love food, hate waste

Posted on August 9th, 2011

Going forward the focus of the climate debate is going to be food. All the experts are saying wars will also be about food in the future. The fact is, we’re fast reaching a point where the planet won’t be able to feed us. And we’re going to be falling over each other to get at resources.

To be honest, I’m kind of glad the debate has come to this. It’s a tangible concept. I’m hoping that as the discussion shifts to food and food warfare, we’ll care more. We’ll wake up. Because we won’t have a choice. We need to eat.

Personally, I'd prefer if she bought just the one. photo: Charlotte Abramow

In the US last week a report  found that eating healthy has become too expensive for most. It created much discussion over there. Soon it will be the same with junk food.

Anyway, in the meantime, what to do, both from an economic and an ecological POV?

It’s simple and elegant. Waste less.

I’m unashamedly militant about using every last bit of food. And I get incensed when I’m around people who don’t. It’s a pet issue of mine and I don’t hold back.

Some principles I personally live by:

* I don’t buy more until I’ve finished what I already have (in the fridge/pantry). I completely run out of yoghurt before I set out to buy another. That way I find myself then using up the last of the sour cream or cheese in the interim.

* I cook the leaves from beetroot bunches as I would silverbeet (and eat with oil and pepper and salt). Ditto the leaves from cauliflower and broccoli (just don’t do with rhubarb – the leaves are poisonous)

* I don’t peel anything. I eat the rind/skin on pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, beetroot. A lot of the nutrients are contained in the skin.

* Celery leaves – great in soup and salads. I use as I would parsley. I make a pistou using the leaves, too.

* I shop every few days, rather than do a weekly shop. And I shop with a plan for 2-3 meals at a time.

* I cook in batches, using up the whole onion, the whole tin of tomatoes, all the beans. And I freeze what I don’t eat (which is more environmentally sound than storing the stuff in the fridge, anyway).

* If it looks like I won’t be able to eat that whole bunch of silverbeet or the bag of beetroot, I cook the whole lot up as I’m making dinner that night and freeze in zip-lock bags (measured out into serving portions). PS. I always wash and resuse zip-lock bags.

* When my veggies are looking lack-lustre, I make a big soup with lentils and bacon thrown in for flavour and protein. I stab-mix the lot. I juice fruit and beetroots and carrots. Or I make mish-mash meals.

* When I go away, I clean out the fridge. I make my breakfast/lunch etc for the flight using dregs, rather than buy airline/airport food. Again, see my mish-mash meals post for ideas.

* I soak and cook my own beans and pulses (again, in batches and freeze in portions)…super cheap, no cans.

* I don’t put stuff in the fridge I know I won’t get to eating in the 2-3 days before it will go off. Again, I freeze it. Eg: if I open a carton of chicken stock, I pour any excess into icecube trays and use 1-2 cubes to saute vegetables, instead of oil.

That’s all I can think of for now…and I should stop before I sound like a sanctimonious twat.

All of this is timely as the NSW government launches their new Love Food Hate Waste program. Someone from the 1 Million Women campaign alerted me to it.

  • NSW households waste about $1,000 of food per household, per year
  • 40 per cent of the average household bin is discarded food making food waste the largest single component of our household garbage.
  • scraping leftovers into the bin contributes directly to climate change. When food waste is thrown away and sent to landfill, together with other organic materials, it becomes the main contributor to the generation of methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change. National greenhouse inventory data tells us landfills contribute to two per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of the the campaign they’re sharing recipes and a serving size calculator and 1 Million Women is encouraging us all to register – you will receive a free menu planner and shopping list notepad.

Their top five tips to help reduce food waste are:

  1. Plan your weekly meals
  2. Write a shopping list
  3. Measure your serving sizes
  4. Store your food correctly
  5. Use your leftovers

2010 NSW Australian of the Year John Dee, founder & Managing Director of ‘Do Something!’ and founder of Planet Ark, has alerted me to FoodWise,  a national campaign organised by his action group Do Something! The aim of the campaign is to get Australians to reduce the environmental impact of their food consumption.

Now, if you’re ready to go the extra mile, The New York Times ran a story on how to use/eat more of your scraps. Some pretty clever ideas:

Photo: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

CARROT, CELERY AND FENNEL LEAVES Mix small amounts, finely chopped, with parsley as a garnish or in salsa verde: all are in the Umbelliferae family of plants. Taste for bitterness when deciding how much to use.

