4 Apps for Saving Food and Money

About one-third of food is wasted each year. A part of this comes from grocery stores and restaurants. Some countries, like France, have created laws to ban stores from throwing out edible foods, but in most countries this is not the deal. People have gone so far as to dive down dumpsters, so called dumpster diving, outside of food stores and restaurants to retrieve food that is fully edible but no longer sellable.

I’m not really into the whole idea of crawling through trash, so I’ve instead downloaded some neat apps that allow me to save foods from stores and restaurants before they go down the dumpster. As a perk for me, the food is either cheaper or completely free. A real win-win!

If you want to start saving food, check out the apps below to see if there is anything in your area!

Karma

Karma allows you to save food from restaurants and stores for less than 50 percent of the price. This means that cafés, restaurants and grocery stores can advertise the foods they wont be able to sell during the day, avoiding having to waste food and also getting some extra money. For you as an individual it means food for less!

The company was founded in 2016 in Sweden and they are currently selling in Sweden and the UK, while expanding to France and Europe soon. Living in Stockholm, there are new restaurants and stores added to the app daily and I very rarely get take away at full price anymore. If I feel to tired to cook in the evening I just buy something in the app and pick it up on my way home.

ResQ

ResQ is a finish company that works in the same way as Karma. Save food that is about to expire or won’t be able to be sold for 50 percent of the price! It is currently available in Finland and Sweden, as well as parts of Germany and Poland.

Too Good To Go

This app allows you to save food by buying surplus from stores and restaurants. This one is cheaper than the previous two, but the difference is that with Too Good To Go you order a “magic bag”, which means you don’t know what you are actually getting.

There is a filter for vegetarian options, but if you are a picky eater this might not be the option for you. Too Good To Go are currently available in over 10 European countries and continue to expand!

Olio

Unlike the others, Olio is not simply a business to consumer solution, but it also connects individuals with each other. Allowing people and restaurants to share food that they will not be able to eat.

Maybe your neighbour grew so much zucchini they can’t take care of it themselves, or you might be going away for travels and don’t want to throw out the veggies that wont last. Well, that’s where Olio comes in! Another great thing about Olio is everything is free!

Do you have any other food saving apps where you live? I would love to learn know more options!

How to eat in a more sustainable way

A big chunk of our yearly impact comes from the food we consume. Without food, we die. So compared to other types of consumption food is clearly driven by an actual need, compared to most fashion consumption. Still, in some parts of the world food consumption has become a problem.

Food waste, transporting exotic fruits by plane and methane releasing cattle. All food-related problems you will hear of in the West. So do we need to stop eating anything grown far away or give up meat cold turkey (pun intended)? I say no. While we might be able to sustain ourselves on a local vegan diet, for most people there is a lack of money, time, knowledge or allergies that makes it hard or impossible. But we can all do something!

Eat less meat

The meat industry has a huge impact on the environment and accounts for a big portion of an individual’s carbon footprint. While I do believe that it is possible to enjoy an omnivore diet and be sustainable, the truth is that most of the meat consumed is factory farmed and not got for the environment, the animals nor our health.

Eating less meat doesn’t mean you have to give it up completely. For some it might mean meatless Mondays. For some only having it for one meal a day or maybe reserving it for weekends and special events. However, if you want to continue eating meat, invest in good meat, from animals that have lived well and that haven’t been force-fed soy and antibiotics. Look for local farmers where you can see how the animals are treated or go for organic grass-fed meats.

Support local

What most people think about when it comes to local products is that it avoids long transportation, but it also contributes to the local economy and to create a thriving community. Local farmers and producers are needed to keep the landscape living and thriving.

Seasonal foods

Consuming seasonal foods are great as there is no need for energy-craving greenhouses or transportations from around the world. Sometimes the supply of seasonal produce is high, so eating in season can also decrease the eventual waste.

Not only is seasonal foods better for the planet, but generally both taste better and are cheaper than buying other kinds of foods. Supply and demand! So instead of opting for the out season produce from across the world, indulge in some cheap and delicious seasonal foods.

