Category Archives: food waste


Food Storage Tips

There’s nothing worse than having to throw out food because it’s gone fuzzy or mushy. It’s even worse when it’s something that you purchased organic because that means you paid an even higher price for it.  With proper food storage habits you can make sure that your food lasts as long as possible.

It’s easy to wind up with an abundance of fresh produce for a number of reasons:

  • it was on sale
  • you’ve just visited the farmer’s market and it looked inviting
  • you have a CSA share and have limited control over how many tomatoes they give you (when tomatoes are in season of course)
  • you have a home garden and discovered the awesome power of a single zucchini seed.  

Whatever the reason for having a bountiful supply of fresh food (or even dairy, eggs, and foods of that nature which can also spoil), it’s important to know how long it can be stored for.  It’s also a great idea to understand proper food storage.   After all, knowing which things go in the refrigerator, what has to be wrapped, and the best way to wrap it, can be the difference between eating what you paid for or creating expensive compost.

Buying organic

As you go through this infographic below keep in mind that there are a significant number of items which need to be purchased organically.

  • The Dirty Dozen:those 12 fruits and vegetables which need to be purchased organically in order to avoid pesticide residues) – This list changes annually, be sure to revisit it every year  
  • Dairy products: All dairy should be organic in order to avoid the artificial hormones (rBGH), antibiotics, and pesticide and GMO-laden feed that is part of conventional dairy  
  • Eggs:  Whenever possible eggs should be sourced from someone who has free range or pastured hens, in order to produce the healthiest egg.  Farmer’s markets can be a great source for this, or ask around.  Many more people are beginning to raise chickens at home for the eggs.  When it’s prime season, at one egg per chicken per day, they may have extras to sell

Storage

One final note, I really don’t like to wrap food in plastic.  Plastics, containers and wraps, are comprised of chemical compounds that are hormone disrupting.  For more information about why plastic, and especially BPA, are harmful for you watch my interview with Lara Adler.  For storage if you must wrap use plastic, place wax paper over the food first and then wrap over that.  If at all possible try using glass or steel containers. 


Source: Fix.com

Making A New Compost Bin

IMG_4534

In a recent newsletter post I shared the picture above. It’s a compost bin that my husband built because we needed another one in the yard.  We had two, a tumbling bin, which we use to put kitchen scraps into, and a fixed bin which we use for finishing the compost when the tumbler gets too full for me to turn it easily.  This way we always have a bin for household scraps and the finishing bin is great to let it sit a while longer either until it’s done or until we can use it.

Now that we have a larger yard though, we’re generating more compost from weeds and such.  The tumbling bin can only hold so much and the finishing bin works best if we put partially decomposed stuff into it.  So we needed a new one.

My husband went searching online and found this bin and the plans.  He easily made ours following the instructions given on the website.  The challenge with a lot of bins is getting to the compost when it’s done.  We love the stackable/unstackable feature which will make it very easy to access compost when it’s ready.  You add layers as the bin gets higher.  Then you unstack them as you’re using it.

Several people asked for more information about compost.  Here’s what I know and what works for us:

In the house we have a small, lidded kitchen trashcan (with foot pedal because when your hands are full of kitchen scraps you can’t open the lid at the same time).  My mom taught me a good trick and we line the bottom with a paper towel, shred some newspaper into it and top with another paper towel.  This serves a couple of purposes.  First, it soaks up most of the liquid if you put wet-ish things in there like melon rinds.  Second, it adds some brown matter and improves the brown to green ratio (more on that below).  And compost needs both brown and green matter in order to break down properly.  Third, it makes things slide out of the bin and into the compost tumbler very easily.  In the past if things started to break down too quickly they got a little sticky and it wasn’t so pleasant to have to scrape the bin clean.

What do we put in our compost bin?  Everything we can.  Egg shells, potato peelings, fruit and veggie rinds, and things that are past their prime (although we try to not have too many of those).  As long as it is not dairy or meat it goes in the bin.  We don’t put my husband’s coffee grounds in there, although we could, because we use those straight on the roses.  We also do not add grass as we have a mulching attachment on our lawn mower and use that to help fertilize the lawn.

