By Malinda Maynor Lowery
Increasingly, Columbus Day is giving people pause.
More and more towns and cities across the country are electing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day as an alternative to – or in addition to – the day intended to honor Columbus' voyages.
Why Columbus?<p>Columbus Day is a relatively new federal holiday.</p><p>In 1892, a <a href="https://www.whatsoproudlywehail.org/curriculum/the-american-calendar/proclamation-on-the-400th-anniversary-of-the-discovery-of-america-by-columbus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">joint congressional resolution</a> prompted President Benjamin Harrison to mark the "discovery of America by Columbus," in part because of "the devout faith of the discoverer and for the divine care and guidance which has directed our history and so abundantly blessed our people."</p><p><a href="https://www.history.com/topics/westward-expansion/manifest-destinyin%20their%20conquest" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Europeans invoked God's will</a> to impose their will on indigenous people. So it seemed logical to call on God when establishing a holiday celebrating that conquest, too.</p><p>Of course, not all Americans considered themselves blessed in 1892. That same year, a lynching forced black journalist Ida B. Wells to <a href="https://daily.jstor.org/peoples-grocery-lynching/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flee her home town of Memphis</a>. And while Ellis Island had opened in January of that year, <a href="https://www.nps.gov/elis/learn/education/upload/statistics.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">welcoming European immigrants</a>, Congress had already banned Chinese immigration <a href="https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=47" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a decade prior</a>, subjecting Chinese people living in the U.S. to widespread persecution.</p>
Indigenous People Power<p>But some Americans started to question why Indigenous people – who'd been in the country all along – didn't have their own holiday.</p><p>In the 1980s, Colorado's American Indian Movement chapter <a href="https://www.westword.com/news/colorado-the-first-state-to-give-columbus-a-holiday-considers-abolishing-it-10844725" target="_blank">began protesting the celebration of Columbus Day</a>. In 1989, activists in South Dakota persuaded the state <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/davidmontgomery/2014/10/13/native-american-day/17194651/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">to replace</a> Columbus Day with Native American Day. Both states have large Native populations that played active roles in the <a href="http://colorado-aim.blogspot.com/2012/10/war-on-columbus-day.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Red Power Movement</a> in the 1960s and 1970s, which sought to make American Indian people more politically visible.</p><p>Then, in 1992, at the 500th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage, American Indians in Berkeley, California, organized the first "<a href="https://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/10/09/berkeley-became-1st-city-dump-columbus-day-indigenous-peoples-day" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Indigenous Peoples' Day</a>," a holiday the city council soon formally adopted. Berkeley has since replaced its commemoration of Columbus with a celebration of indigenous people.</p><p>The holiday can also trace its origins to the United Nations. In 1977, indigenous leaders from around the world organized a United Nations conference in Geneva to promote indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. <a href="http://ipdpowwow.org/Archives_1.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Their first recommendation</a> was "to observe October 12, the day of so-called 'discovery' of America, as an International Day of Solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas." It took another 30 years for their work to be formally recognized in the <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples</a>, which was adopted in September 2007.</p>
Unexpected Allies<p>Today, cities with significant native populations, like Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles, now celebrate either Native American Day or Indigenous Peoples Day. And states like Hawaii, Nevada, Minnesota, Alaska and Maine have also formally recognized their Native populations with similar holidays. Many Native governments, like the Cherokee and Osage in Oklahoma, either don't observe Columbus Day or have replaced it with their own holiday.</p><p>But you'll also find commemorations in less likely places. Alabama <a href="https://www.al.com/news/2017/10/alabamas_weird_holiday_you_jus.html" target="_blank">celebrates Native American Day</a> alongside Columbus Day, as does North Carolina, which, with a population of over <a href="https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/Indigenous%20Peoples%27%20Day.pdf" target="_blank">120,000 Native Americans</a>, has the largest number of Native Americans of any state east of the Mississippi River.</p><p>In 2018, the town of Carrboro, North Carolina, <a href="https://townofcarrboro.org/CivicSend/ViewMessage/message/69242" target="_blank">issued a resolution</a> to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. The resolution noted the fact that the town of 21,000 had been built on indigenous land and that it was committed to "protect, respect and fulfill the full range of inherent human rights," including those of indigenous people.</p><p>While Columbus Day affirms the story of a nation created by Europeans for Europeans, Indigenous Peoples Day emphasizes Native histories and Native people – an important addition to the country's ever-evolving understanding of what it means to be American.</p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
On Valentine's Day, people celebrate all kinds of love. And chefs and foodies around the globe are showing how indulgence can often be both healthy for people and the planet. These innovators are making the case that flavorful, locally sourced plant-inspired dishes are perfect for special occasions — and also versatile for everyday mealtimes.
1. Alice Waters<p>Waters is a chef, author, and food advocate, and the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California. Waters is the author of 15 books, including New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II, and the memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook. With the belief that chefs should pay attention to the wholesomeness of food — including how ingredients are sourced — Waters is credited with providing the foundation for the plant-forward movement. Waters' recipes and menus offer occasional lapses into indulgence perfect for Valentine's Day including sweet corn soup and winter squash tortellini.</p>
2. Ana Sortun<p>Ana Sortun is the chef at Oleana in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where her menu focuses on Turkish and Middle Eastern classics distilled down to their traditional elements. She is also the owner of Sofra Bakery in Cambridge and Sarma Restaurant in Somerville, Mass. Many of the vegetables used at Sortun's restaurants are grown locally — on her husband's farm. Sortun is well-regarded for her mastery of Mediterranean spices — her 2006 cookbook, simply called "Spice," is a bestseller. In her recipes for <a href="https://www.saveur.com/turkish-stuffed-eggplant-imam-bayildi-recipe/" target="_blank">imam bayildi (Turkish stuffed eggplant)</a> and <a href="https://oldwayspt.org/blog/chef-ana-sortun-oleana-shares-kitchen-secrets-and-new-cookbook" target="_blank">Syrian-style lentils with chard</a>, she homes in the one or two warming spices that will elevate the star vegetable without overpowering its natural flavor.</p>
