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The 10 principles of sustainable gastronomy

Conscious Gastronomy is the title of my blog here at . Conscious gastronomy is a concept that has been gaining importance in recent times. It is based on the idea consume food with health and sustainability in mind.

Surely you saw the announcement by Minister Alberto Garzón encouraging us to reduce the consumption of meat and products of animal origin for the benefit of the planet. And it is that the production of meat, dairy products and eggs is responsible for a large part of climate change, not only due to the emission of greenhouse gases, but also due to the enormous use of land, water and food destined to fatten animals, contamination by slurry, soil degradation, the use of fossil fuels during the entire process (not only in transport, processing and refrigeration)…

As an action to try to reverse this worsening trend, international organizations such as the FAO or the United Nations recommend consuming less meat, since it In developed countries, its consumption doubles that recommended by health, And of course, it goes far beyond what is acceptable so as not to burden the climate and the planet definitively. And let’s not mention the animals, of course.

The basic principles for a conscious kitchen

Conscious gastronomy is not just about buying less meat. It encompasses the entire cooking process, taking into account the origin and source of the ingredients, how it is grown, the means by which it reaches the market and how it is transformed when cooked for consumption.

Beyond “eating less meat”, it means choose foods that are both healthier and more sustainable and aligned with your principles; If you are even slightly concerned about animal suffering, stopping using products of animal origin is essential.

Conscious gastronomy takes into account the importance of technology, efficiency and creativity when cooking.

I always practice and apply conscious gastronomy, just as I teach you in this online course on healthy biscuits from the Cuerpomente School.

We are all part of this planet and we must promote sustainability in the kitchen if we want to change things. Individual actions are very important, but if we can promote them and get more people to join the change, so much the better. Do you want to start cooking and eating in a more sustainable way? So that you become familiar with this concept of conscious gastronomy, I will summarize its basic principles.

1. Choose always vegetable raw materials

If we eliminate all products of animal origin from our diet, we are not only Doing the environment a favor also to the animals, who are the ones who take the worst part.

Choosing “raw materials” means resorting to the most basic form that we can find of an ingredient. For example, in the case of legumes, dried instead of canned cooked, and fresh vegetables, not cut, mixed, packaged and/or cooked.

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My advice: In the case of cereals, we choose those that present the minimum necessary processing, that is, raw and integral.

2. Eat seasonal foods

As you will see in most of my articles, uI use and recommend the ingredients that are in season at all times. This has many advantages: They are more available and in many more places (greengrocers, markets, street markets).

They are more fresh. They have been collected more at their point (ripening on the plant), with little time between collection and sale. They have been grown in nearby places and with a much cheaper price than the rest of the year. All this translates, in part, into the fact that they are much better.

If it seems to you that “tomatoes don’t smell”, go to a greengrocer/greengrocer in summer and smell them. What is it noticeable? You will especially notice it if you touch the branch of the vine tomatoes and then smell (with gloves, please). When tomatoes are not in season they are usually grown further away, collected long before its maturity on the plant (it has the advantage that they are hard, do not break so easily and do not go bad quickly), and matured in chambers with ethylene. They may have a lot of color, but the flavor is not the same. Does this mean that I can only eat tomatoes in summer?

Does not mean You must look at the origin, because there are varieties that mature at different rates, and consult seasonal fruit and vegetable calendars to find out what things you can find in the market in the month in which you are.

Normally, when there is a large harvest (of tomatoes, to follow the example), a part of them They are preserved to be able to consume them during the winter: They are peeled and put in vacuum jars, partially cooked, dried in the sun, sauces are made and preserved…

My advice: In supermarkets and stores you will also find this type of preparation, which, although it is not a substitute for fresh vegetables, they can help us cook with more variety. Of course, you can also make your own preserves (always taking good care of safety and hygiene measures) with seasonal foods to be able to consume them the rest of the year.

3. Buy local products

Buying local products you avoid emissions from transporting food and support the economy and local producers. Find out if there are agricultural cooperatives in your area that you can buy directly from, or at least check the origin of your ingredients.

My advice: The closer to the point of sale, the better.

