Monday, June 22, 2009

Kombucha @ Home!

Ever since my friend Tiffanie started making her own Kombucha, I've been intrigued and wanting to make my own. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink, and it definitely takes some taste buds getting used to, but it is hailed as a great elixir of health & digestion. Once you get used to the flumey cidery taste, I think you'd find it very refreshing.
Making our own means
1) WAY cheaper! A 16 oz bottle can cost $4! The ingredients we use are very cheap in comparison=5 tea bags & a cup of sugar (plus the 'bucha mama and some water).
2) Transport of liquid is one of the most costly food transportations out there because of the inherent weight of liquid. Any time you can make your own liquid drink, you help reduce the amount of gas used to transport this expensive stuff.
Other ideas: mix a batch of juice from frozen concentrate, make your own tea or coffee instead of buying pre-packaged bottles, put your own tap water (or sign up for delivery of local spring water like we do, from Highbridge Springs) in a reusable bottle and bring with you everywhere (like you bring your wallet & keys & phone with you everywhere) instead of buying bottled water.

Here's our kombucha, sitting up high where it won't be bothered for a week while it stews. Kombucha is a 'mushroom'-like colony; that's it floating on the top. To make the drink, you start with a kombucha 'mother', and when it's finished brewing, you'll end up with a new 'baby' 'bucha, to give to a friend to start making their own! (Any takers?) The neat thing is you can keep the starter (previous 'bucha baby, now 'bucha mama) in the fridge virtually indefinitely until you're ready to use it because cold just makes the mushroom go dormant (doesn't kill it).

Monday, June 8, 2009

The End of the Line

Some people wonder why, as a vegetarian, I don't eat fish. A simple, snarky answer is that fish are animals too, and have meat on their bones, and therefore eating them means I would be eating MEAT, which is--duh--not what a vegetarian does. But, like I said, that's pretty snarky. I see the logic in asking, actually: we don't hear about cruelty in regards to the fishing industry the way we do for domestic species like cattle, pigs, chickens. And fish is much 'healthier' than most meats, by comparison; so it might make sense for a health-conscious veg-head to eat a healthy protein. Actually, I know several people who call themselves vegetarian and still eat fish. (they should technically call themselves pesca-vegetarians, indicating that they only eat fish and plant matter).

Anyway, the reason I don't eat fish is because we are overfishing our oceans. I became acutely aware of this in 1992 (the year I became vegetarian) when we sailed up to Maine and Nova Scotia. All the fishermen, whose livelihoods and family history lie in the catching of fish (we're talking generations and generations of fishermen), were dawdling on the coast, playing on their boats instead of out on the ocean. Why?, we asked. Because, they told us, the oceans are overfished--there are too many big Industry type trawlers that scoop up everything in their path and leave nothing for more traditional (and more sustainable) type fishermen to catch at all. So overfishing leads to job loss! To say nothing of the barren maritime wasteland they leave in their wake too--whales and big ocean predators are scarce when the big fishing fleets swipe up all that food before the migrating creatures have a chance to get to the big schools of fish.

The End of the Line is said to be "An Inconvenient Truth for the oceans". I do hope that it comes sooner than later to a cinema near us. If you see it, please let me know in the comments below how you enjoyed it/thoughts/etc.

Via . For more discussion on this movie, click here.

World Ocean Day

Apparently, the first annual World Ocean Day was just a couple days ago. I missed it, but amongst the many green-living blogs that I subscribe to, I found this video featuring Captain Charles Moore, an avid advocate for the oceans, specifically championing the idea of not subscribing to a consumerist culture. He particularly talks about the presence of plastic in the pacific (hence his necklace, made from trash he found floating there). I like what he has to say, and so succinctly.