We do use dry leaves in the compost bin.  If you just have green matter your compost gets very stinky.  It also attracts a lot of flies.  An ideal bin would be 30 parts brown matter (which provides carbon) to 1 part green matter (which provides nitrogen).  Most websites that I’ve found seem to indicate that kitchen scraps are about 12 or 15:1.  Dry leaves are 50:1.  I think my paper lined bin is possibly closer to 20:1.  Sometimes my husband has sawdust leftover from a project (like making a compost bin) and we can add that.  We try not to over-think it but if we notice it’s not breaking down well we try to adjust.

I do not compost manure in the bins.  While I am expecting a trailer-load of horse manure any day now, that will sit in a separate pile to do it’s thing until it’s ready; it needs to rest for a while as horses are not very efficient digesters and if you use it right away it’s too hot and too weedy.  It needs to break down for a while.  I don’t use pet manure in the compost, that gets buried in the yard in an area where we don’t grow food.

Compost bins also need moisture.  We’ve been getting enough rain and it seems to seep into the bins.  And I figure there’s enough moisture in what we’re putting into the bin.  If it looks a little dry as the summer progresses and the heat increases we’ll adjust the moisture content as needed.  Again, we try not to be too picky about it but to pay attention to what things look like.

Once your compost is done (and there’s something really amazing and wondrous about turning garbage into rich, crumbly soil) it’s great to use in the garden.  I top dress my garden beds with it in the Spring and the Fall.  It’s also good for putting into containers when I repot them.  At this point I have more of a need than I have available supply.  This new bin is definitely going to be put to good use.

Storing Half-used Ingredients

Half Used Ingredients

Do you throw away half-used ingredients such as the remaining portions of a carrot, cabbage or a big plump tomato? There are easy ways to keep them fresh and use them later. Food waste is a huge problem in this country and many people do not plan how to store or use their leftovers.  This contributes to increased landfills, economic loss (you paid for that food didn’t you?) and a waste or resources.  Before putting those half-used ingredients in the trash, let’s learn how to keep them fresh.

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On My Mind Monday 04.22.13

on my mind -- what's in the news

It’s never the same two weeks in a row. A collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition, and holistic health. Here’s what’s on my mind.

Potato chips are addictive – We’ve all seen the ad that promises, “Bet you can’t eat just one.”  Now it turns out that there may be something to it.  A new study scanned the brains of mice while they ate different foods including potato chips as a means of understanding why people overeat, especially on snack foods.  It turns out that even though the mice consumed chow with the same caloric and fat content as chips, when they ate the chips they engaged in hyperphagia.  This is a state where the subject gorges, or over consumes, past the point of satiety.  The study found that, “chronic intake of a high-fat diet decreases the rewarding effect of food, leading to disorganization of the feeding pattern which eventually results in overweight.”  Furthermore, it appeared that eating potato chips (and, the resultant overfeeding behavior) was correlated with a reduction in brain activity as related to sleep.

Cook Your Cupboard – A new project by NPR that seeks to help people who are on pantry overload.  You know…those oddball jars you bought in a moment of inspired indecision at the ethnic market.  Or that strangely eclectic gift basket you received for on occasion or another and there are  a few stragglers left over.  Now you can plan the online version of Chopped in your home with your own basket of goodies.  [ed. note: before you use them be sure to #ReadTheLabel.]

 Bluefin Tuna Almost Extinct  – Overfishing, illegal fishing, and the rise of sushi have contributed to the severe reduction in population numbers of Bluefin Tuna in the Pacific Northwest.  If we are to stop destroying species we need to be more mindful of our impact on our environment.  If you eat fish consider downloading the Seafood Watch App from Monterey Bay Aquarium which will help you make ocean friendly choices for seafood and sushi.

Speaking of Sushi – Many people around the world eat bugs. Oddly enough when we look at the global map of entomophagy we see that it mostly occurs in the southern hemisphere. There have been an increasing number of articles about eating bugs and how they are more environmentally friendly to raise, a more concentrated source of protein, a better use of resources, and pound-for-pound, an inexpensive source of food.  Now a young group of entrepreneurs has come up with the idea of repackaging various insects into a more sushi-looking form to sidestep the squeamishness many people face when seeing something on their plate with legs, wings and antennae.  While not an acceptable food source for those who are vegetarian, vegan, or kosher, it will be interesting to see if this concept takes off.

Pruning tomatoes, cucumbers and melons = this video clearly shows and explains how and why to prune for best results in the garden.  If you haven’t started your vegetable garden it’s not too late, this is a great time of year and when you’re enjoying the bounty of the season you’ll be glad you planted food.

