Food wastage | Facts & thoughts

When talking about sustainability food waste is one of the factors that needs to be considered.

There is alot of talk about not wasting food – which is super important. Not only do you save money by not throwing away food, it is better for the environment! However the biggest problem with food wastage is not in private households – it is in food stores, restaurants and food production. That is where hundreds of kilo food is thrown away daily. It is actually heartbreaking to think about the statistics of food wastage.

It is not sustainable. Throwing away food is wasting resources, and many times the food is still edible it is just that it can’t be sold. When it comes to meat and fresh food such as fruits and veggies, then it goes bad rather quickly and it is not edible so has to be thrown away. But it sickens me how much meat and dairy products are thrown away daily….  how animals are slaughetered and killed so that they can be eaten – but end up just being thrown away anyway. Animals killed for nothing. It breaks my heart just writing this post, but in a way i would rather that someone actually eats the meat/dairy rather than it being thrown away because that is not only a waste of life, but waste of resources. (However it would be much better – from all aspects if no animals were killed for food.)

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This weekend i was working in the bread section of the store (as well as with meat/fish). And each morning you throw away the bread and baked goods that are left over. I had this HUGE conflict inside of me when having to do this…. every part of my mind was thinking, this is not ok. To be throwing away maybe 10kg (or more) baked goods. And the only problem was that they were a day old…. otherwise completely edible. [I do have to note, that the store i work at does donate the left over bread and baked goods to a food charity several days a week, but not during the weekend].

There was nothing i could do but throw it all in a rubbish bag and throw it away. And the same with the meat and fish that had gone out of date. [And during the summer when i worked in the fruit section and dairy section, there was ALOT of fruit and veggies thrown away daily. Several kg or more.] Also… let’s not forget that food stores usually only sell the grade 1 fruits and veggies i.e cucumbers that aren’t straight or fruit and veggies that are slightly deformed (still completely natural) don’t even make it to the stores because they don’t “Look as good”. Usually these can be found in farmers markets though!

^This was just some of what i had to throw away ONE DAY. I was super conflicted and felt awful having to do it 😦 😦 😦 ^[Note, not actually allowed to have my mobile on me when working….. this could cause me problems, but hopefully not]

And this is just one store…. I can’t even estimate how many kilo food is thrown away each day from just one store. And times that by the amount of stores in just one city….. and in one country. It is insane. And then of course all the bakeries, cafes, restaurants, food companies…. 

Of course, most stores and food businesses do keep an eye on sales. And if a certain food or product isn’t selling so well or alot is being thrown away daily/weekly, then they will order less of the food to minimize food wastage – because it does cost the business to have to throw away food.

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Food wastage is everyones business and of course, if you can minimize your food wastage that is amazing. But if you end up throwing away from scraps from time to time, that is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is all the big businesses that sell food in some form. It is a political and much higher problem that needs to be resolved and something needs to be done about this.

Earths resources are limited and at the rate that we are wasting food it is not sustainable. Not to mention that in the western world we are throwing away food in a rapid pace, while in other countries there are people starving. Infact, there are people starving and homeless in our own cities and countries and we throw away food like it is nothing – when instead we could feed the homeless in our own cities. But because of capitalism, businesses don’t want to give away food for free – if they did that, people would stop buying food. (Or so they think….. I don’t believe that. Even if businesses give away food to food charities, people will still always pay for food. But we should atleast try to help those that can’t afford to pay for food.)

 

10 facts about food wastage from foodtank.com

  1. 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted every year
  2. This amounts to US$1 trillion dollars of wasted or lost food
  3. If wasted food was a country, it would be the third largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world, after the United States and China
  4. Just one quarter of all wasted food could feed the 795 million undernourished people around the world who suffer from hunger
  5. Food waste in rich countries (222 million tons) is approximately equivalent to all of the food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons)
  6. A European or North American consumer wastes almost 100 kilograms of food annually, which is more than his or her weight (70 kilograms)
  7. A European or North American consumer wastes 15 times more food than a typical African consumer
  8. Lack of technology and infrastructure is the main cause of food waste in Africa, as opposed to household food waste in the developed world
  9. Food waste in Europe alone could feed 200 million hungry people
  10. Food waste generates 3.3 billions tons of carbon dioxide, which accelerates global climate change

More food waste facts from FAO, HERE

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To produce food requires land, water, chemicals, electricity, energy both in the form of tractors/machines/human energy, transportation (between countries and within the country). And then there is the electricity and energy and heating/lighting in the stores and cafes and restuarants where the food is stored. It requires so many resources – only for a certain percentage of the food being produced to be thrown away. A complete waste of resources. It is not sustainable – but there is such a demand for food and we are producing more than is necessary, while a part of the world is still malnourished and dying of starvation.

