Why would the owner of a marketing company be dumpster diving for food? You could find Rob Greenfield behind your local grocery with his bike propped against the dumpster while he looks for food. He has now completed two rides across America eating primarily from dumpsters. This isn’t a case of extreme cheapskates; Rob’s goal with these rides is to draw attention to how much food is wasted in America.
On his website, he lists these statistics:
- We throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food per year in America. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.
- About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million Americans.
- Just to create just the amount of food that ends up in the landfills we waste enough water to meet the domestic water needs of every American citizen.
With as many as one in every seven American households being reported as food insecure and one in four children living in food insecure homes, the fact that we waste so much food on a daily basis is concerning. Charity Sub reports that 96 billion pounds of food are thrown away each year by restaurants, retailers, farmers, and individual households. In each major city that he visited on his ride, Greenfield created a demonstration with food collected from local dumpsters. He states that in a single night, he can collect from dumpsters enough food to feed hundreds of people in any given city.
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The encouragement to eat everything on your dinner (or breakfast or lunch) plate comes in many forms. “Don’t be wasteful.” “Make a happy plate!” “Finish your food or you’ll get no dessert.” Or, my personal least favorite, “There’s starving children in _____ that would love to have that food.”
No matter how you phrase it, most of us are taught from a young age to eat everything that is placed before us.
While wasting food is never a good idea, there are plenty of ways to prevent waste that don’t include stuffing ourselves with every last morsel of food.
However, if you’re part of the clean-your-plate crew, you’re not alone. The average adult eats 92 percent of the food on their plate, Shape Magazine reports, no matter what that food may be.
Eating everything on your plate, healthy or no, could be causing you to overeat without you noticing. In turn, that could cause unwanted weight gain.
The Morning-After Pill for Your Food Baby is Available OTC
Happily, there are some simple steps you can take to “reprogram” yourself out of the need to eat everything placed in front of you.
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For years I felt original for using what I thought was my own word to describe how cranky, snippy, and sassy I get when I haven’t eating in a long time. The word is “hangry”, a fusion between hungry and angry, and it describes pretty perfectly the mood that affects many of us when we have low blood sugar. Hearing the first few people use my word was exciting and unifying, like we were apart of the same witty food-pun club! But lately I’ve been hearing it more than ever, so I am reluctant to admit that perhaps I did not, in fact, invent the word hangry. (I’m also being overdramatic, so perhaps I am currently hangry.)
At any rate, science has recently solidified the use of this word: A new study shows that being hangry is a real thing, or at least proves that being hungry definitely affects a person’s mood.
Researchers from Ohio State University set out to prove that low blood sugar is indeed the underlying cause of hunger-induce crankiness. (Read the full NPR report here.) But they didn’t just want to look at how strangers interacted, they wanted to know how we treat our loved ones when we’re hangry, so they studied spouses. 107 couples were recruited for the study and each given voodoo dolls.
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1. a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.
2. a severe lack of food
3. a strong desire or craving
Those are the dictionary definitions of hunger. But what does hunger really mean? If you break hunger down to the most basic definition, what is it?
A medical definition states that hunger is “an uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach.”
We’ve determined hunger is the contraction and churning of an empty stomach. Now when was the last time your stomach was truly empty? Claims vary on just how long a healthy, well-nourished person can survive without food; usually it’s somewhere in the area of three to ten weeks. However, the feeling of hunger usually happens after just a few hours of not eating.
Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, R.D., recommends using the Hunger-Fullness scale to determine how hungry you are. The scale goes from one to ten, with one being extremely hungry and ten being extremely full. “It’s best to train yourself to eat at 2.5-3.0 and stop at 7.5-8.0, and then get hungry again in 4-5 hours.”
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On Tuesday, November 19, use your tweets for more than just a way to share your daily witticisms. On that day from 1-2 p.m., ET, ABC is holding a Tweet-a-thon to benefit Feeding America. Dr. Richard Besser, ABC’s chief medical editor, hosts the event where the network will donate $1.00 to Feeding America, up to $10,000, for every tweet that goes out during the hour-long ABC Health Tweet chat. By simply joining the conversation and using the hashtag #abcDRBchat, you can help fight hunger in America.
Feeding America is an organization committed to hunger relief in our country. According to their website, the national food insecurity rate is 19.5 percent. That means almost 20 percent of people don’t have consistent access to adequate food. For children the statistic is even worse. Nearly 30 percent of kids are hungry or are facing the risk of hunger.
A network of food banks is Feeding America’s primary tool in the fight to end hunger. Every state, in addition to Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, has at least one food bank that is a part of that network. In addition to food banks, Feeding America coordinates volunteers, enables activists against hunger, and directs those who are hungry to the resources they need including the food banks and assistance programs.
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