My gut doctor says I’m in trouble for eating too much spaghetti but it’s my fav vegetable!

— Pazuzu (@ThatPazuzu) May 7, 2019

You’ve probably seen the internet as in which a “gut doctor” says “I beg Americans to throw out this vegetable now.” The ads are often in a chumbox, which is a slang term for the promoted links often found at the bottom of a webpage. The ads are so ubiquitous that they’ve become a meme. What vegetable could that be? The pictures vary, and are hard to decipher. The answer is actually quite elusive. See, chumbox links fall into five categories: they go to search results, or affiliate marketing links, or long slideshows, or advertisements, or hidden content.

The gut doctor falls into the fifth category, hidden content: These ads redirect someplace totally unexpected, a website unrelated in any obvious way to what you originally clicked, and lead you on a wild goose chase between loosely connected sites that are also littered with ads.

The identity of the vegetable is still a question with no answer. However, Kaitlyn Tiffany took a deep dive and found the “gut doctor” the ads refer to. Read about him, and about the business of chumboxes at Vox.

The health food industry is booming right now, as endless products claiming to be healthy are hitting shelves. Unfortunately, many of these products are actually not-so-healthy but are disguising themselves as such. The problem is that as consumers, we purchase these foods thinking they are good for us, when in reality, we can do without them. Here are 10 foods that you should probably toss out, as they aren’t as healthy as they claim to be.

10 health foods you need throw away

Baked potato chips: Sure, they may be low in calories, but they are also low in fiber and protein.

Diet soda: “Diet” soda has actually been linked with a 41 percent higher risk of obesity.

Dried cranberries: Unless you like consuming sugar, steer clear of dried cranberries. They have a whopping 30 grams of sugar per quarter-cup.
Green juice: Some green juice contains little to no fiber and loads of sugar, which means you’ll probably gain weight.

Yogurt-covered pretzels: That “healthy” yogurt coating is made up of sugar and oil.

Veggie chips: There aren’t really any vegetables in potato chips, but there is a lot of potato starch.

Twig and flake cereals: It’s practically sugar, but this time, you get to mix it with milk.

Light ice cream: Even though it says “light,” this type of ice cream can still have as many calories as regular ice cream and not be as filling.

Spinach wraps: With refined flour being the main ingredient, you’re taking in 310 calories.

Rice cakes: Although a low-cal snack, rice cakes are also low in fiber, protein, and other nutrients. If you’re hung up on this snack, spread some organic almond or peanut butter on top to get additional nutrients. Eating rice cakes alone won’t satisfy you at all.

Be careful when shopping—always make sure you’re reading labels carefully, and not just the ones that say “healthy.”

With the organics food ban in full swing in Metro Vancouver, it is time to bring some awareness to the global issue of food waste, and offer some ideas on what each person can do to reduce food from ending up in the trash.

Food is one of the most important things in life. In fact, we cannot live without it. Keep in mind that a significant number of people around the world do not have access to adequate healthy food on a daily basis, makes throwing away huge amounts of edible foods seem like a crime.

It is estimated that 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption around the world ends up being discarded, equaling 1.3 billion tons per year. Here in Canada, that food is worth $31 billion dollars according to Ontario based consulting firm Value Chain Management International. So why is it happening and what can we do?

1.Wasting valuable resources

Tossing out edible food doesn’t just mean one less meal for someone, but it also means that money, energy, water, time and physical effort spent to grow and produce it is being wasted. The real cost to producing that food is not factored into the figure above, and is actually more like 3 times the amount.

2.Yikes, this product is about to expire

There is a lack of education concerning the shelf life of products. The best before date, which can be found on all products indicates quality and not safety of foods. Not knowing how long a product is safe to eat makes people unsure about it, and so they consider the best before date as its due date after its expiration the product is no longer consumable.

3. Um, this fruit is ugly

Another reason for food waste is that food has to meet a specific standard concerning its appearance to be bought by the consumer, meaning that the colour, shape and its packaging have to be aesthetically pleasing and without any blemishes. Otherwise the product will be refused and as a result won’t be sold and likely thrown away.