3. Chloe Coscarelli<p>Vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli believes that vegetable-forward dishes can still be mouthwatering, rich, and playful. Now with four cookbooks and nearly a dozen television appearances, Coscarelli has become a prominent figure making the most of plants and their natural flavors. With recipes like <a href="https://chefchloe.com/recipes" target="_blank">chocolate layer cake</a>, <a href="https://chefchloe.com/recipes" target="_blank">blueberry cinnamon french toast</a>, and maple bacon benedict, home chefs can satisfy their sweet tooth and their savory cravings this holiday.</p>
4. Christina Arokiasamy<p>Chef Christina Arokiasamy, who was raised in Malaysia and now lives in Washington State, served as the first Malaysian food ambassador to the United States. Her family members have been spice merchants for five generations, and her show on the Cooking Channel, The Malaysian Kitchen, focused on traditional Malaysian flavors. Arokiasamy's recipes for <a href="https://themalaysiankitchen.com/2019/10/08/vegetarian-pineapple-fried-rice/" target="_blank">pineapple fried rice</a> and <a href="https://themalaysiankitchen.com/2019/10/08/goan-coconut-curry/" target="_blank">goan coconut curry</a> both highlight plant-based ingredients commonly found in Malaysia and blend sweet and savory elements.</p>
5. Daisuke Nomura<p>Chef Nomura is internationally praised for plant-forward takes on creative Japanese style cuisine. Having earned two Michelin stars, Nomura's recipes are sure to impress any loved one with plant-forward innovation, including his spin on an American Valentine's classic: instead of a beef steak, Nomura's recipe suggests an <a href="https://www.plantforward50.com/chefs/daisuke-nomura#recipe" target="_blank">onion steak</a> as a new way to embrace the overlooked ingredient's flavor using new and modern styles of cooking.</p>
6. Dan Barber<p>Dan Barber, Chef and Co-Owner of <a href="https://www.bluehillfarm.com/" target="_blank">Blue Hill</a> and <a href="https://www.bluehillfarm.com/dine/stone-barns" target="_blank">Blue Hill at Stone Barn</a> and the author of The Third Plate, was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef. In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. Barber is hailed for his plant-forward initiatives including his Row 7 seed company that breeds seeds for better flavor. Barber's plant-forward <a href="https://www.plantforward50.com/chefs/dan-barber#recipe" target="_blank">celery root recipes</a> open up new possibilities for the vegetable a rich broth, cozy tea, or even a hearty braised dish.</p>
7. Deborah Madison<p>Chef, cooking teacher, and author of 14 widely-recognized cookbooks Deborah Madison specializes in seasonal vegetable recipes. Through these recipes, Madison — recognized as the originator of the plant-forward trend — hopes to highlight farmers market produce and heritage varieties of vegetables. Having cooked at restaurants like Greens in San Francisco, Madison has surprised many non-vegetarian and non-vegan diners with bold flavors and filling meals. Dive into Madison's cozy <a href="https://www.latimes.com/food/recipes/la-fo-deborah-madison-in-my-kitchen-cookbook-20170206-story.html" target="_blank">lentil soup with berbere</a> or <a href="https://www.marthastewart.com/316404/beet-risotto" target="_blank">risotto with beets</a>, which add depth and color to a normally luxurious dish.</p>
8. Derek and Chad Sarno<p>Derek Sarno is Executive Chef and Director of Plant-Based Innovation at Tesco and co-founder of Wicked Healthy, a plant-forward blog founded with his brother Chad Sarno. The co-founders develop recipes that allow eaters to indulge with smokey, deep, and nearly guilt-causing flavors — all while maintaining a plant-forward diet and mission. Their recipes like <a href="https://wickedhealthyfood.com/2019/12/27/wicked-herby-crusted-roasted-butternut-squash-tenderloin/" target="_blank">roasted and herb-crusted butternut squash tenderloin</a> and coconut tartlets with <a href="https://wickedhealthyfood.com/2016/09/11/coconut-tartlet-with-clementine-sorbet-and-lavender-syrup/" target="_blank">clementine sorbet and lavender syrup</a> embrace the flavor of plants and their potential in classic Valentine's Day preparations.</p>
9. Erik Oberholtzer<p>Erik Oberholtzer is a chef, social entrepreneur, and food activist whose restaurant chain Tender Greens makes it easier for anyone to enjoy seasonal, plant-forward home cooking at affordable prices. And as a board member for The Rodale Institute and a Food Forever Champion, Oberholtzer supports regeneratively grown and biodiverse crops in diets around the world. His recipes for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2BK-eGryp0" target="_blank">gazpacho</a> and <a href="https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/poached-salmon-salad-with-lettuce-and-asparagus-50185996" target="_blank">poached salmon salad</a> offer lighter takes on romantic meals.</p>
10. Hari Pulapaka<p>Hari Pulapaka is the Executive Chef and Owner of the acclaimed Cress Restaurant in DeLand, Florida, and is a tenured professor at Stetson University. Pulapaka's self-described cuisine is "globally inspired" and "vegetarian focused" and is intended to showcase food that "nourishes the body and frees the soul." In his forthcoming book Sinfully Vegetarian, Pulapaka will feature plant-forward recipes that leave eaters feeling spoiled and craving for more. Inspired by Pulapaka's menus and recipes, eaters can indulge in <a href="http://sinfullyvegetarian.com/" target="_blank">savory vegetable bread pudding</a>, beet-radish terrine with lentil-sesame hummus, or a Mediterranean and Middle East-inspired <a href="https://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/meyer-lemon-ricotta-and-spinach-gnudi-with-green-garbanzo-bean-hummus-tomato-jam-and-spiced-almonds" target="_blank">ricotta and spinach gnudi</a>.</p>
11. Jody Adams<p>Jody Adams, a James Beard Foundation award-winning chef, highlights local vegetables at her restaurants in Boston, where her menus feature housemade pastas, roasted beets, and spanakopita. Adams — who holds a degree in anthropology from Brown University — put it best when she said, "It's the beautiful, raw ingredients that determine what food tastes like — not how fancy the kitchen is." Try something new in the kitchen this Valentine's Day, like making your own pasta: Adams' comforting recipes for <a href="https://www.bostonchefs.com/recipe/jody-adams-floppy-tomato-lasagna/" target="_blank">floppy tomato lasagna</a> and <a href="https://www.starchefs.com/chefs/JAdams/html/recipe_03.shtml" target="_blank">potato gnocchi gratin with wild mushrooms</a> guide you through the process.</p>
