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You are what you eat - Research Paper Example

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An ecological footprint is a measure of how many resources are used to support an individual's lifestyle. One of the biggest contributors to a person's ecological footprint is that person's diet. …
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You are what you eat
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Word count: 632 You Are What You Eat An ecological footprint is a measure of how many resources are used to support an individual's lifestyle. One of the biggest contributors to a person's ecological footprint is that person's diet. Ecological footprint calculators ask things such as how much of each kind of meat you might eat in a given week and where do you purchase your food, whether it's at a natural foods store, a local farmer's market or a chain grocery store. Two types of food that can increase your ecological footprint are beef and prepackaged frozen meals. Beef comes from cows and cows hurt the earth in many ways including producing high amounts of methane, polluting freshwater with their excrement, ruining topsoil with their grazing, and requiring a lot of grain to produce the meat we eat. Prepackaged frozen food uses the original resources necessary to create that food to begin with - whether its fish or chicken or vegetables - and then compounds the problem by processing that food for transportation to a manufacturing plant where it is all put together in packages that use more resources and then frozen using more resources. Once everything is ready to be stored, more resources need to be used to keep the frozen packages frozen as they are shipped to wherever they will be sold, to keep them frozen in the store, and then to keep them frozen in our homes until we're ready to eat them. Then we have to use electricity to heat them and usually end up throwing the packaging away instead of recycling it. To understand this concept better, I chose to analyze the ecological footprint of eating Fritos Bean Dip. This processed food has 13 different ingredients, three of which are pinto beans, vinegar, and jalapeno peppers. Pinto beans are grown throughout Texas but mostly in the northwest part of the state. Jalapenos are mostly grown in Mexico mostly around the Gulf coast. It is difficult to say where the vinegar might have come from as it can be created from any sweet or starchy material such as apples, corn, or potatoes which the company uses to manufacture several of their other products. One of the manufacturing plants owned by the company is in Plano, Texas, meaning the pinto beans and jalapenos would not have to travel more than 1,000 miles to the facility and less than 500 miles to where they were sold. One thing I learned about my food is that the ingredients are surprisingly natural for a packaged food like this and that these ingredients come mostly from the same area of the world. What was surprising was the great distance that my food traveled even though most of the ingredients could actually be produced at home. The good thing about the way these ingredients were brought together is that it shows me how ingredients from a similar climate zone can be used to create an interesting food combination. The bad thing about it is that there is no need for the ingredients to come from so far away since they are all happy to grow in the same basic climate. After learning more about this food, I can't say I won't ever eat it again, but I probably won't buy the prepackaged bean dip anymore. During my research, I discovered a recipe to be able to make this same bean dip at home using local ingredients and very little machinery. I have been considering starting my own container garden for a while. Since I don't eat this very often and I can grow the ingredients in my own home, I may try this as an experiment. Even if it doesn't work to grow my own supplies, I could buy locally grown ingredients and make my own dip using much fewer resources. Read More
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