The flip side of enjoying farm to table is taking the table to the farm. So-called “pop-up feasts” are booming at farms throughout the country during growing and harvest seasons. While the format varies, dinners are typically hosted on working rural or urban farms, last about three hours and include aperitifs and a tour before the meal. Wine pairings or beer tastings and live music may be among the enticing activities offered.
Traveling can be tricky for those trying to eat a plant-based diet, especially on long stretches of highway. More than 33 percent of Americans, or 100 million-plus people, are eating vegan/vegetarian meals more often, even if they do not adhere to a strict plant-based lifestyle, concluded a 2011 Harris Interactive study commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group. Here is what the discerning traveler can do when hunger strikes.
“No patio pizzeria repertoire is complete without a signature grilled bread. It’s one of the easiest and most flavorful appetizers ever,” says Adler. This dish starts with good whole grain bread, liberally brushed with extra-virgin olive oil on both sides, and then grilled and topped with any number of vegetable mixtures, from fresh sliced tomatoes to sautéed bell peppers or broccoli rabe and garlic.
Deciphering the language on an egg carton is a first step. Diet affects flavor. “Eggs from pasture-raised chickens allowed to roam—eating grass, worms and bugs in the backyard or a pasture—will look and taste better than eggs from chickens limited to an inside space eating chicken feed,” says Cole. “Pasture-raised eggs will have a fresh herbaceous, or grassy, flavor with an ‘egg-ier’ essence.”
Many experts agree on at least one underlying cause behind the trend—a widely studied condition called leaky gut, characterized by intestinal permeability. Microscopic pinholes in an unhealthy small intestine can allow undigested nutrients to pass through intestinal walls, triggering mild immune responses, inflammation and, potentially, the onset of some diseases.
Fat doesn’t even make you fat, claims Mark Hyman, a well-known medical doctor in Lenox, Massachusetts, and author of Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health. “The theory that all calories have the same impact on your weight and metabolism remains one of the most persistent nutrition myths,” says this practitioner of functional medicine who points out that we’ve been sidetracked by wrong thinking. “Eating fat can make you lean. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. The right fats also increase fat burning, diminish hunger and reduce fat storage,” he notes.
Microgreens grow so fast that there’s little time for them to run into trouble. Commercial growers use large trays, but home gardeners can also use pretty coffee mugs or tofu boxes rescued from the recycling bin. Drainage holes in the container bottoms work well when growing beets or other slow-sprouting seeds, but are less important for fastgrowing sunflowers or wheat.
During jam-packed special occasions like holidays, our drinks should multitask, too. We need festive tipples to refresh us without overdoing it, restore equilibrium if we overeat or drink or revive us when we’re feeling low from a seasonal cold or flu.
In The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan surmised that we’d be healthier if we ate the way our great-grandparents did. It would mean sticking to regularly scheduled meals instead of impulsive snacking, having a meat or protein item comprise only a quarter of our plate, adding fresh vegetables and eliminating junk food.