12. Joe Yonan<p>Joe Yonan, the Washington Post's food and dining editor, thinks we should all eat more beans. In his new book, Cool Beans, Yonan shares 125 recipes that highlight the versatility of the wide world of protein-packed legumes. Many of the recipes, like <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/vegetarian-recipes-hummus-ratatouille-margaritas-and-more-from-washington-posts-joe-yonan/" target="_blank">fusilli with white beans, cherry tomatoes, and corn sauce</a> or <a href="https://modernfarmer.com/2020/02/cook-this-cool-beans-by-joe-yonan/" target="_blank">falafel fattoush</a>, use ingredients you might already have canned in your pantry. Right in time for Valentine's Day, Yonan even serves dessert and drinks, with recipes like <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/vegetarian-recipes-hummus-ratatouille-margaritas-and-more-from-washington-posts-joe-yonan/" target="_blank">chocolate, red bean, and rose brownies</a> and a <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/vegetarian-recipes-hummus-ratatouille-margaritas-and-more-from-washington-posts-joe-yonan/" target="_blank">salty margarita sour</a>, topped with whipped chickpea aquafaba.</p>
13. John Fraser<p>Eating vegetarian or vegan, <a href="http://www.nixny.com/" target="_blank">according to chef John Fraser</a>, "should feel more celebration than sacrifice." That's why he opened Nix, which is now New York City's only Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant. There, he serves dishes ranging from cauliflower tempura (<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-dish-chef-john-fraser/" target="_blank">here's the recipe</a>) to kabocha squash dumplings, but his menu changes depending on what's seasonally available. Fraser shows that plant-forward dishes can be fun — he describes his <a href="https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qkn9aw/potato-fry-bread-with-sour-cream-and-cucumbers" target="_blank">potato fry bread recipe</a> as "a zeppoli made love to a French fry and then got slathered in sour cream and vegetables."</p>
14. José Andrés<p>José Andrés is often credited with bringing the tapas-style dining concept to America. The founder of 31 restaurants and World Central Kitchen, which provides meals to those affected by natural disasters, wants to bring vegetables forward in American diets. By making vegetables the center of dishes, and relegating meat to side dishes or condiments, Andrés hopes to give plants the recognition they deserve for their role in eaters' health and happiness. Andrés's recent cookbook Vegetables Unleashed includes cozy, luxurious recipes like potatoes cooked in compost, vegetable paella, and fennel bouillabaisse.</p>
15. Makini Howell<p>Chef Makini Howell from Plum Bistro Seattle designs innovative dishes that reflect upon her experience being raised in a vegan family. With powerful flavors, Howell works hard to make plant-forward synonymous with delicious. Howell's recipes offer adventurous eaters an opportunity to integrate more spice into their Valentine's Day meal plans with a <a href="https://recipes.oregonlive.com/recipes/habanero-yam-soup" target="_blank">habanero yam soup</a> and <a href="https://www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family/recipes/makini-howells-spicy-peach-tofu-and-tempeh-with-charred-purple-beans" target="_blank">spicy peach tofu and tempeh with charred purple beans</a>.</p>
16. Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby<p>Chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby opened and operate a small restaurant group of vegan establishments in Philadelphia — including Vedge, V Street, and Wiz Kid — and Washington D.C.'s Fancy Radish. As James Beard-nominated chefs, Landau and Jacoby's passion for veganism injects love into their cooking; and similar plant lovers can feel inspired by their menus and recipes that explore rutabaga fondue, eggplant braciole, and even <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwExuSgTJ5M" target="_blank">potato scallops</a>.</p>
17. Romy Gill<p>When chef Romy Gill was growing up in India, meat was reserved for celebrations and special occasions — and even when she did eat meat, it was a side dish at most. So every recipe in her recent debut cookbook, Zaika, is vegan. "I wanted to show that in India, plant-based cuisine is something people don't do just for the sake of it—it's a way of life," <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2019/12/warming-dhals-zingy-salads-interview-romy-gill" target="_blank">she said</a>. Gill, who now lives in the U.K., cooks lighter fare with Indian flavors, like <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/recipes/red-cabbage-pomegranate-salad-romy-gill-cooking-instructions-a9008271.html" target="_blank">red cabbage and pomegranate salad</a> and <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/recipes/romy-gill-recipe-courgette-sabzi-indian-vegetarian-a8361056.html" target="_blank">courgette (zucchini) sabzi</a>, a childhood favorite.</p>
18. Selassie Atadika<p>Midunu, the name of chef Selassie Atadika's restaurant in Accra, Ghana, means "let us eat" in the Ewe language. Midunu represents "nomadic" dining, meaning meals are served pop-up style at a new location each time. Atadika said she is reminded that plant-forward cooking is healthier for humans and the planet when she looks at the traditional foodways of nomadic African groups. Now, at Midunu, Atadika sources much of her produce and grain from local farmers living off the land. Recipes like her <a href="https://www.plantforward50.com/chefs/selassie-atadika#recipe" target="_blank">gari foto</a> celebrate African ingredients like gari (made from dried cassava) and the spice prekese.</p>
19. Stéphanie Audet<p>Before Stéphanie Audet became a restaurant chef, she was a vegetarian food consultant, creating plant-based recipes and menus for restaurants. These skills have come in handy in her kitchens: A restaurant she opened in Hawaii was devoted entirely to raw indigenous ingredients. When she became the executive chef at LOV, in Montreal, Canada, in 2016, she created an entirely vegan menu that featured creative but approachable recipes like <a href="https://quench.me/mavericks/stephanie-audet-lov-maverick-chefs-2018/" target="_blank">coconut ceviche</a>. Recently, she moved to Lisbon, Portugal, where she opened Senhor Uva. At the natural food and wine bar, her small plates focus on seasonal and local vegetables.</p>
20. Tal Ronnen<p>The plant-based chef to the stars, Tal Ronnen earned his fame while cooking for Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Arianna Huffington, and for the first-ever vegan dinner at the United States Senate. Ronnen's cookbook Crossroads is based on recipes from his Los Angeles restaurant of the same name, which opened in 2013 to showcase high-end vegan dining with Mediterranean flavors. With an inventive recipe for <a href="https://www.plantforward50.com/chefs/tal-ronnen#recipe" target="_blank">artichoke "oysters" with tomato bearnaise and kelp caviar</a>, Ronnen offers eaters a plant-forward alternative to the well-known seafood aphrodisiac this Valentine's Day.</p>
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Christmas celebrations turned sour when 11 people died and over 300 were hospitalized in the Philippines after drinking a batch of poisonous coconut wine, local police said on Monday.
It's the holiday season again, and in the midst of making to-do lists and prepping for festive dinners, some people will once again ponder whether it is better for the environment to buy an artificial Christmas tree or to opt for the real thing.
