The Ideals of Sustainable Cooking & Eco-friendly Food

I. Seasonal, Local, Natural (Organic) Vegetables (we’ve all heard that classic trio by now! They’re important, but there’s so much more to sustainable. Read on!)

II. Plant-based meals. You don’t need to be vegetarian to occasionally (or regularly) eat nourishing, meat-free meals.

III. Fair trade (label) and thanks for exotic products. I like to add gratefulness and awareness to the extraordinary time we live in, in which we have such easy access to exotic products. No other time in the past or future will know this luxury.

IV. Wild foraged foods and edible weeds! These are the naturally ‘local, organic, seasonal’ vegetables (and fruits, seeds, herbs, spices and nuts) par excellence! And they’re free! Learn to identify and consume these vitamin- and phytonutrient-packed plants!

V. Reducing food waste

  • Recycling leftovers for a new meal, up-cycling stale bread, sour raw milk (if you consume dairy) and more
  • Learning “principles” instead of recipes. No need to drive to the store if you’re missing an ingredient. Know (or look up) substitutes – swap out a different grain/legume/vegetable/oil/nut and you may even improve the recipe!
  • Meal-planning – reducing trips to the store (reducing unnecessary buying temptations) I’ll find another source for more on this tip – it’s definitely not my strong point! :-)
  • Composting – if you don’t have chickens to eat your food scraps, composting completes the life cycle back to the Earth. We know that food doesn’t come from our fridge and end in our trash. Putting that knowledge into action is another step.

VI. Fermentation, a food preservation technique that uses less fossil fuel, and the only method of preservation that actually INCREASES nutrient value in food!

  • Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kim chi, natural yogurt, sourdough, lacto-fermented vegetables, etc.)
  • Fermented beverages (kombucha, kefir, etc.)
  • Other low-fuel, ancient preservation techniques (salt preservation)

VII. Cooking techniques that use less fossil fuel

  • Boiling vs. steaming vs. baking, etc.
  • ‘Passive boiling’
  • Combining boiling and steaming to cook multiple foods with one heat source (like using a couscoussière)
  • Haybox or fireless cooker, solar ovens

VIII. Housewares, kitchen utensils: grey energy and “Made in Dignity”

  • “Noble” materials
  • Second-Hand
  • Recycled Plastic

VIII. Reducing non-food waste: Avoiding packaging waste, disposables

IX. Less is more, Ayurveda & flavors. Overall, we tend to eat too much. Period. In part because the food industry produces nutrient-poor, “empty calorie” foods (leaving us hungry). And maybe some of us eat to compensate for living in an insane world (according to our therapists).

I’m not saying there is any one reason or solution, but Ayurveda has an interesting philosophy (among many) that regardless of quantity, if our meal includes the 5 flavors sweet, salty, bitter, sour and pungent, we will be satisfied and crave less.

X. Cooking for joy and pleasure, less guilt and stress – Eco-perfection is not the goal.

  • Attitude – There is no such thing as messing up, only another moment on life’s journey. If you have guilt issues over your eco-footprint or stress trying to integrate all these ideas at once, stop and breathe. Take baby steps and head over to a new perspective. Find joy in making changes, one step at a time. Celebrate each step! Pressure on yourself or others will bring resistance. Make it fun (and delicious!) and sustainable change will come more naturally and pleasantly.
  • Taste – Pleasure for the mouth, yum!
  • Aesthetics – Pleasure for the eyes, wow!
  • Cook and/or eat in good company, sharing pleasure.

I will add more explanations and details (and French translation) as we go. Thanks for your patience!

Posted by danielleinmons on 7 January 2015 in Non classé