During this time of Thanksgiving, check out the New York Times article below about how much food we (who live here in America) throw away! Yup - right into the garbage.
It highlights a study in Tompkins County, N.Y., that showed 40 percent of food waste occurred in the home. Another study, by the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, found that 93 percent of respondents acknowledged buying foods they never used.
My husband and I were just talking about this the other day when I observed that our joint commitment - and skill set - around cooking, eating and cycling through our food seems to be an anomoly these days. A lost art perhaps? Certainly in places where food is scarce, I can't imagine people "forgetting" where they put their remaining precious grains of rice. So I decided to write about it and perhaps the skills we share can be shared by others too. Here's what we do...maybe you'll find something here too.
- just for today - clean out your fridge and do GET RID of the obvious junk, old ketchup, jelly jars, creepy stuff in the back etc....just for today throw out what's in the way of your obvious enjoyment so you'll never have to throw away again.
- ditto your freezer
- wash off sticky jars and such that you are keeping and arrange what you have left.
- ok - now you have a clean plate and it's a new day :)
- go shopping! Enjoy! It's a culinary adventure!
- buy lots of stuff you love that you know you can cook with in a variety of ways
- buy zip lock freezer bags
- take time to arrange you new stuff when you get home.
- divide and repackage foods you love that you know can be frozen...some for now and some for later. If Birds Eye can flash freeze their vegis, so can I.
- divide bread loaves in half and freeze
- add regular address labels and a magic marker notation to insure you will remember what's inside... seriously.
- keeping vegis fresh in plastic with a paper towel seems to help longevity
- every couple of days rearrange your food and pull the back stuff up front.
- remember - you are enjoying yourself! this is a privilege not a chore so rearrange your thinking if you must and have fun!
- when it's time to cook, go for it!
- think "ingredients" not leftovers. Rice, pasta, beans, lentils, grains...all can be made now, divided, labeled and frozen.
- when you prepare full meals like casseroles, stews, soups, create multiple dishes and freeze some.
- whenever you turn on the oven review what's in your storehouse and add multiple items. Don't allow oven time to go to waste. Get that squash, baked potato, red pepper or casserole into the oven, even if it's not for this meal. Big secret: cooked and prepped food that is ready to eat is far less likely to get jettisoned than stuff that looked great at the market and sits and waits for the right opportunity at home.
- get a crock pot and make friends with soup for a daily - weekly - easy breezy payoff with little effort.
- read cookbooks like novels to absorb their pleasure rather than just fishing for last minute recipes, notice what foods go together well and be prepared to let your creative side show.
- everything you ever need to know about preparing or storing any kind of food is a click away online
- you'll probably recognize by now that your freezer is stocked - but most of it is with food you bought fresh and divided or soups you made or casseroles or beans or grains you spent time cooking once not multiple times.
- poke your head in the freezer every morning and take out what you need for the next day to balance what you have fresh on hand.
- notice that you are beginning to "cycle through" food rather than having each meal stand alone.
- I find we cook "large" - that is full kitchen in high gear - about twice a week and quickly create with fresh food daily.
I guarantee you will have an overall healthier profile - both physical and financial - doing this than you will with a freezer stocked with boxed prepared foods or a fridge filled with smelly stuff in the back. And that's not even addressing all that eating out because "there's nothing to eat at home."
Last, but not least - the key ingredient here is nourishment...your nourishment! Forming a conscious relationship with how and what and when and why you nourish is an abundant gift you give yourself. Being out of touch with any aspect of your food system - from purchasing to storing, preparing and eating - means you are out of touch with some aspect of your own nourishment.
There is more healing for us to do in this realm than words can describe.
Begin now with your fridge and see where it goes for you. Don't be surprised if all sorts of issues clear up.
There are plenty more bullet points to be had than just mine. Do you have something to contribute? Please do! Your comments are the result of shared purposes. Together we can shift to a healthier paradigm and change those abysmal statistics while giving ourselves full expression of the abundance that truly does surround us.
May you have faith in this season of Thanksgiving.
May you feel the gorgeous opulence of home through the care and conscious relationship of what you prepare and eat there.
May our world be better tomorrow through the choices you make today.
Blessings, love and namaste,
The Conscious Eating Kit on our website.