Author: Britni Baran
Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The dietetic internship for 2013-2014 has begun! Thus far we have completed three weeks of orientation and our first week of clinical rotations. Orientation was a great opportunity for all of the interns to get introduced to SLU’s program, the community, and each other. The second week of orientation was nutrition education week where we all learned about gardening and created lesson plans to work with elementary and middle schools throughout the upcoming spring. Each time we are working with the students they will be doing a gardening session along with nutrition education, of course!
Besides conveying the message that fruits and veggies have a lot of beneficial nutrients, we want the students to know that growing your own fruits and vegetables or buying them locally and in season has benefits for their environment and the community. Terms like “fresh, organic, local, seasonal, and sustainable” are all becoming bigger buzz words we hear around our communities, especially in the supermarkets with a positive aura surrounding them. But what do these words truly mean? And why is it important that we commit to purchasing foods with these labels?
Well, I learned that we should buy fresh foods because fresh produce will provide us with optimal amounts of nutrients in comparison to produce that was stored for months and months. Additionally, buying food that is local (meaning it was grown, raised, or harvested nearby) and is in season will also provide our bodies with an optimal amount of nutrients. Plus, fresh, local, and seasonal foods tend to taste way better than produce that has traveled hundreds of miles from foreign countries!
Urban organic and sustainable gardens are becoming more popular and for good reason. The concept of a sustainable garden is one that is in sync with the natural environment. Meaning, sustainable gardens will probably produce organic foods with compost as fertilizer and focus on recycling and reuse concepts for materials needed such as garden boxes, pots, and tools. In case you didn’t know, organic gardening is basically growing food without the addition of anything unnatural. Organic foods are grown without chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and inorganic fertilizers. But, sustainable gardens are much more than gardens that use organic methods. Sustainable gardens also incorporate water and energy conservation and waste reduction. This helps farmers and gardeners save money and safeguard the earth for future generations. So when you buy food that is marked “local” or comes from sustainable gardens, you are putting that money back into your own community and the efforts made to protect our planet.
A great way to support your local farmers is to shop at farmer’s markets in your community. Here is a link to where farmer’s markets are in Saint Louis, when they’re open, and what they generally sell. stltoday.
I feel like I have learned so much already about gardening and sustainability here at SLU’s DI. The Department of Nutrition and Dietetics actually has their own garden right off of the medical campus where students have their own plots in which they get to grow herbs, fruits, or vegetables. This garden even has some chickens to produce eggs! Once some of the food is harvested from the garden it gets prepared and sold in a café called Fresh Gatherings on the medical campus. Some of it also gets sold at a stand at Schlafly’s farmer’s market on Wednesdays.
|Saint Louis University Dietetic Interns at the University Garden|
Needless to say a fellow intern and I were inspired to purchase more locally so we went to the historic Soulard farmer’s market last weekend and bought a variety of fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and flowers. Since peaches and tomatoes were in season for August I purchased an abundance of them so, I decided to make a peach mango salsa. It was quite yummy, low calorie, and packed with vitamin C! Below is the recipe, I’d highly recommend it making it. Plus, it was really easy to make because no cooking is involved.
Yield: 6 cups
Serving Size: ½ cup
Nutrition Information (Per Serving): Calories 137, Calories from fat 10, Fat 1.1g, Saturated Fat .2g, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrate 33g, Sugar 27g, Fiber 4g, Protein 2g
|Peach Mango Salsa|
This weekend one of the interns planned a trip for us to go to Eckert’s Orchard in Belleville, Illinois to pick some apples. Picking produce straight from a farm is another great way to support the farmers in and around your community. Here are some pictures from our trip and a link to Eckert’s if you’re interested in apple (or soon... pumpkin) picking!
|Bunch of pixie crisp apples|
|Olivia picking the perfect apple|
|Jarrett sampling the new pixie crisp apple in Eckert’s beautiful orchard|
|The interns on a tractor ride to the apple orchard|
Eckert’s Website: eckerts.com.Lastly, here are a few links if you’re interested in learning more about fresh, local, and seasonal produce or sustainable gardening.
Seasonal Ingredient Map categorized by state and month: epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking.
Sustainable gardening: missouribotanicalgarden.org.
82 Sustainable Gardening Tips: motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening.