Crossing the Atlantic – to make a point

Last week I got a chance to meet Baptiste Dubanchet, a fellow food waste activist, whom I had known virtually for three years.

Back in 2014, Baptiste was making a name for himself having just pedaled from Paris to Warsaw eating only food from the dumpster. His goal was to highlight that we all throw away food, and that this problem stretches across all borders.

To be honest, the circumstances in which I met him this time were similarly unreal. He had just spent about three months in the Atlantic Ocean, having pedaled from Paris to Morocco, and then left Africa for the Caribbean. He is now continuing the journey by cycling from Miami to New York City, with a stopover in DC.

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His arrival fell on the Halloween weekend, a time when the capital is a bit more crazy than usual. There were little monsters and princesses ringing doorbells, masked youth riding the streets, and countless homes with decorations, that kept the street sparkling.

New frontiers

During the layover, we made time for dumpster diving, conducting a small interview session, presenting to a group of students about the voyage, exploring the landmarks of the city, and of course, cooking and eating lots of food.

The most interesting moments were captured on camera to be shared with you. Specifically, we have the interview session, the presentation at the elementary school, and the footage of his search for edible goods.

The interview 

After giving Baptiste a few days to recuperate his bearings, I sat down with him to pick his brain about what it takes to embark on such a journey. As well as, the mission that energized and kept him going, despite the difficulties and hardships he encountered.

1| How do you choose what to eat?

2| Why did you cross the Atlantic?

3| When did you notice the problem?

4| How can freeze-drying stop waste?

5| How does this work?

6| What were your fears for the road?

7| How will this impact the food waste movement?

8| How have you changed?

9| What’s next?

And a little bit extra, for laughs and entertainment:

 

School presentation

One bright morning, we had to wake up super early to make it to an 8am morning meeting, where Baptiste got to present his story to the students at the Friendship Tech Prep Academy. The students had a lot of interesting questions!

We covered topics such as:

– How he pedaled across the ocean.
– The parts of the world he traveled.
– The thoughts he had on the journey.
– What he consumed.
– The moment that sparked his idea.
– The economy of food waste.
– Stakeholders of the food supply chain.
– A highlight from his travels.
– And the next stops on his trip.

Many thanks to Coy McKinney who helped arrange this! Coy teaches urban farming at this school. He also runs a community garden, where kids can grow and try fresh food.

Looking through dumpsters 

On the night we chose to go dumpster diving, it was raining. We didn’t stay long, max 15 min., but we found a good amount of food without searching too much.

Baptiste now has fruits and baked goods to fuel his journey to New York.

Best of luck!
Hokuma

How to use eggshells: 7 exceptional ideas

Boiled, fried, scrambled – there’s no doubt Britain loves eggs. But, are we showing egg shells the same amount of appreciation? Often overlooked, eggshells are surprisingly nutritious and strong, which makes them useful for a variety of things you may never have considered.

On a mission to stop shells from going to waste, Stephanie from Expert Home Tips is here to share 7 useful uses for eggshells.

1. Bird feed

Although humans may not enjoy the addition of eggshells to their meal, there are some fluffy creatures that will.

Eggshells are full of nutrients, specifically, calcium – an important mineral for birds, especially during the Spring when they lay eggs of their own.

Next time you’re cooking eggs, be sure to save the shells. When you have several, pop them on a lined baking tray next time you use the oven. This will soften the eggs shells so that they break more easily. Place the shells in a sealable bag, roll a glass over them to crush, and scatter on your bird table for your feathery friends to enjoy.

2. Mosaic frame

eggs3Smashed and broken with bit of egg remnants left inside – egg shells as we know them aren’t exactly the prettiest things in the world.

I’m challenging you to change the way you see eggshells by getting a little creative.

Egg shells make the most perfect mosaics – this Instructables mosaic frame is proof of that. All you need to make your very own mosaic frame is some cardboard, paint and eggshells –projects don’t come more eco-friendly than this!

3. Drain cleaner

If you live in a house, you’re almost guaranteed to have experienced blocked drains during your time. A free, natural solution can be made using leftover egg shells.

Next time you have a fry up, sprinkle some leftover egg shells into your sink strainer. They will help catch food, preventing it from blocking your drain. If the shells do break down and fall into the drain, their rough edges will actually help to flush out the pipes.

4. Banish slugs & snails

eggs1They may not mean any harm, but slugs and snails can be a nightmare for gardeners. There’s no need to turn to nasty, expensive pesticides – you can use leftover egg shells to tackle this problem.

Slugs and snails can happily slide over soft soil, but the sharp edges of broken egg shells will make it much more difficult – and unpleasant – for them.

To deter slugs and snails from your garden naturally, crush and sprinkle broken egg shells across soil.

5. Egg shell brownie

eggs2Eggs are one of the key ingredients in cake – why not try something new and try making egg-shaped cakes?

One of my favorite recipes using egg shells is La Receta De La Felicidad’s Brownies. The recipe itself is relatively simple, meaning you can concentrate on getting the egg shell part just right.

There’s no denying these would be perfect for Easter, but the results are so cute that they wouldn’t look amiss at any occasion.

6. Pot cleaner

It’s in the kitchen that the strong, sharpness of egg shells come in handy once more. Those tough, burnt on food stains on pots and pans are no match for egg shells.

Be sure to pop your gloves on in order to protect your hands, before taking a handful of broken eggshells and using them to scrub metal and glass pans clean.

7. Fertilizer

Among other nutrients, egg shells are very rich in calcium. This makes them highly beneficial for plants and a great, all-natural, DIY fertilizer you can use both outdoors and in.

To infuse water with these eggcellent benefits, boil a liter of water, then add 10 clean eggshells to it. Let it soak overnight, then strain the water. Pour directly onto soil to give your plants a boost of nutrients.

By Steph Cvetkovic

Contributor to http://www.experthometips.com

A Call to Inspired Minds!

First, allow me to apologize for the lack of content over this blog in the last two months. We have been quite busy, it is true, but, more importantly, we have been suffering from a lack of inspiration. With food waste and sustainability being growing issues of interest, it has been difficult to come up with topics to write on that haven’t already been extensively covered.

Though driven by facts and research, Say No to Food Waste is still an editorial blog, so both of us have lent personal stories and opinions to a number of posts. However, we don’t want this to turn into “Hokuma’s and Eva’s thoughts on food” blog. I could spend eons simply complaining about people throwing food away, but we want to hold this site to better standards than that. We want to be constructive, stimulating ideas and opening the public’s eyes to the realities of food waste and how to prevent (and/or deal with) it.

On that note, we would love to get some help keeping this site alive. Whether you’d like to author your own piece or share an idea for something that we could write about – a question we could try to answer – we are eager to hear from you. Please message us on our Facebook page, and we will get back to you as soon as we can. If you have links to share or events that you’d like to have promoted on our FB page, we’d be happy to receive those, too.

Cheers,

Hokuma & Eva, the Say No to Food Waste team

Food Rescue US: This is their story

1.    Summarize your business in one sentence. 

Food Rescue US, a technology driven platform, is committed to ending American food insecurity through direct-transfer food rescue.

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2. How long have you been in business? 

Since 2011.

3. Why did you decide to start the company?

After seeing all the food waste in the restaurant industry, and realizing hunger could be alleviated using logistical software to capture that surplus, we developed an app and started rescuing and delivering food.

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4. What has been your biggest achievement so far? 

Rescuing and delivering 19 million meals to those in need.

5. How do you measure success?

Our technology allows us to capture and really quantify our work data so we know those 19 million meals also means 28.2 million pounds of food, at an estimated value of $48 million, has not gone into landfill. The real success though is that we have been able to provide fresh food to those in need and save a little bit of the planet as well. 

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6. What have you learned in the process? 

That this senseless problem of food insecurity in the US can and will be fixed on the grass roots level. When we all get together and help our neighbors our communities become stronger and everyone benefits.

7. What advice would you give to someone trying to start a sustainable food company?

Well they can certainly contact us if they are looking to start a food rescue program. We are expanding, we currently operate 13 sites and anticipate 25 locations by the end of 2017. We give our app to new partners, train them in best practices, etc., and help them get up and running.

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8. What’s next? Anything else you want to add?

We will continue our national expansion and work until hunger has been eradicated and all of us at Food Rescue US no longer have a job.

