By: Dr. Will Cole
Being environmentally conscious can mean a lot of things. Whether that is choosing to eat less meat or using less plastic, there are many ways we can make an effort to live a more sustainable life. One of which is being more aware of the waste we produce when it comes to food.
In my functional medicine telehealth clinic, I work with my patients around the world on transforming their diets to be filled with nutrient-dense food medicine plans and advanced functional medicine protocols to deal with problems like autoimmune conditions. brain health problem, hormone imbalances and digestive conditions. And while that in of itself is a good thing, all that clean eating can leave a lot of waste if one isn’t careful. But thankfully, we can harness the healing power of these scraps while also contributing to healing the planet. Let’s take a look at exactly how to utilize all of your food:
Did you know that you can actually regrow certain vegetables just from their scraps? Instead of buying additional produce, regrow them yourself in your kitchen. For example, the ends of many vegetables can be added to water to produce additional tops. Here’s a list of some vegetables that can be regrown:
The instructions are slightly different for each one so be sure to look up the steps and tools needed for each one.
Make vegetable broth
Vegetable broth makes a great base for soups and stews, especially for those avoiding chicken or beef-based broths. Save the scraps from the ends of lettuce, tops of carrots, etc. and add to a big pot of water with some sea salt, pepper, and garlic. Let simmer and you have a delicious start to some winter soups.
Play around with green smoothies and juices
Those extra scraps of kale? Add them to a smoothie! You can even juice the extra veggies you have (celery juice actually has been shown to have some amazing health benefits!) for a morning or midday pick-me-up!
When in doubt, freeze it! If you are even the slightest bit unsure of whether or not you’ll use that fruit or vegetable before it goes bad chop it up and freeze it in a ziplock bag. Then if you are ever in a pinch for dinner throw them in a crock pot with some broth and seasonings for a veggie soup, add to a quick stir-fry, or add to a smoothie. This will save you time as well as eliminating waste.
When eating meat, I am an advocate for supporting regenerative farms whenever possible. I also encourage people to eat nose to tail, focusing on nutrient-dense, yet often discarded parts of the animal.
Make bone broth
Due to its collagen and mineral content, bone broth is one of the main foods that I recommend to my patients as a tool for restoring gut function and aid in healing from problems such as candida overgrowth, leaky gut syndrome, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Not only will buying a whole chicken save you money when compared to individual cuts of meat, you can use the bones to make a batch of bone broth in a slow cooker. This can be frozen and used as the base for soups and other recipes.
Lean into organ meats
Make dog food