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“If it was your last meal on earth, what would you eat?”
It is a question I’ve thought about before. My answers are filled with calorie dense foods like my mother’s carrot cake, piping hot French fries, guacamole, and monkey bread.
Do I eat these foods each day? No.
Have I wanted to? Sure…
…but I know that too much of anything is never good and I know that new research suggests that American children may be the first generation in modern history to live shorter lives than their parents (Brownell, 2004). This decrease in life expectancy can be largely attributed to the Standard American Diet (SAD) filled with high calorie, energy dense foods. By taking small steps in making healthy food choices for your family, you are helping to reduce their risk of developing preventable diet-related chronic diseases, as well as and promoting the idea of growing nutritious foods.
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There are small and simple changes that one can make on their own, not only to experience the benefits of sustainable cooking and eating (which can have a lasting positive impact on ones health and the environment), but to focus on positive habits based around the kitchen and home.
My initial question may someday be a reality. It may not come in that specific context and one can only guess when the end of the world will happen, but there are certain foods that we cherish that if sustainable measures are not taken, we may be missing out on corn, coffee, chocolate, and maple syrup due to climate change. When we all make these small changes, together we can create a lasting impact on our health, the environment and on our food system
Tips to a greener kitchen and a green life:
- Bring your own bag to the grocery store– Reusable bags are rather cheap or you could make your own out of an old tee shirt (like this one here: No Sew Tee Shirt Bag).
- Buy in bulk– A lot of kitchen waste is created from excessive packaging for foods. Instead of adding another piece of plastic or cardboard back into the environment, consider shopping at a local bulk foods friendly store. Not only is it better for our planet, but buying in bulk can save you money. Especially on things like rice, pasta, oats, dried fruit, and nuts.
- Compost– Starting your own compost bin does not have to be intimidating. I have found that since composting, my trash bags go farther without the smell of food scraps engulfing my kitchen (Composting Guide for Beginners).
- Know where your food comes from– Buy local when you can to support your local economy. Food miles add up. Also, try cutting back on animals raised in factory farms that contribute to global warming while incorporating more plant based proteins into your diet. Even just one meal a week helps! (meatless monday)
- Use reusable containers- Instead of buying pre packaged snacks, shop at the local bulk section to make a trail mix from dried fruit, nuts and seeds. Package portions in reusable containers.
- Don’t leave water running and turn off lights when not in use.
- Secure your outside trash– Simply by making sure that your trash is in a secure container can cut back on “accidentally littering” when a big gust of wind or storm comes through.
- Buy energy efficient appliances when replacing broken, unfixable ones.
- Take advantage of your city’s recycling program– Curbside pick up is often limited. Be sure to research where you can recycle large appliances, plastic bags, and cardboard.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use– By unplugging your toaster, blender and coffee pot when they are not in use, you can cut down on your electricity bill.
- Share these tips!
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