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4. Adapt the menu according to the season

change your menu depending on what is available by season and availability. In other words, everything you can buy that is vegetable, seasonal and local, instead of traveling long distances to buy other ingredients.

My advice: I know there are places where there is a shortage of affordable and nutritious food. It is what is called “food desert”. In these cases it is clear that it is better to move or request a home service (many agricultural cooperatives have it). But if you have availability of vegetables, fruits, legumes and cereals close to home, adapt your meals to all those ingredients that are easier for you to find.

5. Learn to cook

This is a basic point if we want to eat rich, varied, cheap and seasonal without investing hardly any time and without getting tired. If we know how to handle all kinds of ingredients, we will have a much wider range of options even when we have little variety of ingredients.

My advice: Go beyond the dishes you already know: vary them, change them and create new preparations. Get inspired by the cuisines of other countries and adapt them to your context.

6. Generate less waste

Creating less waste doesn’t just mean avoiding buying packaged things or carrying your own shopping bags, it also means buy only what you need to avoid getting sick.

In general, fresh leafy vegetables last about 3 days, crucifers a little longer, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers can last a week or more, etc. As long as they are whole (not cut). If you buy in large quantities, plan for conservation (preparing dishes to freeze, for example).

My advice: Use all the edible parts of vegetables: even if you don’t know what to do with, for example, vegetable peelings, you can always freeze it and look for solutions. In the case of peelings, with a good amount you can make very tasty vegetable broths.

7. Recycle and use recyclables

Not everything comes unpackaged, but there are always better options: glass containers, bottles, metal cans, paper and cardboard, compostable… Always reuse all those you can.

My advice: Glass containers come in handy for storing homemade preserves, dry cereals, spices, legumes, etc. Ziplock bags can be washed and reused. Avoid single-use plastics whenever possible.

8. Choose fair trade products

There are things that necessarily have to come from afar, like coffee, cocoa or tea. In these cases, it is better to choose those that are fair trade, since, in addition to practices that are more respectful of the environment, they alsoensure respect for the human rights of the people who work to produce these foods, they help their communities and form fair business relationships.

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My advice: In the case of cocoa and coffee, you also have the UTZ seals that ensure that social and environmental criteria have been taken into account in the production of these products. That is, you make sure that what you buy has not been produced with child or slave labor, in bad conditions or destroying forests and jungles.

9. Bet on efficiency in the kitchen

More sustainable equipment, which consumes less and is well used. This includes appliances with an energy efficiency certificate (and only the necessary ones) and preferably RoHS, FSC/PEFC certified utensils and furniture, etc. Besides:

Choose to repair whenever possible Better than throwing away and buying again. Buying second hand and giving a new life is a good option. In the case of utensils, you also have to look for its durability and its safety. For example, those made of materials such as metal or resistant plastics (professional quality, not quite at 100) will be much more efficient because they will last much longer and we will not have bacteria and fungus problems (especially on kitchen tables), in addition to require minimal maintenance. It’s a good idea check the whole kitchen to see where we are having some kind of problem, from water leaks to low efficiency of some appliances, and change them for better options.We can incorporate savings systems water, use LED lighting, take advantage of natural light, rearrange furniture and appliances for greater efficiency (for example, do not keep the refrigerator in the hottest point in the kitchen or next to the stove), invest in insulation for doors and windows , etc. You also have to pay attention to the proper use of all kitchen elements: use burners that are the size of your utensils (if you place a frying pan, for example, on a burner that is larger than its diameter, heat is lost, you don’t cook faster), take advantage of the residual heat to finish cooking, put the dishwasher only when When it is full, place things in the fridge according to how cold they need and without filling it completely. When you put the oven on, take the opportunity to cook large amounts of food, always avoid overcooking, regardless of the method used…

10. Clean efficiently

When we clean utensils and surfaces we are not just looking to remove food or grease remains, we also need to disinfect. Unfortunately, IMany cleaning products are dangerous for the environment. (on the back it usually indicates it).

My advice: Choose cleaners better (one is not usually needed for each thing), preferably without phosphates, and before applying them, remove the bulk of the dirt with rags and cloths.

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