We have a rather challenging situation in our back yard with a lot of shade, sunny areas that have, in years past, burned the plants once they get to a certain point in the season, and several pine trees that make for very acidic soil.  So this year I’m trying an experiment and growing  my tomatoes in pots.  This will give me the flexibility to move them around and find just the right location as well as having better control of the soil.

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photo: alvimann

8 Tips To Prevent Food Waste

BBC video on Food Waste

This video about food waste from the BBC highlights just how much food is wasted in developed countries. Some of it is due to confusion about labeling but much of it is due to carelessness. Food has become so cheap that we don’t value it and discard it easily.

The GMO connection 

Food waste is balanced by the unfortunate sadness of health issues from people consuming too much food (and often the wrong kinds of foods).  Cultural habits tend to encourage finishing everything on our plate, even if we’ve already had enough to eat. But this can be a lead-in to weight gain and obesity. So while it’s certainly not a good idea to polish off your plate simply because it’s there, it’s also not good to throw away large amounts of food.

Given the high number of people who don’t have enough to eat in the premier nations, let alone the rest of the world, this is a major issue. Yet iI=f we continue to think there’s not enough food this continues to pave the way for more GMO foods.  Unfortunately, the increased use of GMOs causes increased use of pesticides, not the decrease that was initially promised.  GMO also appears to be strongly tied to an increase in Irritable Bowel Disorders as it destroys intestinal flora.

What to do about food waste?

How do we address this issue? How can we stop the senseless destruction and waste of massive amounts of food? Remember this is food which took many man-hours to grow, nurture, harvest, transport, produce, and provide.  And which you had to work hard to earn the money to pay for it.  Food which might have provided a meal to someone in need.

One suggestion is to look at our consumption habits.  If we routinely throw out certain fresh foods perhaps we’re buying too much.  If we collect foods in containers, letting them turn grey and fuzzy before we throw them out, perhaps we are preparing too much.  Or perhaps we’re not just packaging them attractively enough to be appealing for a second or third meal. Below are some great tips to help you stop wasting food, and money.

Strategies to help reduce food waste

  • Shop more frequently:  Some people see this as a pain.  However, while it’s important to have a fully stocked pantry of staple products, it can be better for food waste to shop 2-3 times per week for fresh items buying only what you need for the next couple of days.  This requires menu planning and making it a habit to not impulse buy. 
  • Only buy what you will use:  This can be a challenging habit to implement.  Oftentimes we purchase because it’s on sale.  Or we think ‘I’ve always wanted to make that.’  Perhaps we say to ourselves ‘I think I just saw a recipe for that.’  And if we don’t get to that item, it winds up in the trash.  If we only buy what we know we will use there will be much less waste.
  • Plan for leftovers:  When cooking a whole chicken, for example, plan the meals that will be the result of that original meal. Have several recipes on hand that call for cooked chicken (including this fabulous pot pie recipe). This strategy works for any meal that you make.
  • Scaling back:  As household dynamics change you may no longer be cooking for a large number of people. Also, many recipes are written for four to six servings. Learn how to scale back your favorite recipes or to plan that half of the meal will be stored in the freezer for a later meal. 
  • Sharing purchases:  Grocery stores or warehouse shopping stores make bulk buying less expensive. For example, 10 pounds of onions is much less expensive than purchasing them either on a per pound basis or in a three-pound bag.  However, unless you’re planning on making frequent batches of onion soup you can’t go through it all quickly enough.  If you share with one or two friends everyone gets the benefit of the less expensive price and there is bound to be less waste.
  • Attractive use of leftovers:  Using wide mouth pint jars to make a meal-in-a-jar from leftovers somehow seems much more attractive to people than looking at a collection of containers where you have to open and peer at each one to decide which one(s) you want to eat.  This food saving tip also includes learning to make a composed plate with perhaps one new food (usually a quick saute of some kind) and arranging everything well on the plate.  If you put the same attention into arranging a plate of leftovers as you do a plate of freshly cooked food, people will respond positively.  If you plop it wherever on the plate and just lump it there, they are less enthused about the meal.
  • Rummage cooking:  I’d love to see a t.v. show on this concept (rather than the immensely stocked everything-you-could-imagine pantries) and it’s one that takes a bit of practice.  This is where you notice that the refrigerator is getting full.  Learn to look at the ingredients gathering in your refrigerator and begin to plan what you can make for a menu using up those last bits.  In the beginning, it may be a soup or stew.  But as you learn to put flavor profiles together you’ll begin to have more varied meals.  While not all of them may be successful as a “menu” chances are, because you made them, they are all tasty, something you enjoy, and a great way to prevent waste.
  • Serve smaller portions:  It’s always better to go back for seconds than to have too much on the plate.  Studies have shown that we eat more than we think if we have larger portions in front of us.

