Energy Diet


I am a chef in Mexico, age 36, and I love the idea of forming a part of this important effort to reduce our carbon footprint.

A little about ourselves: We live in Queretaro, a beautiful colonial city near San Miguel de Allende Mexico.We are a family of four with two children (Lucia 4, Natalia 7) and a boxer named Achiles. My husband is a "green architect" and he built the house where we moved to almost two years ago.

We are very much involved in our local chapter of Slow Food and grow most of our fruits and vegetables in the garden and do our part in composting and recycling. Even though we are very conscious of our saving energy, we still get ridiculous electric bills (very common in Mexico) so we are always trying to figure out ways of our home to become more efficient.

We do some carpooling and sometimes ride our bikes to school and other classes. It's wonderful to participate in this endeavor, so we can further educate our children and ourselves in this very important and necessary sustainable way of living.


Mexico Participants

Your Points Percentile:
Total Country Participants:

At Home (83%)

  • Changed thermostat
  • Changed settings on refrigerator, freezer, water heater and washer
  • Replaced at least one third of light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs
  • Disconnected electronic devices when not in use

Wild Card Items

  • Eliminated second freezer or refrigerator
  • Insulated water heater
  • Replaced appliances with green-certified products
  • Hung clothes up to dry instead of using the dryer
  • Sealed all of the windows and doors
  • My own action: Installed intelligent power strips on TV and stereo system as well as in the home office

At the Store (100%)

  • Switched to organic produce
  • Switched to eco-friendly cleaning methods
  • Switched to locally made (non-produce) products where possible

Wild Card Items

  • Cut use of disposable items
  • Repaired or extended use of clothing items
  • Stopped using wrapping paper for gifts
  • Rented or borrowed instead of buying infrequently used items
  • My own action: using biodegradable home made cleaning materials

Food (90%)

  • Ate a vegetarian diet one day a week
  • Cut down on take-away meals
  • Limited daily intake of beef to 8 ounces
  • Switched to sustainable seafood

Wild Card Items

  • Started a food-based garden
  • Ate vegan or raw for a certain number of days per week
  • Bought grass-fed beef instead of conventional
  • Gave up at least one processed food
  • My own action: involved in our local chapter of Slowfood

Transportation (90%)

  • Drove no faster than the posted the speed limit, avoided rapid acceleration or braking
  • Removed extra weight from car, inflated tires
  • Used public transportation instead of driving
  • Reduced your planned air travel by one trip

Wild Card Items

  • Bought carbon offsets for travel
  • Carpooled or found a ride-sharing program
  • Invested in a more fuel-efficient car
  • My own action: Started seriously using bikes for errands and taking the kids to school.

Waste Disposal And Reduction (0%)

  • Recycled all glass, aluminum, plastic, batteries and paper
  • Eliminated advertising mail
  • Changed to paperless billing
  • Eliminated the use of plastic and paper bags

Wild Card Items

  • Began composting at home
  • Used biodegradable bags for walking the dog
  • Recycled old athletic shoes and clothes
  • Recycled or donated old electronics

Water Use (85%)

  • Gave up bottled water
  • Turned off tap when brushing teeth, scrubbing dishes
  • Shortened showering time
  • Replaced shower head with a low-flow model

Wild Card Items

  • Used xeriscaping for yard
  • Installed a rain barrel to collect water for garden, lawn and plants
  • Insulated water heater
  • My own action: We have a water treatment system for treating all grey water and sewage
Total Points: 470

Everything Comes Together…

I can’t believe 12 weeks have passed! When we started the Nat Geo 360º Energy Diet, I sincerely did not know so many good things would come out of it. It seems that this subject everything has to do with everything and everyone. Trying to live green led to other wonderful things, such as getting…

Water Works

We’ve always been conscious about preserving water. I think that pretty much our generation in México grew up with the knowledge that fresh water is a limited resource, and that we have the responsibility to use it accordingly. When we were kids, there was this very basic and nowadays ‘funny’ TV commercial where a chubby…

…but our efforts around the house have become less vague and more pinpointed. When we started this challenge, we thought that our efforts to reduce energy were enough. After having done the tallies of our actual electricity use, the numbers weren’t reflecting that effort, so we dove right in to find out why. We started…

From Point A to Point B

Transportation in Mexico is a cultural thing. Most everybody that I know who owns a car uses it and not public transportation. The reason? Well that’s a good question, I guess it’s a matter of comfort and a matter of education. Strangely enough, public buses are used by the ‘the working class’ (whatever that means,…

It’s All About Food!

This is one of my favorite subjects, because food brings all of my interests together, from growing organic fruit and vegetables at home, to shopping for it, to cooking and getting together with friends and family and sharing it over a nice bottle of wine or maybe some mezcal. Where to begin? Well first of…

A Mea Culpa Subject…

What we buy is a tricky subject in many ways for us because there isn’t much to shop for (in terms of clothing, shoes and some other things) in México and especially in Queretaro. Our choices are very limited and expensive, so what we end up doing is shopping through the Internet, especially for Natalia…

Our Foolproof Trash System

Okay. This is the way we deal with the grubs. We have a trash system that’s foolproof. It starts with a trashcan that’s divided into four compartments: one for plastic, one for aluminum and cans, one for paper and cardboard and the last one for trash in general. For plastic and aluminum, we rinse them…

Getting a Reality Check

This is not the best of weeks to be starting the challenge: As I’m writing this blog, I’m getting ready to board a plane to California for one of my best friend’s wedding, that’s many many miles o’ carbon there! On the other hand I am now even more excited and inspired in participating in…

Growing Food, Reducing Our Footprint

Hello! We are the Schmidt del Rio Family. We live in Queretaro, a small, beautiful, clean colonial city just two hours north of Mexico City. We moved here six years ago, looking for a place to live that had more or less the same way of life that we had growing up, and we found…