Sunday, February 17, 2013

THINK-EAT-SAVE- The Planet -Food Waste Matters

"One person's trash is another person's treasure"

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations is THINK-EAT-SAVE to reduce your foodprint.

"1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger."
The Planet needs to Paradigm Shift to change the way we deal with Food Waste and Poverty.    We need to find answers on how to waste less food and re-distibute the food that is wasted to people that don't have any food.   I would say that for all of the people that throw out food, which includes manufacturers, producers, families, individuals and restaurants,  there are the same amount of people that are hungry in the world.   You know when your parents would say "there are people starving in Africa so eat your food", well they were sort of right.  There are people starving or short of food everywhere in the world while others  throw out  food.


The impact of food waste is not just financial. Environmentally, food waste leads to wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides; more fuel used for transportation; and more rotting food, creating more methane – one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change. Methane is 23 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. The vast amount of food going to landfills makes a significant contribution to global warming. 
  • Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.
  • Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).
  • The amount of food lost or wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world's annual cereals crop (2.3 billion tonnes in 2009/2010).
  • Food loss and waste also amount to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital and needlessly produce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change.
  • In developing countries food waste and losses occur mainly at early stages of the food value chain and can be traced back to financial, managerial and technical constraints in harvesting techniques as well as storage –and cooling facilities. Thus, a strengthening of the supply chain through the support farmers and investments in infrastructure, transportation, as well as in an expansion of the food –and packaging industry could help to reduce the amount of food loss and waste. 
  • In medium- and high-income countries food is wasted and lost mainly at later stages in the supply chain. Differing from the situation in developing countries, the behavior of consumers plays a huge part in industrialized countries. Moreover, the study identified a lacking coordination between actors in the supply chain as a contributing factor. Farmer-buyer agreements can be helpful to increase the level of coordination. Additionally, raising awareness among industries, retailers and consumers as well as finding beneficial use for save food that is presently thrown away are useful measures to decrease the amount of losses and waste. 
  • Discarded fish alone amounts to as much as 30 million tonnes, compared to total landings of 100–130 tonnes/year.
  • In the United States 30% of all food, worth US$48.3 billion (€32.5 billion), is thrown away each year. It is estimated that about half of the water used to produce this food also goes to waste, since agriculture is the largest human use of water. (Jones, 2004 cited in Lundqvist et al., 2008)
  • United Kingdom households waste an estimated 6.7 million tonnes of food every year, around one third of the 21.7 million tonnes purchased. This means that approximately 32% of all food purchased per year is not eaten. Most of this (5.9 million tonnes or 88%) is currently collected by local authorities. Most of the food waste (4.1 million tonnes or 61%) is avoidable and could have been eaten had it been better managed (WRAP, 2008; Knight and Davis, 2007).
  • In the USA, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions.
Global Food Losses and Food Waste - FAO, 2011
The environmental crisis: The environment’s role in averting future food crisis  – UNEP, 2009


I feel food guilt every time I throw out a bag of garbage that has rotten food in it because I know that I have thrown money wasted into the garbage and have depleted the environments critical resources.  I waste a lot of food because I live alone and find that I don't always use up all of the containers or fresh vegetables before they spoil.   Even with all the preservatives put into food these days the food isn't meant to last forever and if it does it isn't real food.  We need to find ways to keep less food out of the landfills and have it go to the people that need it.

I know that the Food Systems around the world are changing and we may not have enough food to feed everyone on the planet one day.  With the increase of Climate Change and Extreme Weather in the world and the lack of financial assistance for farmers and the shift towards genetically modified food there will be a shortage of farmers producing healthy Organic non toxic foods in the future.   
We need to find ways to manage the food we produce and eat now.

Some ideas that I think might be helpful are:

1.  Have government create more incentives for farmers to grow Organic crops and farm with practices that keep the earth sustainable.
2.  Have incentives for manufacturers to produce Biodegradable eco packaging for all food products.
3.  Impose financial penalties on companies that don't comply with environmental food practices.
4.  Manufacturers get tax incentives to produce chemical laden junk foods that are sold for less money than healthy foods.  The government should provide tax incentives and credits for Independent food producers that focus on local, organic and affordable food that is sold to the public.
5.  Many families struggle with obesity because they survive on high carbohydrate and highly processed foods because they have longer shelf life and are available everywhere for less money.  Healthy food should cost less than junk food because there is a price to pay in increased health care costs as a result of the epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease because of the lack of proper nutrition for many families in the World.
6.  Food education needs to be provided in the schools for children at a young age so they develop healthy eating habits and they learn about the costs to the environment and the health care system in their future.
7.  Manufacturers and grocers and markets should look at ways to sell people only what they need.  I find that I can only buy a whole stalk of celery but I only end up using half of the celery stalk before it goes bad. I am sure that a lot of food is wasted because of the big box packaging of foods.   Even when you buy food at farmers markets you are restricted to certain sized containers of food.  Maybe it's time to rethink how we sell portions of food.
8.  People have lost the skills on preserving foods and expect manufacturers to do it for them.  We need to look at programs that can teach people how to preserve their foods and use foods efficiently so that less food is wasted.
9.  Maybe a tax incentive for people that maintain healthy weights instead of punishing people that are obese.  
10.  Food banks need to be changed to food re-distribution centres where people that have surplus food can donate in their areas so that people that fall on hard times can access emergency food easily.