4.Cheap food is easy to throw away

We do not value food enough. In our society, food is relatively cheap and we can get everything we want anytime and everywhere. This simplicity makes us underestimate the effort that has been spent to grow and produce the food and diminishes the value of the food itself. It might seem easier to toss the browning bananas that have been sitting on the counter all week and go to the store to
buy new ones, because peeling, freezing and blending sticky bananas is just too much work.

5. Make soil not trash

Food waste is a valuable resource. Composting can reduce the amount of waste being buried in plastic bags at landfills across the country by 1/3. Capturing this resource and composting it is to make a soil amendment for growing food or for landscaping needs is an absolute necessity. Compost adds nutrients and helps the soil retain moisture, and if applying to lawns, can contribute to controlling run off, fertilizing and improving the health of the soil and grass roots.

Who is setting a good example?
Different solutions to combat food waste have already been undertaken in some countries. In France, reducing the amount of food waste in grocery stores should be realized due to a recently passed law. This law seems to be the most obvious solution consisting of simply banning food waste and making it illegal for grocery stores to throw away edible foods. Instead, the food either has to be donated to charities, turned into animal feed, compost or energy. The new law should help reaching the aim of halving France’s food waste by 2025.

To make people understand that it is not the bright colour or the stereotypical shape of fruits and vegetables that make them taste good, some grocery stores, such as the French supermarket chain Intermarché or the Canadian food retailer Loblaws have started selling “ugly fruits” for a discount. Ugly foods are mainly fruits and vegetables that do not match the norm concerning their colour or shape and as a consequence are often thrown away.

What can each of us do?
Households can avoid or reduce food waste with easy steps such as:

  1. Planning grocery shopping in advance and only buying as much as needed.
  2. Storing food in the right way
  3. Getting educated about the true time and look of its inedibility

It’s up to us to implement those steps into our lifestyle and support businesses that do so to finally reduce and eliminate food waste. By changing our behaviour and realizing the value of the food we daily eat, we will make a huge difference altogether!

Photo credit:

Ms. Rolle of the Food and Agriculture Organization said some of the most basic fixes are at the bottom end of the supply chain: Metal grain silos have helped against fungus ruining grain stocks in countries in Africa. In India, the F.A.O. is encouraging farmers to collect tomatoes in plastic crates instead of big sacks; they squish and rot less.

Higher up the food chain, supermarkets are trying to make a dent by changing the way best-before labels are used — making them specific to various food categories to discourage consumers from throwing out food that is safe to eat — or trying to sell misshapen fruits and vegetables rather than discarding them.

Some countries are trying to regulate food waste. France requires retailers to donate food that is at risk of being thrown out but is still safe to eat. European Union lawmakers are pushing for binding targets to curb food waste by 50 percent by 2030, echoing a United Nations development goal; negotiations have been underway since June. Some countries pushing back on the idea of continentwide targets.

What if we just ate less?

That would make a difference, but not as much as one might think. Dr. Behrens of Leiden University addressed the issue in a recent study:

Cutting waste would have “at least the same impact or more than changing diets.”

If Americans ate according to our nationally recommended dietary guidelines (each country’s are somewhat different) that would go some distance toward cutting our emissions footprint. Changing eating habits is tough, though. Experts say food waste is still critical.

Tackling Australia’s food waste

National Food Waste Summit

On 20 November 2017, the Minister for the Environment and Energy convened the National Food Waste Summit at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The summit brought together a range of stakeholders from industry, business, academia, government and the not-for-profit sector to discuss ways to reduce food waste in Australia.

  • National Food Waste Summit

Launch of the National Food Waste Strategy

The National Food Waste Strategy was launched on 20 November by the Minister for the Environment and Energy at the National Food Waste Summit.

The culmination of many months of consultation with industry, academia, the not-for-profit sector, and all tiers of government, the Strategy establishes a framework to support actions that can help work towards halving Australia’s food waste by 2030.

  • National Food Waste Strategy

Implementing the National Food Waste Strategy

Implementation of the strategy is supported by a $1.37 million investment.

$1 million of these funds has been provided by the Australian Government and the states and territories over two years to Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) to implement the strategy. In 2019, FIAL will deliver an implementation plan that sets out the short, medium to long-term actions to support reductions in food waste, and a monitoring and evaluation framework to measure our progress towards achieving the 50 per cent reduction target and will have established an industry voluntary commitment program to engage business in food waste reduction activities.

