We see millions of people in the world who are suffering and dying from hunger while in other parts of the world, people are dying from overeating. Eating certain foods leads to obesity which in turn can lead to a multitude of diseases and poor health, and in turn death. Yes, our food consumption is killing us. It just doesn’t make sense. Since I’ve become a whole foods vegan, much of my time is spent improving the health of others and educating people on how to be more compassionate. Showing compassion not just towards the ethical treatment of animals but towards our own bodies, the environment, and other people. I have learned so much about myself and others. I’m on a self-discovering journey to not only improve my life but to help others preserve this earth for future generations to enjoy.
This past weekend, I noticed throughout my travels to the grocery store, restaurants, and local events, the amount of food we throw out and waste. Where does all of this food go? In the garbage and eventually to our landfills where it sits and rots. The food we throw away plays a large role in the health of our environment. We all want to do our part when it comes to sustainable practices such as recycling, using less plastic, using re-usable grocery bags, and conserving water. But is this enough? Food is being wasted in large amounts in every sector of the food chain. However, you can still do your part in deciding what foods you purchase and consume. Here are some tips to help you do your part in saving the planet for future generations simply by what you eat.
What is Meal Mapping?
The biggest tool you can use to eliminate food from being wasted and thrown out is to have a meal plan. When you think about it, if you plan out each meal for the week and the foods you need for each recipe, there is less chance that you will throw anything out as all the food is accounted for. Once you adapt this plan of mapping out each meal, you will find less food in the trash.
Composting is great for the garden. Composting does several important jobs such as breaking down organic matter into plant-available nutrients so that plants grow stronger. When you add compost to the soil, it increases the amount of moisture the soil retains so you have to water less. It can also prevent erosion and repair contaminated soil that has been previously destroyed by prior pesticide use. If you have sandy soil, it can help retain more moisture and break up clay soil.
Scraps leftover from fruit or vegetables, grass clippings, and even fallen leaves can be thrown into your compost to be turned into something useful. Whether you add it to garden beds, your lawn, container plants, or seed-starting mixed, compost is great for not only the soil but the planet.
Label & Date Your Food
This is a simple one. If you don’t want your food to expire than grab a marker and some labels and keep them handy in your kitchen. If you are making your own spreads or jams, then attach a label with the expiry date as a reminder when you have to finish it by. The same goes for leftovers. If you know the food will spoil in 3 days, then place a label on it so you know when to consume it. Also, put the older foods in the front of the fridge. This way, you make sure that these foods get consumed first so you don’t have to waste any food.
Use Your Freezer
Since most of the food I make myself, my freezer comes in handy to store food for future use. I like to make several batches of chili, soups, and casseroles that I can pull out at a later date if I’m pressed for time. Many foods freeze well so it’s worth buying a small freezer to stash food to use at a later date. Also, label the foods before you put them in the freezer so you know when to consume them. All foods have a shelf life or in this case a freezer life. Again put the foods that will expire first at the top of the freezer. Also use freezer-safe containers to prevent any freezer burn.
Another way of storing food is to can. Canning fruits and vegetables are preservative-free. The canning process of using high temperatures and sterile containers destroys organisms that would normally cause spoilage. Food is heated and then sealed within hours of harvesting. This process is becoming popular as food prices are soaring but more so as people want to build a sustainable community by purchasing food from local farmers when in season. Again, the shelf life of each fruit and vegetable is different so make sure you label each bottle and use it before it expires.
Types of Food
If you are consuming mainly produce, your waste will be limited and scraps can be placed into a compost. When you purchase processed foods and animal products, they do spoil easily (especially meat and dairy) so by limiting these foods, you can not only decrease the amount of food you put into your trash but better your health and the health of the planet. By eating more fruits and vegetables, nothing goes to waste. Peeling and cores go directly back into the compost which goes directly back into your garden. It’s a WIN-WIN!
Both Art and I have been whole food plant base for a while so no food every goes wasted in our home. In fact, both of rescue dogs are whole food vegans. Our dogs pretty much eat what we eat with the exception of some foods. In fact, they eat much healthier than us which would explain why their healing abilities of bouncing back from a scratch or bite is reduced to very little time. Their coats are so much softer and their energy levels are beyond what I would expect at their age.
If we do throw out food, it goes directly into our compost which goes directly into our vegetable garden. When you think about it, whole and plant base foods last longer if stored properly and when you plan out every recipe for the week, you know exactly the amount you need to use. We rarely use processed food if at all so nothing really expires if it sits in our pantry because we really don’t have a pantry full of food. We do keep on hand an emergency stash of canned food for winter storms just in case we can’t get to a grocery store.
All the tips I’ve mentioned above really do work and if people start to introduce them into their daily routine, it will make an impact on our environment.
Eat clean & live green!
Your Compassionate Coach,