We need to look at the whole food system differently.   From how it is produced to how it is distributed to how much it costs and what the impact to the environment is.

With the increase of unemployment and climate change and the increasing numbers extreme weather disasters and the increase of health issues and diseases in the world, we need to find new ways to solve some of the issues that occur from all of these factors.   
Once the resources are gone they are gone.  We need to find ways to stop the food waste NOW before it's too late.

Without food there is no LIFE.   

Food is connected to everything on the planet, the health of the people the animals and the environment. 

We need to figure out how to take better care of it NOW before we lose it ALL.

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY is on JUNE 5, 2013 - THINK -EAT-SAVE the Planet on this day.

For more information go to United Nations Environmental Program at

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day - A Day of Chocolate

Today is VALENTINE"S DAY the day when all the people in Love in the World get special attention.  Their partners take them out for a romantic dinner or cook a rare dinner at home or shower them with Chocolates.    

Well what about all the Single people?  What do they do?  Well most stay away from the Over Priced Lover Centric Restaurants and either opt for Pizza Take out or some sort of quick meal.

Maybe there should be a Special Day for Singles. How about Single Day where all the restaurants only serve single people or make special Prix Fixe Meals for Single people.  
Why doesn't anyone do that?  Valentine's Day is one of the most depressing day of the year for people that are single but don't want to be.   They are reminded over and over again that they are single by every station on TV and radio the week of Valentine's Day.   Every retail store and restaurant have special items or menus just for couples to throw their money on to show their partners how much they love them.

Single people are special too,  they just don't have anyone to shout it out to the world.  

Some ideas for Singles on Valentine's Day.

1.  I am single and one of my friends is a Gay man who got married a couple of years ago and has started a new tradition of inviting me and a few of his single friends and his mom over for a Valentine's Dinner.   You don't have to be Gay to host a party but take the idea and have a party with your single friends and have some fun.

2.  Make your own special dinner at home and make everything you would have made for a partner if you had one.   If you have any leftovers just have them the next day or freeze them for a day when you aren't feeling so special.

3.  By your own chocolate gifts and enjoy them guilt free.

4.  Go Shopping for a great outfit that makes you look great.

5.  Watch a great movie on Netflix or Itunes.  A Rom-Com maybe?

6.  Not my favourite thing but do some exercise if that's your thing.

7.  Book a day at the Spa.  Did you know that you can get chocolate Spa Treatments and body wraps?

8.  My favourite thing is ..... make a batch of chocolate fondue and get some fresh fruits like strawberries and other sweet dippers and dip away.

9.   Call a single, divorced or widowed friend long distance and chat the night away.

10.  Or the last idea that some of you might think is the greatest.  Catch up on some SLEEP.  Wake up the next day and start the day over without the constant reminder that you are supposed to buy into the hype of Valentine's Day.

or if you are a LOVER then you know what to do.

My recipe and prescription for Valentine's Day -
Chocolate Fondue.

Melt chocolate with a little bit of butter and some great brandy or kahlua until it's shiny and smooth.   Pour into a fondue pot and dip some fresh Organic Strawberries into it and enjoy.

Whether you are Single or not you are Still Special and deserve some Yummy Chocolate.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fat Tuesday - The guilt free day for Pancakes

Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Tuesday and Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is determined by Easter; its date changes annually.
The expression "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the word shrive, meaning "confess."[1] Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. The term Mardi gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins onAsh Wednesday
Source *Wikepedia.

It's OK to enjoy your Big Fat Stack of Pancakes today.
Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday or Fat Tuesday...  Whatever you call it, it's a day that you can eat Pancakes to your hearts content before you are supposed to swear off of guilty pleasures for 40 days.  Who's kidding who?  How many people last the 40 days?  If so it should be marketed as a diet plan that works.
I have never been to Mardi Gras but I can only imagine how much food I would consume and how much weight I would gain after a few days in the Big Easy.   
There are low fat, or gluten free pancake recipes but I am not going to give you that recipe.    I like to go classic and then you add whatever you like to it.   Blueberries,  brain food,  strawberries, heart and love food,  maple syrup,  good Canadian liquid gold.   