CHARD OR COLLARD RIBS Simmer the thick stalks in white wine and water with a scrap of lemon peel until tender, then drain and dress with olive oil and coarse salt. Or bake them with cream, stock or both, under a blanket of cheese and buttery crumbs, for a gratin.

CITRUS PEEL Organic thin-skinned peels of tangerines or satsumas can be oven-dried at 200 degrees, then stored to season stews or tomato sauces.

CORN COBS Once the kernels are cut off, simmer the stripped cobs with onions and carrots for a simple stock. Or add them to the broth for corn or clam chowder.

MELON RINDS Cut off the hard outer peels and use crunchy rinds in place of cucumber in salads and cold soups. [I've also had candied watermelon rind at a restaurant at some stage...]

PEACH LEAVES Steep in red wine, sugar and Cognac to make a summery peach-bomb aperitif. (According to David Lebovitz’s recipe, the French serve it on ice.)

POTATO PEELS Deep-fry large pieces of peel in 350-degree oil and sprinkle with salt and paprika. This works best with starchy potatoes like russets.

YOUNG ONION TOPS Wash well, coarsely chop and cook briefly in creamy soups or stews, or mix into hot mashed potatoes.

TOMATO LEAVES AND STEMS Steep for 10 minutes in hot soup or tomato sauces to add a pungent garden-scented depth of tomato flavor. Discard leaves after steeping.

TOMATO SCRAPS Place in a sieve set over a bowl, salt well and collect the pale red juices for use in gazpacho, Bloody Marys or risotto.

TURNIP, CAULIFLOWER OR RADISH LEAVES Braise in the same way as (or along with) collards, chards, mustard greens or kale.

WATERMELON SEEDS Roast and salt like pumpkinseeds.

What do you do? What can you share?

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  • http://cestaz.blogspot.com/ Cecilia

    Thanks Sarah! I do a lot of what you do, and now I feel completely normal! Although Julia’s ideas aren’t part of my repertoire I might try and start incorporating a few and see how it goes.

    My biggest weakness in all this is when items I use go on special at the supermarkets, so I end up with multiples of perishable goods and then have to go through all my cookbooks to find ways to use them all up! :( Must learn to restrain myself!

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  • georgia

    hi sarah,
    agree with everything you’ve said here…wasting food seems criminal when there are so many without it. also…bring on the bin diving! seriously, the amount of edible food that is thrown out by supermarkets is insane. there should be some sort of authoritative body that oversees people’s waste…like a carbon price!
    something i feel compelled to mention briefly though when discussing the ‘climate debate’ is the argument for less of a reliance on animal products…have been vegan since the beginning of march and although i know this is not possible for everyone (those deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, protein etc…although i do believe that almost everything can be well provided for on a vegan diet) eating less meat for a start is a very effective way of minimising your carbon footprint. this little doco covers the argument i am trying to articulate incredibly well i think :
    http://www.vegansociety.com/resources/making-the-connection.aspx
    (particularly the chapters on global food security, farming and environment)
    would be interested to know what you think!

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  • Jen

    Ditto Georgia. The evidence that a varied vegan diet is the healthiest and most ecologically responsible is strong. Overconsumption of protein, calcium DEPLETING dairy, heart clogging fats… Not to mention that compassion isn’t compassion when you extend it only to humans. I became vegan 9 months ago and I’ll never look back.
    A good place to start is The Food Revolution by John Robbins, The China Study by Campbell, The Face on your Plate by Moussaief, Eating Animals by Foer, Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr, Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman and Whitewash by Keon.

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    georgia Reply:

    Awesome..got Foer but will check the rest out….and Earthlings (which you can watch for free here http://www.earthlings.com/) has turned every meat eater i know vego. i could barely watch the trailer….

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  • Kristy

    Great post, and good to read tips for using the very last scraps of your food too. I agree with you that the food question is going to become more and more important as climate change develops.

    I think a significant thing missing for me here is any discussion of composting your food scraps. Depending on the space you have and your gardening habits you can make a compost pile, get a spinnable compost bin, feed your scraps to a worm farm, or apartment dwellers may want to check out Bokashi bins (a japanese method of breaking down food scraps that doesn’t smell and is perfect for small spaces). Even with being conscious of using all the parts of your food there are always going to be bits that are a bit inedible, and compost is a perfect way of turning this waste back into rich compost that can be spread on garden beds or put under trees etc to give them some valuable nutrients. If you have the space and the inclination, chickens are an amazing way to get rid of your scraps (they’ll eat virtually anything!) and then give you eggs in return!