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9. Fun question: what was the best meal you ate this week?

Salmon and vegetables grilled and consumed lakeside at a friend’s cottage.


by Alison Sherman, Director of 
Communications at Food Rescue US 

BAKEYS: This is their story

1.    Summarize your business in one sentence. 

BAKEYS is a revolutionary and sustainable innovation, that is a change maker.

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2. How long have you been in business? 

Since 2006, when I first innovated and manufactured edible spoons.

3. Why did you decide to start the company?

I was a researcher on ground water and power sector reforms and had a background in research on agriculture, horticulture, water management, all sorts of farming techniques, crops, land and soil use and misuse, rain patterns and its impacts on farming in India. This led me to think about how I could help save millet that is slowly declining in farming, as farmers go for fast buck cash crops.

The losses, debt traps, increased suicide of farmers, and the migration of farmers to cities in search of work, never to return to farming again, was a very disturbing trend.

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I wanted to create a product that would help the soil, preserve millet production for my products and most importantly drive away plastic from food eating, so I created cutlery.

Our mission and vision is to protect the soil, ground water, promote millets and stop plastic invasion.

4. What has been your biggest achievement so far? 

1. Creating Edible cutlery- we are the  change makers and the world has recognized the product, its need and its urgency for sustainability.
2. Creating an automatic machine between May 2016 to February 2017, first of its kind custom designed locally by us in Hyderabad-India, totally a Made in India product.
3. Creating a buzz all over the world, 130 countries know about us and have placed orders for cutlery when we are ready to supply them. All of them want to throw away plastic from their food/ cutlery usage and turn to eco friendly modes/ products. We have been fairly successful in creating mass awareness on ills of plastic in food consumption and made the world stand and think about what we have all been doing to our planet and eco system. If a child is awakened at a young age on how each of them can change their habits, the world and how to protect self, then it’s a big job done for the world to help trigger future protectors of the Earth.

4. Several universities from several countries are taking up our product as part of  their sustainability programme and researching them for studies. Students from at least 20 countries contacted us for details on our product and how they can create awareness/ manufacture/ make more such products to create alternatives to disposable and harmful plastic.

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Painting of Mr. Peesapatya made by Faith Jelks, a first grader at Calavera Hills Elementary in Carlsbad, CA.

5. How do you measure success?

The above mentioned biggest achievements are a success for us. Particularly #4, as this will lead to several innovations, creative thinking, out of the box thinking and experimentation. Going beyond academics.

Edible cutlery being manufactured with local ingredients in each continent followed by each country will be a real time answer and mission completion of our vision and provide a spoon full of contribution to a sustainable world.

6. What have you learned in the process? 

Innovation is a process of meditation- seeking God through research, patience, persistence, hard work, not ever giving up and being 100% focused.

I have learnt all these by experiencing it since I ventured in 2006 to make my first spoon in my kitchen. Coming this far has been a test of rigor, endurance, losses, ridicule, rejections, apathy, being ignored to becoming a hero.

Making an automatic machine that never existed for such an innovative product (concept) was a big challenge for my imagination as am not an engineer by training or academics. Learning about metallurgy, electrical, mechanical engineering and blending it to make an efficient system has taken my life out and am now a different person than what my family knew me as. I’m evolving with my spoons each day.

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7. What advice would you give to someone trying to start a sustainable food company?

Stay tuned to your inner call. Never give up, keep dreaming and try to act on dreams. Seek help, use intuition, try, fail (several times if needed), but eventually you will walk tall one day. Spend quality time with self, and the idea that lead to your sleepless nights (so you day dream), disturbed your family, angered them, frustrated you (and them), caused you to be ridiculed, but will bring you happiness, as it is your original idea. So, stay focused and don’t ever say I can’t.

8. What’s next? Anything else you want to add?

1. Seeking funds to expand technology.
2. Once funds come in, we will create more machines, all shapes of cutlery, get everything in process mode and systems, ISO standards and logistics world wide. Employ professional and mentor all.
3. Sell technology once perfected so that manufacturing and local distribution happens faster, smoother, cut expenses and time on shipping and breakages.

