Hi, I’m Faith! I’m 15 years old and I have a love for natural whole foods, and making healthy and delicious recipes. My instagram page, @peanut.eats, where I share recipes and tips for health and sustainable living, is something I started for fun. Then, I realized I wanted to take it more seriously. Now, I’ve decided to create this blog for delicious mostly plant based meals, health and beauty tips, environmental sustainability, grocery shopping tips, and advice for balanced living. Also, keep a lookout for Papa’s Recipe Ratings. (PRR)
I’m so happy you’re here!
Human Overconsumption of Animals
Scientists are currently scrambling to devise a diet plan that can feed 10 billion people by 2050. Based on our diet now, not only will our environment be even more polluted, but there won’t even be enough food to feed everyone. We are slowly killing both ourselves and our earth due to the over consumption of animals.
The leading cause of death in America is heart disease. Due to the overindulgence in animal products, cholesterol levels increase, resulting in heart disease. People say that this could be caused by other food, but the only foods that even have cholesterol are animal products such as dairy, meat and eggs.
There is a fine line between healthy consumption and overconsumption of protein, particularly when it comes from meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the average American consumes approximately 82 grams of meat a day — about 30 percent higher than the total daily recommended value of protein. Excessive meat consumption contributes to a wide array of health issues, such as cancer and diabetes. In particular, high consumption of red meat and processed meats has been linked to cardiovascular disease, heart disease and early death. These meats contain a large amount of calories and contribute to our country’s growing obesity problem.
Half of all Americans die of heart disease or cancer and two-thirds of us are overweight. The American Dietetic Association says that vegetarians have “lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; … lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.” Vegetarians, on average, are about one-third as likely to be overweight as meat-eaters.
I’m not saying that everyone should become vegetarian, what I’m saying is we should decrease our meat consumption. This is for our own good.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a professional in holistic health and integrative medicine states that there is something called arachidonic acid, or AA, in animal flesh which causes inflammation. AA is a pro-inflammatory fatty acid. He explains that “heart disease and Alzheimer’s – among many other diseases – begin as inflammatory processes.
As for having strength and energy on a vegetarian diet, some of the world’s top athletes are vegetarian. A few examples: Carl Lewis (perhaps the greatest Olympian of all time), Robert Parish (one of the “50 Greatest Players in NBA History”), Desmond Howard (Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP), Bill Pearl (professional bodybuilder and four-time “Mr. Universe”), Jack La Lanne (Mr. Fitness himself) and Chris Evert (tennis champion). Vegetarian athletes have the advantage of getting all the plant protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber they need without all the artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated animal fats found in meat that would slow them down. In fact, Carl Lewis says that “my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet.”
They are finding out that inflammation is key in so many of the diseases that plague us. So when you eat meat, you ingest AA, which causes inflammation, which fires up the disease process. It doesn’t matter if the chicken is free range or the beef is grass-fed because the fatty acid is natural and inherent in the meat. Eaten in moderation, meat is a good source of protein and of important vitamins and nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamins B3, B6, and B12. We can still consume an adequate amount of protein eating more plant based. We can actually thrive on a more plant based diet, have more energy, and drastically decrease our risk of food-borne illness and certain diseases.
In recent years, livestock waste has been implicated in massive fish kills and outbreaks of such diseases as pfiesteria, which causes memory loss, confusion and acute skin burning in people exposed to contaminated water. In the USA, livestock now produce 130 times as much waste as people do. Just one pig farm in Utah, for example, produces more sewage that the city of Los Angeles. Large-scale meat production also has serious implications for the world’s climate. Animal waste releases methane and nitrous oxide, greenhouse gases that are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively. The livestock sector — raising cows, pigs and chickens — generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined. Dirty, crowded conditions on factory farms can propagate sickness and disease among the animals, including swine influenza, avian influenza, foot-and-mouth disease, and mad-cow disease. These diseases not only translate into enormous economic losses each year—the United Kingdom alone spent 18 to 25 billion dollars in a three-year period to combat foot-and-mouth disease—but they also lead to human infections. Mass quantities of antibiotics are used on livestock to reduce the impact of disease, contributing to antibiotic resistance in animals and humans alike. Worldwide, 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in 2009 were used on livestock and poultry, compared to only 20 percent used for human illnesses. Antibiotics that are present in animal waste leach into the environment and contaminate water and food crops, posing a serious threat to public health.