    I also make use of excess bits by keeping a “stock bag” in the freezer and filling it with any bits of vegies that would make good stock – the ends of vegetables such as onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, pumpkin skins, the tops of leeks and shallots are all perfect for this. Once you have a full bag, put it all in a big pot of water and you have some lovely homemade stock :)

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Yes composting! When I lived in an apartment, I asked the body corp to buy one of those bins that spill out the decomposed stuff for the garden…I’ve always had a compost heap.
    I like the stock bag idea, too!

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    Ele Reply:

    Love the stock bag in freezer idea thank you!

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  • http://www.vanillasoul.co.nz Janine Lattimore

    Thank you, this is a great selection of tips for using up all aspects of the food we buy.

    Another aspect to think about is eating less. Most of us regularly eat for reasons other than hunger or eat more than we need to. Some of this is to do with habits and some of it is to do with what we are eating. Generally, the more nutrient-rich the food you eat the less you feel you need to eat. Also, eating more natural, unprocessed fats for energy rather than sugar generally decreases the amount we eat. Fat is far more satisfying and you need to eat far less. We can eat sugar pretty much endlessly (a lot of people do).

    This is the first of your blog posts I have come across. It has definitely peaked my interest to read more. Thank you.

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    V Reply:

    Oh Janine you lucky thing – welcome to Sarah’s blog. Your life is about to change for the better!!

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Janine, I like the argument re nutrient-rich food. I agree. And nutrient-rich is generally cheaper…eg: sprouted mung beans (my obsession just now). I’m a big fan of flavour hits like olives and capers, a small amount of bacon and anchovies added to mashed pumpkin, sprouts!, chickpeas etc.
    A very sound argument that I hadn’t thought of! Thank you x

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    Janine Lattimore Reply:

    Thanks Sarah, I’m flattered, and I love the idea of adding anchovies to mashed pumpkin. Always looking for ways to consume these nutrient-rich wee fishies. However, I just did a quick search to see how sustainable they were and found out they are getting scarce. Bummer.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3351013/Anchovies-join-cod-on-threatened-fish-list.html

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  • Make sure the leaves are organic or unsprayed.

    I have some questions:

    Where can I get organic and unsprayed peach leaves as recommended by David Lebovitz?

    When can I find time to shop every few days considering that I have to work full time and look after the kids and the cats, not mentioning the house. Sometimes I cannot find time or energy to shop once a week, let alone every few days.

    How long does it take to measure serving sizes ? To what size do our meals have to add to?

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  • vicmck

    I am with you on everything but want to add that we should really be encouraging this attitude at a very early age. I cannot believe the number of children who won’t eat bread crusts or apple skins etc. I don’t know why as a society we have allowed children to become such fussy eaters – most children in western society don’t really seem to apprecate that food is a source of energy and required to sustain life. They regard it as a form of entertainment and develop food likes/dislikes/habits etc which are harmful on so many levels. I enjoying eating a meal out as much as the next but don’t rely on food for entertainment.

    Also something worth thinking about is that in many developing coutries such as India, Egypt , South Esat Asia etc many people buy cheap, ready prepared or cooked, healthy, food from stalls and small shops. This not only avoids waste but is also effcient from an energy consumption perpective. We seem to have a gap in this aspect in developed societies.

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  • Mia

    I’m nearly throwing up my (omnivorous) lunch at the vegan propaganda going on here. If you are curious, read The Vegetarian Myth and educate yourself – I am not going to go into how incredibly unhealthy a vegan diet is, or how wasteful, or how environmentally unsound it is transporting such huge quantities of food all the time. Arguing with vegans is like arguing with Jehovah’s witnesses, if you can justify a diet that actually kills small children and support flatout lies on that scale, then I dont want to waste my breath.

    An omnivorous diet grown close to home is not only the healthiest for you, but is also the most environmentally sound. Save yourself some nutrient deficiences and give it a crack.

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    Rosie B Reply:

    Well said Mia! And I agree that the vegan diet is very much unhealthy.