The remaining $370,000 from the Department’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP) will deliver research into a National Food Waste Baseline and return on investment study for business, government and the not-for-profit sector in the first half of 2019.

In addition to the research projects, expert guidance and advice is being provided to FIAL by the National Food Waste Strategy Steering Committee, which was established in February 2018 and includes representation across the entire food supply and consumption chain.

Implementation of the strategy will help fulfil Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 12—­ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

More information on the delivery of the strategy and how you can engage in work that will support its implementation can be directed to [email protected] or (03) 9731 3422.

National Food Waste Baseline

On 20 March 2019, the Minister for the Environment announced the key findings of Australia’s National Food Waste Baseline.

The National Food Waste Baseline provides a benchmark for measuring national performance against the reduction target, by establishing a consistent framework to quantify food waste generation and to track progress.

In 2016-17 (the base year), Australia produced 7.3 million tonnes of food waste across the supply and consumption chain. Of this, 2.5 million (34 per cent) was created in our homes, 2.3 million tonnes (31 per cent) in primary production and 1.8 million tonnes (25 per cent) in the manufacturing sector.

Australians recycled 1.2 million of food waste, recovered 2.9 million tonnes through alternative uses for the food waste and disposed of 3.2 million tonnes.

More than 300 organisations were engaged through a structured consultation process. Of these, 91 submitted some level of data, while others provided anecdotal and contextual information. Future iterations of this report will aim to improve on these issues.

National Food Waste Baseline – Executive Summary (PDF – 357.47 KB)
National Food Waste Baseline – Executive Summary (DOCX – 276.55 KB)

National Food Waste Baseline – Final Assessment Report (PDF – 2.53 MB)
National Food Waste Baseline – Final Assessment Report (DOCX – 1.8 MB)

Further information

  • Progress on the path to halve food waste by 2030 – media release 20 March 2019
  • National Food Waste Strategy steering committee
  • National Food Waste Strategy steering committee – media release 9 February 2018
  • Fact sheet – Working together to reduce food waste in Australia
  • Infographic – How food waste is managed in Australia

Contact us

For more information on the implementation of the National Food Waste Strategy, please contact the Department at [email protected]

A mysterious gut doctor is begging Americans to throw out “this vegetable” now. But, like, which?

There is a gut doctor, and he begs Americans: “Throw out this vegetable now.” This news is accompanied by a different image nearly every time. This morning, the plea appeared at the bottom of an article on Vox next to a photo of a hand chopping up what appears to be a pile of green apples. At other times, it has been paired with a picture of a petri dish with a worm in it. Other times, gut bacteria giving off electricity. The inside of a lotus root. An illustrated rendering of roundworms.

The gut doctor’s desperation pops up over and over, on websites like CNN and the Atlantic (and as I said, this one), in what are known colloquially as “chumboxes.” These are the boxes at the bottom of the page that have several pieces of clickbaity “sponsored content” or “suggested reading.” They’re generated by a variety of companies, but the largest two are Taboola ($160 million in funding) and Outbrain ($194 million in funding), both founded in Israel in the mid-aughts.

What is the point of a chumbox, and why would it be called that?

Chumbox is a sort of gross fishing reference, chum being the tiny fish that fishers use as bait to catch larger fish. Before the word came into the lexicon, Casey Newton explained the purpose of these boxes for The Verge in 2014:

Outbrain, Taboola, and their peers have a simple pitch for the sites they work with: add our modules to your site for free, with just a few lines of code, and start making money immediately from the traffic you deliver to paying partners. “Our whole pitch to publishers is a no-brainer,” LaCour says. Adam Singolda, co-founder and CEO of Taboola, says top journalistic outlets are making more than $10 million a year adding its modules to their sites — significant revenues in an industry still struggling to find its footing online.

The shift happened after publications realized that they weren’t making enough money from banner ads (which have dismal click-through rates of around one-tenth of a percent) and before they started cutting deals directly with large tech platforms like Facebook and Google to serve their content to broader audiences and try to wring out some revenue.

The gut doctor’s plea, paired with an image of a lotus root.

