Recycled Interiors Podcast 0019 – Healthy Food, Food Security & Sustainability

healthy food ideas

Welcome to episode 19 of the Recycled Interiors Podcast! We are chatting with dietitian Emma Stirling today, from Scoop Nutrition about what a healthy diet actually is, and how important local food is to our health and the planet. Emma Stirling is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with over twenty years experience.  She is an experienced health writer and blogger with her award winning Scoop Nutrition blog running in it’s 7th year.  Emma consults with her business Scoop Nutrition to the food, media, restaurant and healthcare industries and is also a part time academic at La Trobe university in Melbourne.  She is an absolute food lover and passionate about food sustainability and food security for all.
Please head to iTunes to subscribe and leave us a review if you love the show as it helps us to get it out there and make a difference. You can also listen on Stitcher and leave a review over there, or just sit back and listen on the blog. Thank you for being here.

Things you will want to remember from the show

  • Food sustainability – official definition  – listen at the start for this!
  • Food sustainability is about the economy and local area, as well as the food itself – this can make it tricky territory
  • Mono cultures in farming are bad for sustainability and we need to have diversity which helps in food security
  • Food security is about access to food – it can be related to increased numbers of homeless people in cities during the winter – it is about accessing safe and nutritious food to fuel your body
  • Food sustainability is often looked at by the macro environment, the social environment, social media, right down to individual factors
  • At the macro environment, it could be a top down change, such as government policy – eg the Australian Dietary Guidelines . There was lobbying at the time to try and get more about food sustainability and security in these. Hopefully this will occur in the next round of these
  • Physical change – this is about things like beehives coming into cities, trying to get pollination back into cities; Kitchen Garden programmes – things that disrupt food systems via bug supermarkets and changes the physical environment
  • Social – this is things like the use of our family or friends, and social norms – eg you are passionate about the rainforest alliance chocolate and encourage your friends and family to buy this at Easter
  • Individual factors – you might have a local farmer’s market but can you afford to shop there? And do you know how to cook with these products?
  • We are losing cooking skills so programmes like the mobile food trucks by Jamie Oliver, the CWA Country Kitchens programme – all of these help people to cook which means you are less likely to buy take away foods
  • Food deserts – areas where there is little access to fresh wholesome food
  • Social issues are very important in the choices people make when it comes to food
  • If you do not know how to cook or look after food, then you may waste food which makes it less cost effective, but in cost analysis of fresh vs processed foods, there is no comparison, the cost of the fresh food is much cheaper – eg potatoes vs potato chips or frozen ones
  • If you have the core skills of shopping, cooking and access to a kitchen, then you can have much better food security
  • Food hubs or co-ops can also be good for making savings with fresh food – you can often find these on Facebook for example, in your local area
  • CERES farm – have some good links, also contact your local council about where there may be food hubs
  • CSA – community supported agriculture – this is very common in the USA. You can have a box delivered to you once a week. A group of people get together and sponsor a local farmer in their areas. There are then many of these around the area and you pay a price and get your weekly box of fruit and veg. The farmer is then supplying directly to you. CERES do this in Melbourne. It also creates community.
  • There are other smaller groups doing this
  • Food Hub conference was recently held, showing there is a move towards this
  • Even if you can not grow much, a herb garden will not necessarily help with overall food sustainability, but will help with food education and beneficial to your wellbeing and sense of appreciation of food, particularly for children
  • Food waste – minimising food waste is something we can all do – buying food and not wasting it as much as possible. Using up all the vegetables even if they have gone limp! Make a frittata, roast them or make a soup for example
  • In New York they have kerbside composting in the heart of the city! Making sure food and green waste is composted no matter where you are
  • Trying not to overbuy perishable foods is important – having some planned meals can help. Having core cooking skills also helps because you can make your own dishes from what is available in your fridge, make soup and then freeze it, freeze berries in summer when they are cheaper – think wisely about your buying, storage and serving of food
  • Children are more adventurous with food if they can help themselves to the dinner plate – put out served plates and they can select their meal
  • CWA – they are starting a programme – Country Kitchen Workshops – using experienced cooks to pass on their wisdom. They are very skilled in being providers and working with food. This teaches health and nutrition through culinary skills. Pilot in QLD with the aim to roll out nationally
  • Check you local health or community centre for potential cooking classes
  • Oz Harvest and Second Bite are doing fantastic things with food waste, Meat Free Monday is another one
  • There is little debate that kilo for kilo, producing cattle for beef is more costly to the environment than the same amount of food from a plant source. We tend to look at multiple measures when we consider food sustainability – how it is grown, processed, transported, fertilisers used etc It is very complex
  • Target 100 – from Meat and Livestock Aust are looking at trying to move towards more sustainable cattle farming
  • We are seeing more interest in people experimenting with eating no or less meat – perhaps we will move towards meat being the side dish and vegetables being the primary part of the meal
  • We need to stop demanding “food perfection” by choosing food that is not necessarily “perfect” – eg apples with marks and blemishes
  • A large percentage of things like apples do not make it to the supermarket as they look far different to how hey end up in the stores – they use waxes to give them a glisten that does not happen in nature
  • The Odd Bunch – Jamie Oliver and Woolworths programme – talking about accepting fruit and vegetables that are not “perfect”
  • Organic – the rule of thumb is to shop organic as far as you can afford to do. It is far better to eat your fruit and veg each day over it being organic
  • There are lists of produce that is high in pesticides but in Australia we have a pretty good monitoring system for this. Grow your own, shop at the local organic store, or just let’s help everyone to up their fruit and veg uptake!
  • Untapped potential food sources in Australia for our local foods that are not being used – eg bush foods, kelp and sea vegetables


Scoop Nutrition
Target 100
The Odd Bunch
CWA Country Kitchens
Please head to iTunes to subscribe and leave us a review if you love the show as it helps us to get it out there and make a difference. You can also listen on Stitcher and leave a review over there, or just sit back and listen on the blog. Thank you for being here.
Helen xx

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