Yesterday and today I took part in a study run by the local university, evaluating Eatracker.ca. It was pretty interesting. Yesterday I had to create a special account on the site, and use it to track everything I consumed throughout the day (including food, vitamins and supplements, drinks, etc.). This morning I met with a dietitian, and she collected much the same information via conversation. Naturally the two approaches had a lot of overlap, but they differed in the details they collected. For example I missed some things in the interview, because it was morning and my memory doesn’t kick in before the afternoon. On the other hand I’m sure that the dietitian managed a better overall assessment, because Eatracker’s database didn’t include a lot of the foods I eat (things like bulgur, kiwi, dried cranberries, etc.), which meant my online food list wasn’t 100% complete.
She also took general feedback on the system — which I can summarize as “easy enough to use and nice assessments, but the food database is sadly lacking.” My site of choice remains NutritionData.com, though admittedly the focus is different — more concerned with nutrition information, less with daily tracking. I use it mostly for analyzing recipes and individual foods; it has the best food database I’ve found, and offers tremendous detail. Eatracker may be better for tracking nutritional info over time though. I used it intermittently even before this study, and so learned that I’m consistently coming up a bit short on potassium, but have absolutely no worries re: the usual vegan ‘deficits’ — protein, iron, B12, or calcium.
Anyway, that was the study and the site. While I was participating I jotted down some notes for my own amusement. The highlight?…
“4:17pm…*bite head off of chocolate Easter bunny*…Uh oh…*eyes laptop*…How many grams of chocolate in a Botticelli bunny head? Nope, forget it, I’m not logging this. Never happened. Move along now.”
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Sorry, vegan zombie joke.
Anyway, last night was Earth Hour, and so at 8pm we shut off all the lights and non-essential electronics. Most of our complex went dark — there was only a single light on outside one house. My housemate flaked on the couch and read an ebook on his palm pilot. I lit a half dozen candles (mmmmm, beeswax) and spent some time looking through cookbooks. Paper cookbooks. (gasp!) Ultimately I found a bread recipe close to what I’ve been wanting, and started bread by candlelight.
Many hours later, after Earth Hour ended and we’d (eventually) put some lights back on, a very tired me pulled these out of the oven. The original recipe was for Mollie Katzen’s sunflower-millet bread from Enchanted Broccoli Forest (a Moosewood cookbook), but I veganized the recipe and converted it to a 12-grain loaf by the very simple expedient of substituting a multigrain cereal mixture for the millet. It’s hands-down the healthiest bread I’ve ever made, and also the best ‘sandwich bread’ — it slices perfectly, and has a good, non-crumbly texture. Probably won’t last long. Half a loaf is on its way to a sick friend, and the other half is almost gone too. Good thing I made two loaves.
Today was a blast. I got up too early (any morning hour is too early on a weekend), grabbed a quick shower, and headed downtown to the Kitchener market to meet K. We found each other, and then spent a pleasant hour or so wandering around, restocking on fruits and veggies. Eventually we headed to her place to drop off our things and say hi to their adorable dog Sammy, and then it was off around the corner for our raw food workshop.
The workshop was two hours of numminess, with a side helping of good company. We were joined by around eight others, plus our instructor. She started us off with edamame hummous dip, which was quite fresh tasting. Then we each received a plate of several samples:
Clockwise from the bottom, you’re looking at bean-free refried beans, mango salsa, dairy-free sour cream, corn tortillas, and guacamole.
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Tomorrow is Earth Hour! If you haven’t heard about it already, it’s an event organized by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) to encourage awareness of climate change. It’s easy to participate too — just turn off your lights between 8pm and 9pm. Really, that’s it! You can turn off more if you like, of course. I don’t know about other countries, but I know that here in Canada a lot of cities are officially getting in on the act too, and turning off or reducing the lighting in many public buildings and landmarks — places like Niagara Falls and the CN Tower.
What can turning the lights off for a mere hour do? Well here’s a quote from the event’s Facebook page:
“Last year, on 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney (Australia) businesses turned off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour. This massive collective effort reduced Sydney’s energy consumption by 10.2% for one hour, which is the equivalent effect of taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year.”
Just a bit more proof that small things can make a difference. So why not turn your lights off for an hour tomorrow evening and have a late dinner by candlelight, or go for a walk and see if the stars are any clearer?
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