4. Get the next innovation (still a secret) into action – another one for sustainability.

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It’s a tough job to be an innovator, if you also wish to sell what you manufacture. It is a big challenge if you don’t have the mental, emotional capacity to get into unknown zones of your being where you may need to learn/ unlearn and tear yourself apart to become a new person.

9. Fun question: what was the best meal you ate this week?

We had our Vedic Hindu new year on 29th March (UGADI) and I ate 3 spoons for breakfast as cooking at home got delayed for a big lunch, with several dishes getting prepared. My won innovation saved my hunger pangs till my wife gave me a delicious meal later. I proved that survival really is a mother of  all invention- even my own.

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by Narayana Peesapaty and Pradnya Keskar, Founders of BAKEYS 

Hungry Harvest: This is Their Story

1. Summarize your organization in one sentence.

We believe that no food should go to waste and that no person should go hungry. That’s why we source, hand pack, and securely deliver delicious boxes of recovered produce on a weekly and bi-weekly basis. For every delivery, we subsidize 2 lbs of produce for families living in food deserts through our produce in SNAP sites.

2. How long have you been running your organization?

We founded Hungry Harvest in 2014 on the University of Maryland campus.

3. Why did you decide to start the organization?

I’ve always believed that through social entrepreneurship, we can exact swift systemic change to some of the biggest problems our world faces with regard to food justice.  I started this company with the belief that food is a right, not a privilege, and work daily to increase access to fresh produce to those in need.

4. What has been your biggest achievement so far?

This year we surpassed 3 million pounds of food recovered and 500k pounds more donated.  You can’t put a price, or a TV show appearance, or an award on the look on people’s faces when you hand them a full box of fresh produce and know that on that day, they will not be hungry because of your team’s work.

5. How do you measure success?

Every few months we anonymously survey our team to take a pulse on happiness in the work they are doing and belief that we are authentically serving the company mission.  My team is at a 9.2 overall satisfaction rating, which grew .02 from the last poll; we’ve never been under 9.  Our customer ratings are in the 9’s as well, and our number one growth metric is in friend referrals: people get our product, love it, believe in us, and want to share it with their community.  That’s authentic success. That’s how I know we’re doing the right thing.

6. What have you learned in the process?

To be flexible and listen.  Our direction is always toward ending food deserts and bringing about food justice for all.  It’s the way we listen to customer and team feedback to make better choices every day that keeps us moving forward.

7. What advice would you give to someone trying to get involved in food recovery?

Do it. The systemic issues in the food industry are vast and complicated.  It’s going to take a myriad of solutions to truly fix the problem of food waste, hunger, fair compensation for farmers, and more efficient logistics from farm to fork.  We are one solution, but I look forward to more people joining this cause and bringing new ideas and technologies to fill in the gaps toward a more whole solution.

8. What’s next?

Expansion & wholesale.  We are launching our Miami office shortly, with plans to add 3 more cities by year’s end on the East Coast. Through our wholesale channels, we are able to rescue and serve more broadly across the states to help connect food to consumption.

9. Anything else you want to add?

We are indebted to our subscribers, and to our partners.  None of this would be possible without a community of people who truly believe in food justice, and help us each day to better our product, and our service. Thank you doesn’t begin to cover the appreciation the team and I feel for your support.

10. Fun question: What was the best meal you ate this week?

Oh man, that’s a tough call! We are always sampling new produce and recipes posted by our recipe club, so many good things to choose – this week in particular I’d have to say the Asian Pear, Arugula & Feta pizza one of our ambassadors made up. There are few things better than a fresh made pizza on a beautiful sunny day.

Evan Lutz, CEO and co-founder of Hungry Harvest

Kitchens for Good: This is Their Story

1. Summarize your organization in one sentence.

We are a nonprofit social enterprise whose mission it is to fight poverty, hunger, and food waste.

2. How long have you been running your enterprise?

I started Kitchens For Good in March 2013, and we got our first kitchen in September of 2015.

3. Why did you decide to start the organization?

I had for far too many years been appalled at the amount of food waste in the Hospitality Industry where I had spent most of my working career.  I could not reconcile that enormous food waste(we send to landfill nearly 40% of everything we grow in America) with the high number of hungry people in America.  One in 5 Americans is food insecure.  That fact should be inconceivable in America, let alone our reality.  What really made me leave my comfortable, well-paying job started with conversations with my then 10 year old son.  During our drives to school in the morning we talked about his new school, his thoughts about High School in the near future, and what college and life might look like beyond that.  We talked a lot about the concept of Right Livelihood…that what you do for a living should give back more to your community than it takes away.  I came to a point where I had to live it and not just talk about it.

