Conscious Kitchen

“Food is our common ground, universal experience.” ~James Beard

“Our everyday food choices have the capacity to change the world. Demand influences supply. So it makes sense to choose wisely, consciously. The factory farming of cattle (and other animals) is an energy-intensive, inhumane, earth-polluting, greenhouse gas-releasing endeavor. Once you learn that, how hard is it to replace that burger with a smaller one that came from a well-treated grass-fed animal? Not very. “ ~Menu for the Future, Chapter 1

Have you ever thought about making conscious changes in your kitchen? In your eating? If so, does the idea of a “conscious kitchen” inspire or overwhelm you?

In what ways can it be both inspiring and overwhelming at the same time? What might be one step you can take toward a conscious kitchen?

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P.S. Menu for the Future is one of many discussion guides offered by Northwest Earth Institute that provides insightful and inspirational reading to begin a conversation, whether it be with friends, colleagues, coworkers, and people coming together for a common cause like the Food Leader Certificate Program. If you are interested in finding out more about this discussion guide or others, check out http://www.nwei.org. If you order, make sure to mark your affiliation to VGI in the drop down box at checkout.

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4 Responses to Conscious Kitchen

  1. The idea of a conscious kitchen — and of being aware of what you eat and choosing wisely — ought to be a no-brainer, as much for enhancing one’s own health as for eating ecologically and sustainably and humanely. The trick is to start with one change and incorporate that into your habits, and then you can tackle one more change… until the number of changes you’ve made accrues into something substantial and effective.
    Louise Quigley

  2. Meenal says:

    Coming from a tropical place, full of produce abundance, healthy eating habits and once a week meat menu, conscious kitchen for me goes beyond food. Although admitted I fell in the crack of grocery store glamour at one point, making change was relatively easy. A major tide of change came when I became a mother. I took my average conscious kitchen to the next or two levels. Taking small steps is the key to sustainability of the conscious kitchen. Here are few steps/things I did above and beyond switching to grass-fed meat.
    1. Become a week-day vegetarian- I am a full time vegetarian but my family eats meat. So we try to limit it to weekends only (specially during growing season).
    2. Read labels- We rarely think about it for the items we commonly buy such as cereals, bars, chips, bread, etc.
    3. Good bye unhealthy food- Remove one unhealthy item from you diet once a month (eg. artificial color, preservatives, sugar, high fat). Keep adding to your list slowly moving to the items that are unhealthy for the planet (eg, palm oil, conventional, factory farmed, non fair trade).
    4. Reduce plastic in your kitchen- This was a 4 year project for me. It is possible to reduce plastic to nothing!
    5. Make more meals at home- Our busy lives and convenience of access to so called “healthy food” makes it challenging. weekly menus come to rescue.
    6. Think substitutes- Use in season ingredients for the recipes that call for off season ingredients. You can enjoy being creative and claim it as your own recipe :).
    7. Learn about local food system- This is way more rewarding that it sounds.
    8. Grow your own food- This will change your kitchen and life forever!

  3. Emily says:

    My struggle in creating a conscious kitchen is price. I’m currently living on a strict budget and can’t afford to buy organic and/or local food most of the time. In my household, we try to prioritize these goods when we can afford it, but most of the time we have to go conventional. The summer growing season has definitely been a lifesaver for being able to put my money where my mouth is. Another barrier in my life to a conscious kitchen is living in community. When we first moved in together, my housemates and I had to discuss how we prioritize where and how we spend money. It has taken a lot of work but also has led to many deep conversations about our individual values and how we live them individually and in a community of multi-faceted and complex human beings.

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