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If i am honest – i really don’t know what we can do about this. As mentioned, it is a problem that is much high up than just in the private household. I think it is something that politicians need to take responisbility over and make laws that can lessen the amount of food waste each year. But also that business owners take responsibility.

As mentioned, many business owners and food stores do keep an eye on how much is thrown away. But you can never really know from day to day and there will always be food wastage. The fact is that resturants, stores, cafes etc they always want an abundance of food just to “make sure” as well as it looking better if there is plenty to choose from rather than just few foods/items to choose. This of course also results in huge amounts of food thrown away because most often the demand isn’t as high as the supply.

I don’t know what we can do about this….

I guess as private households to not throw away as much food. But also when possible – buy food that is close to the best before date if we know we can freeze it in or use it before it goes bad – this saves the store from having to throw it away.

Also shopping at stores online, such as matsmart (or if you have a similar store in your country) where they sell foods that won’t sell in regular food stores (either because the products are close to the best before date [but still fine to eat], or maybe the packaging is a little dented and so stores don’t want to sell them, or if the store just ordered too many and canät sell them. So you can buy them for cheaper in the online store.) Or even buy reduced food from certain cafes/resturants that often sell the left over food for a cheaper price. There are usually apps for this, i think!

I feel very down about this right now… i just wish there was more i could do, but it is such ahuge problem that one person can’t fix.

If you have thoughts about this or tips or ideas, please comment below… i would love to know your thoughts!

 

**Also in this post i didn’t even mention all the fast food restaurants, schools, hospitals etc that throw out food daily.

You can read more at FAO resources, HERE

Vegan thoughts: Judgemental and exclusive vegans? Should vegans be more open and inclusive? Shaming others and the vegan label…

If you’re vegan and you follow certain online-bigger-vegan-social media accounts you may have noticed that there is some debate/talk about exclusive veganism. Talk about the vegan label and how some vegans can be far too judgemental and instead turn people away from the vegan message.

First off, there is different forms of vegan activism and they work in different ways. Some people need scare tactics to actually make the connection and get an insight into what meat and dairy actually is…. I.e realising the process of the food and not just seeing dairy and meat as food. While others instead want encouragement and praise to go vegan.

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I wrote a post on my instagram which i thought i would share here, for those of you who don’t follow me on there… but also share some other thoughts i have.

“Some thoughts I’ve had. I don’t write much about veganism on here. Mostly i just want to inspire others through plant based food… I want to show that it’s easy to eat vegan and doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. And maybe getting people to switch meat for tofu, soya, seitan etc or trying vegan options instead of dairy options. But also i don’t want to guilt or shame people for not being vegan. I personally think all small changes and choices matter and that vegans should be more inclusive and encouraging. If someone buys a vegetarian meal that accidentally has some chicken broth or someone accidently eats sweets with gelatin it shouldn’t be a huge deal. At least someone is trying. We shouldn’t scare people away from going vegan but instead encourage small changes. Forget labels… it doesn’t matter if you’re vegan, vegetarian, plant based etc just do your best and make the choices you can.

Not everyone can go vegan and not alot of people can go vegan overnight, but they can make small changes continuously. There is of course a difference between not being able to eat fully vegan because of different reasons and not even trying to eat fully vegan/atleast cut down on animal products.

For the animals and even the planet and majority of peoples health… isn’t it better that 5 million people cut down on animal products rather than 500 000 people being completely vegan……?”

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My personal opinion and form of activism is inspiration. In the past i had people comment on my old blog asking why i wasn’t vegan or didn’t go vegan. They tried to guilt me for the amount of meat and dairy and eggs i ate and that actually made me a little anti-vegan. I thought they were preachy and had no consideration of my situation. Of course i hadn’t done the research or made the connection and i had excuses as to why i couldn’t be vegan…. but also, i just wasn’t in the right space to go vegan. I didn’t want to feel any restrictions on my diet and food intake, and coming from someone with a past of an eating disorder that is important to take into consideration. Of course i don’t feel a vegan diet is restrictive at all, but maybe back in the past it would have been. For some people who have had an eating disorder they don’t want to feel like they have to say no to food if it’s offered, or maybe they don’t want to be the awkward one asking friends and family to specially make vegan options if they go to eat, and that is ok. Instead maybe they just eat plant based the majority of the time and live an almost vegan lifestyle – that is better than nothing.