In 2015, John Mahoney coined the term and wrote a widely cited “taxonomy” of chumbox content for the Awl. The content types he identified:

  • Sexy Thing (e.g., hot singles in your area, “your area” determined using your IP address)
  • Localized Rule (e.g., some change in your city’s parking meter system, ditto)
  • Deeply Psychological Body Thing
  • Celeb Thing
  • Old Person’s Face
  • Skin Thing
  • Miracle Cure Thing
  • Weird Tattoo
  • Implied Vaginal or Other Bodily Opening
  • Disgusting Invertebrates or Globular Masses
  • Extreme Weight Loss Thing
  • Money Thing
  • Wine
  • Oozing Food

The gut doctor fits into several of these categories, depending on the image he’s paired with. He is always a Miracle Cure Thing and he is often also a Disgusting Invertebrates thing. He is sometimes a Deeply Psychological Body Thing, or Oozing Food.

By 2016, 41 of the top 50 news sites used these modules as a revenue source. Reply All co-host Alex Goldman visited Taboola’s New York offices in June 2018, where he met CEO and founder Adam Singolda. Singolda informed him that he had never heard the term “chumbox,” and that he did not like the word “ads,” but that Taboola serves about 20 billion “recommendations” per day.

Earlier this month, content strategist Ranjan Roy published a more technical analysis of these links. He identifies five types of chumbox links based on the strategy they use to generate money:

  • Search links: These are ads with titles like “New research about early symptoms of Hepatitis C,” which redirect not to any particular website but to a Yahoo search results page. Yahoo is paying Outbrain for clicks, Outbrain is paying the Washington Post for clicks, there is plenty of money flowing downward from the advertisers that pay Yahoo to place them at the top of the search rankings.
  • Affiliate marketing: These are ads that use your IP address to target location-specific ads and then redirect you to weird insurance quote aggregators or car resellers. (Roy points out that these sites are typically registered anonymously.)
  • Slideshow links: These ads redirect to slideshows about celebrities that end up refreshing with each click. On one that he clicked, each slide had nine ads, and the slideshow was 32 pages long, which comes out to 288 ads.
  • A real ad: Some ads are just for real, possibly junky objects. (Like “revolutionary” tiny hearing aids.)

The gut doctor falls into the fifth category, hidden content: These ads redirect someplace totally unexpected, a website unrelated in any obvious way to what you originally clicked, and lead you on a wild goose chase between loosely connected sites that are also littered with ads.

Or, as Mahoney wrote in 2015:

Clicking on a chumlink  —  even one on the site of a relatively high-class chummer, like  —  is a guaranteed way to find more, weirder, grosser chum. The boxes are daisy-chained together in an increasingly cynical, gross funnel; quickly, the open ocean becomes a sewer of chum.

So here we are. Chumboxes are unsavory but not a mystery. What is a mystery is the gut doctor: Who is he? And what does he want? You know, more specifically than for some unnamed vegetable to be canceled forever.

Who is the gut doctor, and what vegetable is he begging Americans to throw out now?

I would not chase the answer to this question if it were not the fact that it has plagued so many for so long. “Please someone tell me b/c I can’t take it anymore: What’s the vegetable the top U.S. gut doctor is begging Americans to throw out?” Fox Sports Radio host Jason Smith asks on Twitter. “God help me but I often wonder which vegetable it is that this gut doctor begs Americans to throw out!” some man named Jonah admits boldly.

The gut doctor is, at this point, a meme. Last December, Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell tweeted, “Gut doctors warn: THROW THIS VEGETABLE OUT IMMEDIATELY,” above a photograph of President Trump. In January, an unidentifiable Twitter user pleaded on the vegetable’s behalf, making full use of his 280 characters: “Don’t throw it out! Don’t listen to his lies. It’s just a Vegetable, after all; what harm could it really do? Just a Vegetable — yes, really. And what does the Gut Doctor know? He’s just a bitter liar, spreading mistruths about poor, innocent Vegetable.”

My gut doctor says I’m in trouble for eating too much spaghetti but it’s my fav vegetable!

— Pazuzu (@ThatPazuzu) May 7, 2019

Earlier this week, Topic editor Reyhan Harmanci tweeted a screenshot of the gut doctor’s warning at the bottom of a journalist’s personal website, and asked if chumboxes were getting more aggressive. The image attached in this case “strongly resembled the worms from one of my favorite movies, Tremors,” she told me.