4. What has been your biggest achievement so far?

The team that we have put together at KFG.  We have a group of absolute rock stars.  They continue every day to challenge me and make me better.

5. How do you measure success?

The number of lives changed by the graduates of our programs.  Let me be perfectly clear that what we do at KFG is to provide an opportunity.  Our students are the ones doing the hard work to succeed.

6. What have you learned in the process?

It has reinforced for me the saying that “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  What we do is only possible because of the team we have.

7. What advice would you give to someone trying to start a sustainable food enterprise?

Find the revenue first.  You cannot have a positive impact on your community unless your model and your organization are sustainable.

8. What’s next?

We are in the process of acquiring another facility so that we can expand our programs and our social enterprise.  Our intention had always been to scale to the point where we could have a substantial impact.

9. Anything else you want to add?

Don’t wait, just go for it.  The world is waiting for you to make a difference.

10. What was the best meal you ate this week?

I’m an opportunistic shopper.  This week my local organic market had some amazing garlic sausages on sale.  I grilled them, roasted some Yukon Gold potatoes, and made an arugula salad with dressing made with extra mustard to compliment the sausages.

Chuck Samuelson, founder/president of Kitchens for Good

Learning to Love Microbes

Fermentation. The ideas that this word brings to mind aren’t necessarily the most pleasant: rot, mysteriously bubbling liquids, putrid stench, sourness. When my professor told us that we would be fermenting our own vegetables and eating them, one of my classmates was absolutely horrified by the thought. To ferment is to decay, to decompose, to die – surely we shouldn’t eat spoiled food!

But fermented food isn’t spoiled: it’s pre-digested. Specifically, as Michael Pollan describes it in his book Cooked (now a four-part Netflix series), “To ferment food is to predigest it, in effect, breaking long chains of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates our bodies might not be able to make good use of into simpler, safer compounds that they can.” In the simplest terms, fermenting is cooking without heat.

Beer, wine, cheese, yogurt, sourdough bread, miso paste, fish sauce, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, tempeh, and even chocolate are all common examples of fermented foods. Nonetheless, describing them as what they are, fermented, still makes some people’s skin crawl. In the hyper-sterilized culture of westernized society, the process of encouraging bacterial growth sounds unsafe if not flat-out disgusting. We trust the manufactured versions of these products to be sanitized by industrial food producers to meet government standards to keep us safe. On the flipside, we no longer trust the process of fermentation itself, which has nothing to do with the most notorious foodborne threats of salmonella, listeria, and E coli. “Bacteria” have just been given a connotation of disease and death, such that we perceive them as menaces to be eradicated rather than recognizing their beneficial, natural role in our bodies.

Pollan writes beautifully and thoroughly about how detrimental processing and pasteurization have been to our microbiome, the communities of bacteria thriving in our bodies. Basically, we have deprived our bodily systems of a lot of beneficial microorganisms that humans have historically received from fermented and other foods. The combination of a) a lack of gut bacteria and b) the nutritional imbalance of our diets, heavy in fats and carbohydrates and low in fiber, has been linked to the rising prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders and possibly other autoimmune diseases.

Hold on – didn’t I write a post about the dangers of raw milk just two years ago? “Others still believe [raw milk] to be a good source of healthy bacteria – but, really, it is safer to look for probiotic dairy products, which have been pasteurized and then had beneficial bacteria added to them.” I look back on that post now and laugh at myself for having such blind faith in industrialization. The fact that manufacturers deliberately kill the naturally-occurring bacteria in our foods only to reinject some of them with live cultures for the sake of boasting a “probiotic” label is ridiculous. Thousands of microorganisms are lost in the process, so the effect on our bodies is markedly different. For instance, many sources will tell you that kefir made from live grains contains at least 35 strains of beneficial bacteria, yet store-bought versions boast a measly 12 active cultures.