In the USA, the number of animals slaughtered annually for food is estimated at between 4.5 and 6 billion. In 1989, the average person in the USA consumed just under 100 kg of meat annually. Calculated in whole lives, both human and animal, an average North American family consumes: 12 cattle, 1 calf, 2 lambs, 29 pigs, 984 chickens, and 37 turkeys. Chickens are grown too big for them to walk. Female chicks are debeaked shortly after birth and the male chicks are thrown into the trash, or ground up alive in because there is no use for them. Pigs are grown in cages so small that they never get to stand up. Cows never get to graze in the field and barely see the light of day. As far as animals suffering from starvation due to overpopulation goes, the amount of grains and other crops consumed by US livestock is enough to feed 800 million human who are currently starving to death worldwide.
This is honestly insane. We are breeding way to many animals into existence just so they can die to be eaten, or to even be wasted because they’re too plentiful. Due to how much meat and animal products we consume, we are causing unnecessary breeding and suffering of animals.
The population of domesticated farm animals in the USA in 2008 is estimated roughly at around 20 billion. As it may appear from these statistics, non-human animal populations seem to already be vastly out of control. To kill these animals would be the best solution since they are already consuming 80% of our corn grown in this country and 60 billion pounds of our soy each year. Human beings have the ability to consume other animals’ flesh and display the predator characteristics of forward pointing eyes and four sharper teeth called “canines.”
Look at it this way; the only reason why we have an overpopulation of animals in the first place is because we our over breeding, and not even eating all of them anyway. We can get just the same adequate amount of protein on a highly plant based diet with smaller amounts of animal products. Just because we have the tradition of “we have always eat meat” doesn’t necessarily mean we were meant or built to do so.
No matter how many animals Americans kill and eat each year, there continues to be more of them. The reason for overpopulation is quite simple. Animal farmers have intensive breeding operations where they artificially inseminate as many female animals as possible to create even more offspring than the year before. Without giant egg hatcheries and other artificial forms of breeding, animals would never have any hope of reaching, let alone sustaining, current populations. Human beings’ bodies, by virtually every measure, are intended to eat plants, not flesh. We have flat grinding teeth with jaws that can move from side to side. Virtually no other meat-eating animal has jaws that move side to side, because for animals that eat flesh the possibility of injury is too high in jaws with lateral flexibility, in addition to the fact that meat-eating animals don’t chew their food, but instead tear pieces from carcasses and swallow them whole, and thus don’t need flat teeth. The canine teeth we possess are dubiously small for any sort of the stabbing all other species use their canine teeth for. It you compare our canine teeth to those of our distant relative gorillas, which are completely vegetarian, you will see that even those gentle giants have canines that out measure our own greatly. Humans have long folding intestines that allow for food to move slowly through our digestive system, which allows our bodies to absorb as many nutrients as possible before the food is passed. Animals who eat meat regularly have incredibly short intestines because meat may contain harmful pathogens and will putrefy in their guts if not processed quickly. We lack the proper PH in our stomach acid to digest meat properly without thorough cooking. An animal who eats meat has the stomach PH of less than or equal to 1, whereas plant-eating animals have a PH of 4-5, which is what human beings have.
The argument against a vegan lifestyle stated above could also be reworded to read as “But if we didn’t slit the throats of animals and eat their flesh, they might die horrible deaths.” This makes me laugh because they already did die a horrible death.
I’m not advocating that everyone adopt a “meatless” diet tomorrow. But we all must develop “meat consciousness” and reduce the level of meat in our diets. Shifting to more plant-based foods is essential to combating climate change, soil, air and water pollution, ocean dead zones, and other problems caused by industrial livestock production. If we decide to eat fewer meals with meat or dairy each week, we can make a huge impact on our collective health and the health of the planet.
What You Can Do
- Commit to reducing your meat and dairy consumption by a few meals per week and tell five friends about your choice to find alternative proteins.
- Make fresh fruits and vegetables a bigger part of your diet.
Paleo Choc-Chip Cookies
I have been waiting sooooo long to make this cookies but I just never got to it. I’ve planned this recipe in my head for such a long time and I’m so excited to finally get it up on my blog! These were another one of my “wing-it” and use what we got in the pantry recipes and they turned out AMAZING. I’m literally so happy with these. If you’re starting out a healthy lifestyle and you’re missing cookies and treats, or you have some sort of dietary requirement you should definitely try these! These cookies are paleo, which means they are dairy free, gluten free, grain free and refined sugar free.
- 2 cups almond meal (I recommend blanched almond meal, it tastes more like cake batter flour) or you can use any gluten free/grain free flour you like
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Sprinkle of salt
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Dairy free chocolate chips
Enjoy your guilt-free snacking!
