For me Earth Day means taking a moment to appreciate the place we live. To enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and to think about how I can contribute more to preserving our Earth. The dining commons are participating in Earth Day activities and in planning for the event I learned about a lot of ways I could make a difference. So I thought I would share what I learned with you.
1. Eat whole food with less processing. This idea can also be applied to nutrition. As a Dietitian I encourage “whole foods” that are nutrient dense instead of “processed foods” that are energy dense. To better understand this let me better define nutrient dense and energy dense. Nutrient dense foods provide nutrients for your body like fiber, vitamins and minerals with low added sugar and fat. Energy dense foods, or high calorie foods, provide many calories with little value to your body. So a whole food could be considered a food that is only one ingredient like a sweet potato. A processed food has more than one ingredient and generally requires more resources.
2. Choose seasonal produce. If you buy fruit and vegetables that are in season they tend to taste better and are generally less expensive to purchase. Also choosing local foods grown in season supports our local economy. Another great reason to choose seasonal produce is it is less likely to have travelled a great distance. Eating more local, seasonal food reduces the energy needed to grow and transport the food you eat.
3. Buy in bulk. Avoid extra waste from packaging. Buy in bulk can potentially be less expensive. Packaged food tends to require more transportation. And the extra waste has to go somewhere.
4. Eat less animal foods, especially meat and dairy. The easiest way to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. The National geographic stated that on average a vegan person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy consumes 600 gallons of water per day less than the average American diet. I am not saying become a vegan today – but as you can see meat and dairy require a lot of resources.
5. Shop at your local farmers market. This helps you purchase seasonal produce but also reduce transportation of food. Shopping at your local farmers market can also help your community’s economy.
6. Drink tap water; avoid buying water bottles. For one drinking tap water is less expensive. You will of course produce less waste. It takes a lot of resources to make bottled water.
7. Try not to waste food. Try taking smaller portions and then going back for seconds if you are still hungry.
If you are interested in the Dining Commons Earth Day activities follow this link to review the calendar. http://www2.housing.ucsb.edu/marcom/EarthDayCalendar2014.pdf