Don’t get me wrong: pasteurization is extremely important to ensure the safety of mass-produced milk products. However, I highly recommend trying to incorporate unprocessed fermented foods to your diet, if you can find them. If you have access to organic produce, you can even try your hand at fermenting with recipes like this – it’s shockingly easy!

As Hokuma said in a recent post, let’s see food as a living and breathing ‘thing’ that interacts with our body.” I’d like to build on that: let’s see our insides as living things that interact with our food. It doesn’t sound sexy, but it’s the truth that gives us life.

Eva

La Faim du Monde: This is their story

1.    Summarize your business in one sentence. 

La Faim du Monde is a project that aims to reduce food waste by raising awareness around the issue, as well as, by finding solutions that businesses can implement in practice.

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2. How long have you been in business? 

Our first website was launched in 2012, and the first trip where 100% of all the food consumed came from dumpster diving, was completed in 2014.

Currently, the plan is to travel from Paris to New York, only consuming food  that is destined for the dustbin. This journey will invovled bicycyling and paddle boating across the ocean.

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To bring global attention to this issue we started a petition urging the best before dates on food to be removed in Europe. We are also researching the freeze drying process on food, to see if it’s a better option that sending it to the landfill. The process of freeze drying food, where the water is removed (not by heating the product but by freezing it),  enables the food to last as long as needed. It’s a bit like putting it in the freezer, only you don’t need more energy for it, and the food regains its original taste when water is added again.

3. Why did you decide to start the company?

I realized that we were wasting a big amount of food when working, while completing my studies, and I felt the need to do something about it. I couldn’t continue working at the same place when I saw that we were in some ways responsible for the starvation of people, without talking or raising awareness about agriculture and the environment.

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4. What has been your biggest achievement so far? 

I’m not sure we achieved anything yet. There have been many conferences around Europe, but how can we know if it’s useful? This takes time.

5. How do you measure success?

As we are dealing with a global issue it’s quite difficult. We will know this once we have reached a goal of creating a world where no person goes hungry. On a smaller scale, people give us feedback on how they realized the importance of this issue and decided to take actions as well, starting from their home (for instance, by wasting less food).

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6. What have you learned in the process? 

Lots of things about nutrition. About how our body works, how to work with others, how to share knowledge, and other useful things like that.

7. What advice would you give to someone trying to start a sustainable food company?

Anyone who wants to reduce food waste as well. I suppose the best thing they can do is to join us!  :D haha. No, just be happy about what you do!

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8. What’s next? Anything else you want to add?

Well, if we convince the European Parliament to remove the best before dates and get all supermarkets to freeze dry their food rather than throwing it away, I’m not sure what we would do. If every one had enough to eat I think we would want to bring peace, try to ask people to create globally a universal anthem, and show everyone that the most important human values are shared by all of us. It would be an anthem to life, love, empathy, fraternity, joy, etc., and it would probably help people stop considering every problem as being caused by someone else. We are dreamers, but we work hard on making our dreams come true, and we are not alone, maybe someday you’ll join us … If you are on Facebook, you can find us here.

And if you do want to join us, then please sign the petition to ask the European Parliament to remove the best before dates.

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9. Fun question: what was the best meal you ate this week?

Alice, who is part of the team made me a really good vegan and organic breakfast. Fresh fruits, oranges, banana, apple, kiwi and soy yogurt. Also, some avocado on black bread, cereals, and to drink, a british tea. It was really good for me, especially because I can never eat really good things when I am in Paris.

by Dubanchet Baptiste

Food as health or death

Dear Readers,

Today, I’d like to share with you my personal thoughts on two new studies. Both are about the effects of food consumption on the body, yet they focus on very different aspects. While one study highlights the benefits of consuming diverse foods, the other instills a sense of fear, which may damage the food waste movement (but only if we let it).

The reason this is important is because the studies highlight once again that we are what we eat. And being very intellectual creatures, who don’t just rely on word of mouth to make decisions, these findings can present some important facts on which to build sound and logical conclusions.

Ok, enough with the introduction, let’s leap into the research.

The Good News

Those of you who already love vegetables and fruits, you are well positioned for a long and healthy life. A new study shows that we need to uptake our fresh produce intake from five (as originally thought) to 10 fruits and veggies a day.

