Contrary to what Kermit the Frog has told us, it really is easy being green. Whether you choose to go big or small, it’s simple to bring eco-friendly changes into your kitchen through the appliances you purchase, the tools you use, and the foods you make.
On the grand scale of environmental-friendliness, purchasing appliances with an Energy Star rating helps save money long term. But when it comes down to the kitchen nitty gritty — the actual cooking — you’d be surprised by how easy it is to be eco-friendly.
First things first: Trade in your chemically coated nonstick cookware for stainless steel, cast iron, or ceramic cookware.
Nonstick pots and pans are typically coated with Teflon. According to foodmatters.com, “When exposed to heat, most nonstick cookware becomes a source of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is a long-chain chemical compound that has been linked to a frightening range of health problems including thyroid disease, infertility in women, organ damage, and developmental and reproductive problems.”
Once you’ve ditched chemical-laden pots and pans, you can turn your attention to the meat and potatoes of kitchen matters — the food you prepare.
Climate Change Connection recommends the “rule of five Ns”: nearby, naked, nutritious, new now, and natural. While it isn’t always feasible to achieve all five of the Ns, it’s a great starting point as a way to reduce one’s carbon “food-print.”
Buying foods sourced from nearby farmers (think Tahoe Food Hub, Sierra Valley Farms, or Mountain Bounty Farm, to name a few) helps to reduce pollution created from transporting goods long distances.
Foods that are “naked” are those sold in their natural state, free of packaging. Think fresh fruits and veggies like bananas and oranges. They come in their own perfect wrapping. Head to the produce aisle of New Moon and once you select your goodies, skip the plastic bag, replacing it with a canvas veggie bag of your own.
Choosing foods that are nutritious is always a better choice than those that are highly processed and loaded with preservatives. One way to preserve nutrition is to only cook your vegetables until they are tender enough, not overcooked. Also, choose fresh, not frozen options.
“New now” is a fancy way of saying: Eat what is in season and what comes from your own home garden. Doing so will lessen transportation pollution and your selections will taste better since they’re picked much closer to the height of ripening. Have you ever gone to an orchard for pick-your-own peaches? There is nothing that comes close biting into a peach plucked straight from the tree — bursting with flavor and so plump the juices are dripping down your hand. Sweet, juicy, and delicious, they don’t call fruit nature’s candy for nothing.
By selecting natural foods, you will enjoy nature’s bounty in its pure state, grown without harmful pesticides and chemicals that may have adverse health effects. This doesn’t mean you have to eat just veggies. Try sourcing your meat locally from Mountain Valley Meats or Sierra Valley Yaks.
These five simple reminders are a great way to include more wholesome foods in your diet, make you feel good about your buying choices, and produce a green impact, too.