Grilling Green: 10 Tips for Summer Eating
Are those plastic silverware, cups and plates laying sadly in the garbage at your recent summer picnic bothering you? Even if you are a more casual green or organic consumer, it's likely you can't help but cringe at the sight and think, there has to be a better way?
Well there is and earth-friendly grilling isn't as far out of reach as it may seem. Here are a few practical tips that increase your grilling consciousness, without decreasing your picnicking pleasure:
1. Anticipate. Think about how many people will be eating and buy food and drinks to that number. You save money and save yourself from eating cold, soggy dogs the next day.
2. Be Specific. If you're having guests and they wish to bring something, tell them what to bring. Not only will your guest be relieved that they don't have to guess, but you won't have any wasteful repeats of macaroni salad.
3. Forget Plastic. So it takes a little more clean-up effort, but there's no extra cost in using the serving dishes, plates, dishes and silverware that you already own, not to mention our landfills will thank you.
4. Eat veggies. Yes, meat is a staple of most grilling adventures, but consider eating less of it. The amount of energy it takes for meat to meet your grill is dramatically higher than produce in most case, especially if you seek out local, seasonal and organic fruits and vegetables. It's healthier, cheaper, adds variety to your meal and saves on your carbon footprint.
5. Drink Organic. Instead of the sodas and juice boxes, try organic beverages like Steaz. Not only are our drinks organic, fair-trade and vegan, but they contain less sugar.
6. Fuel Naturally. Gas grills now seem standard to American outdoor eating, but other fuel options exist, like all-natural charcoal or wood briquettes. Check out Cowboy Charcoals found nationally at Lowe's or the 365 Everyday Value brand at Whole Foods.
7. Close it. When you're grilling, keep the hood closed to save energy and shorten cooking times.
8. Cook at Medium. While some of us like the flavor, charring meats can create toxic chemicals, so cook at a medium heat and remove any charred portions before eating. Too, marinating the meat helps reduce toxins.
9. Reheat. After you've finished cooking, reuse the grill to keep foods warm or reheat baked goods/desserts.
10. Recycle & Compost. When you're done, handle your trash just as you would in your home. Separate glass, plastic, metal and compostable food scraps.
Hmmm, after all this talk of food, wouldn't Grilled Salmon Soft Tacos, Bruschetta with Tomatoes or Grilled Apples with Cheese & Honey be good right about now? Take a look at these healthy grilling recipes and feel free to share your own green grilling tips and discoveries. We'd love to hear from you!
Sources reviewed for research: Planet Green and The Daily Green
Earth Day: Cheers to a Better World
Have any plans for Earth Day? Don't forget it's this Thursday, April 22nd and this year marks the day's 40th anniversary. We'll be giving away some goodies @Steaz on Twitter in celebration. Keep reading for more details.
Here's my best at some very brief history: In 1970, the first Earth Day, created by U.S. SenatorGaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, helped establish the beginning of today's environmental movement. Over the years, Earth Day has rallied environmental activists and everyday folks around issues like clean energy, recycling, green investment and climate change. The Day is now celebrated in over 175 countries.
We've been working hard at Steaz since our inception to build a sustainable company. It seems like just yesterday when Steven and I participated in our very first Earth Day event in conjunction with the student members of the New York University Environmental Club. It was only our fourth month in business, in April 2003. We left our home base outside of Philly and proudly drove our Steaz cargo van (Old Betsy, we used to call her) loaded with over a hundred cases of Steaz to sample on the NYU campus and educate the students about the benefits of "going organic" and thinking about the planet when they make buying decisions.
We really believed these hands-on events for us would change the world for the better, one drink at a time. I am happy to reflect now that over the past seven years we definitely have led an organic beverage revolution and turned a lot of new consumers on to righteous ideas like our's. For us, it was never an after-thought or a marketing initiative. In the beginning, we hadn't even heard of the term triple bottom line, focusing on not just profits, but people and the planet, yet we were doing it.
We were the first organic, fair-trade certified soft drink alternative available in public schools too. Our packaging is 100% recyclable. We only source our main ingredients from sustainable farms and other natural foods companies we know and respect. Through our partnership with Native Energy, we offset our carbon footprint every year to make sure that we are investing in alternative energy sources and projects we care about across the country.
For example, one of the carbon offset projects we support financially is an organic dairy farm right here in PA. I had the privilege of visiting this family farm last year and quickly learned they were no ordinary dairy farm at all.
In addition to the organic dairy (and over 600 beautiful and happy cows), the farm has created a system for capturing the natural gas rising out of manure. This gas not only generates free electricity for the farm, but the excess is sold to the local city to help meet their electricity needs. Very cool to see how free energy is created first hand!
To celebrate Earth Day and to recognize those people and organizations taking action to ensure a healthier and better world, we'll be giving away some Steaz goodies like Energy Shots, T-shirts and aluminum water bottles on Thursday via Twitter from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST. Follow#SteazEarth for more details.
To get involved with Earth Day, check out your local events or visit the Earth Day Network. Since Earth Day should be a mindset we practice all year long, let's pledge to accomplish at least one positive impact on the environment in the coming year. Tell us what your positive impact will be!
To a better world,