A Decade to Grow or Keep<p>A natural tree of average size (2-2.5 metres tall, 10-15 years old) <a href="https://www.carbontrust.com/news/2013/01/christmas-tree-disposal-advice/" target="_blank">has a carbon footprint</a> of about 3.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) — about the same as driving a car 14 kilometres.</p><p>This footprint increases dramatically if the tree is sent to landfill. When it decomposes, it will produce methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and generate a much larger footprint — close to 16 kilograms of CO2e. If the tree is <a href="https://toronto.citynews.ca/2008/01/03/how-to-dispose-of-your-christmas-tree/" target="_blank">composted or recycled</a>, a common practice in many major cities — the environmental footprint remains low.</p><p>By comparison, a <a href="https://www.carbontrust.com/news/2013/01/christmas-tree-disposal-advice/" target="_blank">two-metre tall artificial</a> tree has a carbon footprint of about 40 kilograms CO2e based on the production of the materials alone.</p>
Burning Trees<p>This gives ecologically minded Canadians some sense of the impacts of their choice. But other factors are also at play. Real trees are <a href="https://www.narcity.com/news/ca/christmas-trees-in-canada-are-running-low-and-prices-are-rising" target="_blank">becoming scarce and more expensive</a>. In the U.S., the average price of a real tree in 2019 has <a href="https://fortune.com/2019/12/02/christmas-trees-2019/" target="_blank">increased to $78 from $75 in 2018</a>.</p><p>Weather has taken a toll on Christmas trees. In the U.S., hot weather and too much rain are considered contributing factors to a <a href="https://www.today.com/news/tight-supply-christmas-trees-could-mean-higher-prices-t167619" target="_blank">shortage of trees</a>, and wildfires <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/a-wildfire-wiped-out-their-christmas-tree-farm-and-livelihood-now-they-wonder-what-to-do-next/2018/12/21/966080cc-023d-11e9-9122-82e98f91ee6f_story.html" target="_blank">damaged or destroyed some farms</a>. Heat waves in 2017 and 2018 killed <a href="https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/christmas-tree-shortage/283-682f4617-5af6-42f3-b9b8-575cf8dfc1ba" target="_blank">young seedlings in Oregon</a> and will impact tree supply in years to come.</p>
Oh, Christmas Tree<p>Economics has also played a role in tree availability. Today's trees were planted around the time of the Great Recession of 2008.</p><p>The impacts of this economic downturn were far-reaching in the industry. As demand fell during those years, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/02/us/christmas-tree-shortage-demand-supply-trnd/index.html" target="_blank">many growers went out of business</a>. This reduced the number of trees planted and contributed to the scarcity in today's Christmas tree marketplace.</p><p>The Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association has shrunk dramatically in the past 15 years — from <a href="https://globalnews.ca/news/6282405/canada-christmas-trees-shortage/" target="_blank">300 members to about 80 today</a>.</p><p>Is it time to give up on real Christmas trees?</p><p>Holiday trees provide <a href="https://treecanada.ca/blog/why-buying-a-fake-christmas-tree-just-doesnt-cut-it/" target="_blank">wildlife habitat, protect soil, moderate floods and drought, filter air and sequester carbon while they grow</a>. Tree farms also provide local economic benefits that don't come with foreign-made products.</p>
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By Sharon Elber
You may have heard that giving a pet for Christmas is just a bad idea. Although many people believe this myth, according to the ASPCA, 86 percent of adopted pets given as gifts stay in their new homes. These success rates are actually slightly higher than average adoption/rehoming rates. So, if done well, giving an adopted pet as a Christmas gift can work out.
1. The right fit is more important than the right time.<p>One mistake to avoid when <a href="https://www.wileypup.com/why-adopt-a-shelter-dog/" target="_blank">deciding to rescue a dog</a> over the holidays is to force the timing while compromising on the right fit for your lifestyle. Important considerations like breed mix and/or personality type can be neglected as families rush to adopt and make a selection from the limited options available at that specific time. </p> <p>The holidays are a busy time for animal shelters which can cause the selection of dogs to wane in the weeks leading up to Christmas in particular. It is a mistake to adopt a dog simply to check the box. Instead, carefully consider your family's lifestyle and work with a shelter and/or foster and breed rescue groups in your area to find a canine companion with the right personality, exercise needs and training requirements for your family. </p> <p>Consider offering an "Adopt a Dog" coupon if you can't find the right fit in time for the big day. This will give your children the excitement of knowing a new furry addition to the family is on the way, while also offering the benefit of getting them involved in the selection process. Dog toys in advance of your new dog's arrival also make great stocking stuffers.</p>
2. Make sure to budget for post adoption expenses.<p>The adoption fee often covers the cost of any vaccinations and/or spay/neutering that your rescued dog has already had prior to adoption. However, it is important to schedule a vet visit within a few weeks of your adoption, make sure your new family member is up to date on vaccines, and cover the initial cost of monthly medications such as heartworm and flea/tick prevention. These costs can easily mount to $300 or more, so be sure your post-holiday budget has room for these costs. </p> <p>In addition, you will have food, toys and bedding costs that always spike when adopting a new dog. Allow for these costs as well or incorporate them into your other gift purchases this year.</p>
3. Build a holiday schedule that accounts for the needs of your new pet.<p>Rehoming is generally a stressful time for animals in the rescue system. Often unsure if they have found a permanent home or just another temporary location, dogs can be prone to developing anxiety issues if transitions are not handled with care. </p> <p>If you have holiday travel plans, it might be better to wait until the new year to adopt. Bringing a dog home only to drop them off at the kennel a few days later is not the best idea for your new pet. Instead, plan a "<a href="https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/dog-friendly-travel-staycation-ideas%20" target="_blank">staycation</a>" if you adopt a dog this holiday season and make sure to schedule time for dog-focused events such as extra walks, training sessions and fun games like fetch and tug.</p>
4. Get the kids involved in the care of your new pet.<p>Depending on your child's age, taking on some level of responsibility for the care and training of the new member of your family is critical. This helps them to learn valuable lessons about caring for animals, responsibility, as well as offering a chance to build a human/animal bond built on trust and respect. </p> <p>For example, children ages 3 - 5 years old can assist with daily care routines such as feeding, checking water and walking your dog. Older children can participate in training sessions and take on more responsibilities like joining in on puppy classes. Dogs need daily exercise and mental stimulation, so consider creating a responsibility calendar for kids so everyone in the household has a part in caring for your pet.</p>
5. Look beyond the shelter for adoptable dogs.<p>Finally, if you visit the shelter and don't find the dog you are looking for, do some research to locate other adoption options in your community. For example, there are many breed rescue organizations devoted to saving particular dog breeds from kill shelters, puppy mills and abandonment. In addition, many communities have networks of volunteers devoted to fostering dogs until they find their forever homes that you may find on social networks or by a basic internet search.</p> <p>One big advantage of going through these volunteer organizations before adopting a dog for Christmas is that they have direct experience living with the dog in a home setting. This means they can speak honestly and knowledgeably about any special needs, compatibility with other pets in the household, or suitability for your family's lifestyle, dog friendly amenities (such as a fenced yard), and dog ownership experience.</p> <p>Giving your kids an adopted dog at Christmastime is about more than watching their faces light up with joy when they receive their new pet. With a little planning and consideration, you can make sure your adopted dog is a good fit for your family so that the joy your new pet bring extends way beyond the holiday season.</p>
- Are Your Holiday Decorations Toxic? Separating Fact from Fiction ... ›
- This Holiday Season Your Best Gift Can Be a Donation to a Nonprofit ›
- 10 Ways to Indulge and Stay Healthy This Holiday Season - EcoWatch ›
- Why Drinking Can Make You Feel Extra Anxious Over the Holidays - EcoWatch ›
The holiday season is supposed to be about giving and sharing, but often it is actually about throwing away. The U.S. generates 25 percent more garbage between Thanksgiving and New Year's than it does during the rest of the year. That's around one million extra tons per week, according to National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) figures reported by The Associated Press.
