I’m sure you all have a pretty good inkling about some elements of what your carbon footprint is and have, in your own way, implemented certain strategies on how to lessen that footprint.
But are you at all aware of what the water footprint is for each bit of food you consume?
Here are the water footprints for a few foods that may surprise you – making it high time perhaps to get the most out of your allotment or even your windowsill gardens for that matter.
1. Tomato: On average, one tomato (250 gram) costs 50 litres of water. Tomato sauce / ketchup costs 530 litres of water per kilogram of tomato ketchup.
Tomato puree costs 710 litres of water per kilogram of tomato puree.
2. A pound of lettuce = 114 litres
In general, vegetables take much less water to produce than animal products: That’s where the Meatless Monday suggestion comes in. You don’t need to go vegan, but every bit helps. Lettuces’ water footprint for the UK can be a lot higher as the produce can need to be brought in for consumption from other countries in the winter months.
3. A kilogram of chocolate = 17 000 litres
On average, cocoa beans have a water footprint of 20 000 litres/kg. Cocoa beans are first made into cocoa paste, with cocoa shells as rest product. About 97% of the total water footprint of cocoa beans is allocated to the cocoa paste that is derived from the beans; the rest is attributed to the by-products. One kilogram of cocoa beans gives about 800 gram of paste, so that the water footprint of cocoa paste is about 24 000 litres/kg. From this we can calculate that chocolate has a water footprint of about 17 000 litres/kg.
4. A slice of pizza = 159 litres of water
That would be 68 litres for the flour, 79 litres for the cheese, and nearly 11 for the sauce. Mozzarella, it turns out, is a real water sucker, as is any animal product. Of course, this is the global average, and water use per slice varies from country to country. French pizza has less than half this footprint, the US just about hits the average mark, and Chinese pizza is slightly more waterlogged.
Obviously, you can’t live on water alone (although it’s super important to ensure that you drink sufficient water), but perhaps spare a thought in future about where your food comes from.
*excerpts from Waterfootprint.org
Last week, we spoke about us having 2 brains – the one in our head and the one in our stomach.
This week we continue talking about stomach and digestive system health and how having a happy tummy is vital to your general health and well-being:
It’s all about balance when it comes to your digestive system’s health. When your digestive system is in tip-top shape, about 80-85 percent of bacteria are good guys and 15-20 percent are bad guys. You feel great, your body is strong and nimble, you rarely get sick, your energy is consistent – life is good. The healthy bacteria are free to do their job with ease. They assist with digestion, produce disease-fighting antibodies, crowd out bad bacteria and produce certain hormones, vitamins and nutrients.
But when the harmful bacteria stage a revolt, all hell breaks loose. They totally stop up the works and cause painful problems like inflammation and infection, which can then lead to health issues such as constipation, candida, allergies, arthritis, headaches, depression, autoimmune diseases and more.
Medications (especially antibiotics and antacids), environmental toxins and chemicals, stress and illness greatly affect the ratio of good to bad bacteria. When bacteria are wiped out indiscriminately, the good guys are mowed down, giving the bad guys a chance to increase their ranks. Hello, chronic health issues.
The food you eat also affects the ratio of good to bad bacteria. Everything you consume is processed and either absorbed into your body or eliminated via your digestive system. Your stomach completes the amazing task of digesting your food and pulling the nutrients, vitamins and minerals out of the food so that they can be absorbed into your bloodstream.
And your digestive system’s mind-blowing capabilities don’t stop there. Your gut also identifies invaders – toxins, microbes, viruses and allergens that could harm your health – and moves them through your digestive system so that they can be excreted.
The key to this system working in your favour is two-fold:
- Lend your digestive system a hand by feeding your body whole, plant-based, nutrient-dense foods.
- Consistently practice a healthy lifestyle (less stress, exercise, less exposure to environmental toxins, proper rest) that supports the good tummy bacteria and keeps the harmful bacteria under control.
One of the most important factors in maintaining digestive health remains as always, in keeping hydrated and staying hydrated. Your digestive system needs water to keep bacteria and waste moving through you, which will help prevent constipation and bloating. When you’re dehydrated, these issues can throw off the balance of bacteria in your gut and lead to inflammation. Give your stomach a hand and drink more H2O!
The European Food Safety Authority recommends that women should drink about 1.6 litres of fluid and men should drink about 2.0 litres of fluid per day. That’s about eight glasses of 200ml each for a woman, and 10 glasses of 200ml each for a man.
However, the amount a person needs to drink to avoid getting dehydrated will vary depending on a range of factors, including their size, the temperature and how active they are. One of the quickest and easiest ways to see whether you are dehydrated is to check the colour of your urine (keeping in mind that certain medication or even health supplements can give you Day-Glo yellow coloured urine). The lighter and more pale your urine is, the more hydrated you are. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are. Be sensible about your water intake though – again, it’s all about balance.
In a previous blog, I spoke about the rather disturbing trend where almost every single day of the year has been tagged as a Day of Something or Other. One seems hard pressed to wheedle out a day that has actual significance or some real meaning or; that is of importance and is worth commemorating.
A day that is worth marking though is World Water Day, which this year, will be held on the 22nd of March 2015. In case you’re wondering why – as you may have all the water that you need and believe that’s all there is to it – here are just a few reasons – from a personal perspective:
- Water is essentially life giving.
- There is no spectrum of our lives that is possible without water – this starts with the fact that our physical make-up is around 70% water.
- Water is a scarce resource and as about only 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh water, it is a resource that needs to be protected and used wisely.
- Short of developments in nuclear fusion, we cannot ‘make’ water, so we need to ensure that the water that we do have is used in a sustainable manner going forward.
The theme for the 2015 World Water Day is Water and Sustainable Development. Some pertinent facts according to the World Water Day website:
- Water is health – Clean hands can save your life.
- Water is nature – Ecosystems lie at the heart of the global water cycle.
- Water is energy – Water and energy are inseparable friends.
- Water is food – To produce two steaks you need 15 000 litres of water.
- Water is equality – Every day women spend 200 million hours carrying water.
- Water is urbanization – Every week, one million people move into cities.
- Water is industry – More water is used to manufacture a car than to fill a swimming pool.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, I think it’s safe to say that the world’s water is of concern for us all and that creating and maintaining a sustainable supply is imperative.
Here at AquAid, a very important part of our ethos is assisting in the creation of a sustainable water supply globally, for those less fortunate, in order for these communities to empower themselves and their future generations.
You can follow this link to see what events are being held where this World Water Day 2015.