Buy organic

Organic means that the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides are not used. This is important for biodiversity, for the bees, for the health of the farmers and of the people living in the areas where it is grown. Some say it might even be better for your own health!

If organic feels way out of your budget, try to see if there is something you might be able to prioritize differently. Maybe you could skip a chocolate bar or two and instead spend that extra money on some organic milk? Some fruits and veggies are known as the dirty dozen, they generally contain the highest amounts of pesticides so if you cannot manage to buy everything organic, maybe you can avoid the worst ones?

Don’t waste

About one-third of all food is wasted worldwide. From all parts of the food chain there is a waste, in production, in stores, and in the homes. Our biggest impact is in the homes, but by buying wonky-looking veggies and brown fruits we can also tell store owners and producers that there is a demand for less aesthetically pleasing produce as well.

Food waste is not only bad due to the fact that it wastes the food and all the resources used but also because many countries don’t have compost. This means that the food waste ends up in landfills where it does not degrade due to being packed tightly with no air to break it down. This ends up emitting methane, yep the same thing as the cows.

What do you do to eat more sustainably? Do you have any points to add to the list?

7 Ways to be more Mindful when Eating

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You might have heard about mindful eating or intuitive eating before, but what is it and what can it mean for you?

Why do we need Mindful Eating?

The portions we eat have become increasingly bigger with time and it seems that we do not eat until we are full, but tend to overeat. Do you sometimes have to lie down on the couch after eating just because you feel like you might explode? That would be a sign that you have eaten too much. Many of us also tend to misinterpret cravings and thirst for hunger, which leads to even more overeating. With mindful eating, you bring back the awareness to the act of eating. You are present in the moment and you try to savour every piece, instead of just mindlessly chugging chips while being on your phone in front of the TV.

Intuitive eating, while very similar to mindful eating in terms of being aware of yourself and listening to your body, additionally focuses on avoiding diets and honouring the body and food.

How to be more mindful when eating

In essence, mindful eating is about being in the moment and aware of the food, yourself and your surrounding, but there are tricks to help cultivate the mentality and give space for the practice.

Sit down

Like at a real table. Your desk does not count…
A lot of the time today, people eat while on the move or while standing. Sitting down for eating at a real table creates a routine that you connect with eating.

Set aside time for eating

Give yourself at least a proper 20-30 minutes when you can eat and don’t try to cram it in whenever. This isn’t always possible in today’s stressed society, but try to make an effort. If you only have ten minutes one day, then at least use those minutes for just eating.

Minimize distractions

Don’t eat in front of the TV, your phone or anything else that is too distracting from the act of eating. This doesn’t mean that you can never eat or have a bit of snack in front of Netflix on a Friday, but try to keep it to a minimum.

Eat with people

Food is something that all us humans share, we all eat and it’s a great thing to do together! It might seem a little bit conflicting with the previous point, but if you think about it, most often when you are eating with others you take longer to finish since you interact with the others. And eating slower is a good way to be mindful when eating. It allows you to notice the body’s signals better and gives less risk of overeating.

Remember to chew

This is my personal week spot. I’m horribly bad at chewing! It’s boring and I still do not understand how some people chew one bite 10-15 times… However, it’s important to think about. When you chew every mouthful for longer you extend the total eating time and thus, giving it more time to notice the signals from the stomach.

Drink less while eating

This connects to the previous one. When we drink a lot during the meal, we can have a tendency to “swallow down” the food with the help of liquid. So instead of having to chew properly, we just swallow with the help of a drink. If you drink a caloric drink you also risk filling up to quick because of the drink.

Eat on a plate

Or a bowl. Or whatever type of dish is normal to you or where you live. Skip eating out of a takeaway box or foil container (even though this can certainly save you from doing dishes). By creating a routine for eating (like always sitting down, at a table and eating off a plate) you can be more mindful about the act of eating.

Are you mindful when you eat? Do you have any more tips on mindful eating?

