World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day

Let’s take a few minutes to think about mental health on this day designated, World Mental Health Day. Even before the pandemic affected billions of people around the world, a large number of people have been affected by mental disorders. Consider a few sobering facts:

  • Nearly 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder
  • Every year, 3 million people die from alcohol abuse
  • Every 40 seconds, one person dies by suicide. 

Now, consider that few people around the world have access to quality mental health services.

That is why, starting this year, the World Mental Health Organization, WHO, in coordination with partner organizations, United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health, is calling for a massive scale-up in investment in mental health.

“World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for the world to come together and begin redressing the historic neglect of mental health. We are already seeing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental well-being, and this is just the beginning. Unless we make serious commitments to scale up investment in mental health right now, the health, social and economic consequences will be far-reaching.”

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Director-General of the World Health Organization

The World Mental Health Day campaign will offer opportunities, primarily online given the continuing pandemic, for all of us to do something life-affirming. Go here to learn more.

At OPL, we encourage you to nurture your own mental health, too.  Here are our recommended actions to take care of yourself:

  • Get connected with nature spend some time outdoors and enjoy nature.  It will help you feel happy and healthy.  And even better, it can reduce blood pressure, lower stress, lift depression, and improve energy.
  • Design your most joyous life – Take time to  think about what brings you joy and develop an action plan to get there.  Living the life of your dreams is within your reach.
  • Live and eat in harmony with the plane – Now that you are making better use of your kitchen than ever before, think about the food you are eating and where it comes from.  How you fuel and nurture your body and knowing where it comes from has a direct impact on how you feel and function.
    • Suggested reads:  Hope’s Edge by Frances Moore Laffe and Anna Laffe, and Rebel Chef by Dominique Crenn
    • Try out our delicious veggie-forward recipes to begin your journey in your kitchen

Take care of you, first.  Then, together we can take care of the world.


Let’s Hear it for the Birds!

Let’s Hear it for the Birds!

As the leaves change color and temperatures begin to drop in North America, birds begin to fly south for the winter. October 10th then is the perfect time to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. Created in 1933 by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Campaign, the day strives to connect people to bird conservation and bring attention to bird migration. 

Every year, a conservation theme is selected to highlight the one topic that is important to bird conservation, and the theme for 2020 is Birds Connect Our World. It focuses on the tracking technologies used to explore the routes of migratory birds across the world, such as bird banding, satellite tracking, feather analysis, and weather radar. Using the MOTUS tracking system, 12 migratory bird species were tracked, highlighting the challenges these birds face as they make their journey, as well as those that are working to protect them.

One example of the power of tracking technologies is Hope, a female Whimbrel that researchers tracked starting in 2009.  She migrated between northwestern Canada and the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, before disappearing after 8 years in 2017 when Hurricane Maria struck.

What are some of the simple steps that you can take to help the cause from your home? 

  • Make your windows visible to birds.
  • Keep cats indoors.
  • Reduce your plastic use.
  • Plant native plants for food and shelter.

Visit to learn more about this year’s theme and participate in virtual events.

World Habitat Day – Housing for All

World Habitat Day – Housing for All

On the first Monday of October, we reflect on the basic right of all to adequate shelter on World Habitat Day, and to remind the world that we all have the power and responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. In 2020, the global observance of World Habitat Day will be held in Surabaya, Indonesia. 

Every year, a theme is presented by the United Nations so that we may come together, and engage in a global discussion around a particular focus area. This year’s theme is Housing for All: A Better Urban Future. Did you know that 1.8 billion people around the globe lack adequate housing, and by 2030 that number could increase to 3 billion?

Sustainable housing is not only the first step in reducing inequality and poverty levels, it is also a catalyst for progressively delivering human rights and meeting the Sustainable Development goals that are critical to reverse the effects of climate change.

Want to get involved? Spread the word about World Habitat Day on social media, or volunteer with your local Habitat for Humanity to help families achieve the strength and stability they need to build a better life.

Pasta with Tomato Sauce Topped with Pesto

Pasta with Tomato Sauce Topped with Pesto

Pasta with tomato sauce topped with pesto is an easy comfort meal that never disappoints.  Cook up your favorite pasta as instructed on the box and serve with a generous portion of the tomato sauce and pesto.

Yield: 4 servings

Tomato Sauce (3 Ingredients):
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 24 or 32 ounce can of whole or chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Put olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. 

When hot, add the chopped onion, cook and stir occasionally, until soft about 3-5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes.  If whole tomatoes, break them up by hand as you add them.

Cook for 20-30 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

It’s ready to serve or it can be refrigerated for several days.

Tomato Sauce
Pesto Ingredients:
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Combine the basil leaves, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor and process until finely minced.

With the machine running slowly, dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.

Add the cheese and process briefly to combine.  Store in the refrigerator or freezer. 

Lorie Buckingham Home Chef

OPL Founder & Wayfinder Lorie Buckingham Shares a Favorite Recipe

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

Blueberry scones with lemon glaze are bakery-quality and moist made from the comfort of your own kitchen! 

Total Time: 40 minutes 

  • 2 cups all-purpose baking flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.

Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.

Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream.

Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches.

Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares.

Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape.

Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Lemon Glaze Instructions:

You can make the lemon glaze in a double boiler, or for a simpler alternative, you can zap it in the microwave.

Mix the lemon juice with the confectioners’ until dissolved in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water for the double-boiler method, or in a microwave-safe bowl.

Whisk in the butter and lemon zest.

Either nuke the glaze for 30 seconds or continue whisking in the double boiler.

Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones.

Let it set a minute before serving.

Sarah Biddle Image

Recipe compliments of Home Chef Sarah Biddle and OPL Community Member

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

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