How to Switch to Plant-Based Diets and Sustainable Eating

Plant-based diets and sustainable eating

21 Nov 2022

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How to Switch to Plant-Based Diets and Sustainable Eating

A plant-based diet focuses on consuming whole, unprocessed plant foods. This diet includes fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. A growing body of research has shown that plant-based diets offer numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.  

They are also more environmentally sustainable than diets that include animal products. As the world population grows, finding ways to produce nutritious and planet-friendly foods is becoming essential. Plant-based diets offer a promising solution.  

The environmental impact of our food choices

What we choose to eat has a direct impact on the environment. How our food is produced, transported, and consumed has an environmental cost. Farming on an industrial scale is one of the most significant contributors to environmental degradation.  

This farming is highly wasteful and uses copious amounts of water, land, and energy. It also generates a lot of pollution, including greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals. Eating less meat and dairy is one way to reduce the environmental impact of our food choices. Plant-based diets require less land, water, and energy to produce than diets that include animal products. They also generate fewer greenhouse gases. 

Another way to reduce our environmental impact is to eat more sustainably. Sustainable eating means choosing local, seasonal produce and wasting less food. It can also mean supporting farmers who use sustainable practices. By making conscious choices about what we eat, we can help to protect the environment. 

What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet improves overall health and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Plant-based diets are also associated with lower greenhouse gas emissions than diets that include meat and dairy products.   

Is a plant-based diet restrictive?

While you may think a plant-based diet is restrictive, it has many delicious and nutritious options. With some creativity, you can easily find plant-based versions of your favorite foods.   

Are sustainable foods more expensive?

While it is true that some sustainable foods (such as organic produce) can be more costly than conventionally grown foods right now because of scale, there are many ways to eat sustainably on a budget. For example, buying bulk or growing your food can help reduce costs.   

What’s the difference between a vegetarian and vegan diet?

Both vegetarian and vegan diets focus on plant foods, but some key differences exist. Vegetarians may eat dairy products, while vegans do not consume any animal products.   

How do I transition to a sustainable, plant-based diet?

Transitioning to a sustainable, plant-based diet can be easy, depending on your approach. You may prefer to make gradual changes over time, while others may choose “cold turkey.” Many resources are available to help you make the transition smoothly and successfully. This blog is a good starting point. 

Making sustainable eating choices 

As the world becomes more aware of the importance of sustainability, most of us are looking for ways to make sustainable eating choices. A plant-based diet is one way to eat more sustainably. Here are some tips for making sustainable eating choices.  

  1. Shop locally and seasonally: Buying locally grown food reduces your carbon footprint and supports local farmers. Seasonal produce is also typically fresher and tastier than out-of-season options.  
  2. Buy organic: Organic foods are grown without harmful pesticides and fertilizers. They are also often more environmentally sustainable than conventionally grown foods.  
  3. Avoid food wastage: An estimated one-third of all food produced globally gets wasted annually. Reducing food waste is essential for both environmental and economic reasons. There are many simple ways to waste less food, such as meal planning or storing food properly.  
  4. Eat less meat: Meat production significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, so eating less meat can help reduce your carbon footprint. If you eat meat, choose sustainably raised options that have been certified humane by a reputable organization such as the Global Animal Partnership.  
  5. Prefer non-GMO products: GM crops (Genetically Modified Crops) are typically grown with harmful pesticides and herbicides, so choosing non-GMO options helps reduce exposure to these toxins. Know your country’s GMOs and food labeling laws before purchasing. Additionally, many countries have laws to label foods containing GMOs. So familiarizing yourself with these laws can help you make informed choices about the food you purchase.    
  6. Support sustainable companies: Buying from companies that are committed to sustainability helps to encourage more sustainable practices across the food industry. Look for companies that support fair labor practices, environmentally friendly packaging, and organic pesticides for farming.  

Sustainable eating can be easy and inexpensive. By following these simple tips, you can make good choices for yourself and the planet.  

