food, Recipes
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The Sustainable Kitchen Series-Part Two

Welcome back to the sustainable kitchen series! In part one, we covered the importance of inventory and organization to reduce food waste, save money and improve sustainability.  This week I’m discussing how to eat and shop more sustainably.

SUSTAINABLE EATING means consuming healthful food produced:

  • ethically and humanely
  • by workers paid a fair wage
  • via environmentally friendly farming techniques to ensure natural resource preservation
  • locally and in season, supporting community agriculture

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion, and the current growth rate of global agriculture productivity is not adequate to sustain the increase.  Not with 40% of the food supply being wasted in developed countries like the U.S.

The single, most effective way to practice more sustainability as consumers is more focus on plant-based eating.  Plants use far fewer natural resources during production and are less demanding on eco-systems as compared with dairy and meat products.


I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, but I do strive to incorporate several plant based meals throughout the week.   Try adding a few into your meal plan rotation this week and prepare to check out your local farmer’s market or bulk store! Beans, lentils, nuts and protein-rich grains are good places to start, alongside whatever seasonal vegetables are available.


BUT FIRST you’ll need a few tools to ensure a sustainable shopping excursion-whether it’s the farmer’s market OR a grocery store.   Don’t cancel out the benefits of more sustainable eating by purchasing ultra packaged goods that create waste.  Plastic waste and other trash debris often end up in oceans and are detrimental to marine life.  I uncontrollably ugly cried during a sunset dinner in Costa Rica upon witnessing a tiny crab crawling up the beach at high tide, wearing a plastic soda bottle cap in lieu of a shell.

I never leave home without my reusable shopping bags and cloth produce bags.  Hold up. Let’s be real. If and when an unexpected shopping trip occurs and I’m sans reusable bags, most grocery stores provide a plastic bag recycling drop off.  Look for the symbol at your local grocer:


Shopping bulk will help reduce packaging waste.  Extra credit if you bring your own reusable container and subtract the tare weight from the total amount.  You can find almost any product you need in bulk: coffee, tea, spices, baking ingredients, beans, nuts, pasta, grains and even beer and wine.  Zero Waste Home has a great bulk store finder if you’re unsure what’s available in your area.


Eating more plant based meals and becoming a more responsible consumer are both important aspects of creating a more sustainable kitchen and ultimately, lifestyle.  Next week we’ll discuss proper food storage to increase shelf life and strategies to ensure no foods are wasted!







  1. I watched but Global Waste last night on Netflix. It’s in French so I had to use subtitles, but it’s crazy the amount of food wasted all over the world! We grow most of our own and feed the chickens and cats scraps and compost, so none of our food actually is “wasted” but we could sure do better! Menu planning is a huge saver for us!

    • I’ll have to check that film out! Kudos for being ultra sustainable with your resources! I think we all have room for improvement, but you’re probably doing much better than most. Writing these posts and spreading awareness has helped hold me accountable!

      • Anything I blog about makes me more accountable! I think that is one of the great things about being open with changes we’re making. Not only does it help others, but it helps us stay the course as well.

  2. I recently saw a CBC Marketplace on Food Waste in Canada, and the number are shocking (yet not surprising) I found this article super helpful, and couldn’t agree more buying in bulk is easier, more economical and contributes to a healthier lifestyle (by helping to reduce food waste). Thanks for sharing!!

      • Hmm… some changes I’ve made are bar shampoo (like J.R. Liggets) for shampoo, conditioner, and soap, coconut oil to replace lotion, shave cream, make-up remover, etc., menstrual cup and gladrags, recycled paper toilet paper like 7th Generation. Eventually I’d like to get a stainless steel safety razor and find a better toothpaste option, once I run out of my current stuff. I still use regular makeup and deodorant; don’t see that changing. Youtube has tons of zero-waste bathroom videos.

  3. Pingback: The Sustainable Kitchen Series: Part Four | Minimalist RD

  4. marypurdyhere says

    So glad that you included paying workers a good wage as part of the sustainability conversation! Nice tips overall. Thank you for keeping this issue in our hearts and minds. – Mary

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