Use these tips and chances are you’ll not only save time and money, but you may also discover a newfound creativity in the kitchen.

On My Mind Monday 01.21.13

It’s never the same two weeks in a row.  A collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition, and holistic health.  Here’s what’s on my mind.

Eating a fatty diet may reduce sperm count – the study mentioned in this article does not show a definitive correlation, but a probable one.  However, of more interest to me is the fact that saturated fats are, once again, being vilified.  Saturated fat in excess is indeed not a healthy choice.  However, it is required for, among other things, hormone production, so curbing saturated fat intake to excess is also not healthy.  Of only minor mention in the article but, I believe, more significance, is the impact that obesity has on sperm health.  Male obesity has risen dramatically over the past three decades and has been accompanied by an increase in male infertility.  This is an issue that needs to be more directly addressed for those who wish to have children.

Artificial colors in medications can trigger hyperactivity – When I work with clients I encourage them to remove artificial colors from their diets.  These petrochemical-based substances do not belong in our diet or our bodies.  There are many studies which support this.  One major challenge, however, is that while you can choose foods, toothpaste, and personal care products which do not have color in them, you cannot control medications as easily.  And any artificial color that goes into the body can have an effect.  As I wrote about over a year ago in this article on color-free supplements, it is healthier to have color-free choices.  My hope is that eventually manufacturers will either choose plant-based color options, offer color-free options, or find a different way to identify medications that does not rely on petrochemicals.

Vitamin K the supplement of 2013? – I get really upset when the news claims a particular food, superfood, or supplement is the “it” item of the year.  Unfortunately in this country we have a habit of thinking that if a little bit is good a lot must be better.  Witness what happened with soy…it was noted that Asians, who eat more soy, have less incidence of certain illnesses.  So Americans added soy to their diet in huge measure.  Soy milk, soy cheese, soy meat, soy ice cream, the list goes on.  The problem is that we eat more unfermented soy than the Asians do, we eat genetically modified soy, and we’re not responsible about how we add this highly phyto-estrogenic, goitrogenic substance to our diet. Adding vitamin K through food is not a bad thing, it can help to ensure that we have enough in our diet.  Found in dark leafy greens it’s a good thing to add to the diet.  But to start supplementing without knowing whether you need it or not is not a good choice  While it is not known to be toxic, consuming too much has been reported to cause tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.  So by all means add dark leafy greens to your diet.  However if you are considering supplementing because it’s the big thing of the year, consider testing your micronutrient status first to see if you really need it.

India’s Packaged Food To Have GM Label – I’m so happy to see labeling of GMOs.  I hope that it will grow beyond just packaged foods and eventually include fresh foods as well as meat, dairy, and eggs.  After all, if the animals are fed GMOs the products we get from them are also GMO.

This video about food waste from the BBC

highlights just how much food is wasted in developed countries.  Some of it is due to confusion about labeling but some is due to carelessness.  Given the high number of people who don’t have enough to eat in these countries, let alone the rest of the world, this is a major issue.  If we continue to think there’s not enough food we continue to pave the way for GMO foods which, as is becoming increasingly clear, does not provide an appropriate answer.

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On My Mind Monday 11.5.12

It’s never the same two weeks in a row.  A collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition, and holistic health.  Here’s what’s on my mind.

Jump rope for health – With the colder weather coming it may not be as comfortable to exercise outdoors.  If you’ve got a good clear space in your home consider trying jumping rope.  I’m impressed by how much exercise you get in just a short period of time (believe me, it’s a workout).  This video showed me a couple of new steps which was pretty cool.