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    georgia Reply:

    haha. i enjoy your writing mia…will check out the book (just did a little bit of research though and it seems notorious to say the least!).

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    Rosie B Reply:

    p.s. just reading a few chapters on The Vegetarian Myth on the website. I so needed to read this right now. Thanks Mia.

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    Paul Reply:

    +1

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    Jane Reply:

    Here here. As an ex vegan I advise advocates to tread carefully – there’s less substance to the Vegan argument than is initially clear. Read widely.

    Cheers

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    Jen Reply:

    I agree that all diet choices need to be well-researched. As an ex-omnivore whose chronic debilitating diseases were solved by switching to a plant based diet, I could also say, tread carefully with animal products, no?

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    Jen Reply:

    Riiight, because accusing one party of being propagandists while putting worth a website which, if i attempt to understand your definition of the word is therefore an equally “propagandist” source, puking/retching, comparing people who are looking at research (and actually checking who funded it) to religious sects and doing the old point-scoring thing is a great way to have a discussion with people. Enjoy being surrounded by people who agree with you. I’m vegan but my friends aren’t. We all seem to manage to get along and dare I say it, share information. They raise interesting points which I take into account and vice versatile. Most of them have stopped eating veal. I respect their choic to buy humane meat. But you wouldn’t know about that would you? Not if people expressing opinions that differ from you own make you puke. Good luck with that attitude.

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    Jen Reply:

    Thank you Autocorrect! :-)

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    Mia Reply:

    Sorry Jen, you lost my respect when you sugested we read the China Study.

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    Rosie B Reply:

    Get over yourself Jen! Just because I said in my opinion a vegan diet was unhealthy, doesn’t mean I support animal cruelty. In fact I don’t eat red meat and I’m selective of the “white meat” I do eat; if and as I need it. Good on your friends for not eating veal but neither do I!!

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    Jen Reply:

    Rosie B: I was responding to Mia. I’m just loving how everything thrown one way in this discussion can be redirected the other way; thus I return you your “get over yourself” and add “it’s not all about you”

    Mia: losing respect? Rather than lose respect why not explain why the China Study isn’t a good resource? As I said, I like to look into things. If I didn’t I’d still be eating the way my parents told me to. If you don’t want to discuss things you could perhaps at least respect the diversity of ideas out there and not feel the need to go into angry commenting mode. If you are commenting, why not bring something to the table instead (insert bad pun in reply) of just speaking to people like they are crap? I put up a few interesting books I read recently. I wouldn’t mind discussing them. Just as you don’t agree with my ressources, there are plenty of people who don’t agree with the Vegetarian Myth. I’m open to educating myself and that means considering all ressources because we all ultimately make decisions about food that sit the best with what we’ve learnt.

    One thing I don’t expect however is to just get a load of “ugh, vegans, don’t talk to them!” from adults. Is this high school?

    I have little hope of anything worthwhile happening in this comment section so I won’t bother to come back. All the best.

    Mia Reply:

    The China Study is pure fiction. It was discredited quite a while ago which, if you had done ANY RESEARCH WHATSEOEVER, you would know. Numerous researchers and scientists have studied the raw data and have no idea how Dr Campbell came up with his conclusions. Likewise, the vast majority of “studies” I have heard used to justify veganism are at best biased, and at worst flat out lies. If anyone is interested, start with Denise Minger and go from there.

    You might want to google “vegan baby killers” and see the huge amount of articles documenting parents who have charged with manslaughter for feeding their kids a vegan diet. Also cases of vegan women breastfeeding, whose newborns died of malnutrition. Which is why I refer to it as like a religion – any mother who can watch her baby die over changing her beliefs? Thats more like a cult than a diet.

    I am not anti vegan. I am anti bullshit. HUGE difference. And yes, I am well researched because I have tried every diet (including no meat and all kinds of variations of that) under the sun and after huge amounts of reading, finally figured out I was being lied to. I would hate for that to happen to anyone else, it seriously mucked with my health for quite a long time.

    Rosie B Reply:

    Jen I was referring to the fact that you said to Mia, “enjoy being surrounded by those who agree with you”. Just don’t judge all non-vegans alike.

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  • Lucy

    Great post Sarah! Awareness is the first step towards reversing this food wasting phenomenon.