The gut doctor, to me, is elusive. I have refreshed every website he has been seen on dozens of times, and for me, he will not materialize. Yet, luckily, all of these screenshots contain a visible link to a website for a company called United Naturals. Here, I am greeted by the smiling face of Dr. Vincent Pedre, whose bio describes him as “a Certified Medical Doctor, a Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner, and Chief Wellness Officer at United Naturals.” He apparently went to my alma mater for his undergraduate degree. (Go Big Red! Also: Oh, no!) He then attended the University of Miami for medical school, before founding Pedre Integrative Health, “where he takes a largely holistic approach to medicine.”

This was a search in an incognito window.

United Naturals is dedicated to providing “lasting relief from bloat and other embarrassing digestive issues,” in the form of probiotic capsules called Synbiotic 365 ($45 per box or $229 for six boxes). United Naturals also sells a collagen powder dietary supplement called ActivMotion for $45 a pouch, and offers a testimonial from a customer who says it cured their depression. There is no information here about vegetables.

Luckily, though, this is not Dr. Pedre’s only website. Unluckily, the Pedre Integrative Health site has lots of information about weight loss and bowel movements, but no specifics about a death vegetable. Another domain,, does not specifically engage with the question either, although it does sell a 28-Day Happy Gut Cleanse Kit for $399 (marked down from $499).

In January 2016, the New York Times “caught up with Dr. Pedre to talk about what makes a ‘happy gut,’ how you can avoid some common triggers of digestive problems, and why fermented foods like kombucha and kimchi should be part of your diet.” Throughout, he stresses the value of vegetables, and of kimchi specifically, but he does not say that there is one vegetable that is literally poison and should be banished from the face of the earth.

In July 2018, Dr. Pedre told Microsoft’s news platform’s lifestyle section four foods he would “never eat again,” but we got no closer to an answer. The four foods were actually five foods, and none was a vegetable: cereal, milk, coffee, sandwiches, and pasta. Sandwiches! (They make him “super sleepy.”)

The Facebook group for Happy Gut Cleanse enthusiasts, which I had to concoct a small lie in order to join (my gut feels fine typically; I’m blessed!) offers a more direct engagement with Dr. Pedre than was afforded when I contacted his publicist, who said he would not be available to answer any of my emailed questions.

In it, he conducts polls, asking his followers if they would buy one-page gut health advice sheets for $7 to $9 a page, and what advice they would like specifically. He also shares links about why children in the Mediterranean region have the “highest rates of severe childhood obesity” and about “The Bacteria You’ve Never Heard of That Promotes Weight Loss.” Group members typically post their questions using Facebook’s word art feature, overlaying large text on backgrounds with gradients or laugh-crying emoji. Last week, free of charge, Dr. Pedre responded to a woman who wanted a gut check (ha) on some of the items she enjoys putting in a salad. To make a long story short: She cannot eat cranberry raisins anymore. They breed yeast?

And yesterday — another freebie — he provided a list of “YES!” foods and “NO!” foods.

The “YES!” list included, as I’m sure you can guess, kimchi. It also included asparagus, broccoli, dark chocolate, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, mangoes, onions, pickles, and sauerkraut. My dude loves cabbage! And pickling! The “NO!” list was much shorter and had no vegetables on it. Just whole grains that contain gluten, “soy products like miso, tempeh (GMO crop),” yogurt, and also all dairy.

Here, I think, is a hint. In parentheses. “GMO crop.” Speaking to his inner circle, Dr. Pedre does not explain what is the matter, in his opinion, with GMO crops, because they presumably already know. (Please see Vox’s explainer on GMOs. They are, medically speaking, not a problem.)

Anyway, one would hope that there are some answers to be found in Dr. Pedre’s book Happy Gut: The Cleansing Program to Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Eliminate Pain.

I absolutely refuse to buy it, but according to some Amazon reviews, it is just a version of a widely known diet plan recommended by Stanford doctors for patients with irritable bowel syndrome, which you can download for free and which suggests avoiding certain fruits, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, wheat, and soy. All vegetables: fine!

