Food thrown out, gone bad, or not eaten, has become a wasted resource in America. Some studies have put food waste at 30-40% which is almost 1/3 of our national food supply. Of course, the perishable food items, specifically fruit and vegetables, are the most commonly thrown out. It can be tempting to point the finger at restaurants or grocery stores, but the reality is that food waste is a household phenomenon. Food distribution can also be considered part of the problem.
Shockingly, Americans are throwing away nearly 6 billion pounds of food every month. The main reasons for this include:
1. Cosmetic reasons: Foods such as fruits and vegetables have blemishes on them or lose their appeal becoming discolored over time.
2. Over-purchasing and over-stocking: Buying in bulk is the new fad and stores cater to saving money when this is done. The consumer feels they are getting the best value for their dollar, even if they don’t eat all they have purchased.
3. Sell-dates and expiration dates: There can cause confusion about how long a food can be stored for, and most people are overly cautious and better safe than sorry when it comes to this factor.
The problem is that hunger and food insecurity are a problem in America. Nearly 40% of food supply is being lost. There are nearly 50 million people who live in households that do not have adequate food supply. Our food supply costs nearly $165 billion and 25% of our fresh water supply is used for this production. That means that water supply is also wasted.
We might have been raised and told to finish everything on our plates. Yet today’s food culture displays the bigger the better, making portion distortion a leading cause of the obesity epidemic. It is important to learn how to shop, cook, and store food properly, even if it takes added time or extra dishes to clean. Get behind the movement of legislation that supports lowering food waste helps our society as well. Donating extra food is always highly recommended. Someone who is looking for their next meal at a shelter, on the street, or at the food bank, are in need. These facilities are primarily volunteer based, and every little effort will help. Check the shelves at home before grocery shopping to see what you truly need first. Buying in bulk is resourceful, but this may be more applicable to processed foods with a longer life that allow for more time to eat them. Food is our fuel and the body needs nutrients to function. Don’t waste such an important resource we are lucky to have.
Oh that uncomfortable feeling in your stomach…. bloating is no fun for anyone. It’s almost as if the belly is swollen. And then the gas that comes with it. Well, bloating happens to us all so let’s learn about this issue and maybe ease our discomfort if we can. You might even pass for pregnant sometimes haha.
So what exactly is bloating?? By definition, bloat means, “Abdominal distention from swallowed air or intestinal gas from fermentation” (http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com). I just don’t feel myself when I’m bloated and it doesn’t take away my appetite which leads to more food in that gassy belly. Just being honest with you all haha. For myself, I know what causes this feeling for me (eating too fast), so let me share with you the most common reasons and I’m sure you can relate too (http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhea-10/bloated-bloating):
1. Overeating is probably the most common cause of bloating. Smaller portions should ease the pain.
2. Eating rich and fatty food can make you feel uncomfortably stuffed. Fat takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates, so it keeps the stomach full longer. Avoid bloating by limiting your fats in your everyday diet
3. Eating too fast add to the risk of bloating after a meal. The remedy is simple – eat more slowly. Satiety signals can take up to 20 minutes to reach the brain and dampen appetite. Many weight loss experts believe that eating slowly helps prevent overeating.
Gas can also be a culprit for bloating. Gas builds up when air is swallowed or there bacteria in your gut is building up to push food through your intestines. Carbonated drinks and chewing gum are common ways one might swallow more air unintentionally. Certain types of food can also cause the gassy, bloated feeling. Here are some familiar types (http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhea-10/bloated-bloating):
- Beans and lentils contain indigestible sugars called oligosaccharides. These sugars must be broken down by bacteria in the intestines
2. Fruits and vegetables with such as Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, apricots
3. Sweeteners can also cause gas and bloating (Sorbital and Fructose)
4. Dairy products can be a source of intestinal distress and bloating if you have trouble digesting lactose, or milk sugar
5. Whole grains due to their fiber content.
We don’t normally even talk about this subject because we don’t want anyone to know that a good fart would alleviate some serious stomach cramping right then. In fact, “Figures show that 70% of people suffer regularly from belly woes, with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux and plain old constipation three of the most common causes” (http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestlye/health/boated-stomach-5-common-causes-1196763).
We tend to learn the hard way what can cause bloating. Seems like if we eat super healthy with vegetables or if we eat super bad with fats, we can fall victim to bloating either way haha. But the point is that our digestive health is important on our fitness journeys. We don’t want any excuses to miss a workout or not fuel our bodies properly. So we just have to listen to our bodies and know our sensitivity. After all, no one wants to be that person at the studio who farts haha.
The world has seen a dramatic change in the foods we eat over the last 20 years. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have increased the yield of food production dramatically. Canola, cotton, corn, and soy have been forever changed. 10% of all farmland is for GMO crops and 70-80% of processed foods come from GMOs. But what does this mean for public health and our environment?? There are arguments to both sides…. of course.
U.S.A. leads the world in GMO production. There are two types. BT are GMOs that resists pesticides in corn including the root worm and corn beetles. These corn beetles are called “the billion dollar bug” because of the destruction they can do to these plants. BT is the name for the gene inserted into these plants. The bug eats the toxic gene and is killed. The toxicity at this point doesn’t affect humans. HT means Herbicide tolerant and is most common in soy. A type of spray is used for these bugs and controls weed growth among the crops. 90% of our soy production has HT and in Argentina it is 100%.
Supporters of GMOs say this is the answer to our growing population. By 2050 we will have nearly 9 billion people. How can we provide for everyone?? Most countries either import GMO food for its people or to feed its livestock.
The trouble is that bugs and weeds have grown a tolerance to BT and HT. It’s like Darwinism, in which adaptation occurs. So more and more is needed to kill them and if the bugs and weeds aren’t absorbing the toxicity, then guess what?? We are. Not only this, but how are we not affected by the spraying done in our environment?? Cross pollination is unavoidable because how can this spray be controlled to just a specific area. Studies have started to link cancer and birth defects to GMOs, but our government doesn’t want to recognize this. Why would South Africa not use GMOs to increase cotton production by 76%?? Even the Pope blessed “golden rice” which is GMO enriched to have more Omega 3 and Vitamin A which is heathy for us and can help children who are deficient in these nutrients.
We are now facing GMAs, Genetically Modified Animals. There has been a cow genetically constructed to produce the same milk woman do. This could help children who cannot breast feed. Salmon has been modified to be bigger. We don’t always know the difference when we are buying these items at the store.
I am an advocate for clean eating, but at some point I have accepted that I don’t really know what exactly I’m eating all the time. The documentary I watched for the help in writing this Blog, “GMOs: Lies and Truths”, was the sickening truth maybe we should all hear. We can only control what we can control, but it’s scary to think our government advocates for products that can harm us (this always makes me think of Coca-Cola but that’s a whole other Blog haha). Read labels, education yourself, and always make the best choices you can for your BODY.
Frederic Cataignede. (2017). GMO Lies and Truths.