Thanksgiving

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Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com. NOTE: SIMPLE TIPS WILL AIR ON TUESDAYS BEGINNING OCTOBER 25 2011.

GREEN TIP: Try to plan a more sustainable Thanksgiving. Plan ahead for perfect portions and leftover packaging. At least 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year – more than 100 pounds per person.

Use Less Stuff has 42 Ways to Watch Your Holiday Wasteline (pun intended). They’ve created a convenient list of approximate food portions for your Thanksgiving meal:

  • Turkey- 1 pound per person
  • Stuffing- ¼ pound per person
  • Sweet potato casserole- ¼ pound per person
  • Green beans- ¼ pound per person
  • Cranberry relish- 3 tablespoons per person
  • Pumpkin pie- 1/8 of a 9 inch pie per person

Locally, you can find a number of wonderful ingredients for your Thanksgiving meal at Sydney’s Health Market. If you not been there yet, head over this Saturday, November 13th 2010 for their Healthy Holidays Celebration from 10am to 3pm. Sign up for door prizes, samples some treats and soak in their warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Go to Sydney’s Health Market’s website for more information.

Talking turkey:

According to Sustinable Table, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey is different today than it was 50 years ago. Today, 99% of all turkeys raised in the U.S. are the “Broadbreasted White” variety (sometimes also referred to as the “Large White”).

These birds are raised in confinement in extremely crowded conditions on factory farms. They live in unnatural, uncomfortable conditions and are fed a steady diet of grain and supplements like antibiotics, rather than the grubs, bugs and grasses they should eat.

They are produced because of their large, white meaty breast. The breasts of these turkeys are so large that they are unable to reproduce naturally. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, without artificial insemination performed by humans, this variety of bird would become extinct in just one generation.

Industrial turkeys are often injected with saline solution and vegetable oils in an attempt to help improve the taste and texture of the meat. These factory farmed birds tend to be dry and tasteless, so cooks have developed a variety of methods to try to improve the taste. Turkeys are now marinated, brined, deep fried and covered with syrups, spices and herbs.

You have other options. You can order a heritage turkey, or you can look for organic and/or sustainable birds at butchers, specialty shops and at farmers markets around the country.

Locally: Pre-order your turkey at Sydney’s Health Market. They have local, free-range, organic birds available for $2.99 per pound. Head on over to 810 30th Ave S in Moorhead or give them a call at 218-233-3310.

On to the leftovers:

You know you’re going to have them so make a plan. The Alternative Consumer has a wonderful suggestion in their green Thanksgiving guide.

Avoid plastic wrap. Most plastic wraps contain PVC which quickly winds up in landfills and has been linked to harmful environmental consequences. Use aluminum foil or, even better, send family home with glass or ceramic storage containers that they can return to you.

Or, call your guests and ask them to bring their own container if they’d like leftovers.

Above all, relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving, remember why we are celebrating.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Sustainable Table
Sustainable Table
was launched in 2003 to educate consumers about issues surrounding the food supply and to encourage individuals to switch to healthier, more sustainable eating habits.

Sustainable Table is also home to the Eat Well Guide, an online directory of sustainable products in the U.S. and Canada.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: As you plan your Thanksgiving or Christmas Dream carholiday road trips, keep in mind that driving and maintaining your vehicle properly can increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and decrease your gas costs.

Our friends at Traveling Greener have put together some ways to practice more fuel-efficient driving, creating less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, just in time for the holidays.

Planning your trip:

  • Get a customized map with low gas prices along the route. Because getting lost while driving in unfamiliar areas could lead to an expensive waste of gas.

FuelEconomy.gov provides fuel economy estimates, energy and environmental impact ratings, fuel-saving tips, and other useful information.

GasBuddy.com is a network of more than 200 website designed to help you find the lowest gasoline prices.

MapQuest: Gas Prices includes maps of gas locations.

  • Choose the right vehicle. If your family has more than one vehicle, drive the car that gets better gas mileage.
  • Drive during off-peak hours to reduce gas costs and stress by avoiding stop-and-go or bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions.
  • Investigate other travel options. Consider trains, buses, or public transportation to your destination.
  • Explore new ways to get around at your destination. Find information on biking, public transportation routes, car sharing, walking, and renting hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicles.

Preparing your vehicle:

  • Inflate your tires. Keeping your tires properly inflated improves gas mileage by around 3%.
  • Select the right oil. Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil improves gas mileage by 1 to 2%. Motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol contains friction-reducing additives. Change your oil as recommended to extend the life of your vehicle.
  • Tune up. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%.

On the road: Driving Tips

  • Decrease your speed. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly above 60 mph. Each five miles per hour over 60 mph is like paying an additional 24 cents or more per gallon for gas.
  • Drive sensibly. Speeding, rapid acceleration (jackrabbit starts), and rapid braking can lower gas mileage by up to 33% at highway speeds and up to 5% in town.
  • Use cruise control and overdrive gear. Cruise control cuts fuel consumption by maintaining a steady speed during highway driving. Overdrive gear, when appropriate, reduces engine speed, saves gas, and reduces engine wear.
  • Avoid carrying items on your vehicle’s roof. A loaded roof rack or carrier increases weight and aerodynamic drag, which can cut mileage by 5%. Place items inside the trunk when possible to improve fuel economy.
  • Avoid idling, which gets 0 mpg. Cars with larger engines typically waste even more gas while idling than cars with smaller engines.
  • Fill up before returning a rental car. Rental car companies charge higher gas prices if you don’t fill up the tank before returning the vehicle. Also save your gas receipts as proof.”

For more money saving tips and resources, go to DriverSmarterChallenge.org. The less gasoline used, the less money we pay, the less pollution we create, and the more we protect our planet.

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

The International Ecotourism Society
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) unites conservation, communities and sustainable travel. TIES promotes responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:  Plan to make your Thanksgiving a little greener this year.  Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or traveling to celebrate the holiday, there are many things you can do to have a greener Thanksgiving.

I absolutely love Thanksgiving.  We have a big family and over the years my parents always randomly invited wonderful and interesting people to share our Thanksgiving meals.  Now that I have a family of my own, I endeavor to make my daughters’ memories just as memorable.  I have much to be thankful for so trying to make Thanksgiving a little greener is the least I can do in my quest to save the world.

Little Greek goddess at the pumpkin patch

Here are some great tips with some help from the Green Team:

  • If you’re cooking, try to find ingredients that were grown locally.  Do your shopping at farmers markets or your local co-op.  To find out where they are, look in your local newspaper or search the Eat Well Guide.
  • For food you buy from the grocery store, choose items with minimal packaging.  And be sure to bring your own bags with you.
  • Serving turkey?  Choose an organic bird.
  • Provide cloth napkins and reusable dishware and utensils.  You won’t be sending napkins, plastic plates and cups to a landfill and you’ll save money.
  • Adjust the thermostat down a couple of degrees.  All that cooking and the body heat from your guests will surely compensate.  You’ll save energy and that will save you money.
  • Compost all the waste you can.
  • If you’re traveling to enjoy dinner at someone else’s house, carpool with family or friends.  And of course if you’re bringing food, follow the tips above and pack your dish in a reusable container.

As you begin to assemble your Thanksgiving to-do list, take your time, drink responsibly and think green.

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