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And then there are of course different illnesses, situations and circumstances which can make it hard for people to go/be vegan. But maybe in the future it will be more possible… and once again, that is ok. The important thing is that people try and atleast try to cut down on the amount of animal products they consume and buy.

I do believe that money is power and that if the demand for more vegan options increases it will make a difference. I mean even now there are huge brands that have begun to cater to the vegan demand and make plant based alternatives. Just a few years ago that wasn’t possible or an alternative – there is a huge shift in the availability of vegan options in many places.

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For me, the important thing is to inspire others. I have inspired my friends and my family just by eating vegan… i don’t talk or preach about it unless they ask me questions. Instead they have gotten inspired by what i eat and wanted to try it themselves… and that’s the type of activism i do.

I also have to admit… sometimes it is scary to be open and present online as a vegan. I am scared of messing up. I am scared of accidentally buying and sharing a product that isn’t vegan.

I have messed up in the past… i have accidentally eaten butter, i have accidently bought a bag of trail mix that some of the nuts were honey coated. I am sure i have accidentally bought something that wasn’t vegan… i don’t always check everything i buy. I mean i have found out over the years that things like razors, lighters, different drinks aren’t vegan. I know i have drunk alcohol which i wasn’t sure was vegan or not, i drank NOCCO until i found out that the vitamin D wasn’t vegan (but now it is vegan friendly!). Also i take medication that has animal products because i need them to be healthy.

Am i still a vegan…. i don’t know. I think the important thing is the intention….. did i intentionally buy the nuts with honey? No i didn’t. Did i intentionally buy the razor that wasn’t vegan when i knew it wasn’t vegan? No.

I make mistakes, i learn and i grow. But sometimes i feel like i have to be perfect, never mess up. But there is no such thing as a perfect vegan…. just going out walking i’ll end up maybe killing bugs. Or for me to be healthy i need to take certain medications which aren’t vegan and i wish i could do something about that. But an unhealthy, sick vegan who doesn’t take their medications isn’t much use to the world or vegan message.

I want people to forget about labels. Who cares if you are 95% plant based. Who cares if you are flexitarian or mostly vegetarian.

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Just do your best. Make the choices YOU CAN make and limit animal consumption and use of animal products as much as possible. I mean if you have the option of buying plant based milk instead of regular milk, then why not. If you have the option to choose vegan beauty products and household products, why not. Just do as much as you can. THAT IS WHAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

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Chickpea pancakes recipe | Vegan and gluten free recipe

Chickpeas… one of the most versatile legumes according to me!!

Hummus, cookie dough, bars, cookies and cakes, roasted chickpeas, used in soups/stews/woks, falafels, burgers, omelettes and the list goes on. Not to mention you can use the aquafaba to make meringues, cakes, mayonnaise etc etc

Chickpeas are also a great source of protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates… not to mention a source of folate and iron and other minerals such as magnesium, zinc and copper.

Chickpeas are a versatile, cheap source of nutrition! (The best is to buy dry and boil yourself = alot cheaper!!)

This post is not just to share my love of chickpeas, but to share a recipe with you:

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Chickpea pancakes… or chickpea omelettes, depending on what you want to call them.

The recipe is incredibly simple, i.e:

Basically 1 part chickpea flour, 2 parts water/liquid. Example 100ml chickpea flour, use 200ml liquid. I used water, but you can use plant based milk or oatcream.

Mix together – The mix shouldn’t be clumpy but not too thin either. Like pancake batter!

And then fry on medium heat. It takes c.a 30-60 seconds each side, so be quick to flip the pancake. 

***And the important thing with this recipe is the seasoning and the filling. Because the actual chickpea pancake doesn’t taste so much, so you need to alot of seasoning! 

Also you can make a filling which you can add to the pancakes when one side has done frying (like an omelette or crepe)!

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It was not easy to take a picture of this meal so tried two different styles/pictures hahahah

^^The filling of my 3 “pancakes^^

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Healthy set point |If you have to restrict yourself or overexercise to maintain your weight – then it may not be your healthy weight | Weight

I often get questions asking me how often i workout or how i dealt with overexercising and learning to rest.

I have quite a few posts about these two topics HERE: (Overexercising & learning to rest).

