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Author Archive: laila

4 Japanese Vegetarian Foods You Need to Try

Tenryuji Kyoto

Tenryuji Kyoto

Whether you are into a vegan diet or simply want to eat less meat to reduce your impact on the environment, your dining options may seem more limited when you are traveling. Finding a decent meal can be tricky depending on where you are. Thankfully, there are many places where you can find delicious veggie-based dishes. If you are a vegetarian in Tokyo, you can find a wide selection of mouthwatering foods you need to try.

1. Traditional shojin ryori. You can find a restaurant that serves this simple Buddhist fare. But the best place to enjoy an authentic shojin ryori experience is in one of the temple lodgings that serve this type of meal made with ingredients like tofu and seasonal vegetables and fruits among others.

2. Mochi. Made with glutinous rice pounded into a paste, mochi is a popular Japanese food you can easily find in cafes, restaurants, eateries, and street food stalls across Japan. It is also used to make a wide array of other dishes and sweets like agedashimochi (fried mochi), kirimochi (grilled mochi), and ice cream mochi.

3. Tofu. The Japanese prepare tofu in many delectable ways, which makes for a lot of delectable discoveries. Some of the delicious tofu dishes you can try include agedofu (fried), nama tofu (fresh served with ginger and a special sauce), yudofu (hotpot made with tofu and vegetables), or as a salad served with seaweed toppings.

4. Rice. Japanese rice is one of the tastiest in the world you can eat it by itself. But with the various types of rice-based meals you can enjoy, you do not have to worry about eating plain steamed rice alone. Onigiri (o-musubi) or rice balls is just one of the many ways to get your fill of delicious Japanese rice. For snacks, you can savor the spicy or sweet flavors of senbei (rice crackers) paired with a delicious cup of matcha or green tea.

Eco-friendly Living Lessons Worth Learning From Our Grandparents

clothesline

clothesline

Spending time with my grandparents while growing up taught me a lot of things. Back when “eco-friendly”, “green”, and “sustainable” are not environmental buzzwords, my grandparents were already doing the things that I am now trying to commit to.

Buying less
Looking back, I remember my grandparents fixing or repurposing things at home. I even recall many instances when my grandmother mended clothes. Sure online shopping was still not a thing back then. But I believe that even with all the conveniences of today’s shopping my grandparents would still take the time to repair, reuse, or recycle stuff.

Drying clothes outside
I have images of clotheslines with laundry blowing in the wind stuck in my head. I have seen it plenty of times when I visited my grandparents. There is something about homey about the sight. Fast forward to the present, air drying my clothes has become a habit that has helped me use less energy when doing my laundry.

Growing and preserving food
My grandparents have several fruit trees and some vegetable patches in their backyard. Climbing on trees to pick fruits and helping my grandmother harvest some of the vegetables in the garden are among my fondest memories with them. There was something about being in close contact with dirt and getting scrapes from tree barks that enriched my memories of those moments. It was also from my grandmother that I learned to how make fruit jams and pickled vegetables stored in old jars and containers.

Watching less TV
My grandparents had strict rules about watching TV, especially for kids living or visiting at their home. I remember complaining and getting much grief about not being able to see some of my favorite cartoon shows. TV time was strictly regulated and kids were not allowed to watch beyond a certain time at night. For this reason, we spent a lot of time doing things like playing traditional games, being asked to help around the house, learning to play a musical instrument, and more.

Eating homecooked meals and snacks
Dining out are for special occasions in my grandparents’ book. Most of the things we ate back then were homecooked meals and snacks. I have spent countless times watching my grandparents prepare meals from scratch often using ingredients they picked from the backyard. And the smell of freshly-baked cookies and cakes are always wafting in their house.

6 Must-Read Books on Green Lifestyle that Will Inspire You to Live Green

book

book

Sustainable living can be a daunting concept. And making the transition to a green lifestyle is not as easy as it may seem. If you want to know more about living sustainably, here are some good reads that will inspire you to live green.

Clean House Clean Planet by Karen Logan
Some cleaning products contain chemicals and ingredients that can be potentially harmful to the environment. This book is an eye-opening read, especially for people who may be unaware of the toxic waste their household cleaning products are letting out into the environment. The author likewise shares helpful tips and guides on how to make your own cleaning and maintenance products using natural ingredients you can easily find at home.

Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home by Renee Loux
This is a good read for anyone who wants to transition into a sustainable lifestyle one step at a time. It provides practical ideas on how to start living green at home and the different ways to reduce carbon footprint every day.

Green Lighting by Brian Clark Howard, Seth Leitman, and William Brinsky
This is a must-read for anyone who is clueless about compact fluorescent lighting (CFL), light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and other energy-efficient lighting fixtures and options? It serves as a helpful guide in making sense of the different options available that will prove handy when you want to switch to more eco-friendly lighting at home or at work.

Make Your Place: Affordable & Sustainable Nesting Skills by Raleigh Briggs
This is a practical read with plenty of DIY guides and ideas on how to live more sustainably. From growing your own garden to making safe and eco-friendly household cleaning products, this book has plenty of tips to offer.

The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne
The Urban Homestead is a fun and easy read for people who want to explore self-sufficient living and back or front yard gardening. It offers guides to DIY gardening projects including growing edible plants in small spaces. If you want to learn ways to be more self-sufficient with the food you eat, this book is for you.

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill
Want to reduce your consumption? This title may just be the best way to start rethinking your habits as a consumer. It provides insights into how much needless things people tend to buy every month and how it ultimately affects the environment.