The study completed by Imperial College London demonstrates that such a diet can lead to “24% reduced risk of heart disease, a 33% reduced risk of stroke, a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13% reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31% reduction in premature deaths.” Wow…that’s a handful!

So what does 10 portions, or 800 g, of fruit and veggie intake look like? Here’s a nice visual for you by The Guardian. This article also mentions that some fruits and veggies are better at increasing certain health factors than others.

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Specifically: “Apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower were found to be best at preventing heart disease and stroke”.

Those who worry about cancer risks (which is very understandable, as any symptom search on Google will likely suggest possibilities of cancer), you can focus on “green vegetables (beans), yellow and orange vegetables (peppers and carrots), and cruciferous vegetables”.

Unfortunately, these benefits are mainly found when biting into real food, and less so through supplements and other pills. So those who are short on time, consider replacing your breakfast with a green smoothie (or if that’s not filling enough), at least try to make that your first drink of the day, before switching to coffee (or anything else that strikes your fancy).

 
The Bad News

Now, onto the bad news. Another study, completed by a researcher from Harvard University, demonstrated that because food makes up the building blocks of our cells, “eating older organisms (or food) – which have more molecular damage themselves- might cause an animal to age faster than one that eats younger organisms with less molecular damage”.

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Specifically, “the old diet shortened lifespan by 18% in yeast and 13% in flies. In the mice, the old diet shortened lifespan by 13% in female mice, but there was no significant effect among males”, (lucky males!).

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But as these experiments were done on animals, (not humans), we do not know exactly what effect this would have on humans, so let’s not jump the gun, but, let’s think a bit more about what we put into our mouths (and subsequently our bodies). And if you are unsure whether the food is safe to eat, please use your smell and visual senses before tossing aging produce into the bin.

My Conclusion 

It’s time we see food as more than something we consume to quiet our hunger (the sounds and feelings of an empty stomach are real). And let’s not just see it as a source of energy and fuel. Instead, let’s see food as a living and breathing ‘thing’ that interacts with our body, provides materials for our building blocks, and sends instructions to our brain.

“Food contains methyl groups (a carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms (CH3)) capable of methylating (silencing) genes, [which] brought into focus the capability of food to profoundly affect disease risk as well phennotypal expression. If folate, B12, or Betaine– 3common food components — can literally ‘shut off’ gene expression with high specificity, food becomes a powerful information vector. One which may actually supervene over the DNA within our body by determining which sequences find expression”.

Phew, that’s a lot of scientific terms and chemistry in one paragraph, but the bottom line is this: food not only gives you fuel, or activates your taste buds (which in itself is lovely), but it is a very powerful tool, one that can determine your health and longevity.

This means that when you are hungry and looking for something to eat, what you reach for will not just satisfy your hunger, it will also determine your near future. Therefore, we should consider the idea of ‘real food’ vs. ‘food like’ items. Things that have been processed, filled with chemicals and created in a lab (mainly junk food). These foods not only lead to obesity, but they also wreak havoc on your health and beauty.

The best example of this are the Nenets and Khanty tribes in northern Siberia who now have cases of obesity thanks to the introduction of instant noodles, pasta, bread and sugar.

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And since not many of us live on a farm (or even close to one), and definitely don’t have time or money to go shopping at farmers markets (and those who do sometimes lack the time to cook what they haul until it’s on the verge of decomposing in the fridge or shelf),  I would like to urge all of us to think more about frozen food!

Frozen foods can have as much nutritional value (if not more) as their fresh counterparts. How? Well, they are packaged at the peak of their ripeness (so all the good vitamins stay where they are). Also, as they are frozen, they can be the quick and easy go to option for those short on time and money (admit it, our lives are stressful and hectic). On top of all that, as our years continually get warmer, keeping your food in the freezer can ensure that it stays crisp and delicious, without going to waste.

Here’s a nice video to summarize the above paragraph:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=99&v=zjsOOT347cA


Final Words

I hope this post widens your understanding of food, and peaks your interest in seeing fruits and veggies as more than a ‘side dish’ around the protein on your plate. Hopefully, they can slowly become the staple of your diet, the one that helps you live a healthy life.

If you have any thoughts or comments, please share them below.

Happy eating friends!
Hokuma