January challenge: Veganuary summary

So a month of the year has passed. When did that happen?? I don’t know because it still feels like NYE was yesterday. Anyways, the January challenge was Veganuary. My goal for the month was to inspire you to eat more vegan and to eat as much vegan as I could myself. Like I told you in the beginning of the month I have been in a particular housing situation this month which made it tough for me to eat fully vegan, so that is why my goal was not to eat 100% vegan as I wanted to be realistic this time around.

So what posts did I share this month?

I started off with sharing some of my favourite vegan accounts and some vegan recipes to try out (btw if you haven’t tried the creamy noodle, you have too, it was AMAZING!!).

Then I continued with a post of my best vegan staples and one of good vegan protein sources.

I finished out the month with giving my best tips on vegan snacks and also how to make your own vegan “milk”.

An what about my Veganuary result? Well, the first part of the month I was very motivated and was more in charge of my own eating situation, so during that period I would say 9 out of 10 meals/snacks were vegan. For the second part it went a bit downhill. Because of some unexpected travelling and events and just getting a bit lazy I did not eat as much vegan as I would have liked to. Still, I found some nice recipes to add to my repertoire and I look forward to trying even more during the year.

How was Veganuary for you guys?

Vegan “milk”

rawpixel-1149532-unsplashVegan drinks or “mylks” that substitute cows milk have become increasingly popular and today there are more alternatives than ever in the stores. Did you know that making your own is both easy and can save you money? It also allows you to exactly control the ingredient list and to make just enough for you!

Almond, rice, soy, oat, cashew

My favourite is oat milk, partly because I like the taste, but also because it’s the best option for me living in Northern Europe. We grow a lot of oat here (none of the other crops are grown much in these areas) and in general oat milk is one of the best options since it requires less water than many of the other options and have quite low emissions.

So what you need in order to make some home made vegan milk is:

  • A blender (A strong one is advisable)
  • A cheese cloth or strainer
  • Water
  • Oats, cashews, almonds or whatever type of mylk you are making
  • Sweetener if wanted (dates or vanilla powder are great options)

Start by soaking the oats (or nuts etc.) for at least 30-60 minutes. A great idea is to soak overnight. Then drain and wash them.

Mix 1 part oats, with 3-5 parts water (depending on how thick you want your drink to be) in a blender.

When it’s fully blended, strain the mixture. If you want to add sweetener or to make flavoured mylk, put the mylk back into the blender and add spices.

Store in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days. I can’t tell you exactly how long it will last, because I always go for the look, smell, feel, taste when it comes to food. So as long as it doesn’t look weird, smell weird, has a weird-ish consistency or tastes bad, I drink it!

The leftover oats or pulp that you are left with in the strainer/cloth can be used in other recipes like pancakes, bread or protein balls, so don’t throw it away!

Vegan snacks for when the cravings set in

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I don’t know about you, but I am a huge snacker. In the evening I like to have a light snack to satisfy my cravings or simply because I am still a bit hungry after dinner. Sometimes I just snack because I think it’s nice, like on a Friday night in the sofa watching a movie or for having friends over for some drinks and quality time.

So for this Veganuary I am sharing some of my favourite snack idea with you!

Popcorn

I think everyone knows about this. When times is cramped or the energy low, popcorn is the way to go. It takes zero chopping, mixing och baking and is done in a matter of minutes. I usually go for the stove popping ones which reduces the use of material and contain less additives compared to microwave popcorn. If you want some “cheesy” flavour my best tip is to top off the hot popcorn with some nutritional yeast. Oh and salt!

Veggie chips

Chips are probably my biggest craving ever, in all categories, but as we all know they are usually not the most healthy option, as well as often containing dairy. So if you want a healthier option that is sure to be animal-free you should make your own! You can make chips out of many different veggies, but my best ones are kale chips, zucchini chips and of course, the classic, potato chips. Slices them up thinly, massage with some oil of choice and spice them up with your favourite flavours and then just spread out on a baking sheet and bake on a lower temperature until they start getting some colour. All ovens are different but I tend to go somewhere between 75-100°C depending on what type of vegetables I am using.

