12 Easy Steps to Reduce Food-Related Waste

Over the past few months, I have been challenging myself to minimize the amount of food and inorganic material waste that my family and I create.  Though I have been composting since 2013, I’ve become humbly aware of how much single-use plastic and paper products we dispose of on a regular basis.  From produce bags and food packaging to straws at restaurants to take-out drink/food containers when traveling… It’s mindboggling how much waste we can create and unflinchingly consume.  By making a few small changes in my life, however, I’ve been able to significantly reduce the amount of waste we create as a household and while I’m on-the-go.  Below are 12 easy yet impactful steps you and your family can take today to reduce food-related waste.

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Creamy Masala Chai

I’ll never forget the first time I enjoyed a cup of classic masala chai tea. I was 20 years old and had just embarked on what would be the first of many trips to India in the decade that followed. It was about 5:00 in the morning and the overnight bus I was aboard from Delhi to the northern city of Dharamsala pulled over on the side of a road in a tiny town nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas.

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A Healthier Twist on Apple Crisp

Just over a week before my son Silas was born, I ventured to my Aunt Martha’s farm in Katonah, New York to go apple picking with Wei and her daughter Rose.  It was one of the last balmy days of summer and we found ourselves dreaming of the crisp autumn days that have since arrived.

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Wild Salmon 101

Through active experimentation, I have found that my body is best nourished by maintaining a diet rich in nourishing vegetables, wholesome grains and lean protein, including consciously sourced meat and fish. Consuming ample amounts of high-quality protein has also been of unprecedented importance to me this year as I’ve been eating for 2. My husband and I are due to welcome our first baby into the world in about one month’s time. One power protein that I have relied on during my pregnancy and before is wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest, most notably Alaska.

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Aunt Gayathri’s Ragi Roti

During my most recent trip to South India this January, I had the privilege of spending time with my dear friend Gayathri Muralidhar and her family.  I met Gayathri in 2006, when I visited Myosre, Karnataka for the first time.  In the years since, Gayathri has become like an aunt to me, and her house a second home. In addition to being one of the most kindhearted and generous individuals I have ever met, Aunt Gayathri is an exceptional chef.  In fact, her food is by far some of the best I’ve ever had in India (and the world) and I find myself longing for it all year long.

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Dense & Nutritious Banana Bread

I was at the grocery store the other day and noticed that they were selling dozens of very ripe bananas.  This sparked my desire to try and create a healthier yet dense version of banana bread.  After some experimenting, I was really satisfied with the following recipe and wanted to share it with you.  It uses a combination of nutritious barley and protein-rich almond flour.  Barley is is a low-glycemic grain that’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, as well as hearty amounts soluble and insoluble fiber.

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Pickled Watermelon Rind

I have many fond memories from my childhood in Shanghai in the 1970s.  Like many households at that time, my family did not own a refrigerator. The healthy consequence of this is that my parents would visit the local market every morning. Their ritual was to wake up at 5:00 and be back home by 6:30 with seasonal fare grown by farmers who lived beyond the city bounds.

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What’s Your Mantra?

First, what is a mantra? 

The word mantra, which literally means “instrument of thought” in Sanskrit, originally described sacred and vibrational sounds or Sanskrit words or phonemes repeated as an offering or to deepen one’s meditative state.  As the world has grown smaller and more interconnected, the definition of mantra has expanded to mean a phrase, in any language, repeated with regularity.

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Blueberry Barley Muffins

I first fell in love with barley flour in 2005 when my mother and I visited Ladakh, a north Indian state nestled between the Kunlun mountain range and the main Great Himalayas.  During our week-long stay, we were fortunate to meet a very kind taxi driver named Dorje.  On our final day, Dorje brought us to the small village where he and his family lived.  It was late September, which meant it was time to prepare for the long, harsh winter ahead.  Dorje’s family was busy harvesting the region’s staple crop – an ancient form of domesticated barley which is used to make tsampa, or roasted barley flour. 

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