Ordinary People Helping Ordinary People in Extraordinary circumstances!

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Food Waste, Guilt and Mental Health

Hi guys, it’s our final day of healthy eating week and today we are going to take a look at food waste. We are now realising that in a lot of areas we need to start to reduce our waste and food is no exception. So as I have done all this week I will give a few suggestions to how we can reduce food waste and then I will go on to how food waste affects our mental health. I must admit I found researching this the most interesting.

I am a huge fan of reducing food waste, I waste very little but we are all different and what is most important is that everyone takes a look at what they can do individually to suit their own lifestyle and circumstances. So as I’ve done before I’m just going to write a little bullet point list with some ideas for you to try or not to try – its up to you.

● Avoid bulk buying
● Store food properly
● Use leftovers
● Create a meal schedule
● Preserve your food
● Buy the ugly fruit and veg
● Understand food labelling
● Make sure fridge is the right temperature
● Make shopping lists
● Freeze leftovers
● Measure your portions
● Freeze acceptable dairy products
● Freeze acceptable fruit and veg
● Use stale bread as breadcrumbs
● Make stock or broth out of older veg, this can be frozen
● Pack a lunch, it could be last night’s leftovers
● Log your food waste to see where changes need to be made

I’m sure there are more ways that you can reduce food waste but this was just a basic list I compiled to give you some ideas. Now, my favourite part, how does this affect our mental health?

I found this part of my research interesting because a lot of the psychology around food waste is related to guilt. Guilt leads to shame and neither are good for our mental health. A lot of people worry that if they were to waste too much food they would be characterised as lazy, excessive or greedy and careless. There is also guilt that if we do not always have access to food for our family or loved ones that we may seem like we do not care about them enough, so we buy more than we need, but then have to waste it. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve heard someone
say it’s better to have too much than too little.

Financial worries also come into play. Especially in today’s climate. Fuel prices are so high and everything else is going up in price so we feel a need to bulk buy and make the trip worth it so to write a list of what we need for the week or month makes money sense. Also keep a list of the
things that you regularly throw away and make a note to buy less to waste life. In a world that feels like it’s out of control, this one little step could really help our mental health, because we are taking control of the things we can.

My last point to make about food waste is that we need to look at our history. For years waste and wealth have been symbiotic. If you could afford to throw away food you were rich and the poor had to beg for scraps. Even until recently some people would never wear clothes that were handed down or from a charity shop, because we didn’t want to be viewed as poor. Thankfully now things are changing and we are starting to see that we can at least make a start to reducing the waste in our lives, not only for the planet but our own mental health as well because remember, you matter. Stay safe everyone. Been great doing all this research and sharing what I have found with you. M

ManyThanks again to our resident foodie – M.

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Put Plenty on your Plate – Get at least 5 a day!!

Welcome back to healthy eating week, where today I’d like to discuss how getting our 5 a day can really help our mental health. There are days that even as a vegetable fiend I just don’t get my 5 a day. I do try but sometimes it’s an impossibility. As I said yesterday if there are medical conditions that make this impossible for you, consult your doctor about safer ways to include more fruit and veg.

What is a portion? An adult sized portion should be about 80 grams of fresh, frozen or canned or 30g of dried fruits. 150ml of fruit or vegetable juice or a smoothie is also a portion, but do tryto limit these to 150ml per day. There are some simple ways to add more fruit and veg to your diet. You can add extra fruit and veg to the things you already know and love. Add extra vegetables to pasta sauces, pizzas, soups, sandwiches etc.

Clear out the junk food.

Even those of us with the best intentions could be sidetracked to a chocolate biscuit instead of a fresh apple. If it’s not in the house, it ain’t there to tempt you. Even just replacing one snack a day for an extra portion of fruit or veg is a great first step. Vegetable sticks with a dip is a great option if you are not too keen on fruit. A hummus or a salsa is a great way to be adding more fibre as we went into yesterday.

Why Beneficial to Mental Health?

So now to the point, why is this so beneficial to our mental health? Let’s see what I found. There are so many vitamins and minerals that would take me forever to explain them all and why they affect us, so I will only explain a few of the main ones that affect our mental health. I’ll also give a few examples of what vegetables have these specific vitamins and minerals.
Low levels of folate have been linked to depression. We can find folate of folic acid in leafy green veg, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, broccoli.

Depression, tiredness, lethargy, insomnia – sound familiar?

When we don’t have enough vitamin B1 we have problems like memory loss, anxiety, depression, irritability and insomnia. Vitamin B1 is found in cauliflower, oranges, potatoes, asparagus and kale.
Vitamin B deficiency can show extreme tiredness, lack of energy, breathlessness, feeling faint, headaches, pale skin, palpitations. This is of course if it is an extreme deficiency. Foods that contain vitamin B are spinach, beetroot, potatoes, mushrooms, and alfalfa.
Not having enough vitamin D is linked to depression. Our bodies can produce it naturally by being in the sun, but we can also help our bodies out with things like oranges, mushrooms, spinach, kale and okra.
I have covered 4 but there are so many more to consider. This just gives a great example of how important what we eat really is. We need these vitamins and minerals and the fibre to keep us not only physically fitter but also mentally healthier. They help us by giving us more energy and help us think more clearly.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s short piece and look forward to discussing proteins tomorrow.
Take care

Families in Trauma and Recovery Volunteer – M