We can live consciously in so many ways and often forget that even little tweaks to our lifestyle can promote big changes in the long term. I’ve recently launched my own healthy meal delivery business from my little New York studio apartment so I’ve been spending a ton of time in my tiny West Village kitchen. As I work hard to build my own company while serving people the highest quality foods, I realize that there are a ton of ways to be a sustainable chef.
Here are my #FiveFave easy ways to be a more conscious connoisseur.
Reuse Glass Jars: I go through tons of coconut oil and almond butter…probably more than is really suitable for any human being but we don’t have time for that intervention right now. I originally started out by washing out the jars, removing the labels under hot water, and using them as glasses for drinks. Times were tough and I was too cheap to buy cups for my guests. But I’ve found that they make great storage containers as well. I use them for homemade dressings, soups, fresh brewed teas, puddings and more. And they fit so perfectly in the refrigerator door. Plus, mason jars are SO trendy right now.
Buy Sustainable Meats: I’m definitely a carnivore but I am incredibly cautious about where I buy my meat. When I can control it, I only eat meat that is properly raised, humanely treated, and free of any hormones or additives. The majority of my meat comes from a great butcher’s shop, Hudson and Charles, in the West Village of NYC. They abide by all the requirements I’ve listed above, and what is so great is that they “subscribe to a nose to tail butchering philosophy which results in 99% of the animal being used.”
Bacon Grease on ErrThang: Do I really need to say more. I’ve been eating a lot of bacon lately (and losing weight while I’m at it, thank you). Bacon gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, and frankly it’s near impossible to find the clean kind that is free of nitrates and added sugar. But I’ve found it (again, at Hudson and Charles) so if you want to come over for breakfast, the offer is on the table. Well, the bacon is on the table. I cook bacon often and one of my favorite things to do is set it aside after cooking and throw some veggies in the leftover grease to sauté. Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans… you name it, it’s better in bacon grease. But isn’t everything?
The Whole Damn Chicken: I used to be afraid of that whole damn chicken staring at me through the glass all headless and sh*t. But then I got educated and learned just how much that little bird had to offer and I changed my ways. One of my favorite meals of all time (and one of the easiest), is to roast a whole chicken on a bed of organic mixed vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, beets and onions. It’s so simple and can provide me with six meals for about $20. And here comes the excitement…Once I remove the cooked chicken from the bones, I throw all the bones in a big pot with the liver and neck and whatever else is in the chicken-carcass-goody-bag. I cover it all with water, add some salt and veggies if I choose, bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer covered for up to 24 hours. And voila! You have your very own batch of the most nutritious chicken broth to be used for soups and sautéing veggies or just drinking straight up like Paula Abdul. Just a note: Be sure your chicken is free range and free of any antibiotics. Or don’t, weirdo.
Guilt-Free Banana Ice Cream: That’s right, I said it. I don’t know about you but I’m a big banana fan. The problem with bananas is that I either eat 6 in two days or none in two weeks. Maybe it’s a hormone thing? On the off weeks when I purchase a bundle of yellow octopus fruit and they start getting all sketchy, I take some initiative and teach those suckers who’s boss. I love to cut ripe bananas into slices, sprinkle with cinnamon or cacao powder, and freeze them in a BPA-free storage container. I can’t tell you how long they’re good for because I always eat them too fast but I assume you can leave them in there for at least a few months. Eat the slices plain as a dessert or blend it with some coconut milk, cacao, fresh mint and pitted dates for a milk shake. Better yet, blend it up and put it back in the freezer and you have the most delicious healthy ice cream situation ever… if you can wait long enough for it to freeze. I’ve probably succeeded about once.