Posts tagged green

Zullo’s is a Zero Waste Kitchen… Is Yours?


Waste~ produced every single day, averages out to about 2,000 pounds per person! And I did say per day! The majority of this waste comes from the Food Industry. From how the animals are raised, the produce grown, to all the materials produced, used and discarded into landfills, the food industry is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage.

A few reasons to buy local~  ever consider how far food has to travel to reach the grocery store or your local  restaurant?  Try an average of 1,500 miles!  To make the long trek, food has to be doused in chemicals to keep it “fresh” on top of all the pesticides and  herbicides it takes to grow if it isn’t organic.  Unnecessary transportation only adds to environmental damage.

Good news~ there are conscious, passionate leaders in the food service industry who are devoted to help shift it to an environmentally sustainable evolution. Dear fellow vegans, this may not be a vegan restaurant, but promoting organic, local and seasonal is a major stepping stone in the right direction for the food industry. They are helping  promote awareness.  It’s highly commendable!


Adriana Marzullo, Creator and Owner of Zullo’s, an organic Italian restaurant founded on the principle of sustainability based at the French Market in Chicago, provides fresh, seasonal and organic Italian food which all comes from local farmers! Adriana wanted to recreate the essence of her family’s heritage from the Molise province of Southern Italy, the town of Castel San Vincenzo. Zullo’s menu is made up of rustic recipes that are passed down from Adriana’s grandmothers, all while keeping the environment in mind.

Going Green = More Green $

To create a green business plan, Adriana sought out the help of a well respected Chicago Chef, Caterer and Consultant, Greg Christian who’s Sustainability Consulting company helps the food service industry reduce their environmental footprint and become more profitable by going green. Greg has over 25 years experience in food service, catering, and sustainability.   Click to read more about Greg Christian . Greg formed Zullo’s into a Zero Waste, B-Corp Certified kitchen. Everything used within the kitchen is recycled, composted or reused. Even the cleaning products are environmentally friendly. They serve their food in biodegradable materials from a booth that  was  even  created from recycled goods!  Learn how to green your  food service business and become more profitable

Cooking with Greg Christian

Recently, I was invited by Zullo’s, to come learn how their Zero Waste Kitchen operates and to cook with Greg Christian. I jumped on this exciting opportunity and brought along my great friend Rochelle to share a new experience.

Antonio and Abraham

Our morning started very EARLY! We met with Greg who is just a really cool guy and very passionate about what he does. Then we met Abraham, Greg’s Sous Chef and Antonio the kitchen assistant, two really nice guys! We also met Adam who stopped in to shoot video for the Zullo’s blog. He was really great and hopefully I will be adding his video to this post as soon as I get my hands on it! We also had the pleasure of meeting Adriana herself who stopped in to check on some things before getting on with her day, and then it was down to business. We had lots of work ahead of us, cooking for two farmers markets and Zullo’s at the French market. We were a little slow trying to learn our way around what is normally a very fast paced kitchen, but no worries because Greg was excited to show us what he does.

Greg and Adam

Zero Waste~It’s All in Your Head

Still wondering just what a Zero Waste Kitchen is? Sounds high tech, sounds intimidating, but really and surprisingly it’s not! Similar to other industrial kitchens with the main difference being the level of consciousness regarding food and waste. It’s about thinking a little… keeping separate containers for garbage, one for food scraps plus paper products for composting and another for recyclables. In the freezer, to avoid stinking up the kitchen, were two very large garbage cans to store that compost waste which is picked up weekly. Grease is also saved for a local farmer who picks it up and uses it for his equipment. We didn’t turn all the lights, burners and stove on first thing and leave them going all day long (even when not in use) like most other kitchens. We only turned things on when we needed them and respected the fire and the flame. Keep in mind, that we didn’t get into all the details that go on behind the scenes of a Zero Waste Kitchen. I know there’s much more to it. We were  just focused on the fun stuff… Cooking!

We were very conscious of the pans we used, and used the same ones on the stove over again with what seemed to be a planned out system regarding what foods we were cooking and in what order… Or maybe it was pretty early? Because this however, was just my observation. Less pans mean less water used for cleaning. Everywhere we could save, we did. The point is, that thought was put into the entire process and in turn there’s less waste and more profit. You have to wonder why all kitchens don’t operate this way?!


Getting into the ZEN of Food

While Rochelle was busy working with dough for the pizzas, I got to help out with the veggies. I learned that each food/veggie is different, Greg taught us about how certain veggies prefer to  be cooked  and others prefer to be cut, the main lesson was, to respect food and learn from it, how it wants to be handled and cooked. I never realized the importance of using all of your senses in the kitchen, like listening to the food cook for instance, while you are doing something else… this helps multi-task!

