I am positive that 2010 will be a good one for my family. It has to be. I’ve already compiled my list of New Year’s resolutions (both personal and Family Eats) and am hankering for January 1 to roll around.
To help you get started, we at Family Eats have created a list of resolutions that are aimed at making the site useful – so that our readers can build a better relationship with the food they eat and their own families.
Take a look through the following seven resolutions and join us on the journey in 2010.
1. Slow Down.
There is no doubt that life in the Everage household is fast. There is always someone who needs something, always somewhere to go, always some work to finish. I am looking forward to my 2010 commitment to slow down.
As journalist and author Carl Honoré says in his book “In Praise of Slow,” “We live in a world that is obsessed with speed that is stuck in fast forward. We often lose sight of the damage that this road-runner form of life does to us — on our health, our diet, our work.”
One area where we have been good at slowing down, is ensuring we all sit down to dinner together – a dinner that has taken time to prepare in our own kitchen.
Thank you to Carlo Petrini (who started the Slow Food movement in 1986) for being the driving force behind nurturing a love of diversity and sharing of knowledge about good food.
Throughout the year, Family Eats will remind our readers the importance of slowing down. Whether it is turning off the television for dinner and having a conversation with the family, or trading your dependence on fast food for a meal made at home once a week, we hope to inspire you all to reconnect with the food you eat – and your family as well.
2. Cut your Meat Consumption
I know the concept of Meatless Mondays has caused some controversy (and is not a popular one with Glenn Beck), but what is the harm of cutting back on meat once a week. In fact, the ills of consuming massive amounts of meat have been in the news lately, revealing alarming statistics that show how our dependence on meat is not the best for our bodies and that of the environment, so why not give it a try?
The goal of the Meatless Monday group, a non-profit initiative, in association of Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, is to help reduce meat consumption in order to improve personal health and the health of our plant. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
Starting in the 2010, the Family Eats Weekly Menu will include a meatless recipe on Monday. To learn more about this movement, visit www.MeatlessMonday.com.
3. Diversify Your Food Choices.
“I’m tired of making the same thing for dinner.” We’ve all said it, but we haven’t done much to change the habit.
Our dependence on fast food, convenience foods, and highly processed foods has honed our palates to crave salt, sugar and fats.
As Priscilla Martel told us earlier in the year, “Retraining the palate is key. It is a process of constant learning. For instance, if you want to wean yourself or your kids from mass produced peanut butter and go for something natural or a different product such as almond butter. Pair it with something naturally sweet like a piece of apple or banana. The flavor will be less strange to them and may expand their palate horizon.”
We’ll take her suggestion and look to professionals to provide us with insight into how to retrain the palate and introduce new recipes into the mix. We pledge to help break that habit, and expand the palates of our Family Eats readers. Throughout the year, we’ll offer up new recipes, foods and flavors that will move us from our dependence on the big three, to enjoy the plethora of flavors from around the world.
4. Start a Garden
While we can’t come over to your house and help ready the yard for a garden, we will provide you with tips and lessons on how to incorporate more fresh, whole foods into your diet. Anyone who grows his/her own vegetables will tell you, vegetables grown at home taste wonderful, and the cost is just right. Aside from the initial expense, and the effort to maintain it, most people agree that you can reduce your grocery bill significantly by growing your own produce.
Further, when tending to your own garden, you have the ability to control the amount of fertilizer , pesticide and herbicide you use on your plants. And, we all know that cutting down on that is great for the environment and our bodies.
Whether you live in an apartment, or on a farm, growing your own food – even if it is potted herbs, Family Eats will offer up suggestions on how to get started, when to begin planting, and of course, recipes to use those delicious fruits, vegetables and herbs.
If you’re starting a garden, why not begin composting? Composting is nature’s way of recycling and returning valuable organic matter and nutrients to the soil so that they can be used again. Even if you’re not starting your own home garden, composting has its benefits. It keeps organic materials out of landfills, where, during decomposition, methane is produced. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent in its heat trapping capabilities than carbon dioxide. Yes, methane collection is more common at landfills, but the EPA estimates that over the life of a landfill, 2FIVE PERCENT of the methane generated in a landfill with gas collection will still escape into the atmosphere.
Throughout the year, Family Eats will offer tips and information on how to incorporate composting into your daily routine.
If you’re looking for more information on composting – how to start, what can be composted and laws for composting, the EPA website is a good resource.
6. Buy Local
When you can’t grow food at home, make an effort to buy local. To ensure sustainability, the goal is to buy food as locally as possible. It supports local farmers, and cuts down on the transportation, processing and packaging to the food system equation. According to The Sustainable Table, “Between product and transportation, growing 10 percent more product for local consumption in Iowa would result in an annual savings ranging from 280,000 to 346,000 gallons of fuel, and an annual reduction of CO2 emissions ranging from 6.7 to 7.9 million pounds.
Throughout the year, Family Eats will give you ideas on how to buy locally. Including challenging you to visit a farmer’s market at least once a month. Because buying locally requires eating what is in season, we’ll provide recipes that match the foods that are in season.
7. Incorporate a Low-Carbon Diet into your Lifestyle
We have all heard the news about the need to reduce our energy consumption, and we at Family Eats believe it is imperative.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average person emits approximately 20 tons (roughly 40,000 pounds) of carbon dioxide a year. That is far above the average of a bout 4 tons per capita – making America the top five carbon dioxide polluters on the planet.
Change your light bulbs, buy carbon offsets, and REDUCE WASTE. This latter is so directly related to the kitchen – which is why we encourage composting. Additionally, we will help you reduce food waste – you know, the food you have to throw out because it sat in the refrigerator too long. During 2010, we will introduce ideas for leftovers – how to use the pork roast you cooked last night as another dinner or as a lunch option. We have become pretty good at this, but last night’s fridge clean-out revealed to us that we still need to hone this a bit more. Join us on our journey as we learn to reduce our carbon output by cutting down on food waste, by making leftovers a priority, and using the food we buy.
Visit www.climatecrisis.net and use the calculator to determine your carbon footprint – a measurement of how many pound of global-warming-causing carbon dioxide produced in our daily lives.