin strips of fresh ginger (about one tablespoon), the juice of half a lime and a pinch of sea salt. Set this mixture aside until it turns a light pink, and then eat it as an appetiser before any main meal. This will help stimulate digestive enzymes in saliva and in the stomach allowing for better digestion.

4. Relax. Winter is a time when nature is hibernating and preparing for the next cycle of birth and regrowth. You should also try and use this time to nurture your mind, body and spirit by actively taking the time to relax. Sleep in on the weekends, do lots of reading curled up in a blanket by the window, meditate and attune your rhythm to nature’s rhythm, put on relaxing music, treat yourself to warm oil massages, go for hot chocolates with friends…whatever you like. Just try and relax.

5. Give yourself and the world around you positive affirmations. Positive affirmations lift your mood, keep you balanced and centred and send warm healing energy to yourself and the environment around you. Say no to colds, flu and other winter illnesses – you don’t have to be sick because of the season or others around you. Focus on positive words and positive thoughts, and decide to feel great this winter. Repeat the following twice a day, once in the morning and once at night:

“I am a free powerful being…My body heals, clears and balances itself…I send energy to myself and the living environment around me”

6. Reach out. When the world seems colder and darker, your connections with friends, family and pets can supply the love, warmth, and stimulation you need to help sustain you throughout winter.

7. Do gentle exercise. Don’t fight against the natural slow rhythm of winter by doing aggressive amounts of exercise. However, it is important to do at least 30 minutes of exercise to raise the serotonin levels in your body and make you feel re-energised. It is also important to stretch your muscles to prevent injury as in the colder weather your muscles need more time to warm up.

Try this yoga forward and backward stretch that gently stretches your hamstrings and back muscles, strengthens the heart and circulatory system, and sends vital oxygen to your brain to ward off the sluggish, sleepy winter feeling. This cycle will leave you feeling mentally and physically rejuvenated:

(i) Lean forwards with your arms completely relaxed and hanging down in front of you as far as you can comfortably go. Keep your knees relaxed and unlocked. Feel the muscles in your body slowly stretch and lengthen. Watch your breath and make sure it is relaxed and natural. Stay like this for 5 minutes.

(ii) On a deep inhale slowly straighten up to a standing position. Take 5 deep inhalations and exhalations in this position, making sure you feel the breath move deep down inside your abdomen.

(iii) Slowly lean and stretch backwards with your arms hanging loosely by your sides. Tip the head back as far as is comfortable and stay here for 1 minute (as shown). Slowly straighten to standing position.

Repeat this cycle 4 times.

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Save the Planet

In honour of World Environment Day on June 5, we give you a great video and a great song that reminds us of the preciousness of our planet, our home.

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Thumbs Up

PrintTogether Australia is an environmentally-responsible printing company that truly earns our Thumbs Up. Not only do they use the highest quality recycled papers and vegetable-based inks, all their equipment, materials and suppliers are planet-friendly. By producing their printing lithographically they offer a green and high quality finish at low cost, Australia-wide.

PrintTogether also plants one tree in Australia (through Greenfleet) for every order they receive to offset emissions from print production and for the transportation of paper and printed materials.

So next time you or your workplace has a print job, check out PrintTogether and do something good for the planet.

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