Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service: Exploring Food & Sustainability in the Grand Canyon
Today the National Park Service turns 100 years old!
Signed into law and created on August 25, 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, the National Park Service (NPS) is charged with the lofty goal of preserving both the ecological health and historical aspects of its parks while also making them accessible to the public. Responsible for the protection and maintenance of incredible sites such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Hawaii’s volcanoes, Death Valley, Cape Cod, the rainforest in Puerto Rico, and many more phenomenal natural locations, the NPS has a large stake in the environmental conservation for future generations to come.
On a recent camping trip to the Grand Canyon, I had the wonderful opportunity to grab an up-close look at some of the sustainability measures the NPS is taking to protect natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon, as well as experience other food and nutrition related aspects of the journey. Healthy food and environmental preservation are intimately connected, and this profound relationship has not been lost on the NPS.
What does preserving our environment have in common with food and nutrition? In short, pretty much everything.
I recently traveled through Houston and Austin, Texas, and of course chowed down on some slammin' eats along the way. I was lucky enough to pick up this super simple yet deliciously authentic Mexican salsa recipe that's too good not to share.
I recently took a trip to Minnesota to visit my wonderful dietitian friend, Doha and her husband, Mo and to check out the food scene. If I'm being honest, I didn't expect to find much beyond a seven layer casserole out there in the midwest, but after a quick Google search on the top restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul my stomach was already growling. Four days spent in the Land of 10,000 Lakes I ate my fair share of hash browns, but I left with my belly full and tastebuds satisfied by far more sophisticated foods than expected. I also got a few lessons in food history and spotted some food themed art while I was there. All and all Minnesota surpassed my expectations and I won't hesitate to go back.
In order to catch my 7am flight I was up at 3am and out the door at 4am. When I landed in St.Paul around 9:00 all I had had was a terrible, cup of airplane coffee. Needless to say I was HUNGRY. First stop, Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown for...eggs and hash browns.
Ah, yes: Texas. The big ole mind boggling massive expanse of mostly wide open country and few scattered cities, all with, ahem, a personality all to its own. You either love it or hate it -- or, most likely, love and hate it. But if there's one thing to always love, it's good food. And Texas has some great eats. So let's get down to it.
For the record, at this point in time I enjoy a pescetarian and gluten-free diet, which for me features environmental, moral, and health benefits. So I didn't exactly go digging into some Texas barbecue or other meat-centric dishes associated with the region, and it turns out that Texas has much more to offer than just beef or pork.
Additionally, the scope of nutrition extends far beyond simply being a foodie, and so this story starts in our public school system (but ends with some pure foodie-ism, so hang tight!)
(Yep, my best skyline photo also happens to have a light pole smack in the middle.)
The quinoa breakfast jar is our spin on a yogurt parfait. It's easy to throw together, travels well, and can be modified to suit individual tastes without much thought or planning ahead. The options are essentially endless!
All you have to do is keep five basic layers in mind.
1. Quinoa Base: Quinoa is gluten free, and high in fiber with 5 grams per 1 cup serving,--about 20% of the recommended daily amount. It's also a great source of plant-based protein with 8 grams per 1 cup serving. That's the same as a glass of milk. Quinoa is also packed with vitamins and minerals, and is particularly high in magnesium, which is vital to bone health.
It’s no secret that Americans love to eat large amounts of food. According to the National Institutes of Health, portion sizes served by restaurants over the past 20 years have doubled, and in some cases tripled. This portion distortion affects our understanding of exactly what a healthy portion looks, feels, and tastes like, and we bring this confusion from the restaurant into our homes. Attempts at public health measures meant to place limits on epic large portions have been relatively unsuccessful, thanks to pressure from the food industry (see: New York City’s failed soda cap.)
This recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser, featuring familiar and comforting Italian flavors found in classic American dishes, such as spaghetti with sauce and pizza. Pungent onion and garlic plus fresh basil, oregano, and juicy roma tomatoes are the main stars in this recipe, imparting their synergetic tastiness throughout the zucchini. Zucchini serves to bulks up the recipe so to make sure that everyone gets their full.
Whether you are watching your intake of gluten, simple carbohydrates, or animal products, this recipe surely will not disappoint.
What is a phytochemical? Phytochemicals are naturally-occurring chemical compounds found in plants that help to promote, support, and maintain good health. Phytochemicals are not vitamins or minerals, as they are generally not considered absolutely essential to life. However, a diet high in phytochemicals is correlated with better health outcomes. Phytochemicals are found in plant-based foods only; meat and animal products are not known to contain any phytochemicals at this point in time.
eat yer veggies
We’re two Registered Dietitian Nutritionists of kindred spirit, living and working in New York City. We believe that healthy eating and sustainability go hand-in-hand — every bite you take has the power to improve both the world and your health!