1. Make Your Own Tree<p>There's an <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/green-christmas-eco-friendly-2623425137.html" target="_self">ongoing debate</a> as to whether it is more ecologically friendly to buy a natural tree every year or reuse a plastic one. But neither option is climate neutral, according to <a href="https://www.omnicalculator.com/ecology/zero-waste-christmas-tree#just-how-green-is-your-tree" target="_blank">Omni's Christmas Tree Footprint Calculator</a>.<br></p><p>This tool helps you calculate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a variety of Christmas tree options and disposal methods so you can make the greenest choice you can. A natural tree thrown in a landfill burns 21.02 kilograms of carbon dioxide, a landfilled plastic tree burns 35.16 kilograms and a replanted potted tree burns only 1.64 kilograms. But only one option emits zero carbon: making a tree of your own from items already in your home.</p><p>In addition to calculating carbon footprints, the tool also gives you instructions for making trees from books, cans, floating baubles, cardboard or succulents. Compared to a plastic tree, a book tree can save the amount of carbon dioxide generated by 84 miles of driving.</p><p>But if you really crave that pine-needle smell, you can reduce the footprint of a medium-sized live tree down to 5.724 kilograms of carbon dioxide by donating it to the elephants at your local zoo.</p>
2. Give Up on Gifts<p>More and more people are turning away from the tradition of exchanging store-bought presents. This is especially the case for the younger generation, Waste and Resource Action Programme campaigner Richard Clapham told <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/christmas-presents-plastic-packaging-waste-family-stress-a9179926.html" target="_blank">The Independent in November</a>.</p><p>"They're increasingly looking for experiences rather than 'stuff.' I think this is partly driven by their concern for the planet but also because they already have so much stuff," he said.</p><p>If you opt not to buy things, there are still many creative ways to tell loved-ones you care. <a href="https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-holiday-waste-prevention" target="_blank">The Peninsula Sanitary Service and the Stanford Recycling Center</a> have several alternative gift suggestions including trips to museums or parks, certificates to help with chores around the house or handmade presents. You can <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/environmental-nonprofit-recommendations-2641495614.html" target="_self">also make a donation</a> in your own or someone else's name.</p><p>Jane Ruessman, a 58-year-old translator from the UK, told The Independent that she banned presents from her family gathering. Instead, everyone gets a handmade paper hat.</p><p>"Getting together at Christmas was initially a bit of a nightmare as we all felt that we should bring along a present for all those who were coming," she said. "It was nice but pretty stressful and we would end up spending a lot of money and going home with an awful lot of stuff that we generally didn't need at all and didn't know what to do with."</p><p>And that's the last thing the planet needs.</p>
3. Make Your Feast Last<p>Americans toss an extra five million pounds of food on average between Thanksgiving and New Year's, <a href="https://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-simple-hacks-to-help-you-stop-wasting-leftovers-over-the-holidays-2018-11-26" target="_blank">MarketWatch reported</a>. But it doesn't have to be that way.</p><p>There are plenty of delicious strategies for making your holiday meal last as long as possible. If you served meat, you can use it for soups or stews, or toss it in dishes like lasagna. Leftover vegetables are great in frittatas or omelettes. It's also important to freeze leftovers before they go bad. <a href="https://hartfordclimate.org/2017/11/22/zero-food-waste-holiday/" target="_blank">The Hartford Climate Stewardship Initiative</a> recommends keeping enough in your fridge for three days of leftovers and freezing the rest immediately.</p><p>You can also give your food away. Ask your guests to come with their own to-go containers and send them away with the next day's lunch. Unused canned or dry food can be donated to a food drive.</p><p>It's also a good idea to reflect after this year's meals, assess how much you actually ate, and plan to make less next year.</p><p>"If everyone had their fill, and you still had leftovers, maybe during the next round of holiday shopping you think about the excess you had and say what if you purchased the same amount and only prepared half of it?" Lisa Sposato, director of food sourcing at New York charity City Harvest, told MarketWatch.</p>
- How to Have Yourself a Plastic-Free Christmas - EcoWatch ›
- EcoWatch's Favorite Green Gifts for the Holidays - EcoWatch ›
- 10 Tips for Hosting a Wonderful and Waste-Free Holiday - EcoWatch ›
By Jennifer Molidor, PhD
Climate change, habitat loss and pollution are overwhelming our planet. Thankfully, these enormous threats are being met by a bold new wave of environmental activism.
Food is the cornerstone of the holiday season. It brings friends and family together to share memories, cultural traditions, and great flavors.
1. Bûche de Noël (France)<p>Also known as Yule log, bûche de Noël is a sweet dessert served in France during the Christmas season.</p><p>Though there are many variations, one of the most common types is made with heavy cream, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cocoa-powder-nutrition-benefits" target="_blank">cocoa powder</a>, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. It's commonly decorated with icing sugar and fruit.</p><p>Bûche de Noël commemorates the tradition of cutting and burning a specially selected log known as the Yule log. This pagan tradition was introduced to the Christian holiday many centuries ago.</p><p>Most enjoy this dessert between Christmas Eve (December 24th) and New Year (January 1st).</p>
2. Shuba (Russia)<p>While most countries celebrate Christmas on December 25th, Russia is one of the few countries that celebrates this holiday on January 7th in accordance with the Orthodox Julian calendar.</p><p>Colloquially known as "herring under a fur coat," shuba is a popular dish served during the holiday season in Russia. Its main ingredients include pickled herring, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/boiled-egg-nutrition" target="_blank">hard-boiled eggs</a>, mayonnaise, and grated vegetables like carrots, beets, potatoes, and onions.</p><p>The dish gets its name from its top layer, which is usually made of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-homemade-mayonnaise-recipes" target="_blank">mayonnaise</a> or a beet dressing that resembles a warm winter coat.</p><p>While this may seem like an unconventional dish, it's an excellent source of protein, potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and B.</p>
3. Yebeg Wot (Ethiopia)<p>Similarly to Ethiopia's national dish, doro wat (chicken stew), yebeg wot is a popular <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/lamb-and-cholesterol" target="_blank">lamb</a> stew served during the holiday season.</p><p>Weeks prior to the holidays, farmers feed lambs a high calorie diet. This leads to fatty, tender meat, which is added to a stew made of onions, tomatoes, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic" target="_blank">garlic</a>, kibbeh (Ethiopian butter), berbere spice mix, and various spices.</p><p>Many serve yebeg wot with injera, a popular flatbread.</p><p>This dish is a rich source of protein, carbs, and antioxidants.</p>
4. Spiced Hot Chocolate (Peru)<p>If you think you know how to make the best hot chocolate, you may want to give Peru's spiced hot chocolate a try.</p><p>This creamy hot chocolate with a kick is made with chocolate, condensed or evaporated milk, and a combination of spices, such as <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-cinnamon" target="_blank">cinnamon</a>, chili powder, cloves, and nutmeg.</p><p>In fact, this beverage is so popular that it has its own event known as la Chocolatadas, during which people gather and serve spiced hot chocolate with a popular cake known as panetón.</p>
