Sustainable Food Purchases
The UCLA Department of Nutrition, along with all of the academic and medical campuses under the University of California umbrella, have worked towards increasing the percentage of sustainable food purchases.
The University of California Sustainable Practices Policy goal is to meet 20 percent sustainable food purchases by 2020. UCLA Health has surpassed this goal, achieving 25 percent in 2013. Sustainable food purchases are defined as foods and beverages that meet one or more of the criteria provided in the policy, including locally grown, fair-trade certified and USDA organic food.
Antibiotic-Free Beef and Poultry
Patients, staff and visitors to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Health - Santa Monica Medical Center can enjoy a healthier version of the traditional burger-and-fries lunch. The hospitals' menus include burgers made from antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef and herb roasted potatoes, as well as antibiotic-free chicken breasts.
Eat Less Meat
Good for your body, your wallet and the planet
Going meatless once a week* may reduce your risk of preventable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It may also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. If you do eat meat on other days, we strongly recommend grass-fed, hormone-free, locally-raised options whenever possible.
Benefits of consuming less meat
- Decreases saturated fat intake. Decreasing consumption of saturated (animal) fat is known to decrease the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, particularly colon cancer.
- Weight control. Eating less meat and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables helps decrease your total calorie intake, and therefore makes it easier to control your weight over time.
- Cost effective. In general, meat is more expensive per pound than non-animal protein counterparts due to the cost from feed, transportation and processing.
- Decreases medical spending. By reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases associated with the consumption of meat, you decrease medical expenses for treatment.
- Increases efficiency in use of energy and water. To grow one pound of beef requires 16 pounds of grain and soybeans (excellent protein sources themselves) and 1,800-2,500 gallons of water. Moreover, 40 calories of fossil fuel go into every calorie of feed-lot beef in the U.S. compared with 2.2 calories for plant-based protein.
- Decreases land degradation. Cattle overgrazing has led to a loss of topsoil, needed for crops.
- Decreases green-house gases. Cattle produce nearly the same amount of green-house gases in the form of methane as do all the cars in North America in the form of carbon monoxide.
- Lessens world hunger. A large proportion of crops in the United States and Worldwide go to feeding cattle and other livestock. With a small shift in eating habits, more crops can be grown to feed people, decreasing world hunger.
*Click here to see a list of menus.