Cows making human milk – this is one of the most disturbing GMO developments I think I’ve seen yet.  Cows that have been genetically engineered to produce human milk.  If you can’t drink cow’s milk, don’t drink it.  Let’s not try to cash in on the dairy industry by making cows give human milk.  One of the disturbing things is that the baby cow who has been created from this experiment has no tail.  Scientists are claiming that this is unrelated to their genetic manipulation but I’m not convinced.  I fervently hope that this experiment is shut down.

New Season’s CEO leaving to create a chain of healthy convenience stores – this is an idea that has been needed for a long time.  Huge numbers of people are looking for this sort of option, especially when they are on the go with errands or if they are traveling.  The biggest issue, as I see it, will be getting all those people who say they want this to actually utilize it once it happens.  I’m excited about this idea and hope it grows.

Chipotle signs fair food agreement – Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the environmentally-friendly-chemically-clean-non-gmo-organic food issues that we forget to think about the human cost, the ethical side of food.  Some of this was highlighted in the book Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook, but mostly, as consumers, we never see this side of our food.  This agreement is only a small part of what is needed, but it is a step in the right direction.

Unreal Candy – I’m not a big candy person, although I admit to liking some as a treat now and then.  Most candy is loaded with garbage (artificial colors, preservatives, GMOs, etc) which goes a long way toward keeping me away from it.  Now it appears there’s a company that’s created a candy bar which is a little bit better for you in that it has no garbage ingredients.  They do use agave nectar which, admittedly, I’m not a fan of, but overall their ingredient list is pretty amazing.  If you plan to try it keep in mind it’s still sugar and still something that needs to be a treat, eaten in moderation.

As long-time readers know, I am a huge proponent of finding ways to cut down on food waste.  This video is a reminder about just how much we throw out in this country with a lot of thoughtful commentary on how we can reduce our food waste.

On My Mind Monday 7.09.12

news | photo: mconnors

It’s never the same two weeks in a row.  A collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition and holistic health.  Here’s what’s on my mind.

How can a big gulp look so small? – Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban has raised all kinds of backlash across the system.  The biggest misconception put forth is that we “know” how much we are consuming.  Manufacturers keep trotting forth this phrase each time they feel threatened to limited by any type of legislation that may impact their ability to peddle their product.  Frequently it’s the least healthy manufacturers who complain the loudest.  So now another study has been done that once again proves that our brains don’t do geometry very well.  We are not accurately able to gauge how much we are consuming, instead cueing off the size of the container.  This study, to my mind, confirms a study previously done with bottomless bowls of soup.  We do indeed eat with our eyes, frequently over-eating because we rely on visual cues.

Our Daily Bread – a slightly modified take of the work they’ve published in their book Hungry Planet: What The World Eats, Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio have an exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston.  It shows a wide variety of people with the food that they plan to eat for that day.  The variety and circumstances are startling.  It gives one definitely pause for thought.  I hope the exhibit is very successful and even more that it will travel around the country, perhaps making it’s way to a museum in Houston so that I can go see it.

Food Companies Concerned About Sustainability – As more consumers become more educated, more companies are beginning to listen.  Realizing that they need to be aware of and involved in this issue as well if they want to sell their products.  As always I propose we start with whole foods, but I do believe that sustainable practices across all parts of the food spectrum are important.

Nutrition Education on Wheels – This looks like an interesting concept.  Using a food truck and providing recipe cards and cooking demonstrations people are getting some ideas for how to use the food they get to make healthy, nutritious meals.  This is an idea that I think could be expanded greatly all across the country.  It seems to me that it would not only help people to eat healthier, but also to help avoid food waste as people often don’t use what they don’t know how to use and it sits until it becomes inedible.  I hope to see more food trucks like this.

EU Organic Label Now Mandatory – Well this just proves that it can be done.  It can’t come to our shores fast enough in my opinion.  I even like the symbol they chose.

I use a LOT of onions in my house.  I’ve tried to grow there but here in my hot, piney woods garden they have not done well.  Out of two onion sets I got one reasonable size onion, yes, one onion.  The others all seemed to melt and disappear into the garden.  I’m still not sure how that happens but I’ve decided that, for now, growing onions is not for me. I continue to use them as they are flavorful and a great, healthy way to punch up your recipes but, for now, I’m still buying instead of growing them.  As a good source of vitamin C onions also provide a lot of phytonutrients.  They are considered to be beneficial for heart health and are also anti-inflammatory.  Using them can be a challenge however as chopping a spherical object into nice tidy dices or even slices isn’t always easy.  Learning the proper way to chop onions is a handy skill.  Here’s a great video demonstrating how to do it.

