A Sustainable & Minimalist Kitchen
As we take a deeper look into our sustainable and minimalist kitchen please keep in mind that we are a plant-based, whole food family. We cook every single meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner, for 2 adults and 2 growing children. Our kitchen is organized in a way where everything is easy to find, readily available and set up to efficiently provide the most nutrition possible.
We prefer to keep our countertops clear for preparing meals; except for a few items which we use daily (our non-refrigerated produce, knives, compost and coffee station) and there is a specific space for every food item, container and appliance. Over the years we have noticed that nearly all of our waste is created in the kitchen, thus it is our intention to minimize it, compost what we can and recycle the rest.
Eat Real Food - Our diet consists of fresh produce, fruits and vegetables mostly, whole grains, soy products, nuts, seeds and oils. We grocery shop exclusively at our local vitamin & health food store and a majority of the products we purchase are local as well, bulk whenever possible. Your local market may have an extensive bulk section of dried foods, pastas, granola, herbs/spices, etc. This curbs single-use packaging options and allows us to organize a lot of our food in easily accessible, clear jars.
Biodegradable Dish Soap/Scrubber & Cloth Towels - When it comes to cleaning dishes, we use a compostable dish scrubber and biodegradable dish soap, compliments of Grove Collaborative - we dry our rinsed dishes with cloth towels and forego the need for paper towels, as they only create more waste.
Compost/Recycle/Trash - All of our food waste is composted, our food packaging recycled and anything else trashed. Keeping an efficient waste management system within the kitchen makes it easy to dispose of all materials appropriately and safely. Composting creates a rich and dense soil for us to grow our own foods, but we also suggest making yourself aware of your local community’s recycling, refurbishing and waste management practices. Some cities offer composting pick-up as well!
Reusable Grocery Bags - Within our kitchen we have non-plastic, reusable grocery bags, produce bags and a day-trip soft cooler. They are simple to pack up and put away when there is a specific place for them to go and they’re easy to find before heading to the grocery store. This is one of the most important changes you can make in your kitchen today. Plastic bags are polluting our environment at an alarming rate. If you want to make grocery shopping sustainable, bring your own bags - this is as easy as it sounds.
Water Filter/Water Bottles - We have equipped our kitchen with a travel Berkey Water Filter which sits nicely on our countertop or can pack easily into our camper van for convenient clean water anywhere we travel. Each person in our family also has a BPA-free stainless steel water bottle so that we can avoid purchasing plastic water bottles. We haven’t purchased bottled water in years, because it’s among the worst things we can do for our planet. Also, fresh, clean water is the best!
Pantry/Spices Organization - Spices are underrated for their nutritional qualities and since we cook every meal and rely solely on a plant-based diet, our spices are essential to our kitchen. Plus, we organize them in a pull out drawer close to the oven for convenience while cooking. Purchasing spices in bulk not only helps the environment, but is also less expensive in the long run.
Plates/Napkins/Utensils - We find absolutely no use for paper/plastic plates, forks, knives and spoons. Even if we’re throwing a party or on the go in our camper van, we use the plates and other serving items that we have in our cupboard and that’s it (on the road we utilize a nice camping mess-kit for 4). This is, again, a much more sustainable and affordable method of serving food.
As true with anything that matters to us personally, many of these practices require some effort. These efforts, however, do not inherently possess an immediate payoff. We need to feel good about these choices we are making and if they are difficult, that is all the more reason to forge ahead and appreciate one another’s efforts to help keep this beautiful world alive.