According to some people on some random forums, which I can’t believe I didn’t get around to checking sooner, the gut doctor link does not always direct viewers to United Naturals. Sometimes it links to a 40-minute long infomercial starring Dr. Pedre, which does not allow users to rewind or skip ahead, but only to play or pause. In a thread on Data Lounge, one viewer gets through only a few minutes of the video and throws their hands up saying, “I hope it’s broccoli.” Others in the thread hope the vegetable is kale. One person hopes it is potatoes and is immediately shouted down by someone who says potato hatred is “overblown.”

A vegetable forum called 2 Peas Refugees also discussed the video at length. The original poster writes, “A few times over the past year or so I have clicked on the link and it takes you to a video that teases the answer over and over again and I only last about three to five minutes before I get frustrated and close out.” According to a Reddit thread, the video is supposedly incredibly boring until very near the end, when the doctor gets around to explaining his hatred of glyphosate, an herbicide present in Round-Up, the ultra-popular weed killer invented by the agroindustrial giant Monsanto.

This hatred of big agriculture — in many ways, founded — extends, without foundation, to all genetically modified foods. The most widely grown GMO crop in the United States is corn. Corn is also treated with glyphosate. Corn is a double whammy.

I think it’s corn

The mystery vegetable is corn? Dr. Pedre’s publicist stopped responding to my emails after I stated my specific question (“Is it corn?”). But eventually, another person in the 2 Peas group buckled down to watch the entire video and informed everyone of the answer: corn.

“Okay so given this, do you still eat corn?” someone asks. “I like it in small quantities with Mexican food but I stopped eating corn about 20 years ago because of the carbs.” Sounds like they didn’t stop eating corn 20 years ago. But another user agrees that corn is awful, writing, “I hate the way corn gets stuck in my teeth.”

Anyway, seems like the vegetable is corn.

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Doctor reveals the one vegetable you need to eat

If you fail to eat enough vegetables, this may be welcome news.

According to a doctor in the UK, you only need to be eating one type of veggie to boost your health.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, the author of “The Four Pillar Plan” and a correspondent on the BBC program “Doctor in the House,” says there is only one vegetable people really need to eat — broccoli.

“Broccoli is a lifesaver,” he wrote in a recent article for The Daily Mail.

Chatterjee claims the common green vegetable boosts people’s gut bacteria, which helps to support their immune systems and improves their bowel health.

“It does a number of things,” he said.


“As it goes through the small intestine it helps to balance your immune system. And then the fiber from the broccoli that can’t be digested goes along to the colon, which is the last part of the bowel, where most of the gut bugs reside and they start feasting on the fiber and making short chain fatty acids.”

Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga and turnips. These nutrition powerhouses supply loads of nutrients for few calories.

The vegetable has been praised for its cancer-fighting powers in the past. Eating a high amount of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of cancer, particularly lung and colon cancer.

Researchers have found that sulforaphane, the sulfur-containing compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter bit, can inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC), known to be involved in the progression of cancer cells.

Poor vitamin K intake is linked with a higher risk of bone fracture. Just one cup of chopped broccoli provides 92 micrograms of vitamin K, well over 100 percent of your daily need.

Consuming an adequate amount of vitamin K improves bone health by improving calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.

Broccoli also contributes to your daily need for calcium, providing 43 milligrams in one cup.

9 Wasted Foods You Shouldn’t Throw Away

Before tossing those leftover broccoli stems in the trash, think again. There are a ton of nutrients hiding in your favorite foods’ remains, and you can easily repurpose those scraps into something delicious, healthy, and fresh. Not only will you boost your daily quota of essential vitamins and minerals, but you’ll also save money and time in the process. These nine foods deserve a few go-arounds.

Mushroom Stems

“Mushroom stems can get woody and aren’t great to eat fresh or even lightly cooked, but don’t throw them out,” says Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D.N., author of The MIND Diet. The stems are hiding a great source of vitamin D and beta-glucans, which are known to reduce cholesterol, explains Moon.

Chop them finely and add herbs and seasoning for a satisfying, lean burger patty, suggests Moon. These can be the base for a great meatless meal, or you can add the mushrooms into the beef mixture, along with a few flavorings, such as garlic, feta, and parsley. And, here’s a tip: “Sauté before blending into lean beef burgers,” says Moon. “This lowers the fat and increases the nutrition of the burger while still tasting great.”

