ECO-FRIENDLY IDEAS FOR YOUR KITCHEN AND YOUR STOMACH...
Cooking healthy and eating healthy does not have to be boring. But conscious efforts from your end and a wee bit of planning are pre-requisites. In fact, planning for green eating has to begin from the point of shopping for your groceries, and goes on till cooking, garnishing and serving of course. It's surprising how even your choice of cooking space and cooking oil can comprise green eating. Here are some tips to get you started...
1. BUY SEASONAL AND ORGANIC IF POSSIBLE
Yes, organic is good, but not if it is not grown locally. If you are eating organic food that has been transported into your markets from some far flung area of your country or the world, it will not only increase fuel consumption but also lead to fuel waste and emissions from long-distance shipping. Try to always eat seasonally, which will in turn mean that you are eating locally and not encouraging the fuel consumption of cross-country, cross-global transportation. Experiment with the desi varieties of veggies and fruits, these will be much fresher, nutritive and tastier than the transported lot.
2. DON'T OVER BOIL
Whether you are boiling eggs or veggies or boiling water for tea, boil only the amount of water you need and never over boil it. This will save you time and also preserve energy.
3. GO EASY ON MEAT, EAT MORE FISH
Have you ever wondered what is the most resource intensive food that you may be consuming? Meat it is. Producing meat takes far more energy, efforts, water and resources than producing grain or veggies. In addition to this, agricultural hormones and antibiotics used in mass producing and quickly producing meat pollute our natural resources like soil, air, and water. So, it's best to minimize your meat intake. If you must eat meat, opt for meat from animals that have been grown humanely: fed naturally on grass and other natural products, without any artificial hormones or antibiotics, in natural environs. This essentially means that you must learn to avoid factory farmed meat that is usually not grown following the best practices. In fact, most animal farming industries abuse animals. If you don't want to encourage cruel treatment towards animals, choose to eat cage-free animal products like fish and wild chicken, instead of conventional factory farm products like farm bred chicken. Remember, healthy and happy animals are part of a happy planet.
However, eating less meat or choosing your meats wisely do not just reduce animal suffering, it benefits you and your health as much. So, it only makes sense to eat wisely. For starters, skip eating processed meats as much as possible. Hotdogs, salami, nuggets and so on are high in fat and gift you with many empty calories. They also contain sodium nitrites which can often react with food elementsin your stomach and form highly carcinogenic harmful compounds. Instead, opt for fresh lean meats like tuna fish or bakedor roasted chicken.
In general, turning to popular sea food is a good idea. Fish provides plenty of low calorie protein along with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and selenium. Again, don't go for the farm raised seafood because it tends to be high in toxins and chemicals, low on nutrients and is also not as tasty as wild fish. So, go for the wild fish even if it may be a little expensive. After all, you are worth it!
4. GET WHOLESOME HEALTH WITH WHOLE GRAINS
Whole grains are healthy and they satiate your hunger well, preventing you from snacking on unhealthy food. Additionally, the fiber rich whole grain products protect you from potential terminal illnesses and many other deadly diseases.
5. BINGE ON FRUITS
Fresh fruits are bursting with anti-oxidants that help in clearing our bodies of free radicals. And the best part is, getting addicted to any of these tasty fruits is not harmful. They are usually quite light on the calorie count as well, if consumed as is, without any additional butter, sugar and so on. So, choose your favourite local fruits and make them a part of your daily diet.
6. GO OLIVE!
Using olive oil instead of refined oil, butter or dalda fills your body up with healthier nutrients and also keeps your cooking light and non-greasy. Olive oil is high on anti-oxidants and successfully protects against potential heart problems and is far more natural than other oils. Hence, get into the habit of using it often for your cooking.
7. COOK UNDER THE LARGE BLUE SKIES
Why restrict your cooking outside to those crowded barbecue parties alone where you are too busy playing the host? Why can't you cook outside just by yourself? It is more peaceful and soothing to cook under the all expansive sky, it keeps the heat out of your usually small kitchen, and also cooking outside on barbecue or grills consumes less energy.
8. BECOME A FARMER
Well, not really! The idea is to grow a bit of your own produce. You can utilise your garden space if you have one. Otherwise, use the space in your window or the balcony or the passage way or even corridors to grow a few usable shrubs and plants in pots. Even urbanites can manage to grow quite a bit from not much space.
What we eat plays a big role in making us who we are. So, make your shopping lists and your cooking space the starting points of putting the green philosophy to use. What will come out will be healthy, planet friendly, highly nutritive meals.