7 New Year’s Food Resolutions

coriander raisin sourdough
Coriander-raisin sourdough bread

Did you make new year’s resolutions? What do they entail? Weight loss? Better money management? Improved health? A reduced carbon footprint? The following 7 food resolutions have you covered.

1. Eat real food you cook yourself and avoid fad diets. If you cook everything from scratch, you can pretty much eat whatever you like (unless you make only cookie dough ice cream and homemade plum wine). With all the ferments I eat, my diet may seem like a fad to some. Sixty or 70 years ago however, when organic food was simply called food, my diet would have been considered normal. I eat pretty traditional fare, including sourdough bread, fermented vegetables, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, pastured butter, raw milk (but not exclusively raw) and so on.

2. Cut the processed food. When I went (nearly) plastic-free in 2011, I quickly realized that I had stopped eating processed food. By cutting the plastic, I inadvertently cleaned up my diet. My older daughter lost her extra pounds (I am naturally scrawny, so I’m not sure if I lost weight or not), we started eating better and, although I haven’t done the math, I’m pretty sure I spend less on food than I used to, even though I buy quite expensive ingredients.

spot the food app
My idea for a kids’ app: Spot the food

3. Eat at mealtimes. By cutting the processed food, I also inadvertently stopped snacking. If you’re like me, you don’t have time to make from scratch all the snacks you used to buy at the store (although I do bake sourdough crackers at least once a week). Your cupboards don’t burst with snacks. You snack less.

4. Shop at the farmer’s market. The food tastes better and you support your community. Because your local small farmer has recently picked the food, it retains more nutritional value than the produce that travels 1000 miles on a truck (after being picked unripe and gassed), sits in a warehouse and then ships to your supermarket. Okay, farmer’s market produce will generally cost more money than food from, say, Walmart. These resolutions are a package deal (i.e., you’ll save money overall). However, when you buy produce in season (that’s all you’ll find at the farmer’s market), it does cost less than out-of-season produce.

photo (5)
This past Sunday at the farmer’s market in Palo Alto

5. Take all you want, but eat all you take. In the United States, we waste 40 percent of the food we grow. That squanders precious resources, such as the water to grow the food, the oil to run the tractors and the labor to plant and harvest the food. When all that wasted food starts to rot, it releases methane gas, a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide. When I have excess vegetables, I make soup or vegetable broth, or I ferment them (see #7).

6. Eat ugly fruit and vegetables. Some of the 40 percent of the food we waste in this country never actually makes it to the store. Why? Because most grocery stores reject ugly produce—kinky carrots, oblong apples, misshapen potatoes. But people have begun to rediscover that produce that doesn’t fit into the supermarket image of ideal beauty tastes just fine—and costs less. EndFoodWaste.org has recently compiled an international list of stores that offer ugly fruit and vegetables.

7. Learn to ferment food. Since I cleaned up my diet in 2011 and started eating more fermented food (I eat at least one fermented food every day), I simply do not get sick. It’s been over three years since I had so much as the sniffles. Filled with gut-friendly probiotics, fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchee, pickles, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, etc.) boost your immunity. They aid in digestion. They make nutrients more bioavailable for your body. By fermenting foods myself, I save a ton of money. If you have never tried fermentation and don’t know where to start, I still have room in my free online fermentation workshop, January 10th at 10am Pacific time. Click here to read more about it and to register.


The last time I made new year’s resolutions, I broke at least one by 10am on January 1st. They were all “don’ts”: don’t do this, cut out that, deprive myself of whatever. These resolutions focus more on gains rather than sacrifices. I don’t feel I have denied myself anything by adopting these habits. In fact, they have enriched my life.

I wish you a happy, healthy, fulfilling 2015.

40 Replies to “7 New Year’s Food Resolutions”

  1. I never tire of seeing baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables at markets, glorious colours, bustling brassica and chard leaves, I even like dented and bruised roots… It is an image that crosses the boundaries of time and place. Something that ties us into a tradition that is 1000s of years old. Much like jars of bubbling ferments…

    We all weave our own stories but I like knowing that our own tales are part of a much larger tapestry… with food and skill and knowledge being the weft and weave that ties us together.

    Have a super 2015!

    1. A few of the vendors at my market pay particular attention to arranging their stalls and (non-uniform) produce beautifully. They seem busier for it (of course, their produce cannot be beat for taste or quality). The supermarket may be more convenient for today’s consumer lifestyle (you can buy more of what you don’t need with a cart to push around and a car to transport your bags home…) but I find it so impersonal, the lighting kind of depresses me and the food doesn’t taste nearly as good. Although much of the US’s food grows here in California, I cannot find a local apple anywhere except the farmer’s market!

      I hope you have a wonderful 2015 too!

  2. I LOVE numbers 1, 4, 5, and 7 especially — all things I tried to do in 2014 and will try to amp up my efforts doing in 2015. I’m glad that I will spend the upcoming year reading your blog and getting great tips and ideas 🙂 Here’s to a healthy, productive, and hopeful new year!

