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Week 4: Sustainable Eating
“How to make choices that are good for you and the planet. Understand the difference between local, organic, and sustainable. Also, gardening as a way of getting children excited about fresh foods.”
- What is Sustainable Eating?
- Growing a Kitchen Garden
- Cooking Demonstrations
- Organic fruits and vegetables indicates that the crops were grown without any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
- Organic food also does not involve genetically modified organisms.
- Fertilizers and pesticides are made of fossil fuels, meaning that they release greenhouse gases into our environment.
- Extra fertilizers in the soil run off into rivers, streams and eventually lakes and sea which causes a dead zone where there’s not enough oxygen to support marine life.
- Pesticide usage can lead to its resistance and cause the emergence of superbugs.
- ‘Locally grown’ indicates that there are no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, no genetically engineered crops and no sewage sludge used in the production.
- The closer you can get to your own kitchen garden, no matter how small that garden is, the better.
- Buying local does not mean spending more.
- When food is transported and stored for long period of time, the nutrients is reduced.
- Whenever possible, buy organic, if possible buy locally grown or plant a small kitchen garden which is even better.
What does “organic” mean?
- Organic is a term that is certified by the government through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- The term organic does not always mean that the food is healthy, especially if the food is highly processed.
- Pesticides and fertilizers are used to help us grow large amounts of food but they cause serious environmental and health impacts.
- For meat and milk, organic grade means the animals did not receive unnecessary antibiotics or growth hormones.
- Growth hormones are allowed in the U.S., but banned in the European Union, Canada and other countries.
- Farm workers who are regularly exposed to pesticides can face health threats including poisoning, cancer, birth defects, and learning disabilities.
- Organic food is better for the environment and the people.
What does “locally grown” mean?
- Local food is fresher because they take less time to get to you.
- They contain more nutrients and people often find that they taste better.
- They also have lower carbon footprint as they didn’t travel as far.
- Seasonal food is the cheapest at the height of the season when the supply is large.
- Local food does not carry the same travel cost as food from far away.
- Buying locally also supports your local economy, especially at the farmer’s market.
Healthy People – Healthy Planet
- Choices that are healthiest for us turn out to be healthiest for our planet as well.
- Limiting meat and increasing vegetables in our diet is good for our health and better for the Earth.
- Modern methods of meat production harm the environment.
- A closed loop system occurs when cow gets energy from the grass and grass gets the energy from the sun.
- These days, cows are no longer grass fed but most of them are being fed corn.
- Factories that run these are called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO).
- When cows eat corn instead of grass, they fatten up more quickly.
- Cows in CAFO live in a very crowded condition so they are more likely to get diseases.
- 80% of the antibiotics used in the U.S. go to this kind of commercial production of animals.
- Chicken is more energy efficient than beef and it also has less saturated fat.
Growing a Kitchen Garden with Rita Bottini
- Gardening is one of the ways to get the children getting excited about eating fruits and vegetables.
- Many seeds available in the market that come with information for gardeners.
- Grab an empty pot, start filling it with slightly damp potting mix.
- Tap it down a little bit but not too compact that it cannot breathe.
- Basil is an annual warm season plant so it wants to be out in the garden in the summer.
- Size of the seed determines planting depth to some degree.
- Basil seed (pea size) would go half an inch to an inch deep.
- Lightly cover the seeds after planting.
- Basil seed should come up in five to ten days.
- Use simple spray bottle to water the soil.
Growing a Kitchen Garden
- Even with a small kitchen space, it’s still worthwhile to plant a few seeds.
- Tomato beds is also not a bad idea.
Fish (for sustainable eating)
- Children are more likely to eat fish if it doesn’t taste too fishy.
- Garlic is a good way to get rid of fishy odor that some fish can have.
- In the mayonnaise, add a bit garlic and some chives, and then some salt and pepper.
- Lining a container with foil makes it easier to clean up afterwards.
- For some fish, there’s a bit of a concern about mercury levels in them so try not to have them everyday.
- Fish should be made with high temperature and short amount of time.
- Slather the mixed sauce on the fish generously.
- Put the fish in the oven when it’s ready, temperature could range from 400 to 500 degrees.
- When the fish is cooked, it flakes apart nice and easy.
- Usually the time it takes is about 15-20 minutes.
Soups (for sustainable eating)
- Before cracking a garlic, use the flat side of your knife blade to give it a whack so that it cracks easier.
- Ingredients required for this recipe: onions, garlic, carrot, potato, broccoli, cauliflower, baby zucchini, chopped chicken.
- Carrots and potatoes take longer to cook than other vegetables in general.
- Principle to go by when making soup, salad and stir fry: try to get as many colors in it as possible.
- Don’t overcook zucchini because they tend to get mushy.
- Never cut anything on a board that you’ve cut raw meat on.
- Start by sautéing garlic and onion with some olive oil, heat is on medium.
- When the onions turn brown, add in the chopped chicken and spices that you like at this time.
- Salt, sugar and some lemon is then added to balance the taste.
- Then, potatoes and carrots are added to the pot and cooked for a bit.
- After a few minutes, add in all other vegetables and pour some broth over, turn up the heat and wait for it to boil.
- After it boils, cover the pot with lid, turn the heat down and let it simmer for a while.
Steamed Vegetables (for sustainable eating)
- Key to keeping the steamed vegetables nutrients intact is to use just a little bit of water.
- Add a little bit of salt to the cut vegetables.
- Don’t let it overcook, just soft enough.
- Ingredients for making white sauce: butter, salt, pepper, milk, flour, grated cheese.
- Melt the butter in a pan, when it’s almost melted, add a little bit of flour.
- Make sure there is no lump.
- Add the milk, some salt, and pepper.
- Add the grated cheese.
- When vegetables are done, pour the homemade white sauce over it before serving.