Slow Down Time: Make Soy Yoghurt and Save the Earth
March 17, 2021
I love to live for the early mornings. It’s 6am and I have my cup of coffee in my Unicef mug that my co-troop leader of Girl Scouts gave me years ago. It’s an image of kids holding hands of multi-ethnic dress encircling the mug. It’s been 1.5 years of being Dr. Plastic Picker, and I asked Mr. Plastic Picker last night how old my eco-avatar was and he said definitely at least two. I looked back at my blog post and indeed this blog is only 1.5 years. This is evidence that this journey has slowed down time. It seems like I’ve been this identity for two years, but it has only been 1.5 years. Is it possible? It seems I have been Dr. Plastic Picker for glorious decades.
I made yogurt yesterday, or should I write yoghurt instead? The British spellings always look fancier. The entire process takes at least 15 hours. But it is so easy especially if one makes soy-milk based yogurt/yoghurt which is better for the earth. Ecosia searched and here is some fun earth facts about non-dairy based milks versus cows milk. From the website Phys.org which sounds legitamate enough.
“A 2018 study estimates dairy to be around three times more greenhouse gas emission-intensive than plant-based milks.
In the case of cow’s milk, its global warming potential—measured as kilogram of carbon dioxide equivalent per liter of milk—varies between 1.14 in Australia and New Zealand to 2.50 in Africa. Compare this to the global warming potential of plant-based milks, which, on average, is just 0.42 for almond and coconut milk and 0.75 for soy milk.
What’s more, dairy generally requires nine times more land than any of the plant-based alternatives. Every liter of cow’s milk uses 8.9 square meters per year, compared to 0.8 for oat, 0.7 for soy, 0.5 for almond and 0.3 for rice milk.
Water use is similarly higher for cow’s milk: 628 liters of water for every liter of dairy, compared to 371 for almond, 270 for rice, 48 for oat and 28 for soy milk.” https://phys.org/news/2020-10-environment-dairy-nut-soy-hemp.html
It’s revolutionary, isn’t it? The yogurt/yoghurt I made yesterday was so so easy. It’s actually easier than dairy based yoghurt/yogurt. You literally just take a carton of soy milk from Costco that costs about $1. That is actually recyclable here in San Diego. You pour it into the instapot and add 2 tablespoons of any plant-based yogurt/yoghurt you have. Press 12 hours on the yogurt/yoghurt function. Then go to sleep and you get yogurt/yoghurt. Store it in reused containers, and I actually used the So Delicious Plant-based yogurt containers from Sprouts that cost me about $5. If I bought single use yogurt containers it would be at least $10 with a lot of added sugars. And that is it. The mind-blowing part is the yogurt I made actually tastes better and it’s 100% better for you, because you can decide what you put in it. I added a sprinkle of brown sugar and our home-made granola. There is so much in the literature now about your gut microbiome and the importance of what kind of bacteria you have and it’s relationship with obesity and metabolic diseases. Is the answer that we eat more plant-based yogurts? Saves us money and saves the earth. And we all become healthier. The probiotic industry is over 4 billion dollars. “The global probiotics market size was estimated at USD 48.38 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 6.9% during the forecast period. It is driven by the growing consumer inclination towards preventive healthcare in conjunction with the development of efficient probiotic strains.” https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/probiotics-market And as a pediatrician I know that most people who buy probiotics don’t need it and taking them is not based on anything. Can you imagine everyone who bought probiotics, if they just ate home-made soy yogurt instead and then donated that money to the rainforest trust? We could have saved the world by now, and saved a gazillion little plastic yogurt containers.
But what I loved about the yogurt is the process was easy and slow, and time indeed yesterday seemed slow. Mr. Plastic Picker came home on time. We went for a hike with the children at Los Penasquitos Canyon Researve, and I had never been there before despite being born and raised in this area. There was a beautiful white snowy egret that floated above us at one portion of the hike. I never knew they came that far easy. I two two different kinds of hummingbirds. My friend the Black Phoebe was there is several iterations. I wish I had brought our new binocaulars that we received from an REI rebate. I wonder why Mr. Plastic Picker didn’t bring them yesterday. We saw a rushing stream, and the sound was unlike any I have ever heard in San Diego. Here running water is rare. And we saw eachother and the children chatted about their lives mostly with eachother, and a picked up bag #406 of plastic pollution. The trail was actually very clean generally. We hope to return. It was a beautiful area.
And while this all happened, I had left my phone at home. It was nice to be off Instagram for a good few hours. But Dr. Plastic Picker also did reach a milestone yesterday. It’s just my own milestone, but I always wanted to celebrate 1550 followers. For $47.50 I donated to the Rainforest Trust and that preserved 1550 acres of marine ecosystem in Costa Rica that includes an important Shark Corridor. It was mostly sympbolic and Rainforest Trust had matching grants for this particular project 3 to 1.
Eating yogurt and slowing down time is indeed a superpower. In this short time, I’ve been able to live my goal of trying to be an example and do everything in my frugal pediatrician power to save our earth. In total 1550 Instagram followers and who knows the cascading effects. I know for me I’ve been positively influenced by this supportive litter picking community. Also #406 bags of trash collected and still #1499 items salvaged. With targeted donations, 9,985 Acres of this earth mostly Rainforest preserved and 682,180 Trees either preserved or planted. San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air (SDPCA) and AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee formed with 30 pediatricians loosely connected through climate work. I know I have nudged a core group of friends over to climate activism. They had always wanted to do it, and I just nudged them over. And so on and so forth. And it hasn’t been hard. It has actually been easy. I was parenting our tween daughter yesterday. She is so focused and driven, that I usually am the parent that has to remind her to care for herself. I am always reminded that she was the baby that was not supposed to make it, being born at 28 weeks. But she had won the county level for her video documentary for National History Day, and for the next month she is going to have to do revisions to submit to the State level. She was unsure about whether she watned to spend the time to revise her video. And I talked to her about the importance of finishing projects when you are this far, the example we all set for our friends and family, joy in your work and self-care. I used examples from my own life, senior thesis in high school and several academic papers I had co-authored that were honestly very painful projects – but that all set me up for the work now. I told her that I trust her to make the right decision, and like the five premed students we have working with us now, I told her I’d help her in anyway that I could. I got up and sat there as she thought outloud. She pretty much made the decisions that she needed to make, and all I did was listen and add tidbits of suggestions and wisdom. She really figured it out for herself.
And honestly last night sitting with my daughter and also meeting with our interns with Dr. Sally Kaufman virtually last night, I felt like I’m where I’m supposed to be. I want to savor this time with our students and my own children and my pediatrician-friends that are on this journey together. Let’s all slow down time, as it gives us more time to save the earth.