5. Mince Pie (England)<p>Also known as mincemeat or Christmas pie, mince pie is a widely popular and historical holiday dessert.</p><p>Despite its name, most modern mincemeat pies are meatless. Traditionally, mince pies were made of shredded beef or mutton, suet, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dried-fruit-good-or-bad" target="_blank">dried fruit</a>, and spices.</p><p>However, most varieties today simply consist of pastry dough, dried apples and raisins, distilled spirits, vegetable shortening, and a spice mixture containing <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nutmeg-benefits" target="_blank">nutmeg</a>, cloves, and cinnamon.</p><p>Interestingly, the pies used to be oblongly shaped to represent a manger, although most mince pies served today are circular.</p>
6. Bibingka (Philippines)<p>During the holiday season, bibingka is a common breakfast item in the Philippines.</p><p>Bibingka consists of rice flour or sticky rice, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-milk" target="_blank">coconut milk</a>, sugar, and water wrapped and cooked in banana leaves. Eggs, cheese, and coconut flakes are sometimes added as a garnish.</p><p>This dish is usually served for breakfast or after Simbáng Gabi — a nine-day series of Filipino Catholic masses leading up to Christmas.</p><p>In fact, it's common to have food stations set up outside of church for churchgoers to buy bibingka and other popular sweets, such as steamed rice cakes known as puto bumbong. Many enjoy these treats with a hot cup of tea or <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee" target="_blank">coffee</a>.</p>
7. Butter Tarts (Canada)<p>While a typical Canadian diet is similar to that of a typical U.S. diet, it has a few classic treats of its own.</p><p>Butter tarts are a Canadian dessert that's served during many holidays, but mostly during Thanksgiving and Christmas.</p><p>They're small pastries with a sweet filling made of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-butter-bad-for-you" target="_blank">butter</a>, sugar, maple or corn syrup, eggs, and sometimes walnuts and raisins. Enjoy these tarts with a cup of coffee for the ultimate treat.</p>
8. Latkes (Israel)<p>During <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-kosher" target="_blank">Hanukkah</a>, latkes are a delicious staple on most dinner plates. In Hebrew, the dish is known as levivot.</p><p>Fried in hot oil, latkes are symbolic of the oil that, according to a text that serves as the central source of Jewish religious law, lit the menorah for 8 days despite only having enough oil for 1 day.</p><p>Made of the simplest of ingredients, you can make latkes with shredded potato and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/onion-benefits" target="_blank">onion</a>, eggs, and breadcrumbs or matzo. Deep fry it in hot oil, and you have yourself some delicious latkes.</p><p>Other popular Hanukkah treats include sufganiyot (jelly donuts), challah (braided bread), and beef brisket.</p>
9. Hangikjöt (Iceland)<p>Served during Christmas, hangikjöt is one of the most popular Icelandic holiday foods.</p><p>It translates to "hung meat" and involves smoked lamb or mutton. Its name originates from the traditional practice of hanging smoked meats in a smoking shed for weeks to develop a smoky, salty flavor.</p><p>Hangikjöt is commonly served with green beans, potatoes that are coated in a white béchamel sauce, and side of pickled <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/purple-cabbage" target="_blank">red cabbage</a>.</p>
10. Bahn Chung (Vietnam)<p>Bahn chung is a beloved rice cake enjoyed during Tết (Vietnamese New Year).</p><p>This dish is made using sticky <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-white-rice-bad-for-you" target="_blank">rice</a>, pork, mung beans, green onions, fish sauce, and spices like salt and pepper.</p><p>In addition to its great flavor, it's placed in front of family altars to pay tribute to ancestors and prayers for the upcoming year.</p>
11. Pasteles (Puerto Rico)<p>Pasteles are a classic Christmas dish in Puerto Rico.</p><p>Making pasteles requires time and patience. The inner portion of the pasteles consists of a mixture of ground pork and an adobo blended spice sauce. The outer portion is made using a special masa dough made of grated <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-bananas-good-or-bad" target="_blank">green bananas</a>, yautía, and spices.</p><p>After allowing the dough to sit for a few hours, the masa is placed on banana leaves, the pork filling is added, and it's wrapped.</p><p>Traditional Puertorican pasteles are boiled in hot water and served with rice, meat, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-health-benefits-of-fish" target="_blank">fish</a>, pigeon peas, and hot sauce for a delicious holiday feast.</p>
12. Eggnog (United States)<p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-eggnog-bad-for-you" target="_blank">Eggnog</a> isn't a holiday treat around the world. In fact, it's mostly enjoyed in the United States and Canada.</p><p>This drink is made from milk, cream, whipped egg whites, egg yolks, and sugar, resulting in a creamy, smooth texture.</p><p>Most people enjoy eggnog as an alcoholic beverage by adding rum, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bourbon-vs-whiskey-vs-scotch" target="_blank">bourbon</a>, or brandy.</p>
13. Kutia (Ukraine)<p>Kutia is a traditional Christmas Eve dish that is popular among members of the Ukranian Orthodox Church. As part of the Julian calendar, Christmas Eve falls on January 6th.</p><p>It's usually the first dish served as part of Sviata Vecheria — a 12-dish <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegetarian-diet-plan" target="_blank">vegetarian</a> feast to commemorate the 12 apostles.<br><br>Made from cooked wheat berries, poppy seeds, dried fruit, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-honey" target="_blank">honey</a>, this dish is packed with nutrition, which is an important focus of this Ukranian feast. In fact, this dish is so important to the meal that all guests are expected to have at least one spoonful.</p><p>However, it's customary to wait until the first star in the sky appears before digging in.</p>
14. Janssons Frestelse (Sweden)<p>Also known as Jansson's Temptation, this casserole dish is made from <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-potatoes" target="_blank">potatoes</a>, onions, heavy cream, breadcrumbs, and sprats — a small, oily fish similar to sardines.</p><p>It's usually accompanied by a smorgasbord of food known as the "julbord," which translates to "Yule table" or "Christmas table." It's enjoyed with foods like baked ham, meatballs, fish, boiled potatoes, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthiest-cheese" target="_blank">cheeses</a>, and various cooked vegetables.</p><p>The origin of its name is controversial, though many believe it originated from a popular opera singer known as Pelle Janzon.</p>
15. Christmas Cake (Global)<p>Christmas cake is a popular dessert around the world.</p><p>It's a type of fruit cake made of flour, eggs, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/too-much-sugar" target="_blank">sugar</a>, spices, candied cherries, dried fruit, and brandy. Traditional Christmas cake is made at least 2 months ahead to allow adequate time to slowly "feed" the cake with brandy every 2 weeks. Finally, it's topped with a marzipan icing.</p><p>While it's mostly known as a British dessert, many countries serve Christmas cake during the holiday season. In fact, South Koreans are well-known for their beautiful, artistic Christmas cake decorations.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>Many cultures celebrate the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tips-to-avoid-holiday-weight-gain" target="_blank">holiday season</a> for different reasons. Whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year, food plays a central role in celebrations around the world.</p><p>From savory main dishes to sweet desserts, each culture brings a unique twist to this jolly season.</p><p>With the holidays just around the corner, remember to enjoy all the delicious food and memories they will bring.</p>
By Ketura Persellin
Gift-giving is filled with minefields, but the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) got your back, so you don't need to worry about inadvertently giving family members presents laden with toxic chemicals. With that in mind, here are our suggestions for gifts to give your family this season.
