NutritionZero Waste Cooking with Rosanne Rust

Zero Waste Cooking with Rosanne Rust

Earth Day is this week (April 22) and I often take this opportunity to talk about the impact of food waste on the planet and its climate.

Anxiety about climate change has never been higher. And yet, we consumers are often told that our individual efforts—whether that’s installing energy efficient light bulbs or driving hybrid cars or even giving up meat—will never add up to enough impact to make a real  difference. For that, we need the sort of system-wide impacts that can only be achieved with public policy change. 

But reducing food waste is a place where individual consumers can have a really big impact—because most food waste occurs at the consumer level. In terms of reducing greenhouse gasses and slowing global warming, reducing food waste may be one of the biggest lever we have as consumers.

I know that a lot of the people listening to this podcast are reducing their consumption of animal products based on the belief that this will reduce the environmental impact of their diet or food choices. And this is an area of some controversy. 

Many animal agriculture advocates point out that the methods used to measure environmental impact of foods are not always comparing apples to apples (or apples to animals), and that the environmental impact of the processing involved in creating highly processed plant-based alternatives is not always taken into account by these comparisons.

But whether we’re buying beef burgers or Impossible burgers, if we end up throwing food away, we are wasting that energy and those resources and incurring those environmental costs for no benefit.

In this episode, registered dietitian Rosanne Rust joins me to talk about how we can all reduce food waste.

Rosanne is an internationally recognized nutrition expert and communicator and a prolific writer, with 8 books and counting. Her latest is Zero Waste Cooking for Dummies—but don’t let the title fool you. Although it is certainly accessible and approachable (just like Rosanne), there is nothing dumbed down about this book. It is an amazingly comprehensive and wide-ranging effort, weaving everything from agricultural practices to nutritional factors, time management, and budget considerations into this larger toptic of reducing food waste!

Click on the audio player to hear my conversation with Rosanne, in which we discuss:

  • Reducing food waste is not necessarily about giving up all processed foods or animal foods, but making the best use of whatever foods you choose to include in your diet.
  • The role of inventory control: knowing what you’ve got on hand and its shelf-life and making meal decisions based on that.
  • The role of meal planning and shopping lists when life so frequently doesn’t go according to plan. How can we roll with the punches and still minimize food waste?
  • Using leftovers—whether from meals we make at home or “doggie bags” from restaurants

You can buy Zero Waste Cooking for Dummies on Amazon,, or wherever you shop for books. Check out Rosanne’s blog at (And that’s also her handle on most social media channels as well.)

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