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Eat Less, Waste Less

November 29, 2009

Three days after Thanksgiving and I am still stuffed.  Could it be the mountains of mashed potatoes?  Maybe the several slices of bread?  Perhaps the pumpkin pie, the chocolate pie, and the cheesecake?  On this most gluttonous of all holidays, Americans get to do what we do best: overeat.

Despite efforts to lower our portions, reach for the veggies, and drink lots of water, most of us inevitably go for one too many seconds (or thirds or fourths).  This tendency to over stuff with stuffing can have serious effects on our health and our environment.  Thousands of acres of land is deforested every year to make room for agriculture. Our modern food system uses huge amounts of fossil fuels to produce our food. One out of four people is obese and that number is only growing.

How then, do we minimize our munching?  In his book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, author David A. Kessler M.D. explains that our hypereating is a result of the food industry tapping into and taking advantage of our basic biological instincts.  Here’s a video from the author:

But the problem isn’t just with how much we’re eating.  Ironically, there’s also a problem with how much we’re throwing away.  At a time when many around the world are going hungry, Americans throw away about 40% of all food produced.  That’s about 150 trillion calories!

Austin and I both work in the restaurant business as servers and we can both attest to how wasteful many people are when it comes to their food.  On many occasions, customers take a few bites and throw the rest away–food that many others are struggling to provide for their families.

Here’s a video that I stumbled upon on the Wasted Food website that does a excellent job of illustrating the effects of food waste and how to minimize that waste:

Though New Years Day is still a month away, it is not too early to make a few food resolutions:

1. Eat less.

2. Waste less.

3. Enjoy more.

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