The benefits of a plant-based diet

A plant-based diet is not only healthy for your body, but it is also sustainable and environmentally friendly. Here are certain benefits of a plant-based diet:   

  1. Improved health: A plant-based diet reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases.  
  2. Reduced environmental impact: Industrialized farming is one of the leading causes of environmental degradation. By eating a plant-based diet, you can help to reduce the demand for these products and lessen your ecological footprint.  
  3. Enhanced animal welfare: Animals raised for food on factory farms are subject to horrific conditions. A plant-based diet helps to reduce the demand for these products and improve the lives of animals.  
  4. Efficient use of resources: It takes far fewer resources to produce a pound of plants than a pound of meat. This comparison shows that a plant-based diet is more efficient regarding land, water, and energy use. 
  5. Improved sustainability: A plant-based diet is more sustainable than a meat-based diet in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and soil erosion. 
  6. Delicious and nutritious: Plant-based foods are healthy for you and can also be delicious and nutritious. There are endless possibilities when preparing meals with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.    

Popular plant-based dishes

A sustainable, plant-based diet is environmentally friendly, humane, and healthy. Such a diet can help protect the planet and its resources while promoting human health and animal welfare. Many delicious and nutritious plant-based recipes can fit into a sustainable diet. Some of the popular dishes are given here.  

  1. Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos: These are packed with protein and fiber, making you feel full and satiated. You can prepare and freeze it for an easy meal on busy days.  
  2. Thai Coconut Soup: This soup is light but flavorful and comes together quickly with just a few ingredients. It is perfect for a summer evening meal.  
  3. Lentil shepherd’s pie: This hearty dish is comfort-food at its best. It is packed with vegetables and protein-rich lentils, making it very filling.  
  4. Roasted cauliflower tacos: Tacos are an excellent way to get your daily dose of vegetables. They are flavorful and crispy and can be made ahead of time for a quick meal.  
  5. Eggplant Parmesan: This classic Italian dish is delicious without being heavy. It is perfect for a weeknight dinner when you want something healthy but still satisfying.  
  6. Chocolate avocado mousse: This mousse is rich and decadent but made with healthy ingredients like avocado and cocoa powder. It is the perfect guilt-free treat!  

Tips for transitioning to a sustainable, plant-based diet  

Transitioning to a plant-based diet can be a challenge, but it is worth it for the sake of your health and the planet. Here are some tips to help you make the switch.  

  1. Start slowly and ease into it: If going cold turkey on animal products is not your thing, that is OK. Why not start by incorporating one meat-free meal into your week? Slowly but surely, you will get there.  
  2. Plan: When it comes to meals, always have a backup plan in case you get hungry. This backup plan means carrying snacks or packing your meals whenever you go out. 
  3. Educate yourself: Learning about the benefits of plant-based eating is a great motivator to stick with it. Not to mention, the more you know about nutrition, the better equipped you will be to make good choices regarding what you eat.  
  4. Find a support system: Whether it is friends, family, or an online community, surround yourself with people who support your decision to eat more plants. When you feel tempted to stray from your new diet, having someone to talk to can be a huge help.  
  5. Be patient with yourself: Making lasting change takes time, so do not expect perfection overnight. The important thing is that you are moving in the right direction and progressing toward your sustainable eating goal.  

Challenges in eating sustainably

A shift to sustainable eating habits is essential to preserving our planet for future generations. However, sustainable eating can be challenging, and many barriers prevent us from making the switch. Below are some of these challenges of sustainable eating and how to overcome them. 

  1. Access to healthy food: One of the biggest challenges of sustainable eating is access to healthy food. Healthy food is often more expensive and less accessible than unhealthy junk food. However, there are ways to eat healthy on a budget, and many community programs help access healthy food.  
  2. Time: You may find it challenging to cook meals from scratch because of time constraints. However, you can prepare many quick and easy recipes with sustainable ingredients. Planning and batch cooking can also help save time in the kitchen.  
  3. Lack of knowledge: Another challenge of sustainable eating is how to cook sustainably or where to find sustainable ingredients. Many resources are available online and in libraries that can help with this. In addition, many communities offer cooking classes or farm-to-table dining experiences that can teach you about sustainable eating habits.  
  4. Social pressure: Finally, social pressure can be a big challenge when eating sustainably. Friends or family members who do not understand your choices can cause stress. Standing firm in your convictions and respecting those with different dietary needs and preferences is essential. You can still enjoy social gatherings by bringing your food or finding sustainable alternatives.   