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An important reminder, which i think many of my followers may need, and this advice applies mostly to people who have an eating disorder or struggle with body image or have a negative relationship to food and exercise. And the advice is….

If you need to restrict yourself, deprive yourself or if you struggle with restrict-binge-purge cycle to control your weight, then your weight may not be healthy for you.

Or if you need to spend hours exercising everyday, or compensate eating with exercising to not gain weight – then maybe your weight is not healthy for you.

This advice doesn’t apply to everyone, because in some cases such as if you have been very overweight or obese in the past, then you can have hormones that make you feel constantly hungry and you need to portion your food out and may not be able to eat as much as you want to stay a healthy weight (because you have been overweight in the past). But also if you have a past of being overweight then it can be easy to slip back into old habits if you don’t have some type of control over what you eat and regular exercise.

HOWEVER i know that many in recovery from an eating disorder, especially when they are half recovered. Or people who constantly yo-yo diet, end up going to all forms of extremes to try to maintain a weight that isn’t healthy for them.

If you have to restrict yourself and deprive yourself or still feel hungry after eating, or you can’t take any rest days, just to maintain your weight then you need to rethink if your weight is actually healthy for you.

Picture on the left was when i was in half recovery and said that i was a healthy weight and couldn’t gain anymore. Vs 2016 (i.e 2 years ago) but i am still the same weight as then 2 years later, and a healthy weight that my body naturally maintains even if i eat more/less or exercise more/less.

If you have reached your healthy set point, then your body will regulate your weight (up or down 2-4kg depending on hormones and water weight as well as food intake). If you can’t take a few days off from working out and eating like usual without freaking out or gaining weight then your weight may not be healthy for you.

Of course, i don’t promote weighing yourself, and especially not everyday. But the fact is that if you are using unhealthy behaviours to maintain your weight then your weight isn’t healthy for you.

In the past when i was in half recovery i used the excuse that i had CF as to why i couldn’t gain weight, but the truth was that i was still using sick behaviours and unhealthy habits to maintain that weight. I was exercising more than was necessary or healthy. I was restricting carbs and was still hungry after eating. I wasn’t eating as freely as i wanted to, instead i still only stuck to safe food. I didn’t have a healthy relationship with food or exercise and would freak out if i ate something that was different than usual or was more than usual. As well as i couldn’t take any rest days, or only 1 active rest day.

Whereas now i have stayed mostly the same weight for the past 4-5 years – apart from a dip when i ended up with an inflamed pancreas as well as severe depression which caused me to lose my appetite completely and lose weight rather quick. As well as have gained more weight from strength training, but my weight has been stable otherwise even the times i don’t exercise as often or times i eat more. My body balances itself and keeps me at my healthy set point. (Note, i don’t have a scale at home but i get weighed once a month when i have to visit the doctors and there i see my weight.)

What am i trying to say with this long post? Well… if you are always hungry or restricting yourself or need to exercise alot to maintain your weight or body fat, then maybe that isn’t your healthy set point and infact gaining a few kilo would make your body more healthy. Your body might find its healthy set point and you can find a more balanced relationship to food and exercise.

This may or may not be something you need to think about. It may apply to you.. it may not, weight and healthy set point is very individual. But from my past experience i know that i tried to convince myself that i had a healthy weight – that was still underweight – when i was infact using unhealthy habits and methods to keep me at that weight.

Most important though – LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER WHEN YOU STOP WEIGHING YOURSELF AND STOP CARING ABOUT WEIGHT. Focus on healthy life, healthy habits, healthy lifestyle and happy mind. When you begin to focus on life and inner health and balance rather than appearance and weight!!! 

Earth day 2018 – Plastic pollution & ways to minimize plastic use

After spending c.a an hour writing and researching for this post, i realized this morning when i checked my blog that the post i had written (& posted) was gone…. no text, no pictures, no links and no draft  or history to be restored. First i felt irritated and sad… just like when you write an essay and the document crashes and you lose all your work you just want to give up and refuse to start again. But as this is such an important topic, i decided to just rewrite the post as best i can.

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So yesterday, 22nd April was Earth day. It is a day/tradition that has been celebrated since 1970, i.e 48 years now.

It is a day to bring awareness to the planet. To climate change and global warming. A day for people to think a little extra about what and how their habits and choices and lifestyles are affecting the planet. A day to participate in activities that bring awareness to the environments, a day to join in on marches or to contact politicians and other “high up” who need to take action and make a change.

Each Earthday has a theme… something that we need to focus a little extra on, and this year it is plastic pollution.