For Babies<p><strong>Safer Toys</strong></p><p>Grandma may be surprised to find out that cherished heirlooms from her childhood may be covered with lead-based paint, and this year's plastic "It" toy may contain PVC or other harmful chemicals. Steer well-meaning friends and family toward safer options, like toys made of natural materials like untreated wood, bamboo, hemp or organic cotton.</p><p><strong>Healthy Bath Time</strong></p><p>Babies' developing brains, organs and hormonal systems are especially sensitive to chemicals of concern hidden in bath products like shampoo, lotion and diaper cream. However, there are an increasing number of EWG VERIFIED™ <a href="https://www.ewg.org/ewgverified/products.php?type=baby+kids" target="_blank">baby care products</a>, which meet our scientists' strictest ingredient and transparency standards.</p>
For Kids and Teens<p><strong>Environmental Activism on Trend</strong></p><p>Believe it or not, you may see <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/eco-friendly-drinking-straw-alternatives-2571689759.html">reusable straws</a> on your kids' holiday wish list this year, as teens and tweens are rejecting single-use plastic, pushed by the <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/14/cnn-underscored/what-is-a-vsco-girl/index.html" target="_blank">VSCO girl</a> trend and images of sea turtles killed by plastic waste ubiquitous on social media. Choose from one of the many metal or silicone straws available this season, now in a rainbow of colors, some even sporting their own little carrying case.</p><p>Your teen may also appreciate a reusable coffee tumbler to go with that straw.</p><p>This way they'll be avoiding the PFAS chemical coating used on paper coffee cups and the side-eye from their friends for using single-use cups and plastic lids. Look for one made of ceramic or stainless steel.</p><p><strong>Safer Clothing</strong></p><p>Many types of clothing come with chemicals that can be harmful to children's health, like children's pajamas treated with flame retardants and winter coats coated with PFAS chemicals for waterproofing. To avoid this, choose children's pajamas made out of cotton and/or marked as not flame resistant on the tag. To make sure what you're giving doesn't contain toxic fluorinated chemicals, check out this list of companies making <a href="https://pfascentral.org/pfas-basics/pfas-free-products/" target="_blank">PFAS-free clothing and shoes</a>.</p><p><strong>Clean Beauty</strong></p><p>Clean beauty and elaborate skin care routines are also trending this year. Children are the most susceptible to the health harms associated with endocrine disruptors, carcinogens and other chemicals of concern in personal care products. Use EWG's Skin Deep® and EWG VERIFIED™ databases to find gift ideas for the kids on your list – without dangerous chemicals. These include:</p><ul> <li>Stuff stockings with green-rated <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/category/lip_balm" target="_blank">lip balm</a>.</li></ul><ul> <li>Clean makeup options – like <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/category/Eye_shadow" target="_blank">eye shadow</a>, <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/category/Bronzer__Highlighter" target="_blank">highlighter</a> and <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/category/Mascara" target="_blank">mascara</a> – that will let them keep up with the latest makeup tutorial while still protecting their health.</li></ul><ul> <li><a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/category/Mask" target="_blank">Face masks</a> – trendy among the teenage set – but who knows what ingredients they typically contain? Steer clear of harmful chemicals by finding one that's Skin Deep® green-rated or EWG VERIFIED, like one of <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/category/Mask" target="_blank">these</a>. (Keep in mind that single-use products have more of an impact on the environment.)</li></ul><ul><li>The gift of an after-shave <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/category/After_shave?marketed_for=men&page=1&per_page=12" target="_blank">lotion or balm</a> made with safer chemicals. Kids who have just started to shave will be pleased to have that milestone acknowledged.</li></ul>
For your Partner or Spouse<p>If you're lucky enough to have another adult along for the ride during your childrearing years, thank them with a holiday gift that's free from chemicals of concern.</p><p><strong>Detox Their Coffee Routine</strong></p><p>There are many beautiful and plastic-free options for the sleep-deprived adults on your list – pour-over coffee makers are simple for making a single cup and come in many glass and ceramic styles. You can even find a reusable stainless steel filter. For multiple cup operations, choose a double-wall glass French press (the double wall keeps coffee warmer, longer) or a stainless steel percolator.</p><p><strong>Grown-Ups Love Clean Beauty, Too</strong></p><ul> <li>A splurge for a special man or woman on your list is Henry Rose, the fragrance created by EWG board member Michelle Pfeiffer. It's EWG's first fine fragrance that's 100 percent transparent – made without EWG's chemicals of concern, with full ingredient disclosure on the label and to EWG.</li></ul><ul> <li>A luxurious beard oil and brush kit makes a great gift. Look for <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/category/Beard_oil?marketed_for=men" target="_blank">beard oils</a> with a green rating in the Skin Deep® database and brushes with wood or bamboo handles.</li></ul><ul><li>Makeup wipes are hot right now, but their disposable nature and questionable ingredients are not as fun. Look for reusable cotton wipes in undyed organic cotton.</li></ul><p><strong>Green Kitchens Are More Than a Design Trend</strong></p><p>If you're like most parents, you try to feed your family without exposing them to harmful chemicals. So it's a disappointment to discover that the cookware and food storage you've been using might be toxic. Surprise the chef on your list with a few cleaner, greener product swaps:</p><ul> <li>Cast iron or carbon steel sauté pans and griddles are beautiful, long-lasting alternatives to nonstick cookware, which is often made with toxic PFAS, the notorious Teflon chemical.</li></ul><ul> <li>Enamel-coated pots and Dutch ovens in bright, beautiful colors that any chef would be happy to add to their collection.</li></ul><ul><li>Waffle makers and crepe pans are a gift everyone can enjoy – but they're typically coated with nonstick chemicals. Instead, choose a waffle maker made of cast iron or coated with enamel, or a crepe pan made of lightweight carbon steel.</li></ul>
Support EWG<p>You want to feed your family more vegetables, but getting your kids' buy-in is no small challenge. One approach: Your purchase of the <a href="https://act.ewg.org/onlineactions/xpK5DUDfFE-PM8bYOYd8sA2?sourceid=1018019&_gl=1*wayh0y*_gcl_aw*R0NMLjE1Njg2NDUwMjEuRUFJYUlRb2JDaE1JeGEtNmlNclY1QUlWaDR6SUNoMXVSZ0YzRUFBWUFTQUFFZ0piaGZEX0J3RQ..&_ga=2.129134415.290585068.1574696568-757456667.1543852855" target="_blank">2019 EWG Holiday Gift Box</a> includes the new cookbook by noted chef Abra Behrens, <em>Ruffage</em>, lauded as a both an homage to vegetables and a practical guide. Bonus: Proceeds support EWG's ongoing research and advocacy work.</p>
- EcoWatch's Favorite Green Gifts for the Holidays - EcoWatch ›
- How to Shop Sustainably - EcoWatch ›
- 4 Eco-Friendly Drinking Straw Alternatives So You Can Skip Plastic ... ›
By Danielle Nierenberg and Jared Kaufman
Eating together does more than make people happier — it can help us all be healthier, especially around the holidays.
