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Justice series tackles benefits of healthy eating

Caroline Stickell | Monday, November 25, 2013

The final meeting in Saint Mary’s “Justice Friday’s” lecture series, which Saint Mary’s Justice Education department held this semester to examine justice through different lenses, explored the nature of “real” food and how it can influence a healthy lifestyle.

Members of the Saint Mary’s Food Sustainability Club orchestrated the event.

The Food Sustainability Club, still in its first year, has worked to increase the amount of “real food” used on campus and in Saint Mary’s dining services as well as to increase students’ awareness about the importance of making healthy food choices, Emily Aldrich, a founding member of the Food Sustainability club, said.

Students present at the event discussed the difficulties of making healthy and sustainable food choices on campus, she said.
“Right now, about 18 percent of the Saint Mary’s food budget is spent on real food and there has been an increase in the amount of local produce available in the dining hall,” Aldrich said.

At the event, Aldrich said the Food Sustainability club described the importance of eating more “real food” and taught about the four characteristics of real food. Real food is local and community based, encourages fair trade (everyone involved in the in the food production process is receiving a living wage), it is ecologically sound and it is humane, Aldrich said.

She said it is important to educate yourself about the food sold in supermarkets, research regulations on how animals are treated and understand what companies advertise on the labels of their food products.

“It is important that people take the time to research the differences between organic and natural. There are no FDA standards of what is considered all natural foods, so any product can advertise that,” Aldrich said.

Aldrich said taking small steps to eat more real food is important, even as a college student with a limited budget.

“The South Bend Farmer’s Market is a great place to support local members of our community and a great place to get local, fresh produce in the fall and spring,” she said.

She said labels on food don’t always help people make healthy decisions about their food.

“Just because it says it’s organic, doesn’t mean it is healthy. Foods like potato chips can be organic, but they aren’t healthy for you,” Aldrich said.

The Justice Friday events will return next semester.

Contact Caroline Stickell at [email protected]