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How To Save $ Buying Healthy Food

Buying Healthy Food

“Buying healthy food is just for rich folks, no?”

Buying healthy food isn’t just for rich people, but it’s a reasonable question given what the cost of organic grapes at Whole Foods runs these days. That said, it is a misconception that healthy food is always more expensive. Of course, it’s easy to find examples of expensive healthy food (just walk the aisles of Dean and Deluca or even Whole Foods). That said, there are many ways to buy healthy food on the cheap. Here are three.

The not-so-much-value in value-added

Every time a food gets processed, it adds “value.” And cost! So, the first strategy to buying healthy food on the cheap is to buy it in the most whole form in which it comes (whole foods tend to be more nutritious as well). For example, buying dried beans rather than canned beans is both less expensive and more nutritional. Dried beans typically cost about two thirds as much as canned beans. They also often contain a bit more vitamins and minerals, MUCH less sodium, and none of the preservatives necessary for processing and extending shelf life. This is true for almost all prepared, canned and frozen foods.

That said, the flip side is that there is much to be said about adding value to your own food. There is nothing better for your pocketbook or the planet than when you use or freeze excess food as stews, soups, sauces, and jams.

The Dirty Little Expiration Date Scam

According to ReFED, American consumers, businesses, and farms spends $218 billion a year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing food that is never eaten. That’s 52 million tons of food sent to landfill annually, plus another 10 million tons that is discarded or left unharvested on farms. Meanwhile, one in seven Americans is food insecure.

To deal with this reality, many retailers offer discounts on food that is about to “expire.” Given that expiration dates are simply estimates, if you plan on consuming your food soon after purchasing, this is an excellent strategy for keeping healthy food costs down.

There are also secondary retailers dedicated to selling discounted groceries.  Grocery Outlet’s 225 retail stores, based primarily on the West Coast, work with manufacturers to manage their waste issues (the top reason is short-coded products near expiration). Then there’s Daily Table, located in Dorchester, MA. The not-for-profit retail store offers fresh, healthy “grab-n-go” meals and other grocery items at a bargain price. These bargain deals are available because Daily Table works closely with a large network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and other suppliers who donate their excess healthy food and provide special buying opportunities.

But, it’s not only supermarkets where perishable food is often put “on sale.” When you shop at a farmer’s market in the last minutes before closing, many producers will cut deals. Not only do they avoid having to take their produce home and then find a place to sell it, but they don’t have to worry about the inevitable spoilage that occurs when ever you transport perishable foods.

Ugly Fruit

Another healthy food bargain shopping strategy is to  join the Ugly Fruit movement. A tremendous amount of perfectly good food never makes it grocery shelves because of cosmetic issues. It is simply not the right size or shape.  Some grocery stores have pilot programs to sell ugly produce at reduced cost (here’s a list). There are also ugly produce delivery companies like Imperfect Produce and Hungry Harvest, although, honestly, they may not be that much cheaper.

In terms of what we pay for when we buy food, as Michael Pollan suggests, if nutrients are what we are paying for, then fresh, whole, organic is always the better deal simply because they are more nutritious by volume.

Proud Mama: My Little Feminist

A excerpt from “BHS student art: pulling back the covers during strange times” by R. Todd Kerr, Berkeley Times, April 26, 2018

Many artists in this year’s show explored feminist themes. For instance, Helena Busansky, based her visual exploration on a question, “How do women interact with the government and our political system?”

In one of her works, “Luxury Collection,” Busansky examined the sexism of the luxury tax on tampons – a sarcastic assemblage that presented gold-leafed tampons in a spoon cabinet.

Helena Busansky

Even more thought provoking was an installation titled “The Room I Wish I Had”… a rather bold expression of the artist’s imagnation. It was a young girl’s bedroom, but not just any girl. This child had a eye for iconic and powerful figures. For instance, on the pink painted walls, there were posters of Michelle Obama and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris. And her doll house was an obvious reference to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Helena Busansky

In this poignant manifestation of youth, there was no evidence of a glass ceiling.

