“Sufficient sleep, exercise, healthy food, friendship, and peace of mind
are necessities, not luxuries.”
– Mark Halperin
_The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed
health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even_ lol on occasion.
Wednesday. Haven’t started a Wednesday with a hump day joke in a while.Probably for the best since they’re never that funny. Anyway, it’s hump dayand we have a big problem–food waste. So why is food waste such a big problemand what does it have to do with our health? Let’s dive in.
Feeding the World, Methane Sucks, and a Healthy Planet.
One of the most common critiques of a more health conscious and sustainablefood system is the argument that it wouldn’t scale enough to feed the world.Regenerative agriculture is great and all, but can local farms and ranchesproducing food the right way really make enough to feed everyone? Won’t wealways need large monoculture crops and some industrial meat operations tosome extent just to make enough food? Ehh… maybe not if we take into accounthow much food we waste. According to this 2013study, fortypercent of food produced in America heads to the landfill. Forty percent!! Inever stayed awake during statistics in college but that seems pretty high.Whether it is oddly-shaped produce or overstocked food, tons of food wastecomes directly from the producer and retailer level. How do you think yourlocal Whole Foods grocery section ends up looking so pristine? You think allthose fruits and vegetables grew that way, or were they just the few selected,while their uglier cousins were all disposed of for having a blemish or two?Then, you also have confusing “best by” or “sell by” dates on a lot of foodthat have very little to do with when that food is no longer safe toeat. That’sright–those dates on food labels are mostly arbitrary, yet they still promptso many of us to chuck precious food in the trash without giving it a secondthought. So what happens to all this food waste when it goes to a landfill? Itproduces methane–the same greenhouse gas you often hear get pinned as one ofmain reasons why beef and dairy production is such a bad thing for theenvironment. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Without getting too much intothe weeds, that is a bad thing and we should cut methane production whereverwe can. We need to do a better job of curbing our food waste. Feeding theentire country using sustainable practices that are good for our health andthe health of our planet starts to look a lot more doable if we just stopwasting so much food. The solution? Don’t worry–the government is stepping in.Ha, but seriously–some states are passing laws that require businesses tocompost food waste instead of sending it to landfills. We can also do our part byminimizing the food we waste at home. Starting a compost bin, shopping forprudent amounts of perishable foods, and using the ole sniff test instead oftaking “best by” dates as gospel are all great, practical steps we can take tomove this issue in the right direction.
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What’s Wrong With The Image Above?
Nope–I’m not talking about the New Balance and jeans fashion faux pas. Is thatreally how our food should be produced? That picture is from a Future MeatTechnologies production facility in Rehovot, Israel. It looks like a scene outof a bad SciFi movie. Well it turns out Nestle is getting in on the lab-grownmeat market and this is their Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of lab grownmeat, minus the Oompa Loompas. They say a picture is worth a thousand words,so I’ll let the image above save me from having to go into detail about whythat isn’t how we should be producing our meat. Call me old school, but apicture of cattle on an open field of carbon-sequestering, good-for-the-panetpasture, is where I want my meat to come from.
- Did the Willy Wonka joke make you laugh, or did it just make you want chocolate? Maybe both? Hopefully both. Here is a great chocolate to try if you are going to indulge.
- Want to tackle food waste in a big way, right at home? Check out these compost tumblers for your yard!
- Shop for all those ugly fruits and veggies that would be otherwise discarded with Misfits Market!
- What is autophagy? We will cover it in a future Daily Tonic, but for now you can check out this podcast.
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