Thanksgiving can be a tricky holiday if you're trying to avoid animal products — after all, its unofficial name is Turkey Day. But, as more and more studies show the impact of meat and dairy consumption on the Earth, preparing a vegan Thanksgiving is one way to show gratitude for this planet and all its biodiversity.
1. Meatless Turkey<p>The traditional centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal may feel like the most intimidating element to swap out, but there are plenty of faux-turkey alternatives on the market. Juliet Lapidos <a href="https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2009/11/what-s-the-best-vegetarian-turkey-hint-it-s-not-tofurky.html" target="_blank">sampled four back in 2009</a> and rated the Gardein Stuffed Veggie Turkey Roast as the tastiest. The product is now sold as the <a href="https://www.gardein.com/products/savory-stuffed-turky/" target="_blank">savory stuffed turk'y</a> or <a href="https://www.gardein.com/products/holiday-roast/" target="_blank">holiday roast</a>. Gardein's replacement turkeys got a bill of approval from <a href="https://www.thespruceeats.com/gardeins-savory-stuffed-turky-3376903" target="_blank">The Spruce Eats</a> for their natural ingredients and realistic appearance.</p><p>You also don't have to bother with fake meat at all. <a href="https://wellvegan.com/recipe/6-turkey-alternatives-for-a-vegan-thanksgiving" target="_blank">Well Vegan</a> suggests an all veggie-take on the turducken: the Butternut Squash Vegducken. This dish stuffs a zucchini inside an eggplant inside a butternut squash for "a flavor combination that's perfectly suited for the season."</p><p>Epicurious has the original <a href="https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vegducken" target="_blank">vegetarian recipe</a>, plus tips for <a href="https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/vegan-thanksgiving-vegducken-recipe-article" target="_blank">turning it vegan</a>.</p>
2. Animal-Free Gravy<p>Gravy is another dish that screams animal product, but there are actually tons of recipes that don't require meat juices.</p><p><a href="https://lovingitvegan.com/vegan-gravy/" target="_blank">Alison Andrews of Loving It Vegan</a> shares a recipe for a gravy made in 30 minutes from garlic and onions, vegan butter, flour, coconut milk, vegetable stalk and soy sauce.</p><p>People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also has <a href="https://www.peta.org/living/food/celebrate-vegan-holiday/" target="_blank">lots of gravy recipes</a> that emphasize different flavors, from <a href="https://www.peta.org/recipes/roasted-garlic-gravy/" target="_blank">Roasted Garlic Gravy</a> to <a href="https://www.peta.org/recipes/red-wine-shallot-gravy/" target="_blank">Red Wine and Shallot Gravy</a>.</p>
3. Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes<p>You don't need milk and butter to make your mashed potatoes nice and creamy.</p><p>"They're extremely easy to veganize," <a href="https://simpleveganblog.com/vegan-mashed-potatoes/" target="_blank">Iosune of Simple Vegan Blog writes</a>, "you just need to use oil or vegan butter instead of regular butter (extra virgin olive oil is my favorite choice) and any unsweetened plant milk instead of cow's milk or cream (soy milk works so well), that's all!"</p><p>Iosune explains how you can make your own <a href="https://simpleveganblog.com/vegan-butter/" target="_blank">vegan butter</a>, too. All you need is plant-based milk, lemon juice, coconut oil, a neutral oil like sunflower oil, nutritional yeast (if you can find it) and salt.</p>
4. Vegan Casseroles<p>Side dishes are probably the easiest holiday foods to conceive of as vegan, since they tend to be veggie-based anyway. But that also means there are lots of exciting recipes out there to try. <a href="https://www.vegkitchen.com/12-comforting-easy-vegan-casseroles/" target="_blank">VegKitchen</a> suggests several, but the most seasonal include Quinoa, Broccoli and Vegan Cheese, Roasted Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese and Vegan Green Bean Casserole.</p><p>"Vegan casseroles are always comforting," VegKitchen writes, "and it's nice to know that they're also good for you, not starchy and heavy like the old-fashioned kind."</p>
5. Earth-Friendly Pumpkin Pie<p>Pumpkin pie is a holiday classic, but many traditional recipes call for cream or eggs. Then there's the fact that it's usually topped with whipped cream.</p><p>However, you can have the full pumpkin pie experience without any animal products. <a href="https://lovingitvegan.com/vegan-pumpkin-pie/" target="_blank">Loving It Vegan</a> shares a recipe that uses canned pureed pumpkin for the filling, and <a href="https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/vegan-pumpkin-pie" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the BBC Good Food</a> walks you through the process of making the filling from pumpkins or squash directly.</p><p>There are also plenty of vegan whipped-creams options out there, <a href="https://www.peta.org/living/food/dairy-free-vegan-whipped-cream-brands-recipes/" target="_blank">according to PETA</a>. You can buy one of the many ready-to-spray varieties for sale or make your own from chilled coconut milk, sugar and vanilla.</p>
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By Brian Barth
Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.
Tool Maintenance<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA4ODc1My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NTkwOTk2N30.hkjPy_HBXpcGN5VO17b3X4ajSKEusLv2pcerStKlKe4/img.jpg?width=980" id="c64a0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="714609ce8150e039db3a31d74d88f286" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Hose Repair<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA4ODc1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTY5ODM1Mn0.5xmze--FN2FTVco252fwsqbXc7OXJUVGOWfSCoR0Pwk/img.jpg?width=980" id="17aed" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="10e570d03c6ad7a27b840bddb82305da" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Mulching<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA4ODc2Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2Mjk3NzY0Nn0.lSKEQnIZtdUNPMja2oCgnCS8v0NWkywrY0fRzG3VvJs/img.jpg?width=980" id="7b482" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="796853ece8704090cc87f52b5447d640" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Build Something with Wood<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA4ODc4Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzOTMwNjQ2Mn0.OQWw9CNw0Ue7Afr4lNAFZdC5VYPcSyss70cbX9DSRD8/img.jpg?width=980" id="697a2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8fcecb95c81fa5a8aaf6ff9a404a1748" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
By Andrea Spacht Collins
It's been a big year for me: new name, new address, renewed sense of purpose about the need to tackle climate change now. As the holiday season approaches, I'm reminded that I couldn't have done any of these things on my own. I have a powerful community of friends who have supported me. And I can't wait to honor and celebrate them over Friendsgiving dinner this year.