Friday, April 11, 2014

April's Balanced U Theme is Earth Friendly Foods

April is Earth Month; therefore, Balanced U's theme for the month just happens to be Earth Friendly Foods!

What are Earth Friendly Foods?  Earth Friendly Foods have minimal impact on the Earth.

The way food is handled before it gets to you influences the nutrient and sustainability qualities of the food. You’ve probably heard of the Slow Food Movement. No doubt you’ve heard of local fruits and vegetables. Organic, free range, hormone free, antibiotic free - these are all part of the sustainable food movement. Our daily food choices do play a role in our personal carbon footprint, and every little bit of savings counts.
Consider everything you eat during the day and how it got to you. Even that cup of coffee you picked up in the morning on your way to campus consumed valuable resources before it got to you. You don’t have to deprive yourself, but be aware of your decisions.

Here are some tips for you to consume more Earth Friendly Foods:

Seasonal Produce: One hundred years ago most folks didn’t eat lettuce in December - instead they ate root vegetables and hearty greens that could stand up to storage. Educate yourself on the seasonality of fruits and vegetables in your geographic region and select from seasonal varieties most often.

Protein: Generally speaking, plant sources of protein use less fossil fuels than animal sources of protein. Reducing the amount of animal protein you eat each day, or substituting one vegetarian meal for an animal protein meal a week is a great start to reduce your carbon footprint. If you eat fish, choose sustainably caught sources.

Less Processed: Any food that is less processed is a more sustainable choice. Think of whole foods in a natural state.

Tap Water: Ditch the plastic bottles for water and soft drinks, instead get your own refillable mug or personal cup. Tap water is clean and fluoridated, which helps prevent cavities.

How Chartwells at Saint Louis University Serves... Sustainably

We serve foods from local farms and local sources - Some of the local farms that we work with are: Theis Farms, Double Star Farms, Lee Farms, Troutdale Farms, Timber Farms, Rain Crow Farms, and Flamm Orchards. Some of the local sources we utilize are: Kaldi's, G & W Sausage, Companion Breads, LaBonne Bouchee. Local produce and sources typically mean there is a smaller carbon footprint than food coming from across the US or around the world.

We only purchase sustainable seafood Best Choices and Good Alternatives options as identified by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. Sustainable Seafood  helps maintain species of fish that are threatened or may provide options with less contamination.

All our milk and yogurt is from cows not treated with rbgH (rbgH free)

We offer reduced antibiotic chicken and poultry - where the animals are only treated if they are sick, not as a preventive measure.

Our eggs are sourced from birds that are cage free.

We offer vegetarian options at all meals for the Vegetarians and Flexitarians among us. Meat of any kind taxes our resources to a greater extent than almost any other food because the animal must be cared for, fed, transported, and then processed. Reducing meat and dairy consumption can ultimately reduce the demand for these products and lessen the impact of the industry on the global environment.

We monitor our own food waste closely, and seek ways reduce it further.

We work with local recycling programs.

We offer green paper products wherever possible.

Earth Friendly Foods to Look for at Saint Louis University from now until May:

Seasonal Fruits: apricots, honeydew, limes, lychee, mango, oranges, pineapple, strawberries

Seasonal Vegetables: artichoke, asparagus, endive, broccoli, butter lettuce, chayote squash, collared greens, corn, fennel, green beans, mustard greens, radicchio, rhubarb, snow peas, spinach, swiss chard, vidalia onions, watercress

Proteins: dried beans, peas, lentils, rgbH free milk and yogurt, sustainable seafood choices, reduced antibiotic meats.

tap water, infused water

Resources for More Information

National Farmer's Market Directory -

Slow Food - or

Environmental Protection Agency -

Environmental Working Group -
Environmental Working Group Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides -

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Balanced U’s Theme for March: Metabolism Boosters

What is metabolism? Metabolism is the process of transforming food (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) into energy for you to use. More simply put - it is the rate at which your body burns calories (uses up energy). The rate of your metabolism depends on the interaction between the number of calories you consume and the number of calories you burn through eating, exercising, and daily functioning. While no food can actually burn off enough fat to impact weight, the following foods and activities can assist you by slightly raising metabolism.

  • Small but frequent meals help keep your metabolism in high gear and helps you burn more calories overall.
  • Increase the protein in your diet. Protein requires about 25% more energy to digest than other foods (in other words it takes 25% more calories to digest protein than it does to digest carbohydrates or fat), so meals that contain adequate protein can temporarily increase metabolism.
  • Some studies have shown that hot peppers and very spicy foods can increase metabolism by about 20% for about 30 minutes.
  • Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant that some research suggests may boost metabolism temporarily.
  • To really boost metabolism, your best bet is to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Muscles burn 3 times more calories at rest than fat does. If you’re trying to lose fat, build muscle.

The bottom line is that foods may have a slight impact on metabolism, but the increases are insignificant compared to what is necessary to lose weight. Every little bit helps, but no one should rely on a miracle food to get rid of excess pounds.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is celebrated annually each March. The theme this year is Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” Consumer research confirms that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another. While social, emotional, and health factors also play a role, the foods people enjoy are typically the foods they choose to eat. This year’s key messages for National Nutrition Month focus on how to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals so that you experience a win-win with your meals - by enjoying all-in-one meals that are nutritious, healthy, and delicious.