Citrus Zest

There’s no need to ditch your morning OJ, but there’s so much more you can do with citrus than just juice it. Lemons, limes, and oranges are all great flavor enhancers, which can help you cut down on sugar, fat, and calories when cooking, says Moon. “The zest is also where more complex flavonoids are, so there’s an extra antioxidant boost,” she says. Use it to jazz up rice or act as a garnish.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Stems and Leaves

Here’s a shocker: You might be throwing away the most nutritious part of this veggie. “Broccoli stems contain more calcium, iron, and vitamin C gram for gram than the florets,” says Smith. Simply toss them in with your veggie stir-fry or blend into a dip.

If you find broccoli leaves on the stalks, don’t rip them out. “The leaves are one of the richest sources of calcium in vegetables,” says Lauren Blake, R.D., sports dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. They also contain fiber, iron, and vitamin A. “You need vitamin A for immunity and healthy skin and bones,” says Ilyse Schapiro, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. Sauté the leaves with heart-healthy olive oil and garlic or place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in a 400°F oven until they’re dark and crispy (about 15 minutes).

Celery Leaves

You might think of celery as being high in water content and great for detoxing, but its nutritional benefits go much further, especially when it comes to the leaves. “Celery leaves are rich in magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C,” says Schapiro. You can easily toss celery leaves in a kale salad, use them as part of a vegetable stock for soups and stews, or sprinkle them on top of chicken or fish as a garnish.

Another food that’s often wasted and that pairs perfectly with celery leaves? The skin of an onion. Together, these throw-away scraps will amp up the flavors of a soup or stock and provide a dose of antioxidants, like quercetin, found to reduce blood pressure, she adds.

Beet Greens

The tops of beets often get thrown away, and just like with carrot tops, they shouldn’t be. “Beet greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C, which work as antioxidants in the body to fight free radicals, keeping your skin glowing and your immune system strong,” says Keri Glassman R.D., C.D.N., owner of The Nutritious Life. “They even offer a healthy helping of fiber, which is great for your digestive health.”

Here’s what to do: Cut the greens off the top of the beet roots, wrap them in damp paper towels, slip them into a plastic storage bag, and refrigerate. Try to use them within a couple days. Mix them into salads, add them to smoothies, or even sauté or juice them.


Stop scratching your head-what the heck is aquafaba?!-and read on. This chickpea by-product is pretty versatile, and it’s especially useful for vegans.

The “goopy liquid” in a can of beans-the stuff you generally wash down the drain-contains trace vitamins and minerals, as well as starch from the beans or legumes, and it’s becoming popular because of its fabulous capabilities to replace an egg, says Blake. “It can be used as a vegan alternative to whipped topping, meringues, chocolate mousse, ice cream, buttercream, and more,” she says.

Potato Skins

Whether it’s a baked potato or a sweet potato, the skins should always be eaten. “Potato skins contain about 3 grams of protein, about 5 grams of fiber (the flesh only has 2 grams), and B vitamins,” says Smith. In fact, there’s more B6 in the skin than in the flesh.

What’s more, saving the skin of a sweet potato could reduce your risk of disease. “The outer layer of fruits and veggies are rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber,” says Elizabeth Stein, founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth. “Studies have shown that phytochemicals have the potential to protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer, stimulate the immune system, and reduce inflammation.”

Cucumber Peels

Peeled cucumbers might be great for dipping into hummus or chopped into Greek salads, but most of the vitamins cucumbers contain are in the skin itself, says Glassman. “This is another great source of insoluble fiber, and vitamins A and K, which are good for vision and bone health,” she says.

Better yet, keep the peels on when adding to a sweet pineapple cucumber salad, as the pineapple core, which is often wasted, is a rich source of anti-inflammatory bromelain, found to fight infection, she says.

Meat Bones

Most animal parts can be used in cooking to enhance nutrition and flavor, says White. “And bones can be wonderful enhancers for broths and soups,” he says. Plus, bones are very lean, so they contribute a lot of savory flavor without many calories.

You can easily make a healthy bone broth soup at home, which allows you to control the salt and reduce the sodium over store-bought options. “Save the bones from your next roasted chicken or beef roast and make a nutritious broth that can be enjoyed on its own or used to give recipes and other dishes a nutrition boost,” says Allison Stowell, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., of Guiding Stars.

  • By By Isadora Baum

Food being thrown away

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