Wasting food

We shouldn’t waste all this food.

It’s bad to waste food. Think of all those people starving who don’t have this much.

These are some of the biggest lies we’ve been told. Here’s what’s really going on when it comes to an overabundance of food in one place and not enough in another.

Lie #1. Eating the extra food will solve the hunger problem. If it were true, why are there people still starving. A more obvious solution would be to pack up the food and give it to people who don’t have it. But how often does that happen?

Eating more food won’t affect starvation numbers. Buying less food would.

Lie #2. It’s bad for the environment. While, yes, the more thrash we have the more impact it has on the environment. But out of all the thrash out there, think of plastic, food is biodegradable. In fact, scraps of food are used to feed animals and put in soil. The impact of the “wasted food” is far less than the packaging it came in.

Buying and eating more food shifts demand to create more packaging materials that are harder to biodegrade and increases transport (oil and gas). Buying less food would affect the demand for these materials and natural resources. This by far will impact the environment more.

Lie #3. Finishing your plate expresses gratitude and contentment (with the host). This is the biggest lie we’re told because the paradox is revealed in the sentence. If you’re grateful for what you have, there’s no need to overbuy or overeat. Gratitude rarely evokes an action to go out and get more (or in this case, eat more). That usually comes from scarcity.

We often don’t want to seem rude when we leave left over food on our plate at someone else’s party. Eating to be seen as polite backfires in two ways. One, you won’t control what the person thinks of you (that’s never worked for me). Two, you feel terrible for eating more food than you needed (and wanted) and to add to that feeling, you still aren’t sure if the person didn’t think you were rude. It’s lose-lose for you.

Buying the food you need and utilising what we already have are the ultimate expression of gratitude. The food on your plate: be grateful for it and eat what you need to fuel your body and be done, even if there is some left and maybe (because you’re not sure) that person thought you were rude for a split second.

We waste food when we buy and eat more than we need. We waste less overall when we eat less and buy less – and as a benefit, help our health and the environment in the long run.

2 responses to “Wasting food”

  1. […] We’ve got excuses, or should I say “beliefs” about food. They look like “we shouldn’t waste food” or “it’s disrespectful to not eat this” or “food connects people”. I […]

  2. […] Because society (quite universally) doesn’t believe in the concept of eating awesomely. It believes you shouldn’t waste food. You deserve a break or you should enjoy life all the time. Whether it’s been with my Indian […]

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