Food and Soil Tips

On this page: Tips on Eating Plant Based, Reducing Food Waste, Composting, and Capturing Carbon in Your Garden, Landscape, or Farm to fight climate change

Tips on Eating Plant Based

Adapting To Plant-Based Eating and Cooking

  • If you haven’t tried eating a plant-based meal before, take it slow! Consider meals you already eat that happen to be plant-based, or could easily be made plant-based. For example, instead of serving spaghetti with meat sauce or meatballs, try it with the same red sauce, but substitute vegetables such as chopped zucchinis, onions, mushrooms, and/or olives instead of the meat. Skip the cheese, or try vegan Parmesan available at most supermarkets.
  • If you’re not ready to remove meat from your meals, do as many Asian countries do, where cuisine is not centered on a large portion of meat. Instead, use meat in small quantities, as a condiment or flavoring in noodle or rice bowls, soups, and salads.
  • Try to choose foods lower on the emissions list. Refer to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions per Kilogram diagram on the San Diego 350 “4 Food-Related Things You Can Do To Help Fight Climate Change” flyer.
  • Download the Forks Over Knives Recipe App on your smartphone. Hundreds of delicious, filling recipes with color photos, shopping list feature, and ability to take notes. It’s an easy way to figure out what to make for dinner at the last minute!
  • Discover the many plant-based food blogs with delicious and easy recipes for any dish you can imagine. If you have a craving for certain dish (say, chili cheese fries, or buffalo wings), just google the dish name with the word “vegan” in front and “recipe” at the end, and you’ll be amazed!
  • Explore the Meatless Monday website – it’s a treasure-trove of recipes, restaurants, news and information.
  • Check out any of the great magazines for plant-based recipes and ideas: VegNews, Vegetarian Times, Vegan Health & Fitness, Vegan Life, and more. Check your local health food store, such as Sprouts or Whole Foods.
  • Browse the cookbook section of your favorite bookstore for vegan or plant-based cookbooks

Tips for Eating Out

  • Get expert advice on plant-based dining out in these articles: Vegan Eating Out Tips and How to Eat Vegan at Any Restaurant (and not order Salad)
  • Download the Happy Cow App on your smartphone. Lists restaurants near you (or in any area you specify) that are vegan, vegetarian, or offer veg options. Works world-wide.
  • Visit the vegsandiego.com website for a complete vegetarian guide to San Diego County. Includes dozens of local vegetarian, vegan, and veg-friendly restaurants, bakeries, and caterers as well as where to shop for vegan clothes and several “how to” guides for going veg! Local veg news and politics, as well.
  • Visit the Vegan in San Diego website – you can vote on the best vegan restaurants in San Diego in dozens of categories and see last year’s winners. Lists vegan businesses, upcoming vegan events in San Diego, and recipes, as well.

Health Benefits of Plant-Based Eating

  • Watch the Forks Over Knives documentary (available on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and more) to learn about the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet.
  • Read any of the excellent books on the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Here’s just a few (many more are available):
    • How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger, M.D.
    • Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
    • Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth by John Robbins

Tips on Reducing Food Waste

  • Visit the EPA’s Reduce Wasted Food At Home website; includes planning, storage, and food prep tips and more.
  • View more tips on how to reduce food waste both at home and when dining out from the FDA.
  • Download the Nextdoor app on your smartphone, and let your neighbors know when you have too much food and you’d like to share (for example, more fruit on your fruit trees or zucchinis in your garden than you can eat).
  • At least a dozen smartphone apps for helping individuals and companies reduce food waste are available, but as of this writing, they are either too geographically restricted (they don’t cover San Diego) or so new that they are still buggy. Keep checking your app store and reading reviews, as the increasing popularity of reducing food waste will likely bring more apps, greater geographical range and improved quality.

Tips on Composting

Tips on Capturing Carbon in Your Garden, Landscape, or Farm

  • Watch The Soil Story video by Kiss The Ground for the best explanation yet of the carbon cycle and how regenerative agriculture can sequester carbon and fight climate change
  • Watch 5 Ways to Make Your Garden Regenerative video to find out how you can apply the techniques of regenerative agriculture to sequester carbon in your own yard!
  • Watch Hope in a Changing Climate video with John D. Liu to see the amazing transformations that regenerative agriculture has made in vast areas in China, Nigeria and Rwanda
  • Watch How to Green the World’s Deserts and Reverse Climate Change video with Allan Savory to learn how planned livestock grazing can restore plant life and the small water cycle and reverse desertification
  • Watch A Regenerative Secret video by Kiss The Ground to meet a rancher who’s found a successful alternative to the CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation – also known as “factory farm”) and who is restoring the ecology of his ranch and sequestering carbon with regenerative agriculture
  • One of the benefits of regenerative agriculture is increased rainwater infiltration into the soil. Watch this short video How Things Work: How Do Water Springs Work? for a quick tutorial on how rainwater in the soil produces fresh, clean water in springs.
  • “I am one of thousands who understand that the soil may be our only savior” from the global warming challenge, says Graeme Sait. Read his article Capturing Carbon – Supporting The Soil That Will Save Us to find out why. (Note: San Diego 350 does not endorse any products mentioned in this article.)
  • Paul Hawkins’ revered book Drawdown; The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming ranks Regenerative Agriculture as # 11 in terms of total amount of greenhouse gases it can potentially avoid or remove from the atmosphere (out of 80 solutions). See the book’s entry for regenerative agriculture here.
  • Read the book Kiss The Ground; How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World, by Josh Tickell. The title says it all. A great read.
  • In the book Dirt to Soil; One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture, one of America’s pioneers of regenerative agriculture, farmer Gabe Brown, tells his story of learning to farm regeneratively and shares the successes of other farmers who have done the same across the United States and Canada.