Smoothies and Milkshakes
Ok, I’ma be real with you. I used to LOVE getting a large milkshake or grande frappuchino almost every single day. It was kinda insane. Every time we went out that was all I would ask for. I always felt like such crap afterwards, because not only did (now to knowledge) have an intolerance to dairy, but they’re obviously really bad for you! I honestly still love chocolate shakes and pretty much any blended ice drink, buuut now I make my own! I make a smoothie almost every day and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my health and overall wellbeing. There are so many delicious and nutrient packed smoothie/milkshake recipes I could share with you guys, but for now I’ll just stick to the basics.
FOR THE CHOCO LOVERS:
Banana Chocolate Shake:
- Plant milk (I find almond milk to be the most creamy. You can also use chocolate almond milk!)
- Frozen banana (it’s much more thick and smooth if the bananas are frozen)
- Cacao or cocoa powder (fun fact: cacao powder is more nutrient dense than cocoa powder because its raw. Cacao powder has more antioxidants than any fruit! You can also sup the chocolate for vanilla extract or vanilla powder if you want a vanilla milkshake.)
- Optional plant protein powder
- Peanut or almond butter (optional but delicious!)
- Optional Avocado (I know this is really weird but trust me, if you only put a little bit, you can’t even taste it. This not only makes the shake more creamy, but it also adds a good source of healthy fats to keep you fuller for longer! You can ready more about that in my last post)
- Plant milk ice cubes (this is optional but all you have to do is freeze plant milk in an ice cube tray)
- Optional coconut cream (the thick part of a can of full fat coconut milk)
- Optional sweetener of your choice (pure maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, etc. I think it’s already sweet enough with the banana)
There are so many different smoothie combinations and different things to add to smoothies but here are some of my staples:
- Frozen bananas (A MUST)
- Any other frozen fruit you like
- Plant protein powder
- Almond milk
- Cacao powder
- Spirulina (spirulina powder is an incredible superfood that helps to detox the body and boost energy levels. I definitely recommend doing some more research on it)
- Chia seeds
- Spinach or kale
- Any superfood powder you like such as camu powder, beet powder, maca powder, etc. Tailor what you use to your specific needs and likes.
Really you can just play around with different types of smoothie combinations to get exactly what you want. Usually I make a different smoothie every time, but I also make sure they are full of nutrients to help me get through my day with energy and productivity. I hope this inspires you to make more healthy smoothies! Rather than just an apple, a smoothie a day helps keep the doctor away. 😉
Sooo, these brownies are pretty dense. If you like those super rich and chocolatey brownies that are served at fancy restaurants, these are for you. These are pretty intense, but super delicious! Brownies are definitely one of my favorite desserts so I made it my mission to make a healthy gluten free, dairy free version that I could eat without feeling sick, but didn’t taste like dirt.
These are dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free, and can be made vegan easily. I am really proud of this recipe, and glad I got to make it with one of my best friends, Cara Pelling!
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup cacao or cocoa powder
- 5 tablespoons liquid sweetener of your choice
- Dark dairy free chocolate
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs (If you are vegan you can make a chia or flax egg)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder
- 3 tablespoons coconut cream (the thick part of a can of coconut milk)
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- Melt the coconut oil, half of the cocoa/cacao powder, the liquid sweetener and as much dark chocolate as you want in a bowl in the microwave or over a pot of water on the stove.
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add all the wet ingredients that weren’t microwaved. If you are vegan you can make a chia seed or ground flax seed egg. You can make this by adding 1 tablespoon of either chia seeds or flax meal to 2 tablespoons water in a little bowl and let sit for 5 minutes to make one egg. (so triple that to make 3)
- Add the microwaved ingredients, and mix.
- Scoop into a parchment paper lined or oiled brownie tin.
- Cut up chunks of dark chocolate, or use dark chocolate chips, and top the batter, pushing them in.
- Cook for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- ½ a large avocado
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- 2 tablespoons liquid sweetener
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- ¼ cup cacao or cocoa powder
- Mash all the frosting ingredients together and store in the fridge for 10 minutes before spreading on the brownies.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you try it out, make sure to let me know what you think on my Instagram, @peanut.eats!
I know what you’re thinking of when you hear fat. Cheeseburgers, pizza, bacon, fries, etc. But that is definitely not what I am talking about! I’m talking about healthy fats (aka monounsaturated fats) . Healthy fats are one of the largest topics of the health/beauty industry. Ever since all fat was demonized, people started eating more sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods instead. As a result, the world has become fatter and sicker. However, studies now show that fat, including some saturated fats, aren’t the devil. Tons of foods that are high in fat have been added to the “superfood” list due to their dense nutritional value.
