Food Waste Costs Us All

I was prompted to do research on the topic of Food Waste before my interview with Chef Shane Jordan, author of the book Food Waste Philosophy.  I learned that the social, economic and environmental impact associated with food waste is a subject that we all should and need to be aware of.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year, approximately 1.3 billion tons, gets lost or wasted.  The FAO estimated that annually, the direct and indirect costs of food waste adds up to $2.6 trillion worldwide.

Bringing it a little closer to home, in the average Canadian household, one in four produce items gets thrown in the garbage.  That translates to about $1,100 a year that we just toss away.

The impact of food waste hits three areas significantly.  It wastes water, wastes land and releases significant amounts of methane gas.

Water Waste

Water is essential for growing agriculture and feeding animals.

When we throw out food we waste the millions of litres of water that were used to produce our food.

Consider this; meat producers are the heaviest water users. Yes, animals drink water.  But added to this, water is needed for the feed animals eat.  It takes about 8 to 10 times more water to produce meat than grain.

The consumption of animal products contributes to more than one-quarter of the water footprint of humanity

Land waste

Land is used for in the production of food for growing crops and raising and feeding livestock.

As well, discarded food eventually makes its way to landfills.

Food waste is both an ethical waste of land and a physical waste of space.

The land used for production, specifically the crops and grassland used in the actual growing (or raising, in the case of livestock), and the land used for retaining food that has been thrown out.

The consumption of animal products contributes to more than one-quarter of the water footprint of humanity”

Methane Gas

As food begins to decompose and rot it releases methane gas.

Methane is a greenhouse gas which many scientists believe adversely affects the earth’s climate and temperature.  About 20 per cent of Canada’s methane emissions comes from landfills.

Added to this the resources needed to produce the food also have a carbon footprint. Globally, the effect of processing the food that is wasted is equal to about 3.3 billion tons of CO2.

3 Tips for Preventing Food Waste

Meal plan

Meal planning is a good step towards reducing food waste.  It centres your shopping on what is specifically needed and helps you to avoid grabbing the ‘just in case items’.  You tend to not over shop when you know what ingredients you need.

Use your leftovers

Using your leftovers is an obvious way to reduce food waste.  I tend to make soups at the end of the week and throw in unused and leftover vegetables.

Leftovers can be repurposed in to new meals and lunches.  They can also be frozen to use at a later date.

Store Food Correctly

  • Move old things to the front of your pantry and fridge shelves and store new things at the back i.e. first in first out in
  • Date and label your food
  • Place things correctly in your fridge.  Store condiments and other items that don’t spoil easily on the fridge door.  Put your perishables on the shelves of your refrigerator.  Place fruits and vegetables in the fridge bins

References:

http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3991e.pdf

http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/

https://farmtogethernow.org/2014/11/08/food-waste-causes-effects-and-solutions/

https://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Hoekstra-2012-Water-Meat-Dairy.pdf

https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/help-end-food-waste/

https://www.climatecentral.org/gallery/graphics/food-waste-methane-and-climate-change

 

 

 

7 FREE Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes

Salads are perhaps the perfect way to incorporate the best of all worlds when it comes to healthy food.  In one bowl you can pack in just so many nutrients, tastes and healthy fiber your cells will sing!

Your opportunity to create amazing side dishes and full on meals are limitless!

Think About It!

Go beyond your common lettuces!  Give peppery arugula a shot.  Add in some fennel for a new taste. Rip in radicchio for colour!

Make your taste buds pop by adding some fruit.  Strawberries, apple and grapes are the bomb for adding sweetness and more of a colour profile.

Meal Time!

Want to save yourself some time?

Care to be outside at this time of year instead of in the kitchen?

Make your salad a meal by adding great proteins.  Let’s talk nuts, seeds and beans shall we?

Add some chicken or turkey slices.

Oh my goodness when it comes to salads the possibilities are absolutely endless!

Take Advantage of the Season

This is the time of year when our options for fresh, local produce abounds.

Salads are refreshing and the perfect way to add summer time tastes to your dinner table.

Use vegetables that are new to you.  Try different colours of veggies that are familiar to you.

