The Eco Kitchen Workout: How to Burn While You Churn to Stay Lean & Green


I’m always looking for ways to burn calories while living life off the elliptical.

A Swiss friend tells me her mother always did core exercises while driving. I’ve tried those crunches behind the wheel, as well as kegel tightening during pregnancy and stretching the burgeoning turkey neck with a series of juts and releases of my chin in slow traffic. The neck thing is a bit pathetic. I’m certain passersby think I’m a crazed soccer mom with a terrible tick.

Truth be told, I prefer lifestyle burning in the seclusion of my own house, including the kitchen, where I’m totally willing to work for food.

Here are a few ways to burn while your churn, spin, scrub and whisk. Get your kids into the act, as well, for family fun and fitness. Even Martha Stewart would agree the eco-kitchen workout is a good thing.

1. The Salad Spin Arm Rotation

We tend to get lazy relying on the prewashed lettuces at the market. My husband reminds me that’s how cases of salmonella have occurred from bags not really washed so well. Instead, wash it yourself, and spin in a good eco fiber spinner, such as the nifty bamboo bowl from Cooking. You will tone your biceps (say goodbye to that jiggly upper arm flab) and gain wrist strength from the crank or pull cord. Your reward will be a healthier salad with low calorie dressing. Opt for lettuce like arugula which takes extra effort to dry. Spin away, sexy mama!

bamboo salad spinner

2. Floor Scrub Cardio Boost

Get down on your hands and knees, you, and start scrubbing away the extra pounds that piled up while you were lazy using that mop. Benefits include having a floor clean enough to eat off of. And, you probably will just grab a bite from the fridge while you are on the floor, since you will be too exhausted to get up and eat lunch. I once heard a Weight Watchers leader (a nutritionist at Stanford) say scrubbing the kitchen floor is how she builds up her cardio endurance. Use a safe product, like Earth Friendly Floor Cleaner or BILO wax/polish to help get the job done, along with reusable towels instead of disposables.

earth friendly floor

3. Refrigerator Wipe Down Lunges

You don’t have to bend over backwards to clean the shelves of your refrigerator, but you can do some nice lunges removing the compartments and getting them as spanking clean as this Energy Star appliance from the Eco Fridge company. Your friends will envy your sense of order and your shapely thighs. You can also stretch the calves and toe muscles reaching those higher shelves. When you’re done, eat an orange. You deserve it.

energy star

4. Washing and Drying by Hand

I remember so well doing dishes by hand in my college apartment sans a dishwasher. I was so slim. Wait, I also ran about four miles a day. Anyway, the old wipe-on, wipe-off saves lots of water and energy and gets that heart pumping. Heck, you can work up quite a lather scrubbing those pots, sister! Whistle while you work and burn even more C’s. Try using a green dishsoap, like the fragrant Nancy Boy, and organic flour sack towels for wiping like this set from Williams-Sonoma.

nancy boyflour sack

5. Hunt and Gather and Make From Scratch Marathon


Try following Martha’s example of making an entire meal by scratch, from the harvesting of organic veggies and fruit from your yard (think slow simmering casseroles in the crock pot or homemade pies) to the kneading of your bread and preparation of your own delicious pasta or free range meat dish. It’s a lot of work but you never heard those pioneer women kvetch, did ya? Invite the kids to help because they love to cook and need exercise, too.

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.