Demonstration at Tilth Market shows how to eat to save the world

PJ Beaven is hoping to instill a little hope for those whose hearts are breaking at the news of the Amazon rainforest fires. And while she’s at it, she’ll offer some tips to help their heart’s physical health too.

Beaven will present a meal-preparing demonstration and talk about eating sustainably Sunday at the South Whidbey Tilth Farmers Market. The market runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and her demonstration will happen at about 12 p.m. when the band takes a break, Beaven said.

She’d already been planning some kind of meal prep as part of a series she’s done at the tilth market focused on health and conservation. Sunday’s event happened to fall shortly after news spread of devastating blazes in the Amazon in Brazil. She wants people to know there are small changes they can make to help protect the rainforest and the environment.

“It’s not a hopeless case,” Beaven said. “These small things that we can do to help the Amazon, to help the Earth, also help ourselves.”

She’ll prepare a vegetarian quinoa salad. She said chickpeas can be substituted for chicken or something else, but she recommends people try to reduce the amount of red meat in their diets.

Brazil is the world’s leading beef exporter, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the cattle industry accounts for approximately 70 percent of deforestation in the Amazon, according to the environmental news website Mongabay.

Studies have also shown that diets high in red meat, such as steak, bacon and sausage, are associated with higher mortality and rates of disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. Beaven advocates for trying to cut out meat for one day a week.

“Not giving it up,” she said. “Just eating a little less.”

She’ll also discuss the benefit to meal preparation in its ability to reduce reliance on fast food during busy weeknights. Avoiding processed fast food is beneficial to one’s health, and it also reduces use of paper products and single-use utensils, she said.

Making meals at home allows people to keep the food healthy and use reusable storage containers.

“You don’t have to make that decision while your willpower is maybe somewhat depleted,” she said.

The South Whidbey Tilth Market is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday at the corner of Highway 525 and Thompson Road.