Here's a really cute way to make Pancakes from  Brit Chef Jamie Oliver and his daughters.

and this is Martha Stewart's recipe for Basic Pancakes.



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Assorted toppings, such as butter, maple syrup, confectioners' sugar, honey, jams, preserves, sweetened whipped cream, or chocolate syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees; have a baking sheet or heatproof platter ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter (or oil), and egg. Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened (do not overmix; a few small lumps are fine).
  3. Heat a large skillet (nonstick or cast-iron) or griddle over medium. Fold a sheet of paper towel in half, and moisten with oil; carefully rub skillet with oiled paper towel.
  4. For each pancake, spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter onto skillet, using the back of the spoon to spread batter into a round (you should be able to fit 2 to 3 in a large skillet).
  5. Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven. Continue with more oil and remaining batter. (You'll have 12 to 15 pancakes.) Serve warm, with desired toppings.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

You are what you eat...really.

I was watching the Marilyn Show this morning and found this segment really interesting.  The segment was "You are what you eat".  With food and body part comparisons to demonstrate that fact.

I never looked at my food this way but it makes total sense. Check it out:

You Are What You Eat

“You are what you eat” has a whole new meaning when it comes to the nutritional science of food that looks like body organs!

Onions: Body cells
Onions look like body cells and help clear waste materials from all of the body’s cells.  They have been shown to help neutralize the free radicals in the body, and protect the membranes of the body's cells from damage. They contain many active compounds that have been show to be helpful in preventing cancer cells from developing. 
Walnut: Brain
The folds, wrinkles and shape of a walnut resemble a brain.  The human brain is made up of about 60% structural fat and needs high-quality fats like omega-3s to function properly. Walnuts are loaded with omega-3 essential fats, which make them the ultimate "brain food." Having a handful a few times a week has been shown to improve concentration and mental performance. A lack of omegas has been associated with depression and anxiety. The antioxidants in walnuts may help counteract age-related cognitive decline and even reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

Tomato: Heart
Slice open a tomato and you'll notice the red veggie has multiple chambers that resemble the structure of a heart. Studies have shown that the high amount of lycopene helps to reduce the risk of heart disease in both men and women. Have tomatoes with a good quality olive oil, flax oil or avocado and it will improve the absorption of lycopene in the body.  Lycopene is associated with the deep red color in red tomatoes, but you can get an excellent amount from orange and yellow tomatoes too. Tomatoes have also been shown to help lower total cholesterol. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood, which can be helpful in lowering the risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis. (
Mushroom: Ears
Slice a mushroom in half and it resembles the shape of the human ear and due to the good source of Vitamin D by adding it to your cooking could actually improve your hearing.
This particular vitamin is important for healthy bones, even the tiny ones in the ear that transmit sound to the brain.
Carrot: Eyes
When you cut a carrot in half and crosswise, you can see similarities to an eye. If you look close enough you can even see patterns that look like the pupil and iris.  Carrots contain high levels antioxidants, like beta-carotene, which has been shown to be helpful for maintaining healthy eyes and decreasing the chance of macular degeneration.  Beta-carotene is an important precursor for vitamin A. An extreme lack of vitamin A can cause blindness, swollen eyelids, corneal ulcers and a condition where the eyes can no longer produce tears called xerophthalmia.
Avocado: Uterus
The light bulb shape of an avocado resembles a women’s uterus.  This food is supportive for reproductive health as it is a good source of folic acid. It has also been shown to increase fertility.  One study found a link between the high content of monounsaturated fat and increased birth rate. High intake of monounsaturated fats associated with a higher chance of pregnancy 3.4 times more than those who have had little monounsaturated fat intake.  Once pregnant, avocados are an excellent food during pregnancy to help reduce birth defects. The good levels of B6 can also help morning sickness during pregnancy. It takes approximately 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.
Celery: Bones
Lean stalks of celery look just like bones and they also contain properties that can help support healthy bones.  Celery contains silicon, which is a trace element that helps keep bones strong. An interesting fact is that bones and celery are both 23 percent sodium. One large stalk of celery contains 26 mg of the essential mineral calcium. Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is vital to the development and maintenance of strong bones, and can help prevent bone loss associated with menopause. In order for calcium to be properly absorbed, vitamin K -- along with the essential minerals magnesium and phosphorus -- must be present. A celery stalk offers up to 7 mg of magnesium and 15 mg of phosphorus, thereby providing all the nutrients essential for bone health.
Ginger: Stomach
Ginger’s natural shape resembles the stomach. Its unique phytochemical content has been show to help reduce nausea and vomiting.  It can also improve digestive health overall.  The recommended limit is 4 grams of ginger daily. Fresh ginger root is always best, but you can use ginger powder too. Steeping a piece of fresh ginger in hot water can be an easy way to consume, with many digestive benefits.
Sweet potato: Pancreas
The sweet potato bears a strong resemblance to the pancreas, and its properties also promote healthy function of this organ.  High levels of beta-carotene a powerful antioxidant helps to protect the tissues in the pancreas from developing cancer.  Sweet potatoes also release sugars gradually into the bloodstream, helping to regulate blood-sugar levels.
Wine: Blood
Red wine and blood have a similar appearance and it is by no surprise that the properties found in wine (antioxidants and polyphenols) are helpful for reducing bad cholesterol and blood clots.  It can also reduce high blood pressure, but the alcohol has to be removed from the wine for this to occur.
Miranda Malisani, RNCP