Visit your local Farmer’ Market. I wrote not too long ago about the benefits of shopping at local markets in this post Great Reasons to Shop Local and Support Our Farmers. Take a read and see their wonderful benefits.

7 FREE Healthy Salad Dressing For You!

I have put together 7 of my favourite Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes for you to help save you time and to help make your salad creations pop!

They are easy to make and all use wonderful healthy ingredients.

Don’t be afraid to put your own personal touches on these dressings.  You can swap out herbs for instance.  If you like a more lemony or vinegary flavour have at it!

Here is the link for the Healthy Salad Dressing Recipe.

Or hit the download box below.

 

Salad Dressing Recipes

Do enjoy!

 

What is a probiotic?

Probiotics have become a common supplement in many people’s daily health plan.  But what exactly are probiotics?  What are their benefits and how do we know which one to choose?

The term probiotic is derived from the Greek language meaning “for life” but for our purposes I will use the definition as per the World Health Organization.

WHO defines probiotics as:

 

live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.”

For clarification, ‘live micro organisms’ are beneficial bacteria. ‘The host’ is you.

Now what exactly qualifies as live also needs to be clarified. In a scientific space, ‘live’ refers to ‘survivability’.  Survivability through the harsh environment of the stomach, through the small intestine and in to the colon.

Of great importance also, is the fact that the beneficial bacteria that we consume when taking probiotics do not colonize in the gut.  They confer their health benefits but within days of stopping use, the probiotic it is no longer found in the gut. This means that these bacteria are transient.

Benefits of Probiotics

The studied benefits of probiotic are many.  There is strong and increasing evidence supporting beneficial effects of probiotics to:

  • improvement of intestinal health
  • enhancement immune response
  • reduce levels of serum cholesterol
  • prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea
  • cancer prevention

Within the cancer sphere, the exact mechanisms are under investigation.

studies have demonstrated that certain members of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium spp. decrease the levels of carcinogenetic enzymes produced by colonic flora through normalization of intestinal permeability and microflora balance as well as production of anti-mutagenic organic acids and enhancement of the host’s immune system.

In vitro and in vivo studies have indicated that probiotic bacteria might reduce the risk, incidence and number of tumours of the colon, liver and bladder.

Now if you have taken the foray in to the world of probiotic supplements it can be a confusing arena.

First let’s take a look at the naming of probiotics.

Probiotics are named according to Genus, Species and Strain.  In this example Lactobacillus Gasseri M58820, “Lactobacillus” is the genus, “Gasseri” is the species and “M58820” is the strain.  This is commonly abbreviated to L. Gasseri M58820.

Now that we have naming aced let’s consider what goes in to you purchasing the right probiotic.

3 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Probiotic

What are you taking your probiotic for?  

Different probiotics will be beneficial for different health conditions.  In one study for example a group of people who took a combination of Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1 and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2 showed decreased inflammatory markers after 3 weeks of use.

Determine the health reason that you want to take a probiotic for and research the strains best suited to help you.

Is the supplement company reputable?

There are many reputable supplement companies with good quality probiotic products.  Some offer many strains of bacteria in their supplements.  Some may offer single strains.  Some companies offer both.  Many are research backed and offer novel delivery methods.

Check out the company. Read their research and settle upon a company that resonates with you.

Is the strength appropriate for the strains used?

The strength of a probiotic is the number of Colony Forming Units or CFU’s found on the label

Some probiotics may be effective at dosages of 1–2 billion CFU per day, while others may require at least 20 billion CFU to achieve the desired effects.

The number of colony forming units that you need really depends on what you are using the probiotic for.

For general good health, experts recommend between 6 to 10 billion CFU’s each day.

For minor health problems 20 to 30 billion may be adequate.

For more serious health problems, professionals may recommend higher doses. VSL#3 for example could be recommended for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis.  It contains over 100 billion CFU’s.

Do your research.  Ask these questions and you will find what works best for you.

___________________________

References:

https://seed.com/probiotics-101/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045285/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20187714/

https://www.healthline.com/health/types-of-probiotics#how-to-start

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25909149

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons to Use Fermented Foods in Your Cancer Fighting Diet

The process of fermentation is a metabolic one that converts sugar into acids, gases or alcohol. Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lacto-fermentation where natural bacteria feed on the sugar in the food creating lactic acid.

