There are four main things to focus on when creating a sustainable kitchen – plastics, food, waste, and behavior. In these posts, I have not paid attention to the quality or energy efficiency of our appliances. This because we don’t always have the power over what we have -for various reasons. The last time I wrote about creating a plastic-free kitchen, today it’s time to think about food and groceries from an eco-perspective. And there is a lot we can do with a small effort!
What to buy and eat if you are aiming at an eco-lifestyle?
Where are our most significant opportunities and power here? We cannot decide what other people do eat, but we sure can choose what we eat. The one who is mainly responsible for cooking for the family has naturally more opportunities for eco-thinking. The main idea is that the less we use animal products, the better it is for this planet. The positive impact is HUGE even though the subject easily triggers emotions. You can read more about this from my previous posts (1 and 2). There is no need to give up all the animal products if that feels overwhelming or impossible for any reason – any reduction helps. And sometimes starting small creates a more remarkable change later.
-If you leave the red meat, fish, or chicken without replacing it 1:1 with other animal products – you are doing great!
-Quit dairy only – fabulous!
-Eat meat only twice a week instead of eating it daily – Awesome!
-Become a vegetarian or vegan (maybe not overnight) – you are a real friend of the planet.
Plant-based food is not expensive, even though some meat substitutes can be. The possible negative side-effects arise from the lack of nutrition knowledge, time, skills, or habits. Of course, not all meat-eaters are nutritionally balanced either. I am an ovo-vegetarian myself, and my problems are lack of cooking skills and time. I grew up eating and later cooking meat dishes. Sure, when plant-based cooking becomes as natural as preparing meat dishes, it will take less time. A remarkable habit change is rarely easy – so start small and gather knowledge.
It also matters how processed our food is. The processing and manipulation take energy as well as pre-cooking and freezing. So if you can, buy pure ingredients which you cook pretty soon or freeze yourself. It is not always easy to find time for all of this purity in our everyday lives, but it is good to pay attention to it whenever life gives us a chance. Buying and eating organic products is a great help as well – not only health-wise but also for nature. Fewer pesticides used means fewer pesticides released to the environment. How we choose the packaging materials, or how those have been chosen on behalf of us, matters a lot.
Where to buy eco-friendly food?
Most of us buy our food from grocery stores, shops, and farms. Some people can grow vegetables or cattle themselves, some even fish or hunt. It is important to support what we want to see more because the power is in our wallets. If you know a place conveniently close to you where the ingredients and food available have been sustainably produced – give them your support and money.
Also, it is possible to buy unwanted or imperfect food. These companies deliver food to your house! This is a great way to diminish food waste and save money. My family uses Imperfect foods, another example is Misfits Market. Google what might be available in your living area. If you would like to get already prepared dishes from restaurants, check the app TooGoodToGo! The opportunities are many! Read more about
When do your grocery shopping if you want to be eco-friendly?
In the evenings and after the holidays. Why? Because all the leftovers are on the shelves then. Unfortunately, the unwanted food and the “best before today” groceries still don’t meet with those who are hungry. Too many markets still have to toss eatable ingredients into the landfills. By asking for these products or searching for them from the shelves we can reduce the ridiculous waste of nature’s resources and save a lot of money. To avoid creating more food waste, planning the shopping and cooking is essential.
When I was still eating meat, I always tried to buy products with red discount labels. Wasting of the animal-based product is even sadder than wasting plant-based ones. That is unethical and unsustainable in so many ways. My family members still eat some meat, so I occasionally find myself hunting the red tags. Luckily my husband has become pretty good at this hunt as well.
As you see, we have several options to bring sustainability to our homes within the food and nutrition. Let’s take benefit of that for the Earth and Us!