 

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On My Mind Monday 7.02.12

news | photo:  mconnors

It’s never the same two weeks in a row.  A collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition, health and holistic living.  Read what’s on my mind.

Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden – It seems that mainstream science is beginning to realize that wholesale, repeated slaughter of our intestinal flora may not be such a good thing. Holistic practitioners have been saying for decades that supporting the gut is key to supporting health. Starting with a baby’s first inoculation via the birth process to our exposures we build a hopefully healthy intestinal eco-system.  When we take antibiotics and wipe out both good and bad bacteria there are negative health effects that accumulate from this overarching destruction.   I’m glad to see that mainstream science is beginning to recognize the benefits of a healthy digestive system.  If you want to learn more consider reading Liz Lipski’s amazing book, Digestive Wellness.

Meat Without Drugs – For those Omnivore and Flexitarian eaters out there this is a huge deal.  The FDA has known for decades that the producers in the meat industry over-use antibiotics in order to keep their animals healthy in spite of overcrowding and filthy conditions.  The problem is that those antibiotics are still present in the meat when you eat it, leading to a regular low level exposure.  Over 70% of all antibiotic use in this country is in animal feed.  That’s an astounding number.  It appears that this situation may also be one of the leading causes behind antibiotic resistant bacteria.  We are essentially inoculating our bodies over and over again.  You can avoid eating meat with antibiotics in it by purchasing organic, purchasing meat labeled “raised without antibiotics”, or purchasing directly from a farmer that you trust.  And support this campaign, sign the pledge.

More than honeybees – It turns out the dangers from our damage to the environment are affecting more than just honeybees.  One big takeaway from this article is how the loss of meadows and wildflower habitats is affecting the bee population.  They need to have a wide mixture of plants available for foraging.  All the spaces that we consider weedy and remove or cover over or control by mono-cropping are exactly the spaces needed by the bees.  And we need them to pollinate our food.  It is, after all, an eco-system and one which we need to respect.

Olive Oil and Slippery Politics – sadly it’s not just in this country that politics and corporate aims challenge the issues of sustainability and environmental responsibility.  Unfortunately this compounds the situation already clouded by adulteration of olive oil.  To my mind the solution is simple and straightforward.  Stop adulterating the product, support small farmers, accept that this is a regional product that does best when produced sustainably.  However the EU’s solution is to create an overwhelmingly tragic repeat of what has happened to the dairy industry in this country by paying farmers to stock a reserve which will at some point no longer be acceptable for consumption.  It’s difficult as consumers to know what makes a good choice for olive oil, to know who is not adulterating and who is not being squeezed out (sorry) by corporate interests.  I know of a few producers that I believe sell a clean, quality product if you are interested in purchasing your olive oil for quality and purity.  Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard in Elmendorf, TX, Texas Hill Country Olive Company in Dripping Springs, TX, and the Chaffin Family Orchards in Oroville, CA.  High quality olive oil costs more, but you can tell by the flavor that you are getting an amazing product.

Farm to Dumpster – So much of our food is wasted.  In a world where there is growing disparity between the food haves and the food have-nots this is a deep shame.  In a world where food costs are rising this is sad.  In a world where the environment is stressed and global warming is a reality, this is just wrong.  We need to do better.  We need to be more mindful about our food and how we use it.  Learn more and make changes….start with Jonathan Bloom’s excellent book, American Wasteland.

What I’m Reading:

Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Mardone – This book was on a friend’s cookbook shelf and she pulled it down to share a recipe that she particularly liked with me.  Flipping through the pages it looked amazing and, more than that, delicious.  I am one of those people who truly does READ a cookbook.  Reading through the pages of this one is a journey through foods that signify comfort and love.  But they come without gluten and dairy, a huge issue for many people.  I was so inspired by this book that before I was done reading it I ran to the grocery store to buy the gluten free flours to make Sivlana’s mix.  The one issue with her mix is the use of Xanthan Gum which is a binding agent.  Some people can be very sensitive to it and suffer from flatulence or bloating when eating it.  I haven’t experimented enough with the mix and the recipes to know if it’s okay to leave it out but I must say the recipes I’ve tried so far have all been amazing.

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