April 2019 - Proportion Foods
Proportion Foods - Nutrition for Active and Healthy Aging

Nutrition for Active and Healthy Aging

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Printing prosthetic arms from plastic bottle tops

Posted by ProPortion Foods Blog on Apr 15, 2019 in Uncategorised

ProPortion Food staff have joined a movement to collect plastic bottle tops.


This follows Nikki’s inspiration to launch a bottle top drop bin at the company’s head office after attending a presentation on waste management and sustainability programs.


The plastic bottle tops will be made into 100 prosthetic hands for children using 3D printing, an initiative by community organisation Envision in their drive to collect one million of the tops.


Envision is mobilising schools and workplaces throughout Australia to contribute to their goal. So far they have redeemed more than 250,000 bottle tops – getting them a quarter of the way there.



Helping Hands


Although bottle tops are fully recyclable, ABC’s ‘War on Waste’ revealed that the tops fall through gaps in the machinery and end up in landfill, making them a major contributor to the world’s plastic pollution problem.


Envision’s overarching mission is to engage disadvantaged job seekers in innovative projects to help them develop work skills while reducing the planet’s carbon footprint by using upcycled and recycled products.


After experimenting with bottle caps, made from high density poly-ethylene (HDPA), they successfully used them to create ‘ink’ for 3D printers.


While collecting the caps, they discovered E-nable, an enterprise that links amputees in war-torn and developing countries with volunteer 3D printers. This is made possible by a drop in prices of 3D printers, from $10,000 to $700.


The resulting “Helping Hands” initiative is a joint venture between Envision, Wyndham City and Rotary International.


After workers sift through the bottle tops, the tops are shredded and melted into a filament. This filament is then 3D printed into prosthetic hands.


And the hands are not just static bits of plastic; they can move and grasp objects.


Envision’s Facebook page shows prosthetic hands proudly created by groups in Surrey Hills, Werribee, and Bendigo. The first hand was shipped off to a grateful young boy in India earlier in the year.


Joining in


Envision is seeking support from organisations and schools to meet – and exceed – their plastic bottle top goals. Visit their website for posters and flyers.


More broadly, they are offering corporate packages as they seek more organisations to join them in partnership.
















Adding bugs to the menu

Posted by ProPortion Foods Blog on Apr 1, 2019 in Protein

Fancy some termites with your vegies for dinner? They taste rather minty, apparently. Or how about some grasshoppers – the Mexicans enjoy them roasted in chilli and garlic. In China you could try some fishy-tasting scorpions, or Cambodians might try and tempt you with fried tarantulas.


Many cultures have been eating bugs for centuries – including Indigenous Australians with delicacies like witchety grubs. Now, insects’ appeal as a cheap, nutritious and environmentally friendly food source is capturing attention as a potential solution for food security and sustainable agriculture.



The problem


By the year 2050 it’s estimated the world’s population will reach 9 billion people. To feed this growing population, current food production will need to nearly double.


But about one billion people around the world are hungry now. And food production is already unsustainable in the face of its ecological impact, climate change, land scarcity, overfished oceans and water shortages.


For this reason, leading organisations including the World Bank, United Nations and EAT Lancet Consortium are calling for radical overhauls of current agricultural and dietary practices.


They say multilevel solutions are needed that embrace and support small scale farmers, biodiversity and local knowledge. This includes widespread agreement that we need to eat more plant food and substantially less livestock for planetary and human health.



Why insects?


Insects rival conventional meat sources for their protein content, while putting significantly less strain on the environment.


Gram for gram, farming insect protein compared to beef needs 8 to 14 times less land, 5 times less water, and produces 6 to 13 times fewer greenhouse gas emissions.


Packed with amino acids, crawly critters are a high-quality protein source. They also deliver other nutrients including healthy fats, minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium and selenium, and vitamins including the B group.


Unlike animal food sources, insects contain fibre – mostly from the chitin in their exoskeleton, making them a good source of prebiotics.


In support, a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that people who ate cricket powder in their breakfast every day for two weeks showed increased abundance of the beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium animalis in their gut compared to controls who consumed the same breakfast without crickets.


But there are issues with foraging insects from nature for food; for instance, Australian honey ants and wood grubs are now threatened due to overexploitation by indigenous people for restaurants and ecotourism.


For this reason, insect farms are growing in popularity for animal feed or additives to human food. But they still need to overcome the “yuck factor” and pass regulatory tests for food safety.


That hasn’t stopped companies from producing insect-based products, for instance foods enriched from cricket protein seem to be growing in popularity – including cricket protein powder, organic roasted crickets and cricket energy bars.


Don’t fear. For vegans and vegetarians – and people who just can’t stomach the thought of eating insects – there are plenty of other nutritious, plant sources of protein including nuts, legumes, lentils, seeds, quinoa, and even hemp.