AVOIDING FOOD WASTE

Improve nutritional value, avoid waste and toxins.

PHOTO GALLERY AT BOTTOM


AVOIDING FOOD WASTE

BACKGROUND:  

Worldwide, “Without accounting for greenhouse gas emissions from land use change, the carbon footprint of food produced and not eaten is estimated at 3.3 billion tons.” [1] Of total waste in North America 35% is wasted in production, with food left on the field to rot. 40% of waste is at the consumer level. [2] Food waste is the #1 producer of the toxic greenhouse gas, methane, in landfills.


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GROUND RULES
*  Focus is on healthy food combinations. 

*  Organic food recommended; no chemical or pesticide residues. 

*  Retains dietary trace elements stripped out by modern fertilizers.  

*  Organic farming methods avoid toxic runoff to waterways. 

*  FACT: Healthy food more expensive than unhealthy food. 


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ABOUT GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM (GMO) CROPS

*  Most frequently used GMO crops are the "high yield," "Round Up resistant," or "no till" grains and crops; increasing use around the globe. 

*  Used for animal feed and for human consumption.

*  Confers desired trait of herbicide tolerance; purpose: to avoid time-consuming "old-fashioned" mechanical tilling of weeds.

*  Crop fields over-sprayed with Round Up 2x year; takes 1/2 day to spray a field. 


*  Weeds, in turn, developing reciprocal Round Up resistance; 50% of US farmers now report "super-weeds" choking their crops.

*  Current huge class action suits in US against Monsanto by farm-spray specialists who contracted lymphoma by repetitive RoundUp spraying.


*  Additionally, crops also engineered for insect resistance; plants produce their own internal toxins, with bio-accumulation of residues within crops.

*  Insects are becoming resistant.  

*  GMO traits cross-pollinate and contaminate non-GMO farms; extreme economic damage to organic farmers, who can't export contaminated crops.

*  Persists in soil for up to 10 years.


*  GMO USES: All grain crops, soybeans, fruits and veggies, peanuts, sugarcane, plantation coffee, tobacco, cotton, linen, and so forth. 

*  GMO soy found in most infant formulas.




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PROCESSED FOODS

*  High fructose corn syrup, the most frequent, and often the main ingredient in processed foods; makes unhealthy food taste good; adds calories.

*  Processed food contains high levels of additives and stabilizers.

*  Artificial flavor chemicals designed exclusively for each product. 

   *  Mixed in giant vats.

   *  Designed with addictive "flavor bursts" that immediately disappear, causing craving; same with salt and sugar.

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OVER-BUYING

*  Be realistic about how many perishables actually will be used. 

*  Don't over-buy the beautiful seasonal produce. 

*  Have "catch-up," or "use-it-up" meals before going to the store; inventory perishables before grocery shopping.

*  Monitor what kids eat-- or don't eat, and adjust. 

*  Cook meat or fish when fresh; freeze if it won’t be used in 3-4 days.


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STORING FOOD

*   Presentation is everything with food storage; visibility key in avoiding waste. 

*   Re-used clear deli containers have excellent visibility; small cupboard footprint when stacked; can always find a top.

*  Clear containers make food appealing to grab; use correct size container, not too large. 

*  Downsize containers as food is used; keep single servings in front, to grab and pull out.  


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MANAGING PRODUCE

*  Produce in plastic bags in the back of the refrigerator is a death knell. 

*  Cut or slice when fresh; store cut pieces in clear containers in the front. 

* The middle and lower shelves have best visibility, especially for “littles.” 

*  Any excess produce can be frozen and later used in cooking or blending. 

* To perk up veggies, trim root areas and soak in water  (celery, lettuce, greens) for immediate use or storage.

*  Place fresh herbs, stems trimmed, in a glass of water to perk up; refrigerate in the glass.


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FRUITS

*  Berries, grapes, other fruits like to be dry. Pre-wash and store in small fruit colanders from the grocery; harder to find now.

*  Don't pre-wash berries, and use in 1-2 days. 

*  Soft bodied fruits like berries, and also mushrooms, trap more pesticides than other produce; organic definitely the best for them.

*  Cut grape branches into clusters; store loose grapes and small clusters on top. 

*  Freeze excess berries, then thaw and mash; use for fruit topping, home-made fruit yogurt, or smoothies. Note: Commercial fruited yogurt can contain as much sugar as many desserts. 

*  Chopped soft apples or other fruits can be added to cereal, salads or cooked food. 

* Be creative. Remember, a recipe is merely a suggestion…
 

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FROZEN PRODUCE

*  Good alternative to fresh; snap-frozen, packaged within hours of harvest so retain vitamins; unsalted, handy to use. 

*  Fresh produce has 6-stage handling process to get to market, so loses nutrients; but that is no reason to not use them. [3]  

*  Canned produce quickly processed close to origin; avoid cans saying “Product of China.”
*  Use bag clips or strong office spring clips (eco-friendly) to close and store frozen produce.

*  When contents get low, store bags together in easy pull-out Gallon zip-lock; avoids bags getting lost and freezer burn. 


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PREPARED FOODS
*  Any fresh vegetable or fruit can be added to frozen, or pre-prepared meals. 

*  Improves nutritional value; adds to daily fruit/veggie servings; ups number of portions; dilutes out salt, fat, sugar, and calories. 

*  Bright contrast colors such as shredded carrots, cut radishes, chopped herbs, purple onions, or raisins make the dishes more attractive. 

*  If not accustomed to healthful ingredients, incorporate them into the diet gradually, as you feel comfortable. 

*  Select products with fewer ingredients.
*  Note: Plastic trays & wrappers release trace chemicals when heated; avoid by cooking food in non-plastic dishware.


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PACKAGED AND BAKED GOODS
*  When dry foods get low, eg, cereal or crackers, remove from boxes, trim excess wrapper and clip closed or move to small container; display in front.

*  Breads stay fresher when frozen; when bags get low, trim excess and store with other "low" breads in Gallon-zips; avoids getting lost. 

*  If baked goods get dry, add a small piece of apple to package; will soften overnight (grandmother's trick).


FOR MORE INFORMATION
(1)  Food Waste: https://tinyurl.com/y6gse5bl

(2)  Impact on natural resources: https://tinyurl.com/hao9who  (p.11)
(3)  Frozen vegetables:  https://tinyurl.com/guyp58w

(4)  Creating cravings:  https://tinyurl.com/yc7dqyvl





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