How to Eat: 14 Greatest Hits from The Green Plate

ColumnOur top columns on how to eat ethically.

Whether you’re new to Ecosalon, or just beginning to navigate the choppy waters of ethical eating, you’ll find the following 14 links instructive in helping you eat (and live) both well and deliciously.

1. How to Cook

Despite your best intentions, do you find yourself letting vegetables rot in the produce drawer while you rely on takeout? Learn how to integrate cooking into your daily life and you’ll find yourself eating in more frequently.

2. How to Eat Locally

Why does grocery store produce taste like an inferior imitation of that which you buy at a farmers’ market or grow yourself? It’s likely not in season, it was picked too early, and shipped from afar. With piles of produce from all over the globe, a trip to the typical grocery store is hardly instructive if you want to know what’s in season. Start here to learn.

3. How to be a Semi-Vegetarian

Not quite ready to go vegetarian, but would like to lower your consumption of meat for your health and the environment? Learn how you can have your chard and eat your chicken (once in awhile) too.

4. How to Shop at a Farmers’ Market

Have you ever headed to the farmers’ market with the goal of buying your weekly produce but become so overwhelmed by the crowds, the music, the tasty pastries, that you left with a jar of jam and a loaf of bread? Learn how to shop—really shop—at a farmers market.

5. How to Choose Sustainable Seafood

Part of the reason that our oceans are in trouble is because we’re stuck in our ways. We eat way too many of just a few types of fish, mostly from the top of the food chain. Mix it up with 11 sustainable seafood choices, which you may not have considered.

6. How and Where to Get Protein

If you’ve been trying to cut down on meat but are afraid you won’t get enough protein, learn how much protein you really need and how to obtain it from a variety of foods.

7. How to Source Ethical Coffee

You may chat up the farmers at your local market every week, but do you know where your coffee came from or who grew it? Ethical Joe is within your reach.

8. How to Clean your Kitchen Green

What do you do when icky raw chicken juice splatters on your counter? Do you stare at it in horror or douse it in toxic bleach? Learn tips for disinfecting your kitchen without bleach.

9. How to Choose Humane Meat

Concerned about factory farming? Learn who’s behind the different humane certifications for meat and eggs and how the standards are codified.

10. How to Choose the Right Cooking Oil for the Job

Oil, oil, toil and trouble. Peanut oil for frying? Canola for salads? Oh, wait! It’s toxic? Get the scoop on cooking oil here.

11. Why Bio-Plastics are Not Always a Green Choice

If you’ve been feeling good about your local casual fast food outlet or local food truck because of their use of compostable bioplastics, learn why you probably shouldn’t.

12. Why you Should Read Labels

Ever wondered what soy protein isolate is or what’s really in those fast food burgers? Find out if you dare.

13. How to Cook a Whole Chicken and Other Lessons

Innocuous boneless, skinless chicken breasts? Not so much. Discover why they’re not so benign and learn three ways to cook up a whole chicken.

14. How to Make a Sustainable Fish Taco

Did you ever wonder what type of fish is in those fish tacos that you see on menus everywhere? If it doesn’t say, you might not want to know. But then again, you should. Then go ahead and make your own.

This is the latest installment in Vanessa Barrington’s weekly column, The Green Plate on the environmental, social, and political issues related to what and how we eat.

Images: Michigan Mom, Ron Dollete, Puuiki Beach, Andrea Nguyen, Wongaboo, Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.