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  • Liesbeth

    Hi Sarah,

    I often end up with waste from fresh coriander/ginger etc, and am wondering how to freeze these – can they go straight in the freezer in ziplock bags, or do I need to put them in ice trays and cover with water? And ditto dried beans/pulses after they are soaked and cooked – do you store these in the fridge/freezer in water or just in tupperware?

    Thanks so much for raising this issue, I really do hate to waste food.

    Also, my tip is to get a worm farm – they will eat all food waste and make great fertiliser for the garden!

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    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    With dried beans – straight in freezer. I soak and cook and then freeze, too. In tupperware, no water.

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    Janine Lattimore Reply:

    With ginger you can peel it and then put it in the freezer in a container/bag (you could use the peel in asian-style vegetable stock). It stores well and is much easier to grate into dishes when frozen.

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  • V

    I also would love some tips on how to save unused fresh herbs. They sell them in such big bunches!! Any ideas?

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    Jane Reply:

    I freeze them They’re not quite the same when thawed, but still impart good flavour if cooked!

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  • http://jessherself.wordpress.com Jessica Wagstrom

    While I definitely agree and support the concept of food conservation, a lot of the issues going on in the US that cause healthy food to be more expensive than junk has to do with corporate conglomerates making deals with big farms, government subsidiaries to the fast food/junk food industries and advertising done for the companies that have deals with the people in power (such as all the milk ads, you never see ads like that for, say, spinach). People need to speak with their wallets, and the tide is starting to change a little, the bigwigs are realizing that people are becoming aware of their health and changing their ingredients to more organic/natural/healthy stuff. We still need to be aware of what we’re eating and who we’re paying.

    I know that wasn’t the focus of this post but I think it bears saying, I think it will be a long while before junk food becomes too expensive for us.

    That being said, thanks for the tips, especially how to use your scraps!

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  • Cass

    Hey Sarah, this reminded me of an article I read about a zero-waste household http://www.sunset.com/home/natural-home/zero-waste-home-0111-00418000069984/print-index.html – very inspiring!
    I am a big supporter of reducing food waste! Drives me insane when people don’t eat leftovers or frequently throwing out food, to me it’s pure laziness!
    Great post!
    Cass

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    Sasha Heywood Reply:

    That article is incredible! I’m so glad I came across it, thanks for sharing that. It’s really made me rethink my choices and actions. I’m definitely going to have to pass that one on to others too!

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  • Anthony Porter

    I liked Tofler’s prediction in his book, The Third Wave, that people in the future will be growing their own food. I thought that was a good idea, if people had to grow their own food they would be less likely to waste it. Much of what Tofler has to say about society, technology, work and the way we will live has not happened as quickly as predicted. There is though, enough evidence that demonstrates Tofler knew what he was talking about.

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  • JessieAnne

    Ok. It is fact that a vegetarian / vegan diet is more sustainable. This is not controversial and various government health organizations have even endorsed it.

    Furthermore, I am a vegan personal trainer. No week or sickly vegans here, thank you very much! You could try looking up the number of vegan athletes, weight lifters, body builders etc. Oh, and Olympians (Carl Lewis, winner of 10 Olympic medals, including gold). Going vegan also seriously alleviated my own AI condition. Not to mention clearing up my skin, returning my energy..yada yada yada. In short, I’m full of beans (pun intended) and look better than ever. :)

    Now, back to the article. My sister grows many of her own veggies, organically, to ensure soil health (did you know ‘traditional’ pesticide and chemical use actually destroys soil over time, leaving a dead patch of dirt of no use to anyone? It also kills off native flora and fauna. Organic foods encourage bio-diversity), higher yield and physical health. This seems to me like the smartest thing anyone could do, if they have the space.
    I purchase only organic vegetables and legumes (and breads etc where it’s available) and local foods from local farmers if organic isn’t to be had that week. It allows the soil to remain healthy, to ensure future use for waaay longer than pesticide ridden crops. Ipso facto, you have sustainability. You also have a greater appreciation for food if you’ve grown it yourself. The local primary school have their own organic veggie patches, a wonderful idea! :) Completing this process with composting= brilliant! Full cycle!
    It is also known that the meat production process is one of the top carbon produces in the world. Not cars or anything like that; meat.
    60 pounds of water taken to raise 1 pound of potato; 12,000 gallons of water needed to raise 1 pound of beef. Much more sustainable. Especially in this drought-ridden country of ours.
    The mass level of cattle and livestock feces which is released into our river and ocean systems has produced a toxic bacteria. The primary cause of deforestation is for cattle grazing.
    Furthermore, the incredible level of pain inflicted on these creatures (did you know pigs have the intelligence of a 3 year old child?) is too much to justify my chicken and chips on a Thursday night.
    For those that read ‘The Vegetarian Myth’, might balance out that article (which yes, I read months ago) with
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_meat_production
    After all, it’s only fair.
    So yes. I am vegan. Unapologetically so. I feel better about my health and my environmental impact and at the end of the day, there are no cows having their throats slit and then electrocuted whilst still bleeding, to feed my body.
    You could say, every one wins.