*No disrespect to Mr. Kerr, but the “posters” of Michelle and Kamala were (painstakenly) painted by Helena.

Full Article PDF: Berkeley Times, April 26, 2108

The Benefits of Food in the Workplace

Ever wonder if you should bring that half-eaten cake to the office? If you care about the planet, bring it on – or in.

If you’ve ever hestitated before bringing food into the office, rest assurred it’s a good thing. While the extra calories may seem like a disadvantage, bringing food to work that might otherwise be diverted to compost or the landfill is a terrific way to combat the 52.4 million tons of food being sent to landfill every year.

So, feel good knowing that bringing food to the office – the half-eaten cake or the apples that will go to waste when you go on vacation – is an important source of food waste reduction. In fact, it qualifies as one of the most preferred ways to reduce the volume of surplus food generated, aka. source reduction, according to the EPA Food Recovery Heirarchy.

Office food also provides an opportunity for colleagues to proverbially break bread. This ancient ritual is well known to break down barriers and builds connections among people and research suggests it’s more important than ever to eat with your co-workers. Or, as Michael Pollan said, sharing food can provide “a study bridge” among people who otherwise have diferring cultures and experiences.

Italian Vegetable Stew #RecipeForDisaster

This recipe comes from Epicurious.com

In honor of #RecipeForDisaster & Earth Day 2018 here’s a classic dish and a great use for your wilted veggies and your day old bread!

Recipe by BRANDON JEW | BON APPÉTIT | MARCH 2013 | BAR AGRICOLE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA

This vegetable-packed zuppa is a perfect way to use day-old bread.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

    • 1/2 1-pound loaf sourdough bread, torn into 2″ pieces (about 6 cups)
    • 1 bunch collard greens, center ribs and stems removed
    • 1 bunch Tuscan or other kale, center ribs and stems removed
    • Kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
    • 2 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped
    • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
    • leek, white and pale-green parts only, chopped
    • garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoons  crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
    • 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
    • 3 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed*
    • sprigs thyme
    • sprig marjoram or oregano
    • bay leaf
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Shaved Parmesan (for serving)
*No disrespect to Brandon, but I prefer buying dried beans. Dried beans are  less expensive and higher in nutritional value. Typically costing one third the price of canned beans and containing a bit more vitamins, dried beans contain MUCH less sodium and none of the preservatives necessary for processing and extending shelf life.

Cooking Directions

  1. Scatter bread on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Let stand at room temperature to slightly dry out, about 2 hours.
  2. Working in batches, cook collards and kale separately in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, about 3 minutes per batch. Rinse to cool. Squeeze out excess water; roughly chop. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and leek; stir often until softened, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you add them. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is evaporated and tomatoes begin to stick to the bottom of the pot, 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add broth, beans, thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, and reserved greens; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until flavors meld and soup thickens slightly, 40-50 minutes. DO AHEAD: Soup can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill until cold. Cover and keep chilled. Reheat before continuing. Store bread airtight at room temperature.
  6. Just before serving, gently stir bread and 1/4 cup oil into soup. Divide among bowls, top with Parmesan, and drizzle with oil.

Panzanella #RecipeForDisaster

This recipe comes from Epicurious.com

In honor of #RecipeForDisaster,  here’s a classic dish and a great use for your old bread!

PANZANELLA

Recipe by JENNIFER ISERLOH| SELF | JUNE 2009

Turn day-old bread into a masterpiece. This salad delivers all the vitamin C you need daily.

YIELD Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cubed whole-grain country bread
  • tomatoes (about 2 pounds), chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mini mozzarella balls, quartered
  • 1 cup roasted red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup turkey pepperoni, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Cooking Directions

  1. Place bread, tomatoes, onion, broth and vinegar in a bowl
  2. add salt and pepper. Stir to coat, breaking up bread cubes.
  3. Add mozzarella, red pepper and pepperoni; stir to coat.
  4. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
  5. Divide among 4 bowls; garnish with basil and thyme.

Per serving: 330 calories, 10.8 g fat, 4.3 g saturated, 39.4 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 27 g protein
Nutritional analysis provided by Self