The food has a way of letting you know when it needs tending to by the change in sound as it cooks.  This is fascinating to me because I cook so often but can’t believe I really didn’t notice this before! The bottom line is: PAY ATTENTION and be gentle. Greg had us thinking about the food we were working with and where it came from. There’s something different about the fact that it was seasonal, organic and local that really heightened the level of honor and respect for that food. When you stop for a minute and realize that a farmer put much care into growing it for us organically, you see it in a totally different light and you certainly don’t want to waste it!


My Serious Scorpio

Don’t Be A Flavor Chaser

I did not have a pen in hand because my hands were immersed in Zullo’s potato salad (delicious by the way!) among other things, so I may be leaving out a few important details. I won’t quote Greg as I certainly don’t want to mis-quote Greg, but while we worked we had great conversation which really resonated with me as I totally get into the “deeper” meaning of just about everything! We talked about how disappointing it is that most Chefs are busy chasing only Flavor. It’s a shame and almost sinful, because a talented Chef can make any dish taste fantastic with whatever ingredients are available, so why not respect the environment and use sustainable food to create wonderful dishes that not only taste great, but which are far more satisfying on a much deeper level? I was happy that my own beliefs, being that food grown with respect to the environment and the animals tastes SO much better, were actually validated by a well respected Chef!

Not only are most Chef’s chasing flavor, but most people in general lack respect and honor for food and themselves by choosing only to chase the flavor. Being rather gluttonous, living to eat rather than eating to live, most people tend to think every bite needs to be pleasureful. We are not put on this earth just to pleasure ourselves with food, which we talked about with Greg, if pleasure happens, Great, but we should honor and respect food and our bodies!

This lead into Greg’s deeper philosophy (which I love) about knowing which foods your body actually needs rather than wants… We talked about holding love energy or  the love vibration in your mind and heart when making decisions for yourself or for who you may be cooking for, at say the grocery store or while deciding from a menu, the right food with the right nutrients your body needs will  jump out at you (so to speak) when you are in that loving place. Like animals, we also have that ability to “know” what our bodies need for nourishment but we are far too busy and our minds far too cluttered to listen.

Food and Forgiveness

Greg wrote a  book called Food and Forgiveness: How  a Chicago Chef Came Around. “Ultimately, it will be forgiveness of self and others that will allow us to move ahead together in partnership to envision and create a safer, saner world.” Learn how the debilitating asthma of his youngest daughter caused him to search for ways to help her recovery, both through organic food and holistic medicine


Click here to buy your copy of Greg’s book from the Karmatarian E-Store


Our Finished Products

We made beautiful dishes from Specialty Pizza’s to Eggplant Parmesan, Potato Salad and more! These are a just a couple of pics because I didn’t take too many.  Everything turned out amazing to be enjoyed on every level (physically, mentally and spiritually… let’s not forget environmentally!). I am not sure if it’s because Greg is a fellow Scorpio lol, but I really admired his passion and thought he was an excellent teacher! We had an awesome time! Rochelle and I want to give a BIG THANKS to Greg and Zullo’s for a fantastic experience!

What?! Did you really think I was going to leave you with pictures of Rochelle and I taken at 6 am! We are both Hair Stylists… Pleeeeeez

Visit Zullo’s in Chicago

Zullo’s Blog

Catering Available call-1-312-454-5900


The Green City Farmer’s Market

Located next to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 N Cannon Dr.

Chicago, Illinois 60614

Every Other Saturday (First weekend in 2011 will be January 15th)

8 am – 1 pm

* The South end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton


The Glenwood Farmer’s Market

6900 N Glenwood Ave

(the annex space of the Glenwood Bar)

Second Sunday of each month during winter months 2011

Nov 14, Dec 12, Jan 9, Feb 13, March 13, April 10, May 8

9 am- 2 pm

Enjoy the Journey,

The Karmatarian~

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Statistics about Waste~Facts and Figures!

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The Shamrock: Introducing the Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

St. Patty’s day is upon us and I’m thinking green. So I figured I’d share one of my favorite Green Smoothie recipes. It’s not only one of my favorites, but was also the hit recipe at the Green Smoothie party my girlfriends and I had a few months back…  yep, I did say Green Smoothie party! A really fun way to  share recipes and inspiration with other health conscious friends. Why deny an excuse to get together?

What’s a Green Smoothie?

Whenever I heard the term “Smoothie” I would automatically think yogurt and dairy mixed with fruit as most people do. But I am here to tell you that those types of smoothies are SO yesterday! Now it’s all about the green. Some people give me the strangest looks when they find out I actually put greens such as Spinach or Kale in the blender and blend with fruit for a powerhouse of raw nutrition that tastes amazing! Don’t knock it ’til ya try it!

My girlfriend Jinny who is a raw food extraordinaire, introduced me to this health drink about a year ago. I threw my first Green Smoothie party in March 2009 and had her teach me and a few friends how easy it was to make them  (once you wrap your mind around the concept that is) there are tons of recipes and combinations. Never boring! Some days I do have better luck than others when creating smoothies (just being honest) but 99% of the time they usually turn out great. You can be sure I will post more recipes on this blog.