By overcoming these challenges, you will be on your way to eating sustainably and positively impacting the environment!  


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10 Big Game Party Ideas - CookinGenie

31 Jan 2022

Whether you tune in for the creative commercials or to see the action on the gridiron, there’s nothing like getting ready for the Big Game. No matter if you’re planning on having a more intimate gathering with just a few close friends or a much bigger bash, you want to have a memorable event that everyone is talking about until you throw your next party. Here are some fun party ideas to delight your guests.

1. Photo Booth

A football-themed photo booth is always fun. First, create a football backdrop that helps your guests feel like they are at the big game. You can make it look as though you are sitting inside the stadium where the action is happening. Then, add some fun props, such as footballs, jerseys, football bead necklaces, football glasses, and more to let your guests create fun pictures to share.

2. Create a Tailgate Party for Big Game

Football season just isn’t the same without going tailgating at least once. One of the drawbacks of tailgating towards the end of the season is the cold weather, so set up a themed party indoors that looks like a tailgate party. Decorate your table to look like the back of a truck. Throw up some folding chairs for extra seating.

3. Set Up Games

Since not everyone wants to sit still through the entire game, you may want to consider adding some fun games to your party. Some traditional favorites played before a game while tailgating include cornhole, washers, ring toss, beer pong (minus the beer for the kids), and more. Perfect for parties where there are a variety of ages. It’s a great way to keep kids occupied while the adults cheer for their favorite team.

4. Football Themed Drinks

Custom create some fun drinks to celebrate the Big Game. Make a cocktail to represent each team’s colors and let your guests decide who will be the winner of the matchup. You can even add to the event’s fun by using glasses shaped like footballs. Of course, if you can’t find appropriate glasses, you can always create your own using mason jars and some white tape to mimic the look of the laces on the football.

5. Decorations

There are so many fun decorations that you can use to make your home festive for the Big Game. Hang up football streamers and similar decorations. Use the different team colors to create a bold look around your house. Big foam fingers scattered around the room that can be picked up and used during the game can be fun for all.

6. Play Squares

Let your guests make guesses about the game. Then, create a square game to let your friends have some friendly (or not so friendly among really competitive friends) competition on the Big Game. You can find these games online to print or create your own.

7. Get a Personal Chef

Food makes a party. Everyone wants to have plenty of snacks and dishes to eat while watching the fun on TV. Every party often goes the same for the homeowner throwing the party where they spend more time preparing food than enjoying their own party with their guests. So why not get someone else to handle the food? Catering means that your food probably won’t be warm by the time it’s delivered. Ordering in at the last minute from your local pizza joint or restaurant often leads to the food arriving later than you want. A personal chef is a perfect option. You can pick some dishes and have them prepared in your own kitchen. Your food will be hot and ready for your guests, and you get to participate in all the fun without missing out. The cherry on top is that the chef cleans up the kitchen after they’re finished cooking.

8. Desserts

No party is complete without food, and dessert is always the perfect touch to help sweeten up your event. What better way to console fans disappointed their team is losing with something tasty to eat or make winning fans feel victorious as they cheer their team on for the W? There are lots of fun cupcake toppers and football-shaped cakes or cookies you can offer up to your guests. For instance, you can take peanut-butter cookies and shape them in an oblong shape. Once they come out of the oven, you can put some frosting on them in lines to complete the look. You can also turn chocolate-covered strawberries into little footballs with white chocolate details.

