I am passionate about trying to improve my carbon footprint and whilst there is still room for improvement, I have come a long way in the last few years. In particular, I am very mindful of cutting down my food waste. We are all guilty of buying more food than we need and then throwing good food in the bin because we have either forgotten about it or we have ended up eating more takeaway that week and realized that we didn’t need all the food we bought. We are producing more food than the world needs, but a lot of it goes to waste (and to waist), instead of being used to feed people who need it. The reality is we shouldn’t have a hunger problem in this world, but the reality is that in western countries, so much food ends up in the bin and that really is wrong.
I’d like to share with you some ways that I try to minimize my food waste.
Think about what you are throwing out. Is it really waste or can it be used for another purpose?
For example, when I make my almond milk, I use the almond pulp to make the most delicious raw chocolate biscuits. You can grab the recipe here.
When I squeeze my lemons each morning, I keep the skins as I use this to make a really effective cleaner. I keep a large jar of white vinegar on my kitchen bench and I add the lemon skins to that. After three weeks, I discard the skins, and decant the lemon vinegar into a spray bottle and voila, I have a nice, natural cleaner!
I’m always thinking about how I can repurpose something. When I cut open an avocado, I use the seeds because these are in fact the most nutritious part of the avocado. I either throw the seed into my blender (make sure you use a very strong blender such as the Vitamin) or I grate the seed and use it in my raw crackers.
I love pawpaw and it is a staple in my diet. I bet most of you throw away the seeds. I keep mine and when I have enough, I dry them in my dehydrator and then I grind them into a fine powder as the active ingredient in the seeds (papain) has many health benefits and I use the ground powder in place of pepper.
I tend to prefer smoothies over juices mainly because of the added fibre and much less mess in cleaning up. However, when I make juices, I keep the pulp and store it in the freezer. I then add it to my soups, or use it in my raw crackers. If you are after a great multi-function blender for your smoothies, check it out here.
I keep all my egg shells and then I throw them into my smoothies as the added calcium is really well absorbed by the body.
These are just some ways in which I try to think about how I can use food that is traditionally thrown out.
There are other ways of reducing your food waste such as:
1. Plan your meals in advance – think about what you are going to be cooking during the week and only buy what you need.
2. Preserve your food. I’m a big fan of dehydrating and when I have too much of something, I will dehydrate it so that I can have it on hand when I am low on that item. It’s also a great practice to get into for seasonal goods. For eg, I have a good supply of dried mangos on hand now, even though it is not mango season.
3. Start composting. With my food scraps that I can’t repurpose, I compost and this helps me to provide valuable nutrients to my vegetable patch.
4. Designate a day to clean your fridge and make a soup, stew or stir fry to use up ingredients.
5. Be mindful of what you throw away – does it have another purpose? For example, nutrients found in fruit peels can sooth nagging pain by blocking the release of histamines that causes inflammation. Another example is banana peels. If you are buying organic bananas, save the peels and boil them in filtered water for five minutes and then drink the liquid as banana peels are full of serotonin which can boost your mood and also help you sleep more soundly.
6. Store food properly in your fridge and pantry so that you have less spoilage. I love my special hemp storage bag which allows me to store my greens and keep them fresh for ages.
7. When you get home from shopping, think about what meals you are going to be making for the week. I do most of my vegetable preparation when I come home from the farmers’ markets. It makes sense to handle food as little as possible so I cut up my vegetables based on what I plan on using them for during the week. The great thing about this is that it means when I am running late from a busy day, making a meal is quicker. It also means that there is no waste as I know exactly what I am going to use the vegetables for.
8. Freeze leftovers or use them for lunch the next day.
I’d love to hear back from you about your food-saving tips!
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