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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Sustainable Home Cooking- Ten Tips for Healthier Living

By Randy Powell

Eating sustainably involves much more than purchasing organic food. It’s a concept that encompasses taking care of the world in front of you. By being conscious of all aspects of a healthy lifestyle, we can shift into a more mindful way of selecting, preparing and storing food. Use these tips to create food that’s good for you and the planet.

1. Know your farmers and buy local. The first step in sustainable living is establishing a connection with your local community. Find you local farmer’s markets and get to know your farmers. A visit to a local grower can be an enjoyable and educational excursion to become conscious of the need to support our neighbors.

2. Eat according to the season. Look to what nature provides you. With the hectic pace and demand of the modern lifestyle it is not always easy to maintain a perfect seasonal diet. But we should try our best not to eat strawberries in December.

3. Avoid processed, canned, and packaged food. Avoid packaged high-calorie, high-fat convenience foods, refined flours and refined sugars. If you feel a craving for something sweet try getting your sugars from fruit.

4. Get a proper water filtration system. Most city water systems are filled with contaminants such as fluoride and various chlorides which can caused a number of health problems with sustained exposure. Many filtration systems are available such as reverse osmosis or even ionization systems that are specifically PH balanced.

5. Get a refillable water container. Glass is best or at least a paraben free plastic container and these can be purchased at most health food stores.

6. Plant your own garden. Encourage your friends and plan together to trade your various harvests. Also, consider participating in community gardens which are popping up in neighborhoods all over the city.

7. Compost your food. Yard trimmings and food residuals constitute 26% of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream! Instead turn that waste into beneficial and environmentally friendly compost.

8. Store your foods in sealable glass containers. These are easy to wash, very efficient at keeping your food fresh and delicious, and easily eliminate waste from plastic wraps and baggies. In the end, it’s an investment that can save you money as well.

9. Bring your own shopping bags. It’s easy when you imagine the endless streams of plastic bags being poured into our landfills.

10. Use eco-friendly cleaning products. It’s not only what you eat that you are taking into your body. Many cleaning products contain harmful toxins that can leave unwanted residues on your glasses and dishes not to mention the water run-off.

Randy Powell is a yoga instructor and general manager of Real Food Charlotte, a vegetarian/vegan/raw food restaurant located in South End Charlotte. For more information visit

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