9. Bingo or Shots Game

Have you ever played commercial bingo? It can be a lot of fun. Each card has different squares featuring something that may be featured in a commercial, such as a particular brand or the use of animals. Play bingo every round of commercials until someone gets bingo. For more adult gatherings where alcoholic beverages are flowing, you may want to consider playing a shots game. You can pick phrases or actions for during the football game or the commercials, and when it happens, it’s time to drink. For instance, if someone tears up during a commercial, they have to drink a shot, or if someone yells a particular phrase, they have to drink a shot. You can find both bingo cards and shot game directions online if these are new to you.

10. Virtual Guests for Big Game

Not everyone you want to come to your party will be available to attend. You may have some family or friends who need to stay home for various reasons or aren’t able to come over, from quarantining to traveling for work. So, why not create a virtual watch party for the Big Game. Start by sending everyone attending virtually a list of all of the things you’ll have on hand so that they can prepare some of the same dishes. Then, everyone can log in and enjoy the game together.

Celebrating the Big Game in a big way is a time-honored tradition. You’ll be the talk of Monday after you pull off a big party. Let CookinGenie be part of your Big Game plans. No matter if you’re planning on just watching with family or a larger group, your personal chef can help you create a fantastic spread sure to please even the pickiest eaters. Check out the variety of dishes available for your next gathering.

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10 ways CookinGenie makes meal planning easy!

22 Jul 2022

In the past few years, the demand for Private dining experiences has increased across Ohio. Many hosts now prefer to hire personal chefs to prepare delicious quality food at their in-house parties. This remarkable surge in chef-on-demand service has helped CookinGenie earn a reputation in the region within a short period.  

Since its inception in 2019, CookinGenie has provided personal chefs to hundreds of customers for their varied events and occasions with almost one hundred percent client satisfaction. When we asked our customers the main reason they choose to hire a chef for their special events, these were the answers provided by them.  

1- It’s The Best Way To Impress The Guests.

Upon asking our customer, Dina, the reason for hiring a personal chef, she answered, “Most guests are particular about their food, either because of their dietary restrictions or their allergies to certain ingredients. As a host and cook, it adds to my stress of preparing delicious quality meals while keeping such constraints in check. With a private chef from your staff, it becomes easier for me to meet guests’ expectations and relax and enjoy the party.”     

2- It Helps Me With Work-life Balance.

We started CookinGenie to make food preparation convenient for hosts with busy lifestyles, and it made us proud when Jennie, our returning client, shared these kind words about us. 

“I hire your private chefs to provide convenience in planning meals for my family. They always save me from the hassle of planning and preparing meals like breakfast, lunch, and dinner when I am on office tours. No rush for grocery shopping and cleaning after cooking, plus it’s affordable. So, why not CookinGenie?” 

3- It Saves Me Time And Money.

Those who think our chefs come at a high price would want to read what our user, Catherine, says.  

“Hiring a chef not only helps my family and me to have fresh, healthy meals but also relieves me from the stress of the entire process, which is very time-consuming. I don’t need to feel burdened with meal planning, food shopping, cooking, and daily cleanups. Moreover, it is way more economical than dining out, which costs parking, fuel, and babysitting fees apart from the restaurant bill.” 

4- I Love The Customization Part.

As our chefs hold ample experience in their respective culinary expertise, customizing meals for the clients is easy for them and is also our highlight that customers like Daniel can’t get tired of appreciating. 

“Being a professional athlete, it’s crucial to fuel my body with balanced micro- and macro-nutrients. It’s easy to get my personalized meals from your chef without missing the ‘taste’ essence.”  

5- It Helps Me Learn New Techniques.

Lary says, “Whenever I hire a chef, I try to observe and interact with them to learn new cooking tricks that I can use for those rare occasions when I need to cook. I have learned a few knife skills and how to avoid tears when dicing onions.” 

Although we are only focusing on the chef-on-demand services, Lary’s remark does spark the motivation to have scope for culinary classes, maybe someday. 

Nevertheless, indeed you hire a personal chef to cook for you, but it’s always great to learn new recipes and methods too. 

