The Green Living Guy

We are all trying to eat more sustainable, organic food. Chef Gerard has simple steps to “green up” your grocery carts and eat more sustainably. Culinary expert Chef Gerard Viverito is the Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, an NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the lack of sustainability in the seas.

grocery cart

Eat less meat and more beans

Peas, lentils, and other legumes are called nitrogen “fixers.” They convert inert gas from the atmosphere into the type of ammonia needed for plant food, reducing the need to use as much synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. Livestock is a major driver of deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Livestock requires about 3.9 billion hectares of land for grazing and producing animal feed. That’s an area that’s five times larger than Australia.

Buy wild-caught U.S. seafood

American fisheries have some of the most stringent ecological rules in the world. Be open to sampling different fish species. If we ate what the oceans were sustainably supplying instead of insisting on only a few preferred fish species, we would further cut down on over-fishing our waters.

Improve your oil

It doesn’t make sense to buy healthy, sustainable foods and then cook them with oils made from genetically modified plants. Your family will love the buttery texture of palm oil, which is natural and sustainably produced. Because it is heat stable, palm oil can be used for grilling, baking, and frying without burning and making food taste bad.

Upgrade your favorite spices

The use of chemical fertilizers and plant pesticides is a growing concern in the spice industry. But organic spices and herbs can be pricey, so invest in organic only for those that you use all the time. Here’s another money-saving tip: Whole ginger root is a fraction of the price of powdered. Buy a root and cut it into 1-inch cubes, then toss them into the freezer. Grate a cube whenever a recipe calls for this fragrant spice.

Oven fry leafy vegetables

Kale and spinach grow quickly in most climates. This means they have a lower impact on our environment and may require less fertilizer than slower growing veggies, up the kid-friendliness of these greens by making tasty oven-fried veggie chips. Drizzle Malaysian sustainable palm oil over the greens, sprinkle with salt, and then bake in a 350-degree oven until slightly brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Eat on their own, sprinkle on pizza or add to cheesy omelets.

Look for “grass-fed,” “organic,” or “pasture-raised” beef

Raising livestock takes a big toll on our environment. It uses more than 70 percent of our agricultural land and is the largest driver of deforestation in the world. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up meat if you want to eat sustainably. Just choose quality over quantity. When cooking, combine meat with healthy plant-based foods. Throw some black beans into ground beef when making tacos, or combine chicken with quinoa when making a casserole.

Chef Gerard Viverito

Chef Gerard Viverito is a culinary instructor as the Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, an NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the issue of sustainability in the seas. [] He is also the operator of Saveur Fine Catering, a company whose beliefs and products center on local, sustainable, and organic foods. Chef Viverito’s pantry is loaded with items commonly overlooked in the supermarkets, yet he has a thorough understanding of them and a passion for teaching others how to cook more healthfully.

In addition, Chef Viverito has dedicated a large part of his career to what he terms “functional cooking.” This is where he adds nutritional ingredients to dishes to gain healthful results. He is well known for his ability to lower the glycemic index value of food, and add omega fatty acids, and whole proteins to dishes without compromising the texture or taste. He appears regularly on radio and television programs, demonstrating this as well as consulting clients on their dietary needs.

2 Responses

  1. Great post! Lotsa great tips

    Another tip is to watch out for and avoid toxic BPA in canned foods. We just co-release a new report that found toxic BPA in nearly 40% of 250 samples of canned food purchased from grocery stores nationwide.

    You can learn more here in this post i wrote, which has a link to the report where you can find out which cans tested positive for BPA and PVC, a toxic substitute:

    Thanks for all that you do! 🙂

  2. Thank you so much. I’ll be offering something soon for your interest.

%d bloggers like this: