Eating foods that are derived from the Earth is good for your body and for the planet. In previous blogs I showed you how to sprout lentils and use lentils as a meat substitute. In this blog, I am going to let you in on a little secret, lentils are also a powerful key to helping mitigate climate change through regenerative agriculture.
Stay with me, don’t be scared by the big words!
What is Regenerative Agriculture
I’m not the only one singing the praises of lentils. Check out the book, Lentil Underground by Liz Carlisle. It reads like a love poem to the luscious lentil, explaining how lentils pull nitrogen from the atmosphere to make their own fertilizer and simultaneously regenerate the soil by leaving nutrients behind after they are harvested. This makes lentils the perfect crop for rotation, which means instead of planting the same crop, in the same field, year after year, and depleting the soil, different crops are rotated in the planting process and thus make the soil healthy and thriving. This in a nutshell is regenerative agriculture.
By growing and eating plants and pulses that pull carbon from the atmosphere, we can change our health and the health of our planet. While most of us can’t sow fields of lentils or chickpeas, there are easy ways that we can personally help our planet’s health and our own health through dietary and lifestyle choices. Here are five ways you can eat well and help planet Earth.
5 Tips to Eat Well and Help the Planet
- Support farmers growing pulses, chickpeas, and beans by choosing them as your protein source. These proteins are derived from the earth and are sustainable crops that give back to the soil. These legumes are also key crops used in regenerative agriculture.
- Compost. Food waste that gets thrown into a landfill instead of being composted releases methane gases into the atmosphere. Scientists believe that if we stopped throwing away food we could prevent 11% of greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by the food system.
- Decrease meat and dairy. Eating a plant-rich diet composed of whole grains and plants reduces water usage and reduces your carbon footprint.
- Eat in season. Finding a sale on blueberries, in the middle of January, that were shipped from Argentina, would not qualify as eating in season. Eat local berries and fruits in the summer, greens in the spring, and relish the bounty of root vegetables in fall and winter. Learn what is grown within a radius of your home and enjoy what’s in season.
- Choose a variety of foods. 75% of the world’s food supply comes from just 12 plants and five animal species. Adding new whole grains like farro and quinoa to your diet add diversity, especially if you favor rice and white flour.
Plant Powered Meals
Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are wonderfully versatile. In our last blog I listed five easy ways to use these proteins as meat substitutes. Some of my favorite recipes at Melita’s Table use beans and lentils as the primary protein source. I have added my favorite latin spices, fresh veggies, and whole grains to make each one tasty and satisfying. All of the meals below incorporate my special recipe black beans.
Instant Pot Farro
I am going to leave you with one last easy grain recipe that goes great as a side dish with all of these lovely legumes we have been discussing. As noted above, adding variety to your diet is a positive for your health and the planet. Instead of rice and beans, try some fabulous farro!
Farro is a form of wheat and considered an ancient grain. Once cooked, the slightly chewy grain is wonderful in soups, salads, and even as a burrito filling. Use it just as you would rice but enjoy more fiber and protein!
There are three different forms of farro: whole, semi-pearled, and 10-minute farro. All have different cooking instructions, but good news, all can be made in an Instant Pot! This Instant Pot farro recipe explains step by step how to cook each type of farro.
Share your sprouting, growing, and lentil loving adventures with us on Facebook and Instagram. Tag #growingwithMelita and join the movement to eat plant powered and help our planet!
More Powerful Pulse Insights: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/pulses-the-perfect-food-healthy-to-eat-healthy-to-grow-peas-lentils-chickpeas