Veggies and dip

When I feel like a slightly healthier snack I turn to veggies and dip. For the dips you can either just take some vegan sourcream/fraiche and mix with spices and herbs or you can make your own (or bought) hummus, guacamole, artichoke dip, bean dip or green pea mash. For the hummus I like to switch it up with some different flavours like smoked paprika or sun-dried tomatoes. You can also make hummus with avocado in it, edamame, green peas or any other thing you like. As long as you have mixer or blender only your imagination can stop you. My best veggies to dip are carrots (A MUST!), cucumber, bell pepper, radishes, fresh broccoli and sugarsnaps.

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Nice cream

If you crave ice cream a lot, nice cream is your best bet. It’s like ice cream, but instead of making it on cream, you base it on frozen fruits. So it’s almost like a sort of sorbet. The classic base is with frozen banana that you mix up with other fruits and berries. If you like you can mix in chopped nuts or even chocolate. Whatever suits you!

Baked goods

Most of your favourite cookies and cakes are doable without dairy and eggs. Oat cookies,  raw berry pies with a nut crust, chocolate chip cookies, whatever you can imagine. When it comes to baking vegan, some recipes are fine with a 1:1 ratio of dairy – plant milk and chia eggs, but since baking is quite complex I would always try to find a recipe, there’s nothing worse than craving and baking something, only to have it fail!

So those are my best snacks for anyone feeling a slight craving but wanting to keep it vegan. Do you have any vegan snack faves?

Good sources for vegan protein

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The first concern that seems to come up when someone mentions that they are vegan (or even vegetarian) is: “are you getting enough protein?”. Protein deficiency is quite rare in the western world and as long as you eat a varied and somewhat healthy diet, you are most likely getting enough. Even if you only eat plants. Because what some people fail to understand is that veggies also contain protein.

Still, if you want to make a balanced dinner that is sure to satisfy your protein needs, there are some foods that are more suitable than others (unless you feel like eating 50+ cucumbers per meal…).

Tofu

Tofu is a soy-based protein often used in vegan cooking. For a long time I did not understand tofu, I though it was bland and had a weird consistency and could not understand why anyone would eat it out of free will. Today I cook a lot with tofu and know that the trick is to use the right type of tofu and to not eat it without marinade or spice.

Seitan

Made with wheat protein (gluten) and sometimes called mock duck/chicken in restaurants, seitan is a great substitute for chicken and poultry in dishes. It is great for marinating and spicing since it easily absorbs fluids and flavours.

Tempeh

Similar to tofu, but is made with fermented legumes. Can be marinated and flavoured just like tofu and seitan and can be cooked in several ways; fried, ovenbaked or as part of a stew.

Beans

Probably my favourite out of the vegan proteins. It’s cheap, tasty (in my opinion) and if you buy the cooked beans you can have a dinner ready in 15 minutes or less!

Lentils

Lentils are a great source of protein. In addition, they are cheap and quite easy to cook. I like them mostly in soups and casseroles but they work on their own as well.

Nuts

Most know that nuts are high in healthy fats, but they also contain a decent amount of protein. Since nuts are high in fat they are also quite caloric so I don’t build meals around them. Instead, I like them as an add-on on stews, bowl and similar, or make a pesto or sauce.

Veggies

Like mentioned above, vegetables contain protein. Some of the most protein packed ones are potatoes, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mushrooms and cauliflower. So by eating a big variety of vegetables you will get a big chance of satisfying your daily need.

Vegan “meats”

This option might not the best regarding the environment or the price, but I like to include it as an option as it is simple and fast, which makes it more accessible. For people switching over to a more plant-based diet this is often a given, since it gives the opportunity to cook similar dishes to before. However, I think it’s important to not get stuck in just cooking substitutes since they can be quite bland and expensive. My favourite brands for substitutes are the Swedish brands Anamma and Oumph!