There are many different types of fat in our diets, which vary in their chemical structure. Unsaturated fats or fatty acids have a double bond in the fatty acid chain of their chemical structure. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are a type of unsaturated fat. “Mono,” meaning one, signifies that monounsaturated fats have only one double bond. There are many different types of MUFAs. Oleic acid is the most common, comprising around 90% of those found in the diet. Other MUFAs include palmitoleic acid and vaccenic acid. Many foods are high in MUFAs, but most consist of a combination of different types of fats. For example, olive oil is very high in MUFAs and other types of fat. Foods that are high in unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, are usually liquid at room temperature, whereas foods that are high in saturated fats, such as coconut oil, are usually solid at room temperature. These different fats affect health and disease differently. Monounsaturated fats, in particular, have been shown to have tons of health benefits.
Now, what’s surprising to most people is that healthy fats can actually help you loose weight. All fats provide the same amount of energy, 9 calories per gram. Carbs and proteins provide 4 calories per gram. So reducing the amount of unhealthy fats in your diet is what helps you loose weight, while increasing your healthy fats can actually help you burn more fat. I know, weird. A diet with moderate to high amounts of MUFAs can help with weight loss, as long as you aren’t eating more calories than you’re burning. A couple of studies have shown that when calorie intake remained the same, diets high in MUFAs led to weight loss similar to that of a typical low-fat diet, but caused a ton more significant health benefits, such as higher energy levels and clearer skin. Therefore, high-MUFA diets can be an effective way to lose weight and stay healthy when replacing other calories, rather than adding extra calories to the diet.
Healthy fats are essential to give your body energy and support cell growth. They help to protect your organs and to keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones too. Healthy fats are anti-inflammatory, so they also help to maintain healthy gut bacteria, and boost collagen in the skin. Your body definitely needs fat!
What foods contain healthy fats?
- Avocado and avocado oil
- Dark chocolate
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, sardines)
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, etc)
- Chia seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut and coconut oil
The bottom line is, don’t be afraid of fat! It’s what fuels your body and keeps you healthy. Just don’t go scarf a big mac and a large fry thinking your gonna loose weight after reading this!
Chocolate Almond Protein Bites
Like most of my recipes, this one was made up on the spot. Though Now that I have a blog, I have to change my usual way of “winging it”. I usually just eyeball everything whenever I bake, so I never measure the ingredients. But this time I actually measured so someone could actually make it! I am so happy with this recipe! It is gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and vegan (besides the honey but that can be changed easily)! Another thing that’s great about this recipe is that you can change up the flavors to suit your liking! This healthy snack is filled with loads of protein and healthy fats. Healthy fats keep you fuller for longer, and work wonders for your hair, skin and nails. It’s also super gut friendly. Lately I have been having some gut issues. I did some research and found that peanuts, cashews, and most sweeteners besides honey (foods that I used to eat on the daily) could be a major trigger for a sensitive gut. So I set out to make a recipe that could cover all of these things, yet still taste delicious!
Chocolate-Almond Protein Bites:
- 1 cup almond flour (or any gluten free flour of your choice)
- A handful of coconut shreds/flakes (optional)
- 2 heaping tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup raw almonds (once again, any nut of your choice is fine)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey or sweetener of your choice (I recommend Manuka honey)
- 2 heaping tablespoons almond butter (or any nut butter of your choice)
- Add all of your ingredients into a blender/food processor and blend (you may need to add a few splashes of water or plant milk, depending on the quality of the machine)
- Spoon them into a mini or regular cupcake tin and store in the freezer overnight
Sustainable Grocery Shopping
1. Reusable Grocery Bags
If you bring your own grocery bags to the store, not only are you saving money, but you’re creating less waste! Bringing reusable grocery bags is both good for your bank account and the environment.
2. Reusable Produce Bags
I highly recommend buying reusable produce bags for your fruit and veggies to replace the plastic ones in the store. Reusable produce bags are another amazing way to to limit the unnecessary use of plastic and create less waste. Here is a link to the ones I recommend, Produce bags.
3. Be Mindful
It’s very important to be aware of how much plastic you are actually buying. Be mindful of what things are wrapped in plastic and whether it is actually necessary or not.
4. Buy in Bulk
Another way to limit the introduction of additional waste into the environment is to buy things in bulk. Use your reusable produce bags or jars to buy things such as nuts or flour in bulk, which would normally be in a plastic bag or container.