    1. Thank you so much. I’m so glad you enjoy my tips. I hope you have a fantastic 2015 🙂

  3. Great thoughts for the New Year! Thanks for the ideas for a healthy year.

    1. You’re welcome and thank you 🙂

  4. OK, it’s after 10 AM here and I’m wondering which resolution I’ve already broken. 😉 But, seriously, great list! Mine includes “less added sugar” and “bake more bread”. Here’s to both of us sticking to resolutions for as long as possible! 🙂

    1. Thank you! Those are great resolutions. Your house will smell wonderful with all that bread baking in your kitchen this year and you can slather it with your homemade butter 🙂 I want to eat less added sugar this year also. I read Robert Lustig’s book about sugar, Fat Chance, a year or two ago and that scared me off of sugar for a few months. I need to flip through it again to motivate me. I should make it to 10am at least today (2 1/2 hours to go).

  5. May I reprint this in a GreenFriends newsletter? Here is a sample of the newsletter. http://amma.org/sites/default/files/litterprojectnewslettersept2014.pdf

    1. Sure! Thank you so much and happy new year!

      1. Great! Thanks! I had wanted to ask you to reprint something but hadn’t decided which one. When this came out I knew it was the one!!!!

        After I wrote you I noticed you list chicken and beef in the list of what you eat. Since it is a vegetarian publication would you mind if I leave those two things out. You, of course, aren’t listing everything you eat anyway and the list makes the point you are making without it.

        I know there are people interested in fermenting so you might get some people who are interested in the course. You almost certainly will get people interested in your blog.

        Normally we have the issues out by the 6 or 7th but our graphic artist won’t get back into town until the 7th, so it will be tight but I hope to be able to get it out by the 9th at least.

        Thanks again. I hope the one edit will be okay.

      2. You’re welcome. I’m glad this post was the one. I was so tired, I almost didn’t write it (happy I did). That’s fine with me to cut the beef and chicken 🙂 I would love to see the newsletter when it comes out. Please keep me posted and thanks again.

      3. I will definitely let you know when it comes out. It sometimes takes awhile before I can get someone to upload the link but I will see if I can hurry that process along.

    2. The issue is out! Here is the link- http://amma.org/sites/default/files/litterprojectnewsletterjan-2015.pdf. (The link says litter project because it was only a litter project when we start writing the newsletter. It became a GreenFriends newsletter long ago.) Your article starts on page 14. Thanks so much for letting me use it.

      I hope someone registered for your class as a result even though they didn’t have much notice. I pointed out your class in the email that went with the newsletter so they would know about it.

      1. Thank you so much! At least a couple of the people who registered came out of the blue so perhaps they had seen this.

        I love the teaching children theme in the newsletter. I am (slowly) working on a couple of posts about food science lessons for kids. Learning should be fun after all!

      2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the new students came that way. I know we have people that are interested in fermentation.

        The teaching children theme just emerged out of the articles I received this past month. I was excited when I saw what was developing.

        If you ever have other posts that you want to share in the newsletter…. as long as they are GreenFriends related, feel free to let me know.

      3. Thank you so much. I’ll let you know 🙂

  6. I love this! I’m going to share it! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much and happy new year!

  7. yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
    lead the way my friend into the new year.
    we are following

    1. Thank you so much, Sandra. That makes my day 😀

      Happy new year!

  8. Reblogged this on 2 Boys 1 Homestead and commented:
    Some great ideas to work on. I especially like the farmer’s market and ugly fruit ideas.

  9. Reblogged this on Hamptons Brine and commented:
    Awesome tips!

    1. Glad you like them. Thanks for the reblog!

  10. Very sensible advice.

  11. Reblogged this on brown bread & baked beans and commented:
    I love these food related New Year’s resolutions from the Zero-Waste Chef, especially numbers 2 and 5.

    1. Thanks so much for the reblog and happy new year!

  12. Great tips for the new year:-)happy new year

    1. Thank you so much. Happy new year to you too. I have a good feeling about 2015 🙂

  13. This is a great post!! Thank you Zero Chef for improving people’s lives!

    1. That’s so nice of you to say. Thank you and happy new year 🙂

  14. Great resolutions. I naturally (without thinking much about it) follow all advice already except making my own fermented foods. We buy sauerkraut, etc.

    1. Thank you. Decades ago, I think we all followed these! Great the stores carry more fermented foods now (or once again?). They’re so healthy and delicious. Thanks for the comment.

  15. Love these New Years Resolutions! Amen. I’ve been experimenting with fermented foods in the last year or so and I’m loving it! My sourdough baking has gone downhill since we moved as the gas oven in this flat just can’t get to the temperatures to make a nice crust. It’s edible, but it doesn’t look great – and when you spend so long preparing it, it’s a bit deflating. Ah well, the new house will have a better oven and the bakery will resume! In the meantime I will ferment things to my heart’s content : )

    1. Thank you! Fermenting continues to amaze me. Every time I try a new ferment, I’m amazed at how easy and delicious it is (and I also wish I had known about all of this years ago). Good luck with your sourdough. I’ve baked several loaves that were pretty terrible and left me, well, almost heartbroken. I once salvaged a disastrous loaf for kvass which turned out well. Still, I would rather eat my bread. Good luck with the move and the new oven 🙂

      1. But the move isn’t until the end of the year! That’s ages! Still, it’s a lot of time to learn fermenting – if the book ever turns up!

      2. Oh, that’s not for a while. I hope the book comes before then! It will certainly keep you busy until you get back to sourdough. I have a long list of ferments I want to try.

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