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday Foods

You never hear the phrase "I can't wait to eat salad on Superbowl Sunday".   Wonder why that is?

Superbowl Sunday is the #2 of biggest food days in the U.S. after Thanksgiving.
You seem to hear more people talk about the food than they do about the football.

For me the priority of Superbowl Sunday goes in the following order:

1.  Food
2.  Half Time Show
3.  Commercials
4.  Excuse to hang out with friends in total gluttony
5.  Not so much on the football but happy for the cities that have winning teams.

The top Superbowl Sunday Foods include these foods:

1.  Chicken Wings
2.  Nachos
3.  Pizza
4.  Chili
5.  Ribs
6.  Guacamole and Tortilla Chips
7.  Chips and Dip
8.  Jalapeno Poppers
9.  any kind of meat BBQ'd
10.  and of course the beverage to wash it all down with is the BEER.

Superbowl Sunday is like Christmas for Men and the women who like to spend time with them or like the whole experience of it.

I don't know why these foods became standard fare for Superbowl viewing accompaniment food but it seems to be a food pass for men and women to go all out in the gluttony diet and expect to feel it the next day.   I wonder what the percentage of people that call in sick from work the next day is?

I am not a football fan but I do get it and understand that this whole thing is just another acceptable bonding party that is amped up with the food and drink.    For me the equivalent would be the Oscars.

The Chicken Wing tradition started when a women in Buffalo (I think) restaurant pub deep fried chicken wings and tossed them in a butter and hot sauce and served them at the bar with celery and carrot sticks and blue cheese dressing and it became a hit.

Try something different with chicken wings and make a Blackberry Chipotle BBQ sauce.  Heat up your favourite Chipotle BBQ sauce and add Blackberry Jam and then toss with the wings.   Or you can make your own BBQ sauce, add fresh or frozen blueberries, smoked paprika or chipotle and use a hand blender to blend the blueberries until smooth.   Think outside the Chicken Wing Box and try something different.

What most of these foods have in common is that they are packed with flavour,  high in calories and cheap and easy to make.   Most of them can be made in advance so that you can just plunk the food in front of the football watchers and just continue to eat while watching the game.    Some of the food is meant to be prepared during half time,  but with the half time shows becoming a whole big show in itself it has become more important to have the food ready before the whole party starts.

One of the best foods to make in advance and just have hot and ready throughout the party is Chili.  Chili is the perfect low and slow dump and cook food that benefits from cooking for a long time so you can keep it on warm in a crock pot through your whole Superbowl game.
In Texas they make chili without beans but in the East coast it's all about the beans.   Some people like pure meat and sauce and some people like to jack it up vegetarian style.  The main thing is you need some sort of protein or beans,  lot's of spices and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and some other things added.   Everyone has their own killer recipe.  I have a couple of my own chili recipes in a few of my blog posts.   Try making a turkey chili or a vegetarian chili for something different.

One of the almost healthy things on this list is the Guacamole but it's only healthy if you eat it in moderation and use baked chips or other dippers.   Yeah I know, that's kind of killing the whole thing a bit.

My favourite Guacamole recipe is:

2 avocados scooped out and mashed
1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped and seeded
1 lime juiced
1 tomato seeded and chopped
1/8 red onion finely chopped
salt to taste
1 tsp tabasco sauce
1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped

Directions:   chop and mix all of the ingredients and reserve a little bit of the cilantro for a garnish.
Easy, tasty, healthy.

Serve with Tortilla chips

Superbowl sunday is so popular that even if you don't cook or can't be bothered you can practically go to any grocery store and pick up the whole thing ready to go.  

It's all about the Big Experience... It all goes together and it doesn't matter exactly what you eat as long as you have a few of these requisite foods, lots of drinks and have your buddies to share it with.