Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why a Zero Waste Kitchen?

The earth is in crisis, junk food is slowly killing us, we make too much garbage with no place to put it, you are what you eat. All of these things run through my head when I get something to eat, but oftentimes I'm too tired to do much more than worry about all these issues before I unwrap my pop-tarts and open a juice box.

It made me sad that I ate so many box dinners, processed food, and frozen meals when I actually really love to cook, so I started to look at the foods I ate. While I was looking at the food I brought into my home I also started looking at the garbage I was taking out. I did this for ecological reasons, but I soon realized that what was healthy for the planet was also healthy for me.

Cutting out processed, refined foods pushed my diet towards a whole-foods, plant-based diet, which meant I shopped more on the outer edges of the grocery store, at farmer's markets, and at health food stores. I still wanted cookies, crackers, and chips, but now I made them for myself, which meant I ate less of them, and that they contained no nasty chemicals. Best of all, I get to slow down my day while I cook, spend time with people I love while I make food for them, and practice my knife throwing skills. That last one has had positive and negative effects, but everything else has turned out to be a wonderful, adventurous experience.

I know that it takes more time and preparation to cook everything from scratch, and there are still times when I turn to packaged food to provide a quick fix, but in all honesty I spend a half hour more a week grocery shopping, and only twenty more minutes a day to prepare dinner (forty minutes if I'm trying something novel, but who doesn't take a little more time when learning a new skill?). I know I'm a little odd in that I think grocery shopping, cooking, and doing dishes are fun activities, but I think all three of these things can become more enjoyable for anyone if they appreciate why they are doing them.

I like washing the dishes I've chosen for myself because I like the way they look, I like the way they serve me, and I like the fact that by using them I can eliminate the need for saran wrap, tin foil, and paper towels. I like bulk shopping because I know exactly what I am feeding my family, can choose exactly how much I want to buy at a time, and truly only pay for the food, not the packaging it comes in. And I love how much more I enjoy and appreciate my food now that I spend time preparing it myself. Best of all, through this small investment of time and money I'm healthier, have more energy, and am maintaining a desirable weight.

A zero waste kitchen isn't about getting rid of garbage and only eating gross, fiber-filled food. It's about learning what I put into my body, finding the best sources for those materials, and figuring out how my great-grandmother can bake light, flaky, buttery-wonderful bread, while mine is little more than wheat rocks. And if I don't make any garbage while doing it, then good for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment