I’m currently reading The Conscious Kitchen by Alexandra Zissu
Alexandra Zissu is a writer who focuses on green living, food, and parenthood. In The Conscious Kitchen, she provides a thorough guide to the average consumer trying to make the best choices for the health of both her family and the planet while still appreciating great-tasting food.
There’s so much valuable information in this book, some of which I already knew, and some that’s been new and extremely helpful.
The myriad of topics she covers include how to avoid pesticides and chemicals, how and why to avoid plastics, how to decipher food labels, how to determine food safety, including seafood, meats, and produce, and understanding the industry lingo (What, exactly, does “all natural” mean, anyway?). There’s also information on what’s best to cook with, food storage, low energy cooking, and appliances.
On top of all of that, it’s speckled with tips and recipes from some top dogs like Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver.
I’m about half way through the book, but can already recommend it based on what I’ve read. It’s been a great resource for me on my journey towards the healthiest, most conscious kitchen I can create.
In the beginning of the book there’s a section called the “conscious commandments”. Zissu lists 10 things that you can start doing today to move towards having a more conscious kitchen. I was happy to see I’m already doing most of it. Check it out and see where you stack up.
Checklist for a Conscious Kitchen
1. Eat less meat. When you do eat meat, make sure it is carefully sourced.
Check. Our meat consumption has steadily decreased in the past few years. Typically we eat meat once a week, but more when I’m pregnant.
2. Stop drinking bottled water; drink (filtered) tap water instead.
Check. We stopped drinking bottled water almost 3 years ago. We use a Brita water filter.
3. Buy local organic and/or sustainably farmed fruit and vegetables.
Check. We are a part of a CSA from a local, organic farm. We do buy other, non-local fruits (like bananas), too, but do our best to keep most of our fruits and veggies local when in season.
4. Seek out the least contaminated wild or well-sourced farmed seafood.
Check. Unfortunately this gets expensive, so we don’t eat all that much seafood anymore. But when we do it is from sustainable, clean sources.
5. Think about packaging when you buy. Buy in bulk and shop with reusable bags.
Mostly check. I do avoid over-packaged goods and recycle and reuse package materials. I also use reusable shopping bags. I probably should buy in bulk more.
6. Cook at home most of the time. Serve your food on reusable dishware and use ec0-friendly cleaning products.
Mostly check. Clearly, I cook at home most of the time. We use disposable dishware only once a year at Meghan’s birthday party. I should use cloth napkins more, but tend to use paper most of the time. I always use ec0-friendly cleaning products.
7. Avoid plastics as much as possible.
Check. This has been a process for me, but I’ve eliminated a lot of plastic from my life. Check out this post on how I’ve worked to eliminate plastics.
8. Try composting.
No check. Maybe someday, but I haven’t tried this yet. My parents do it, so I should get some tips from them and give it a whirl!
9. Reduce energy in the kitchen by choosing efficient appliances, cooking methods, and dishwashing practices and don’t leave appliances plugged in when not in use.
Mostly check. As a renter, I don’t have any say over my big appliances. I do keep my small appliances unplugged when not in use. I also make sure my dishwasher is completely full before I run it. That counts, right?
10. Spread the word. Help others learn what you know.
Check. I try to do that through this blog.
The information in the book is much more in-depth than this checklist, but it’s a great starting point. Check out The Conscious Kitchen by Alexandra Zissu
to learn more!
Question: Based on the checklist above, how conscious is your kitchen?