Cultures around the world have been eating fermented foods for years, from Sauerkraut in Germany, Kimichi in Korea and beer and wine just about everywhere.

The benefits of fermented foods are noted in many studies pertaining to cancer care and prevention due in great part for their ability to improve intestinal tract health, enhance immunity and to synthesize and  enhance the bioavailability of nutrients.

The beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods have been shown to be effective for suppressing colon cancer and may also inhibit cancers of the breast, liver, small intestine and other organs.

Butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid created when microbes ferment dietary fiber in your gut, has been shown to induce programmed cell death of colon cancer cells.  Cultured milk products may reduce your risk of bladder cancer by about 29 percent.

5 Reasons to Use Fermented Foods in Your Cancer Fighting Diet

Probiotics

Fermented foods contain probiotics. Probiotics are important to intake daily as they improve digestion, aid in our immune function and balance our intestinal bacteria.

Enhances Digestion

digestion

Fermenting foods is like partially digesting them before they are consumed.  This means that there will be less work that the body has to do to break them down. Due to this benefit it is interesting to note that many people who are lactose intolerant will be able to tolerate kefir, a fermented milk product.

Enzyme Production

Enzymes break down the food that we eat enabling nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream.  The probiotics in fermented foods produce digestive enzymes that are essential when breaking down our food.  This helps to make the nutrients in food more bioavailable for absorption.

Increases Nutrient Content of Food

Fermenting foods improves the quantity, availability and digestibility of some dietary nutrients. Fermentation of food with lactic acid bacteria increases folic acid in yogurt.  Niacin and riboflavin levels in yogurt are increased with fermentation.
fermented foods

 

Supports our immune function

immunity

It is estimated that approximately 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Fermented foods enable better digestion and healthy gut flora, which in turn supports immune function. Fermented foods are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which help to strengthen immunity.

 

 

Here is a wonderful recipe for Fermented Quinoa Breakfast Bowl:

https://www.cathybiase.com/fermented-quinoa-breakfast-bowl/

References:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/02/13/fermented-foods-anti-cancer-diet.aspx

https://draxe.com/fermented-foods/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00578/full

 

 

 

Walnut & Avocado Pesto

May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month⁣.

Here are some facts:

  • The most common types of brain cancers are gliomas and meningiomas. Gliomas are cancers that grow from glia cells or glial cells, the supportive cells that hold neurons in place. Meningiomas are cancers that grow from the brain covering (meninges)⁣
  • Aspartame and long term cell phone use are being studied for their link to increased brain cancer risk⁣
  • It is estimated that 55,000 Canadians are surviving with a brain tumour⁣⁣

Two Awesome Foods to Support Brain Health

Walnuts

Walnuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols.

Omega-3’s exhibit neuro-protective properties and are critical for normal brain function and development throughout all stages of life.

Polyphenolic compounds found in walnuts reduce the oxidant and inflammatory load on brain cells and improve interneuronal signaling

Avocados

Avocados contain monounsaturated fats.  This contributes to healthy blood flow, which carries over to a healthy brain. Avocados also lower blood pressure, and hypertension is a major risk for decline in cognitive abilities.

Walnut & Avocado Pesto

Pesto Sauce is one of my favourite things to do with basil. So because ⁣this is Brain Cancer Awareness month I thought I would experiment with my regular recipe to incorporate a these 2 brain healthy foods.

Let me know your thoughts!⁣

Ingredients

  • 1 Avocado⁣
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil⁣
  • 2 cloves of garlic⁣
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese⁣
  • 1/2 tsp. salt⁣
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon⁣
  • 1/2- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil⁣

Directions

1. Pulse avocado, walnuts and basil in food processor until smooth⁣

2. Add garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and lemon juice. Pulse until well blended⁣

3. Stream in the olive oil slowly while the food processor is running.  It is important to do this slowly to help it to emulsify.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor when needed⁣

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24500933

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/eat-smart-healthier-brain#1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404917/