Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Of waists and waste

Americans eat too much. That much is certain. Two-thirds of us today are overweight, and the numbers of morbid obesity jump each year.

I know this not only from the news but in the daily role of helping market our hospital’s weight loss services. There truly is a need for us to shape up.

But the reality is this waste is hitting not only our waistlines – but also the environment. If the average American is consuming 1,250 to 1,500 calories more than they should each day, that’s a lot of food that never needed to be processed. Writes Julia Whitty, Mother Jones' environmental correspondent:

Nineteen percent of total energy used in the US is tied to producing and
distributing food.

So I’m doing my part. (OK, it’s not entirely altruistic; I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly a size 5.) So when Chile proposed a new challenge to cut out discretionary eating for August, I jumped on board.

I’m either really brave, or really foolish.

So here I am, on the record. For thirty days, I am going to reduce my intake by:
  • Avoiding restaurants, take-out, prepared deli foods, and frozen meals. Shouldn’t be too hard, being on the unemployment diet; however, I need to be cautious of my habit of eating those oh-so-appetizing frozen meals.
  • Avoiding highly processed and refined food stripped of its nutrients. This should be easy as long as I stick to my plan of planning meals.
  • Avoiding sugary foods and drinks. I admit even being diabetic that my sweet tooth will get to me, so I’ll plan ahead and incorporate fruits to help stave those cravings.
  • Avoiding food eaten after physical hunger is satisfied (or to fix a low blood sugar). Yes, I need to cut out my snacking, which tends to be stress-related.
  • Watching my caffeine intake. Note I didn’t say significantly reduce!! Water it is.

I've probably gone a little overboard, but there. It’s public. So I now have little excuse to get into gear!

Anyone else in?


lafever said...

Hi there.

It is incredible how much food is wasted either by over eating, overproduction, and spoiling. Also, it's shocking how much food is thrown away due to "expiration" dates. Years ago, one of my kids did a science fair project on expiration dates on different types of food and found that for the most part the food lasts much longer than the exp date
when refrigerated properly. The one exception was milk. BTW, if you ever want a shock, just go behind any grocery store and see how much food is thrown in the dumpster.

I don't know if you saw this article but check out this speech:


Stop wasting food, Brown urging

G8 urged to relieve world crises
Britons must stop wasting food in an effort to help combat rising living costs, Gordon Brown has said as world leaders discuss rising prices

The PM said "unnecessary" purchases were contributing to price rises, and urged people to plan meals in advance and store food properly.

A government study says the UK wastes 4m tonnes of food every year, adding £420 to a family's shopping bills.

Wow. That's a lot of wasted food.
We rarely eat out-too expensive and we have been doing this all 20 plus years we've been married. I marvel at how few of my co-workers brown bag. Yikes.

Dan Lafever

Chile said...

Good goals, Rjs.