Healthy food scraps we shouldn’t waste

HealthyFoodScrapsDid you know that most of the nutrients in carrots and potatoes, such as vitamin C and potassium are in the skin, along with abundant fiber? You may be surprised to find that those vegetables consumed with the skin intact are even more flavorful. Scrub them well and go for it!

Like potato and carrot skins, broccoli stalks are also usually tossed, along with their powerful dose of carotenoids, fiber and vitamins A and C.  Chop the stalks up small and include them in your salad, or slice them thin for a crunchy snack. Other stalks that are commonly discarded are chard stems, which are loaded with glutamine and anti-phenolic compounds. Steam or stir fry the chard stems just as you would asparagus, and don’t waste all that good nutrition.

How many of us automatically discard lemon and orange peels, never realizing that those rinds are a powerhouse of fiber, flavonoids and vitamins? They also contain an active chemical called d-limonene, which helps relieve heartburn and indigestion. Grate the peels into salads and many other dishes. It’s even easier when they are frozen.

And the celery leaves we throw away (if they haven’t already been disposed of in the marketing process), are a truly amazing source of nutrition. The leaves contain many powerful antioxidants and 5 times more calcium and magnesium than the stalks! Celery leaves are excellent in soups and salads.

According to a report by the British Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IME), of the 4 billion tons of food produced in the world each year, 30 to 50 percent never reach a human mouth. A survey of farmers revealed that nearly a third of perfectly good vegetables  are never harvested–because they aren’t perfectly pretty!

Plenty of food is produced to feed every man, woman and child on the planet, said Dr. Tim Fox, head of IME’s energy and environment department, but 2.3 million children die of starvation annually.

“The reasons for this situation,” explains Dr. Fox, “range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure, through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy with ‘use by’ dates and other methods.”

The hidden costs of food waste are even more staggering. The IME report said that wasted food has used 25 percent of the world’s fresh water and 4 percent of the oil. $750 million annually is spent disposing of food waste, which accounts for 33 million tons in landfills.

In the U.S. organic waste is the second highest component of landfills. There has been a 50 percent increase in this U.S. waste since 1974.

We can at least do our part in eliminating personal food waste, and at the same time add to our nutritional intake, by consuming more skins, stems and stalks. Most gardeners ‘feed’ the soil with what they don’t consume. But almost anyone can compost food waste and ‘feed’ their trees, flowers and other plants. Check the Internet, a garden outlet or a health food store for dozens of easy composting ideas.

Sources: Waking Times, Dr. Mercola and http://livegreatfeelgreat

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