Plastic is one of the worst substances/materials we have because it takes so many years to degrade. Even the compostable plastic doesnt always get recycled and renewed. And alot of plastic that doesn’t get recycled ends up in the water or out in nature and can end up killing wild life and sea life.

“Plastic is made to last forever — it cannot biodegrade. Disposed plastic materials can remain in the environment for up to 2,000 years and longer, according to a 2009 article published in scientific journal Chemistry & Biology.” (Source)

Example the whale that was found dead with 29kg of plastic inside. 

Plastic waste and plastic polluation is a serious problem which more people need to think about and become aware of.

According to Vox: ” A 2015 study found that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic makes it into the ocean from land each year. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight.”

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I have written posts about minimizing plastic usage HERE.

Ways to help the planet HERE & HERE. A vegan diet compared to meat diet in terms of water and resources HERE. If you can’t go vegan, other ways to make a difference HERE.

A vegan/plantbased diet is one of the best ways to make a difference for the environment. Even if some food has to be imported such as different beans or grains or fruits and vegetables, it still uses alot less resources as well as less CO2 emissions than meat and dairy factories and products. But not only diet matters – recycling, limiting the amount of plastic you use, not travelling as much with car and plane, lowering the amount of electricity and water you use as well as not wasting food are small things that make a difference.

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Many people think that “one person doesn’t make a difference”. What does it matter if buy a plastic bag, or what does it matter if i don’t recycle or always use my car…. but the problem is that the majority of people think this way. If everyone could instead think that “if everyone collectively makes small differences and changes, it will add up and make a difference over time.” It is not about being perfect… i still buy on the go coffee somedays when i forget to bring my thermos, i still take a straw if i buy a cola after a night out and somedays i use more napkins than necessary, but the majority of the time i make eco-friendly choices as much as is possible. And THAT makes a difference.

Global warming and climate change is a growing problem. Species are dying and going extinct. An increase in natural disasters. Clean water and oil are two resources that might run out in the future. An increase in CO2 emissions effecting the ozone layer.

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This warming is playing out in sharp and sudden ways across the Arctic. Researchers reported last year that a section of Greenland’s ice sheet suddenly started melting 80 percent faster. Another study found Greenland’s entire ice sheet is melting at its fastest rate in at least 400 years, and that the melt rate sped up drastically in 1990.

If the entire Greenland ice sheet were to melt, it would raise global sea levels by more than 20 feet” (Vox.com)

It is time that everyone starts trying to make a difference. Many have the mindset that “I won’t be alive in the future anyway, so it won’t impact me”… but if we want the future generations to live in an ok world and be able to eat and drink clean water and have energy and electricity, then we need to make a change now. Not to mention all the animals that might go extinct for different reasons if we continue with deforestation and pollution of the air and water.

 

No one person can change the world, but if everyone makes small changes it will add up.

I suggest that you get your friends and family involved and more aware of making a difference. No littering, no wasting, turning off lights and electricity when not using it. Minimizing plastic use, using more public transport and less travelling with cars and planes.

It is time that we all take action and make a difference! You may not think bringing your own thermos to a coffee shop or bringing your own bags to the stores or not using plastic cutlery or straws makes a difference, but if everyone were to stop with plastic it WOULD make a difference!

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Tips from Earthday network: 

“You may be lulled into thinking it is OK to consume disposable plastic products because you plan to recycle them, but many plastics can’t be efficiently recycled and will end up in the landfill or littering the planet, even in the most remote places,” Merino said. “Also, some localities lack the most basic infrastructure to manage waste and to sort and recycle plastics. For this reason, it is much more important to focus on reducing your own level of plastic consumption.”

Here are some suggestions from the Earth Day Network on how to reduce your plastic footprint:

 

  • Every time you consider buying a disposable plastic item, ask yourself: Do I absolutely need this? Can I use something else that I already have? Could I buy something that I can use long-term instead?
  • Properly dispose plastic products and be careful not to toss plastic products near waterways, beaches or in open spaces.
  • Pick up plastic trash whenever you see it, especially in ponds, streams, rivers and on beaches.
  • Don’t buy products containing microbeads, which are plastic particles commonly found in exfoliating body washes and facial scrubs. Instead, purchase products that have natural exfoliates.
  • Wash synthetic clothes less frequently to reduce the amount of microfibers that are released.
  • When possible, purchase clothing and other items made of natural fibers when possible
  • Get involved in local legislation and regulation to reduce and recycle plastics.

 

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