6- I Get to Fulfil My Desires for New Cuisines.

Our chefs love to swank their culinary flair all over. So, whenever hiring them, make sure to try something new to refresh your taste buds like our customer, Lily, is enjoying in pregnancy. 

“Being in the second semester, I crave a lot for a variety of tasty food. But since I need to avoid outside food due to health concerns, I hire your chef to fulfill my desire for tasty food and delicious cuisines. It has been an excellent way to soothe my craving and maintain good health during this time.” 

7- It’s A Great Gifting Option.

When we asked Christopher for a reason behind hiring a private chef, he prompted, “I believe ‘Sharing is happiness,’ and your Gift Cards are an excellent example. Even though I have only used your service once, I have bought your gift cards several times for my friends and families. And they all had a great experience of being served by your genies. Isn’t that what you call your chefs? I like that name and your gifting concept too.” 

8- Best Way To Host And Enjoy In-house Events.

“Hiring a personal chef for my in-house parties takes all the pressure off me. As the entire process of buying groceries, prepping food, and cleaning up is the chef’s responsibility, it allows me to enjoy the evening to the fullest. And, when it’s time for food, I feel assured that my guests will be all-praises for the top-quality dishes with dietary and allergic concerns taken care of.” – Ashley. 

No surprise that this was the most common answer given by most of our clients. 

Our purpose with CookinGenie has always been to pair diners with personal chefs and let the host enjoy their time with guests. We are glad our clients are enjoying being fantastic hosts.  

9- It Allows Me To Host Romantic Dinner For My Partner.

The convenience of hiring a personal chef allows couples to enjoy romantic dinners at home with gourmet quality meals served on their table. If you haven’t yet planned this surprise for your partner, Jeremy suggests you try it. 

“I wanted to do something unique on my girlfriend’s 25th birthday. So, I hired a personal chef from your site and got her favorite dishes freshly prepared in my kitchen. The surprise turned out to be more than she could imagine. My girlfriend’s jaw-dropping expressions were worth watching.” – Jeremy. 

10- It Helps Me Have More Time With My Family.

“Hiring a chef allows me to spend quality time with my family while not compromising our health. I feel more energized in my office and don’t need to have frequent runs to the grocery stores, spend time planning weekly meals, or spend unnecessarily on dine-outs and takeaways. Everything feels sorted.” – Cicily. 

Having quality time with your near and dear ones is crucial. We are glad that Cicily could find a reason in us to spend quality time with her family and manage her work-life balance better. 

Conclusion   

The overwhelming answers from esteemed clients affirm that there are plenty of reasons to hire a chef and none to avoid it. 

So, next time you are looking to throw a party for friends, indulge yourself with an elaborate buffet, or wish to kick back at home after a tough day at work, remember to make our private chef the reason to look after your culinary needs. 

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National Food Safety Month— Keys for Cooking and Serving Food Safely

24 Sep 2021

Cooking for friends and family is one of the great joys in life. But without practicing proper food safety, cooking can make your loved ones sick, or in extreme cases, even kill them. Luckily, all it takes to prepare and serve food safely is following a few simple rules and using common sense. In honor of food safety month, here are some of the most important things to remember when cooking.

Wash your hands

One of the most important things you can do to keep food safe is constant handwashing. The first thing you should do when you walk into the kitchen is washing your hands. And wash them again after every completed task or when you start handling different ingredients, especially after touching raw meat.

One of the most common ways foodborne illnesses are spread is by bacteria jumping from dirty hands to the food. So, you cannot wash your hands too often. When washing your hands, make sure you run them under warm running water for at least 20 seconds, using antibacterial soap. Scrub between your fingers and under your fingernails every time and dry off with a clean cloth or paper towel. For extra protection, turn off the knob on the sink with that paper towel instead of your bare hands.

When in doubt, throw it out

Nobody likes to waste food. But holding on to old food after it’s gone bad is a good way to get your guests sick.  If anything in your fridge or pantry is moldy, slimy, smells rotten, or is well past its expiration date, just throw it out.

