How a (Gluten Free) Health Nut Celebrates Earth Day

I'll admit it. When it comes to holidays, Earth Day - which falls on April 22 this year, a Saturday! - isn't usually on the top of my list. Sure, I love the planet (I think anyone who is alive hopefully does) and I love spending time outdoors...but Mother Earth is often outshone by figures like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

This year, though, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to celebrate Earth Day in ways that any health nut can enjoy! With some (sponsored) help from companies like Aloha, Setton Farms and Explore Cuisine, here's the perfect itinerary for a healthy, happy Earth Day! 

How a (Gluten Free) Health Nut Celebrates Earth Day 2017

8:30: Wake up. Sure, recent research has found that morning doves tend to be happier and healthier than night owls. However, that doesn't mean you need to wake up at 5 AM. The truth is, we all need different amounts of sleep - and thanks to fibromyalgia, I need more than most. So you do you. If you wake up earlier, enjoy a pre-workout snack like a loaded up rice cake or (gluten free) toast

9:30: Get your body movin' in a yoga class! I prefer hot yoga, but you can also practice in the comfort of your own bedroom with YouTube channels like this one. I love all kinds of exercise, but yoga is perfect if you want sweat + mindfulness. One yoga mantra I recently heard was that yogis should represent the changes we want to see in the world. 

How a (Gluten Free) Health Nut Celebrates Earth Day 2017
The mural right outside my yoga studio!
Sometimes, that means giving loved ones - and even strangers - the benefit of doubt. Other times - like on Earth Day - representation involves being thankful for our planet, treating it right (by cleaning up litter, choosing a gas-efficient car, etc) and encouraging others to do the same. 

11:00: Dig into some brunch! On Earth Day, what brunch is more fitting than a creamy, green smoothie bowl? If you have time, blend your smoothie the day before and stick it in the freezer (I use mason jars). Then, you can just defrost it in the microwave after yoga. 

No smoothie bowl is complete without toppings, though - and I have some special ones in mind for Earth Day! Aloha just released their new plant-based protein bars, with flavors ranging from peanut butter and jelly to chocolate fudge brownie (my personal favorite - I've never tasted something so decadent yet healthy!). Why is Aloha perfect for Earth Day? First of all, these bars of free of gluten, soy and dairy, so almost anyone can enjoy a bite! Research has also found that eating a more plant-based diet can help the environment by cutting your carbon footprint, conserving water and preserving animal and plant habitats. Who knew eating a brownie protein bar could actually help make the world a better place?

How a (Gluten Free) Health Nut Celebrates Earth Day 2017
Those brownie pieces!
2:30: After your food had digested and you've spent some time doing whatever meets your fancy (volunteering to pick up litter or plant trees would be quite fitting!), why not celebrate Earth Day by spending some time outside? As I've written before, I'm a huge fan of walking - and it comes with plenty of health benefits

How far or hard you walk depends on you. You could go on a hike and enjoy being surrounded by more trees than people. You could visit your favorite nearby parks and dedicate extra time to appreciating the gorgeous landscaping. You could even just find a scenic bench and relax while getting some vitamin D.

How a (Gluten Free) Health Nut Celebrates Earth Day 2017

3:30: Fuel up as needed. I don't know about you, but a morning workout + afternoon walk always leaves me hangry by 3:30. One of my favorite snacks? Setton Farms' pistachio chewy bites! As I've written before, these only have three ingredients - pistachios, cranberries and agave nectar - and are packed with vegan protein and fiber. Besides eating more plant-based protein, you can also help the environment by eating locally (or at least food made in the USA, like Setton Farms' pistachios) since this reduces your carbon footprint even more. 

"Saving" the planet may sound overwhelming at times; however, paying attention to what you eat can have a huge impact!

How a (Gluten Free) Health Nut Celebrates Earth Day 2017
Those pistachio chunks...
Dinner time: Most likely, you eat dinner at a different time than I do - so enjoy your next Earth Day meal when you get hungry. I do have a suggestion of what you should eat, though: a pasta dish loaded up with vegan protein thanks to Explore Cuisine! This gluten free and vegan line offers a variety of pastas types in a variety of unique bases, from lentils to black beans to chickpeas. When I was offered a taste test, then, I couldn't resist!

Not only does Explore Cuisine fit Earth Day with its plant based protein, but it's also organic and a great reminder to appreciate cuisines from all over the world. In fact, founder Joe Spronz was inspired to start Explore Cuisine because of the soybean noodles he discovered while traveling in China. Sure, Earth Day (especially this year) is focused on improving people's understanding of the environment and climate - but also raising our appreciation of different cultures on Earth can't hurt!

How a (Gluten Free) Health Nut Celebrates Earth Day 2017
Some of my fave uses...
As for how to eat this pasta, your taste buds are the limit. Add pesto and veggies for a stir fry. Whip up my fave vegan cheese sauce for a killer mac 'n cheese. Sometimes, I even just eat plain pasta as one of the sides to my ultimate snack plate dinner. (Is that weird? Probably. Oh well). Bottom line: you do you

Dessert and Beyond: If you feel like dessert to end your Earth Day celebration with a bang, I'd suggest my chocolate lava mug cake. Besides being paleo and vegan, you could always serve it with vanilla (coconut) yogurt colored green with spirulina for a dirt-and-grass theme! Need more ideas? Check out these delicious (gluten free and vegan) recipes from the blogosphere

How to end Earth Day is also up to you. Maybe you take advantage of the cooler evening temperatures and get busy gardening. Maybe you look up environmental documentaries on Netflix and help your knowledge grow instead. Or maybe you sit out in the front porch and read a book until you can watch the sunset. 

Earth Day might not be the most popular or exciting holiday of the year, but that doesn't mean you should skip celebrating! Whether you decide to lower your meat consumption for the day, go for a walk or simply take five minutes to really enjoy the sun on your face, celebrating Earth Day can be as simple or complex as you want. 

How a (Gluten Free) Health Nut Celebrates Earth Day 2017
Happy Earth Day, y'all!
And if your Earth Day eats and activities are so awesome, they become a normal part of your schedule? Well, that's just a bonus - for Mother Nature and you! 

*I received product samples from Aloha, Setton Farms and Explore Cuisine in return for an honest review. However, all opinions, pictures and recipes are my own. Thanks for supporting what supports Casey the College Celiac!* 

Do you do anything special on Earth Day? Have you ever tried Aloha, Setton Farms or Explore Cuisine before? Tell me your plans and thoughts! 

Comments

  1. I love this post so much Casey! First of all I love that your are drawing attention to Earth Day. I always try to recycle and reuse where ever I can, I eat vegan (and wheat-free), and I avoid all sorts of plastic if possible – also, I actually planted a tree on Earth Day two years ago that has already outgrown me by now 🙂 I do my best, but of course I’m far from perfect. However, I do like your very detailed step-by-step guide to celebrate Earth Day! I will keep it in mind for tomorrow - and the days after that because being considerate towards our planet only one day per year doesn't quite cut it! But it's a great start for sure :) Thanks for the inspiration!

    *Maisy

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    1. Thanks Maisy! And that's so cool that you actually planted a tree on Earth Day! Talk about #greengoals ;)

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