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    Mia Reply:

    I dont have a problem with you being vegan, although I tend to see it as a moral choice as opposed to a nutritional one. Unless you are supplementing, there are simply things the body cannot synthesize enough of, or get at all from a vegan diet. B12, iron, etc.

    My problem is with the manipulation of truth. I’ve had a lot of people try to shove veganism down my throat and some of the arguments are quite bizarre. For example, Carl Lewis may have been a vegan, but he was also a drug cheat. Not my idea of a great diet, personally – no animals, but some nice tasty performance enhancing drugs? No thanks, I will stick to my (locally grown, organic, ethically sound) kangaroo steak. To each their own.

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  • http://www.vanillasoul.co.nz Janine Lattimore

    The vegan/vegetarian versus omnivore debate is often a heated one and there are good points on both sides.

    One question I would ask: is the problem eating meat per see, or is the problem the way meat is currently produced in a commercial environment? I agree that many of the practices commonly used in commercial meat production are atrocious and inhumane. For some that it a stimulus to stop eating meat which is probably fair enough.

    I am personally more on the side for working towards change in the way animals are raised for food. Some people have a metabolism that allows them to function well on a vegan/vegetarian diet, I am not one them. I was a (well read) vegetarian for several years but ran into all sorts of issues. I believe that different diets suit different people and that there is no one perfect diet for everyone. We are all unique in our make-up.

    One aspect of ‘less waste’ is respect for our food. I like the concept in the movie ‘Avatar’ where there is awareness of the energetic oneness of all life, plant and animal, and eating plants and animals is done with reverence and gratitude as a giving of energy.

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    Mia Reply:

    Factory farming IS truly horrendous. I am slowly making the shift to grain-fed, farmed, organic meat. It’s tricky in that it’s more expensive, but the nutritional benefits alone are worth it.

    This might sound hippy-ish and weird but I dont see plants as non-sentient. The ability of plants to feel pain, to be soothed or irritated by different kinds of music, and to mourn when their fellows die has been long documented. For us to live, something else has to die, and that is the circle of life.

    Oh, and vegetarianism made me quite ill, as well. Agree with you that there are different diets for different types.

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    Rosie B Reply:

    I totally agree with you Janine. This is exactly how I see it too, particularly your last paragraph, which is totally what this article was about in the first place.

    p.s Mia, um I think grass fed is meant to be better for you than grain-fed.

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    Mia Reply:

    Sorry thats what I meant. :) Insomnia brain strikes again, that whole brain-keyboard connection is failing today.

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  • anne

    I’m ashamed to admit to being a waster. I waste my precious time, and I waste food. I suppose this means i also waste my hard earned money. Until now. Sarah, you dont sound like a sanctimonious twat. People like me are the twats. I do have other redeeming qualities though :) Wow, thanks for this great post, for all the ideas, and to all the commentors for their contributions. I look forward to making alot of necessary changes. I recently took 2 weeks off work because I thought i was going a bit crazy from work stress and losing the battle of life balance. It’s amazing what a couple of weeks of clean living, calm living and early nights can do for the way I feel. This blog (that I only stumbled upon during this time), has been instrumental in inspiring me to be more mindful, and make some small but powerful changes. it seems the universe provided me with just what I needed at the time.

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    LynAnne Reply:

    Anne i must admit i am a waster like you! I see veggies on special and i can’t help myself, i have to stock up but by the end of the week they are not in any state for me to eat so i end up feeding them to the chooks. I have printed out Sarah’s list and stuck it to my fridge for my family and i to live by. Tonight i’m going to plan my meals for the next 3-5days and tomorrow at the Farmers markets i’ll buy just what i need for those meals and juices/smoothies. I CAN do this!
    Thanks for the great advice Sarah

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  • Jen

    Grow your own veg, have chooks and compost. No food scraps ever get wasted.