Chartwells is celebrating National Nutrition Month with their own take on enjoying the taste of eating right with the “Taste of the Mediterranean.” The “Taste of the Mediterranean” celebrates the traditional Mediterranean diet and lifestyle that is often associated with improved health.
  • The Mediterranean diet focuses on the unique foods and beverages indigenous to the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea
  • The traditional Mediterranean diet emphasizes foods from plant sources including whole grains, vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, and herbs and spices. Moderate amounts of dairy and seafood are included, with meats eaten less often. Olive oil serves as the main fat source.
  • Other key elements of the Mediterranean Diet/Lifestyle are daily exercise, sharing meals with others, eating simple meals, and fostering a deep appreciation for the pleasures of eating healthy and delicious foods.
  • The Mediterranean way of life can help protect against heart disease, diabetes, cancer. It can also help maintain a healthy weight.
  • Many scientists believe the health benefits of eating and living the Mediterranean way result from an interaction between a diet rich in micronutrients, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, along with being physically active.
Enjoy the taste of eating right this month by looking for healthy and delicious staples in the Mediterranean diet that are being served in the dining halls at Saint Louis University this month. Key ingredients and foods in the Mediterranean diet include oregano, mint, thyme, tomatoes, eggplants, greens, chickpeas, whole grains,, fresh seafood, yogurt, olive oil, and almonds.
Keep in mind that even when eating a Mediterranean diet your plate should still allow you get nutrients from each food group (protein, carbohydates, and healthy fats). A balanced plate following the Mediterranean diet would include:
  • grains: whole grains
  • protein: legumes, beans, nuts, fish
  • vegetables: greens, tomatoes, eggplants
  • fruits: berries
  • dairy: low-fat yogurt and cheeses in moderation
  • (olive oil, a healthy fat, could be used in the cooking of the protein sources, pasta, or vegetables)
Use this image as tool to help you when filling your plate.




Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eat Green. Live Green.

Have you heard? 
Chartwells will be hosting the Eat Green. Live Green. fair and market in the Center for Global Citizenship (CGC) on March 18th from noon-7pm. Throughout the day there will be various events including a Free Yoga class by Lululemon, an Ethical Coffee talk by Kaldi’s Coffee, and Local Food Talk with Maddie Earnest.  Ryan Chollet and Friends, a Saint Louis University band, will be performing between 5:30-6:30pm. At 7pm there will be a special showing of Salvage City, a Saint Louis-based 'upcycling' reality television show. Salvage City typically airs on the Discovery Channel and the stars of the show, Sam Coffey, Trotter, and Mia, will be in attendance to help promote and celebrate Sustainability at SLU! Some vendors include Companion Bakery, Gelato Di Riso, Naked Bacon, and Local Harvest Grocery Store.  There will be samples of their local goods, items for sale, and super displays throughout the day. Continue to look for more updates as the date of Eat Green. Live Green. approaches. We cannot wait to have you join us in supporting our local, sustainable, life-giving community! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

'Tis the Month for Heart Healthy Tips

The month of February is American Heart Month, which is a month dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease and encouraging heart healthy choices. Heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans. We can reduce heart disease by promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle. Some health conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you may have. The following are some tips to help you prevent heart disease...

Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables -- as an adult you should have at least 5 servings each day. Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. They are also low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Vegetables and fruits contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Eat whole grains. Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products (whole wheat bread instead of white bread, brown rice instead of white, whole wheat pasta instead of enriched white flour pasta, whole wheat flour instead of enriched white flour). You could also be adventuresome and try a new whole grain, such as whole-grain couscous, quinoa, or barley. Another easy way to add whole grains to your diet is ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. Stir them into yogurt, applesauce, hot cereal, etc for added fiber and heart healthy nutrients!
  • Limit how much saturated and trans fats you eat. Limiting these fats is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. The best way to reduce saturated and trans fats in your diet is to limit the amount of solid fats (butter, margarine and shortening) you add to food when cooking and serving. You can also reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by trimming fat off your meat or choosing lean meats with less than 10 percent fat.
  • Choose monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil or canola oil) and polyunsaturated fats (found in nuts and seeds) when consuming fats. These types of fat are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol. Moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.
  • Choose low fat protein sources. Lean meat, lean poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products, and egg whites or egg substitutes are some of your best sources of protein. Certain types of fish are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. The highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3 = polyunsaturated fat) are in cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring (non-fish sources of omega-3s are flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, olive oil, and canola oil). Legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are also good sources of protein and contain less fat than meat and no cholesterol, making them good protein substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal protein will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake.
  • Reduce the sodium you intake. Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart healthy diet. You can reduce the amount of salt you add to food at the table or while cooking by using herbs and spices in place of salt for flavor. A lot of the salt in your diet also comes from canned or processed foods, so challenge yourself to make your own foods and to eat more fresh foods. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that a healthy adult has no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, while an individual with risk factors for heart disease has no more than 1,500mg of sodium a day. To give you a more realistic vision of this recommendation consider the following information:
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt = 600 mg sodium
      1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,200 mg sodium
      3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,800 mg sodium
      1 teaspoon salt = 2,400 mg sodium
      • Another tidbit about salt: If you cut back on the salt, in a few weeks you'll be able to better taste the natural salts in food. If you grew up salting your food, it won’t taste as good to you at first to skip the salt. However, taste buds do change, and you’ll soon adjust to less salt in your diet, and feel better too. Making changes could help you cut down your need to use a salt shaker on already prepared food or you might notice less of a craving for junky, salty foods.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease.

Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease.
Have your cholesterol checked. Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years.
Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis.
Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely and follow the diet and/or medication advice provided from your doctor and dietitian.

Valentine's Day coincidentally also falls during the American Heart Month. A day where millions of Americans will see heart-shaped imagery (décor, cards, gifts, etc) throughout the day. Use this imagery to remind you to focus on making heart healthy choices.  Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day on your own or with someone else, take steps to be a healthy valentine. Challenge yourself to be active and healthy.

This Valentine's Day instead of buying your valentine a box of chocolates, I recommend the following version of heart healthy brownies. We celebrated American Heart Month and Valentine's Day with these brownies at Fusz today, but if you missed it, feel free to try making them on your own! The recipe makes a delicious low-fat, high fiber, and naturally gluten-free fudgy brownie. The low-fat and high fiber content helps prevent high cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels. The black beans provide the brownies with fiber, while the olive oil and avocado are sources of monounsaturated (healthy) fat which helps lower cholesterol levels. Therefore, enjoy these heart healthy brownies with your valentine, friends, coworkers, and/or family and do not feel guilty while doing are being heart healthy!

Black Bean Avocado Brownies

  • 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 of a large extra ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened, good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar OR 1/4 cup of the Splenda brown sugar blend
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips of choice, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. Place all ingredients besides chocolate chips into a blender or food processor. Process or puree until ingredients form a smooth batter. If the batter is too thick and won’t process, then add in a teaspoon or two of water. Be careful to not add too much water because the batter needs to be very thick in order to produce fudgy brownies. Add in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and fold into batter.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out somewhat clean and top of the brownies begin to crack.
  4. Cool pan completely on wire rack then cut into 12 delicious squares.
Serves: 12
Nutrition Per Serving:
Calories 124
Fat: 4.6g
Carbs: 18.5g
Fiber: 3.5g
Protein: 4.7g

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Skinnier Version of a Big Game Favorite - Spinach Artichoke Dip

Are you fired up for the Super Bowl? You may sacrifice your voice rooting for your team, but you shouldn't compromise your waistline. Instead of eating your typical Spinach and Artichoke Dip that's full of creamy, caloric ingredients - try this tasty twist on Spinach and Artichoke Dip that uses purèed white beans as a substitute (also adding some protein and fiber to your snack). You won't feel guilty for munching on a serving of this during the game!

Skinny Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 (16 ounce) can white beans
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups artichoke hearts, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup low-fat part skim mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the garlic a few times to mince. Add the white beans, light mayonnaise, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and purèe until smooth. Add a pinch of cayenne and season with pepper. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the artichoke hearts and spinach. Place in a baking dish and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake until bubbly and brown, about 25-30 minutes. Broil on high for an additional 2 minutes to get the cheese extra brown.
Serves 8 as an appetizer
Nutrition Facts Per Serving
Calories: 200, Total Fat: 3g, Sodium: 300mg, Carbs: 30g, Protein: 14g

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sustainability On The Move...

Hello SLU Community!  My name is Lindsey Jones and I will be working for you as the Director of Sustainability for SLU Dining Services.  This position has been created to provide the SLU Students and Faculty with a more sustainable, local, life-giving, loving, and creative dining system. 
I look forward to growing sustainability and local food within the University.  
My background is a mingling of sustainable involvement, with experience in social work, farming, nutrition, cooking, and other creative opportunities.  After my University experience, Local Harvest Grocery played a major role in forming my drive to help create a sustainable and local food system in Saint Louis.  I have volunteered, worked, and been involved with Local Harvest since 2008.  Before moving back to St. Louis 2012, I was living in a Camphill Village in Pennsylvania as a co-worker for 2 years.  We were gardening, cooking, crafting, supporting the local food system, and practicing sustainable, organic farming together.  We worked with neighboring villages to source our foods locally and support local farmers, businesses, and artisans.

I have also worked at the St. Patrick Center ( ) as a Community Support Counselor, Horticulture Therapist, and Program Coordinator from 2008-2010 and again from 2012-2013.  This experience was one that allowed me to see and experience first hand the need for creating a sustainable and localized community in St. Louis.    
The SLU Community plays a major role in the St. Louis food system, and We have the power to make a remarkable difference in the way food is served, prepared, eaten, and discarded on SLU Campus.  I would love to hear ideas on ways to make this happen.  
Recyclemania is coming up February 2nd, so be ready to Get Sustainable!!!