Over the winter I took part in a discussion group revolving around food, of course, and the impact our personal choices can have on not only our health, but also the health of the Planet. The articles we read, and the chats which followed, took me back to my college and cooking school days. Learning, first, about the impact of contemporary food systems on world hunger in college and then on to cooking school where I discovered the health implications of some of the choices I had been making and how to make better choices. In general, my kitchen is pretty healthy, low in processed foods, lots of fruits and veggies, low animal protein intake and I prepare most of our meals at home, from scratch. However, I felt there was and is room for improvement. I decided to see what were some initial steps I could take to a greener, healthier and more sustainable kitchen.
My first step has been to take stock of my pantry and figure out where I could easily make some changes. I do not, as a rule, use too many canned ingredients, but I was in the habit of buying beans and tomatoes in the can as well as boxes of organic stock. These are all simple to make from raw ingredients, with little extra time and effort. So far, I have not purchased a can of beans, tomatoes or box of stock (though I have to admit, making stock to keep up with my volume is a task!) in 3 weeks! The next change I have made is to start making some of the foods I use on a daily basis rather than buying then at the market. The items, which are on my shopping list at least weekly, are orange juice, almond butter and sprouted grain bread. The orange juice and almond butter are fairly easy, but the bread is a bit of a commitment, so I do have a backup loaf in the freezer!
So far, doing these things, though not quite as convenient, really only take a little extra planning, and the benefits to the environment and my family’s health far outweigh the inconvenience. I do not think it will be possible to get rid of all the processed foods, especially some of the snacks, and I am not planning to commit to making everything from absolute scratch, but this will be an ongoing project. My goal is to be as local and low impact as possible in the food choices for my family as well as my clients, so look for updates on my progress with recipes and, hopefully, pictures of a thriving garden!