When cooking with canned ingredients, beware of cans that are rusted, dented, or swollen. Swollen cans are a sign of botulism, a dangerous spore that can be fatal. If there are any physical deformities on the can, put it right into the trash. There is a chance that every now and again you may throw out some food that’s still safe to use, but it’s always better safe than sorry.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold

As a general rule of thumb, you should try and avoid keeping foods out at room temperature as much as possible, especially more sensitive items like meat, dairy, and eggs. When cooking and storing food, be mindful of the “temperature danger zone”, a temperature range between 41⁰F and 135⁰F. This is the range in which bacteria grows and multiplies most quickly.

Temperatures above or below this range are usually too extreme for most bacteria to survive. So, if a dish is meant to be served hot, you should keep it on the stove or in the oven at 135⁰F or higher for as long as possible, and if it is meant to be served cold, you should keep it in refrigeration at 41⁰F or lower until it’s ready to serve.

It may be helpful to have a digital thermometer on hand to help ensure you’re keeping foods at the proper temperatures. If any highly sensitive foods like meat or dairy are left out in the temperature danger zone for more than four hours, they may be unsafe to eat. Any cooked food that is being reheated should be heated to 165⁰F for at least 15 seconds before serving.

Beware of Cross Contamination

Cross contamination occurs when bacteria or other contaminants are passed to food from shared surfaces or through the air. For example, if you cut raw chicken on a cutting board then later use that same cutting board for fresh vegetables, the vegetables may be contaminated with bacteria from the chicken. To avoid cross contamination, use different utensils for raw meats and vegetables. Also be sure to wash and disinfect counters and other kitchen surfaces frequently.

Consider food allergies

One of the scariest parts of cooking for others can be dealing with food allergies. Allergic reactions to food can range anywhere from a mildly upset stomach to life-threatening anaphylactic shock, where the victim’s throat can begin to shut.

Before your event, ask all your guests if they have any food allergies. If anyone in your party has a severe allergy, consider serving something without that ingredient at all. For people with severe allergies like nuts or shellfish, they may not even need to actively consume the allergen to have a dangerous reaction, just an invisible trace amount may be enough to cause serious symptoms. So, just making a portion without that ingredient may not be enough to keep them safe. When it comes to cooking for people with food allergies, you cannot be too careful.

Cook proteins properly

A common cause of foodborne illness is undercooked meats, especially chicken. Meats need to be cooked to proper internal temperatures to kill the majority of bacteria and parasites that can make you sick. When cooking meats, use a digital thermometer to measure the internal temperature and don’t serve it until the meat comes up to a safe level.

For example, chicken and other poultry need to reach an internal temperature of at least 165⁰F for 15 seconds before they’re safe to eat. For more specifics, check out our complete guide to safely cooking meat.

Wash raw ingredients well

Before cooking with fruits, herbs, or vegetables, rinse them off under cold running water to remove any debris, bacteria, or chemical coating. This is especially important with cantaloupe and honeydew, which always should be washed before cutting. It’s also good practice to rinse off your eggs before cooking with them.

Be extra cautious with the most vulnerable members of your family

When cooking for older or immunocompromised people, you have to be extra careful and attentive. For someone who’s young and healthy, a case of salmonella from an undercooked chicken breast could cause a few days of illness. But for an older person or someone suffering from an autoimmune disease, that salmonella could be fatal.

CookinGenie takes food safety seriously

When you book a chef through CookinGenie, you can be sure that food safety will be the top priority. Many of the genies are professionals with formal food safety training, and others are experienced home cooks with a proven track record of keeping people safe. Food safety is stressed, and every genie knows that’s the most important thing when cooking for you.

Better yet, when you allow a CookinGenie chef into your home, you can watch them cook to be sure the food is being handled properly. Unlike a restaurant, this in-home set-up allows much more transparency and peace of mind than dining out or ordering takeout.

Author – Jared Kent

 

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