Reducing Your Kitchen Carbon Footprint—Mindful Cooking

Karmel Ungerleider-Abrams
Posted May 5, 2012 from United States

This week we have a three-part blog series for you: Food for Thought— Mindful Cooking, Mindful Eating and Total Body Cleanse.

Day 1:: Food for Thought… Mindful Cooking When you cook your favorite meal or bake your favorite cookie, what are you thinking about? Do you wonder about the packaging your ingredients come in? Do you think about how much water you are using in your prep/clean-up? Do you wonder about the electricity or gas that goes into making these delicious dishes? Generally, each of us will probably answer no. We think about how delicious our tasty treat is going to be upon completion.

Today, we invite you to take a moment and think about how you can reduce your carbon footprint while cooking. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your cooking practices and ingredients supporting reducing your kitchen carbon footprint:

• Shop Local: Question your ingredients—where do yours come from? Buying from local farms within 100 miles of your home reduces the carbon footprint by the distance and gas it takes to transport these items to a supermarket (and all the stops in between). It also supports local merchants, infusing the local economy. *Farmers markets are a great way to buy local organic foods and get up-close and personal to the farmers enabling you to ask questions about where your food comes from.

• Buy Fair Trade: Fair trade practices support alleviating poverty, reducing inequality, and creating opportunities for people to help themselves. Fair compensation, safe and healthy conditions, direct and long-term relationships, transparent business practices, and workplaces free from discrimination and forced child labor. When trade encompasses these practices, the lives of all people and their communities improve.[1]

• Certified Organic: Per the USDA, Organic is a labeling term indicating that the food or other agricultural products has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices fostering cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Most importantly, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.[2] What that means for crops is: no fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms used. What that means for livestock is: the producers met animal health and welfare standards, no use of antibiotics or growth hormones were used, the animals were fed 100% organic feed and the animals had access to the outdoors.

• Packaging: What kind of packaging do your ingredients come in? How can you limit packaging? Here’s a simple idea—Buy in bulk! There are many stores that have bulk food sections. Bring your own containers and fill them. This limits plastic bag and prepackaged item use.

•Conserve Water: Have you thought about how much water is used during the baking or cooking process? This doesn’t just mean the water that your recipe calls for, but all of the water it takes to create the ingredients you use, the water your recipe calls for and the clean-up afterwards. For example it takes about 6000-14000 gallons of water to make a hamburger.[3] Now that is a lot of water!

Limit personal water use by checking all of the faucets in your house. Make sure they are not dripping. Only use the water you need. Did you know, if you have a house with three faucets that drip one drop of water per minute, you are wasting up to 4320 drips of water per day, which equals 1 liter per day, which equals 104 gallons of water per year.[4] Second, only use what you need.

Food for thought, right? Keep in mind it is the little things we do on a daily basis that add up to healthy living, saving the planet and huge savings for our pocket books.

Here at Progressive Nectar, we continue to improve on my mindful cooking and baking each day. It is a lifelong journey, and we invite you to join us for the ride.

[1] http://fairtradefederation.org/ht/d/sp/i/7399/pid/7399[2] http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop[3] http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu//sc1.html

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