How to Build a Healthy Kitchen

The foundation of a greener lifestyle is a more sustainable diet. Knowing how our food is made, where it’s from and what it is doing to our body is important to protect the long-term health of our society and our planet.

And this is how you get there: let Green Living Ideas inspire you with our tips for a planet-friendly diet and guide to good food news. Be sure to peek at our right-hand sidebar to see our collected references for how to build a healthier diet, tips for eco-friendly shopping, and how to clean your kitchen in a safe and sustainable way.
5 Quick Ways to Clean Up Your Diet Now

How to Start with a Planet-Friendly Diet– and Why

Building a green kitchen starts with healthier food choices, and each small change you make can create a ripple effect of changes throughout your life. A healthier diet can improve your health, reduce your carbon emissions, cut your costs and support a more sustainable food system.

Scientific consensus makes clear that a diet rich in animal foods is bad for our body and for our planet– and the amount of impact it has might surprise you!

The global demand for meat is directly linked to climate change, due to the high amount of methane expelled from the animals in their digestive process, along with feed, inputs, and transport. The current means of raising animals for food is also bad for localized air quality: as animals are kept in such large numbers in concentrated areas, the smell of their manure actually becomes toxic to residents.

water use meat-graphic

Click here for the full infographic

Finally, our global water issues are also impacted by the meat industry, both because feed crops and the animals themselves demand a huge amount of water, and because waterways become contaminated from animal feces that are kept in confined areas and waste becomes concentrated. This cramped and often inhumane conditions lead to sickness, and thus animals are fed low-doses of antibiotics– 80% of the antibiotics used in the US, to be specific– leading to increased growth, but also resistant strains of bacteria to infect humans, which we’re seeing in increased numbers.

Not only can reducing meat immediately cut your carbon footprint by half, but it can also help reduce the loss of biodiversity– as previously forested land is used to grow feed crops for the ever-growing demand for animal food. Choosing foods that are low-emission is better for your body and strongly linked to an improved planetary situation. Here is the breakdown of the carbon footprint of your meal. This information, which The Atlantic says is one of the most ‘significant documents’ about animal agriculture in years, is from the 2011 The Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health from Environmental Working Group.

carbon footprint of foods

Choose lentils, nuts, beans, tomatoes and other veggies for a lower carbon footprint diet. This graphic shows that milk and yogurt are lower-carbon foods, but other sources show them as collectively higher than vegetables and other plant foods.

Not only is eating a plant-based diet good for your body, it’s incredibly diverse and delicious. Here are our favorite resources to help you find your path to a healthier diet:

Healthy eating for the whole family
Why Food is Medicine
How to Read Food Labels
Know your Food Buzzwords
Real Foods vs. Fake Food
How to Eat Vegan
Plant-Based Nutrition Basics
What does 2,000 Calories Look Like?
Health Concerns about Dairy

Learning More about Food Politics and News

cows on organic farm

Trying to find good information about our food system can be daunting: there are just too many sources out there, some of which are less-than-trustworthy. Even the US federal government has a dual mandate to support unsustainable farming of animal foods and create health guidelines (meaning they promote as well as financially subsidize this terrible process while simultaneously putting out public education that it’s killing us), and other information is sponsored by corporations trying trying to exonerate their products.

But as we build a healthier diet, it’s really important to know that we’re doing the right thing for our body and for our ethics. So we encourage you to continue to learn more, and raise questions about the food industry that feeds you and your family. You have the power to vote with your dollar and change the world with each meal, each day.

For some very specific news, these are some of the biggest topics in the food industry from the past year, and these posts will give you the basics about some hot-button issues in food politics.

What are GMOs– and where are they hiding in our pantry,
An Economic Argument against GMOs
Shocking Facts about Factory Farming
Who is Behind Organic Foods?
How to Avoid Processed Foods
10 Best Food Documentaries to Watch (for free!)
How to Build a More Sustainable Food System?
Why Sugar is Scarier than you think
Chemicals in Food (and How to Avoid them)
Why is Buying local is Good for You, the Planet, and the Economy

And here are some of our favorite resources for food news that can help keep you engaged and up-to-date with what’s happening in the food world.

Civil Eats
NPR’s The Salt Food Blog
New York Times Food & Wellness
Eat Drink Better
Marion Nestle’s Food Politics




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