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  • http://cheekycharlie12wbt.wordpress.com Katie

    This is a great post by Sarah. It’s a pity the comments have been hijacked by the vegan/omnivore debate – which wasn’t really what the article was about.

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    Kristine Reply:

    Agreed! And why does it need to get so nasty. There are people thriving and failing on both vegan and omnivorous diets. Work out what works for you and stop projecting your value systems onto others in such offensive ways. Sarah wishes to not go on about waste and not be a sanctimonious twat (I had to truly laugh out loud!), yet there is a million times that in opinions on either side of the food debate here.

    Meanwhile, many thanks for the great suggestions about avoiding plant waste! I look forward to making snacks form watermelon seeds and using corn cobs for stock as I always feel so guilty throwing them away and they don’t compost well. I love my greens and hate wasting leaves of anything, so I use them in everything including smoothies. I recently used good quality radish leaves in green smoothie and a green juice and they were surprisingly awesome :)

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  • http://www.downtoearthmother.com (down-to) earth mother

    I’d like to add a food-waste reducing tip – feed your dog real food! The supermarkets always have bags of chicken necks or bones hidden in the meat fridges. These, along with some chopped up cheap meat such as beef cheeks, make for happy pooches. And you are saving those offcuts from landfill

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  • Melody

    SARAH,

    I work at 7-11.
    They put 4 of each item on the roller grill at a time. There are 8-10 slots, so 40 items of food consisting of taquitos, hotdogs, and cheeseburger in the shape of a hotdog. There are also about 10 coffee pots in different flavors. Food lasts 4 hours, coffee 2. Everything is dumped and new put up all day and most of the night. It is a shameful and disgusting waste and your time would be better sent writing letters to the editor and putting the word out about evil corporations and how we all support them. People are willing to pay such high prices for these products that 7-11 and B.P. can afford to waste enough food to feed a family for a week every single day. People who aren’t exhausted daily and have the energy to help need to support healthy companies with a conscience ONLY.

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  • jamie

    Good post Sarah! Thanks.
    Food wastage drives me mad, which I think I was brought up with because my mum doesn’t let anything go to waste (even water from boiling veges goes into a sauce for the same dinner or something instead of using more water! And no vitamins going down the drain)

    Tupperware vege containers are brilliant for this sort of thing – can be expensive, but keeps the veges for so much longer, so no more spoliage and waste :)
    Also, curry’s are brilliant for leftovers. My husband and I usually cook up a nice big curry each week and anything that’s not so fresh goes into it and feeds us for a few more days instead of being chucked.

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  • Shannon

    In the past few years, I have been working hard to reduce waste in my home all round. However, I was not truly aware that I could use all of those extra plant parts that I have traditionally thrown in the compost bin. I didn’t even think about using watermelon seeds as a roasted seed eventhough I swallow them without thinking when I eat the melon. One of the biggest issues I face is that I live in a northern climate, which means I can only have a garden to grow my own veg from May-October. This means that I rely on the grocers to get my veg supply for winter. Sarah, I know that you advocate the purchase and storage of veg when in season; unfortunately, I discovered that too late to do this past growing season. Now that I know that and all of the other fantastic information and suggestions found on your website, in your cookbook, and in these posts, I am determined to make better use of the food I do buy. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  • Colleen

    Another use for orange peel? A Jamaican woman I worked with in London used to put the peel of her orange in her dishwashing water. I have never tried it myself but she claimed the citrus cut grease and got the dishes clean without detergent.

    Worth a try.

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  • http://cakesamour.com.au Krysten

    Thanks for sharing Sarah!
    I’ve been doing the freeze in portions thing, and the icecube tray trick on ALL SORTS of food items. Great time saver too!
    Last night I salvaged every single sagging item in my crisper. Makes for more flavour experimentation too.
    Thanks for your encouragement.

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  • Sasha Heywood

    http://www.purplekale.com/2012/01/otherwise-trash-creamed-leek-stems/

    This chef has a crazy amazing approach and an ‘otherwise trash’ section of her blog where there are about 21 tasty recipe ideas for leftovers including potato peel crisps and creamed leek stems.

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