So March happens to be my one year Green Smoothie anniversary! I haven’t missed more than a day or two the whole year. I think I’m addicted! I truly swear by these green concoctions which have made the greatest impact on my health over anything I have tried! I’m mostly happy about the fact that my 2 1/2 yr old also loves and drinks one with me every day. It puts my mind at ease to know he’s drinking something healthy, because as a typical toddler he is getting much pickier about food. Ugh!

Green Smoothie Party

Why Greens

  • Greens are very important for us as they have cancer fighting properties
  • Greens have high protein and fiber which aid in eliminating toxins
  • Greens help bring down acidity in our pH and make us more alkaline. Cancer and disease thrive in acidic environments which the standard American diet helps promote.
  • Chlorophyll molecules (plant blood) closely resemble human blood and it helps to purify our blood

Why Raw

Green Smoothies are “Raw” which means, not cooked. Therefore we retain all the vitamins, nutrients, fiber and living enzymes.  When we eat cooked food, our body produces a large amount of white blood cells (Leukocytosis) indicating a foreign invader has entered our system. When we eat the same food raw, there is no increase in the white blood cell count. When you cook food, you cook away  important enzymes our bodies need to properly digest food. Our immune systems are also greatly compromised. Salads are a great way to get raw nutrients but they’re not always convenient.  Green Smoothies are fun and easy way to get more greens and raw foods into our diets.

Health Benefits after 1 month on the Green Smoothie

  • Weight loss
  • More energy
  • Lifts depression
  • Less cravings and blood sugar fluctuations
  • Clearer skin
  • Regular bowel movements to eliminate toxins
  • Sleep better
  • Lessen or eliminates PMS
  • Helps to fend off Asthma attacks
  • Stronger nails and hair
  • Improves sex life… why isn’t this the best reason to drink Green Smoothies?

These are just some of the health benefits which continue to increase the longer you drink Green Smoothies!

What you’ll need

Green smoothies are fast to make and easy to clean up. All you need is a blender with a decent motor. Trust me, I have friends with fancy blenders which are amazing, but I use a hand-me-down almost made it to the good-will pile Oster blender from 1970 something because my fancy Cuisinart turned out to be a lemon! The Oster works great and gets abused everyday.  However, I am dreaming about trading it in soon for a shinier model.


Organic produce is important to use because conventional, unsustainable farming practices usually only have about an 1/8th  of the vitamins and minerals of organically grown produce.

Always use very ripe fruit which have the most enzymes and will sweeten your smoothies naturally. You can start with more fruit and work your way to adding more greens if you desire. Try 60% fruit to 40% greens and then work your way to 60% greens and 40% fruit.

I usually don’t use fruit with seeds like raspberries or strawberries because the seeds don’t blend and they aren’t as fun to drink, but that’s just me.

If you use berries, be ready for a brown looking smoothie. Tastes great, looks pretty gross… just sayin’

Try to alternate your greens. Your body can develop a toxicity by being exposed over and over to the same greens day after day.

The Acidity of the fruit can work on your tooth enamel, therefore it is wise to wait an hour before brushing your teeth after you drink a green smoothie. I drink mine through a straw which I feel helps.

You can use frozen fruit, or add ice cubes if you like it nice and cold. Try freezing bananas to use in your smoothies.

If your greens are too strong try adding a little vanilla. You can add a little organic agave sweetener as well.

You can always add more liquid if the blender is not catching and blending. I found that is what mine usually needs because it’s old. But….

Words of Caution: Try not to use a wooden spoon to push things down in the blender while the motor is running! Bad, bad habit of mine. I have cleaned many green smoothies off of the ceiling due to this dangerous and risky action not to mention I found unwanted fiber from my wooden spoon in the smoothie! Don’t do it, as tempting as it is!

So here is a great Green Smoothie recipe that’s perfect for this green holiday and any other day! Spinach makes really smooth smoothies. You will be surprised!

The Shamrock

2 Cups or large handfuls of Baby Spinach leaves

1-2 or even 3 Ripe Bananas  (I usually just use 1)

10 Mint leaves (give or take)

1-2 Tbs Cocoa powder (start with 1, add as desired)

1 Cup filtered water (adding more liquid as needed)

Squirt of Agave nectar ~ Optional

*Agave nectar has a desirably low glycemic index and when consumed won’t cause a sharp rise and fall in blood sugar as compared to other sweeteners.

*Variation~ Try Coconut milk, Coconut water or other Nut milk in place of water for an extra creamy treat  and more added health benefits.

I would love to hear your reviews or variations, please post a comment.


The Karmatarian~

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For further reading on the nutrition benefits of this smoothie:





Coconut milk~

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