Saturday, February 19, 2011

Throwing Food Away

One of the topics at our OA meeting this morning was "throwing food away," how most of us regard food as precious, something not to be wasted. Certainly that's how I was raised and how I've continued to live my life.

The discussion began when one of the members told us about how at breakfast this morning, he had two sausages, the perfect amount for him and his food plan. His wife, who also served herself two sausages, not wanting to eat her second, passed it over to his plate. Silently he told himself he'd just leave it there on the plate, that he'd had enough and was satisfied with two. But somehow, by the time he finished his breakfast coffee, he'd eaten it.

Lots of places to go with that story, including:

-- asking people close to us to help us by not offering us their unwanted portions
-- maintaining mindfulness as we eat
-- childhood patterns and parental influences about eating
-- the preciousness of food and the money it takes to buy it
-- prayer and being spiritually fit

I've been thinking about how it's never been OK to throw food away, about the guilt that always besets me when I clean spoiled foods (particularly left-overs) from the refrigerator. If I cook more than is needed for a meal and it's not enough for a whole meal later on, my habit is to eat it, even if I am already full.

I tell myself it won't keep; I'll never remember to eat it later; it's too good to waste; think of all the starving people in the world; I shouldn't add to the world's garbage; if I throw it away, fruit flies or other pests will get into it; it cost hard-earned money to buy it.... etc. etc. etc.

It's all nonsense! Food is doomed (or thrown away) the minute the animal/fish is killed or the fruit/vegetable/grain is picked. Once harvested, whether it passes through my body's processing system or not, it is already headed toward decomposition. Yes, it may be delicious and nutritious, but it is only food. I can throw it away. I can waste it, not waist it.

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Today's gratitude: time this afternoon to sew, sunshine, community/neighborhood, my fellow OA members


  1. You can also freeze it! Many cooked foods freeze beautifully and are a real treat (and frequently a timesaver) on another day. Excuse me, i have to go hug my freezer. I've been overloading it lately and taking it for granted. :)

  2. I have no problem tossing it. My husband is another story.

  3. I can throw food away but I also save some of those 1/2 portions and eat a variety of left..overs at lunch the next day. That one sausage I would have saved and then mixed it in with eggs the next day or made a breakfast burrito something like that...

  4. I'm of the save the tiny left overs and add to salad and something else to create a new kind of meal.and I count all the calories. Who knew 2 oz of sweet potatoe mashed up with salad and kidney beans would be good together. It helps me to set my plan in place each day with a variety of snacks that I can choose from so I have a sense of choice, but I ihave the main calories planned out and I measure my food. It works for me otherwise, I eat too much and lapse in to binges.

  5. I was raised that way, too... not to waste food. I think it had to do with having so many kids to feed on a blue collar workers salary.

    I just can't throw it away, I have to at least save it/freeze it. And use it in salads, or for soups, or other dishes. I am FINALLY past the "oh well, just eat it" stage. But it drives me nuts and causes a little guilt if i let it go bad in the fridge.

    So many issues to work through on our way to healthy. :-)


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