Mar 23 2013
There are many ways to increase the amount of local food in our daily lives…and many benefits in doing so.
It’s Good For You & Your Family
When you provide your family with juicy peaches, hormone-free chicken and crisp baby carrots, eating healthy becomes very easy, not to mention incredibly enjoyable.
It’s Good For BC Farmers & Communities
By supporting local farmers you are voting with your dollar to keep BC farmers farming, and safeguarding BC’s agricultural land for future generations.
It’s Better For Our Environment
The fresh produce sold at BC farmers’ markets usually travels less that 300km to get to you. Compare this to the average North American meal, which travels 2,400km to get from field to plate and contains ingredients from 5 countries in addition to our own. All that transportation results in a lot of fossil fuels being burned, which contributes, to air pollution, acid rain and climate change.
Here are 3 great ways to eat local
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) fosters a closer link between local families and their food. CSA members make a commitment to the farm at the beginning of the season by paying in advance for a portion of the farm’s products throughout the season. This guarantees the farm a market for its products, provides members fresh food at a discount, and fosters responsible relationships between farmer, eater, and the land where the food is grown.With most CSA’s the produce is chosen for you, but some offer a “debit-style” program which allows you to choose the amount you’d like to prepay and what produce you prefer to have.
See a list of local CSA programs here.
A farmers’ market is a place where you come to learn about healthy food. It’s a meeting place to connect with friends, family and neighbours. It’s a springboard for local farmers to introduce their wares to new audiences, and it is a celebration of community and the bounty of our land. People come to farmers’ markets week after week for many reasons, including the community gathering experience, the opportunity to talk directly to farmers, and the reassurance that they are eating nutritious and ethically sourced food.
Find out dates and times of farmers markets in your area.
BC Seasonal Availability Guide
If you are looking to modify your diet or your menu to include more local and sustainable food products, understanding which farm products are available locally and when they are available is critical. You can download and print a copy of the BC Seasonal Availability Guide here . Keep a copy at home in your kitchen and keep a copy with you to bring to the grocery store.
Download and print the BC Seasonal Availability Guide here.
Feb 23 2013
Kale is a food that you can count on for some unsurpassed health benefits, if for no other reason than its exceptional nutrient richness.
Kale is overflowing with calcium, lutein, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K, plus beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants. Tahini is rich in calcium, protein, vitamin E and the B vitamins, as well as essential fatty acids. And nutritional yeast is like the vegan dream food – it’s high in protein and has B vitamins including B12, as well as folic acid and zinc.
This kale chip recipe is easy to make and is so tasty you’ll want to make a double batch!
2 big bunches of kale
1/2 cup raw tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup wheat free tamari
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tpsp maple syrup
optional 1 tsp of chilli flakes
Rinse, de-rib, and rough tear the kale into a giant bowl.
Put all of the other ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix until smooth or use a hand blender
Pour the mixture over the kale, and use your hands to toss it all together. Squish Squish! Get it good and covered.
Spread the kale out evenly on lined or oiled cookie sheets.You want them to be as ‘dehydrated’ as possible, instead of baked. 250º for 4 hours (ish). Every oven is different so you’ll need keep an eye on it and be your own judge. Just remember that too much heat will change the flavour. Don’t overcook them!
If you are lucky and have a dehydrator you can use that instead of your oven.
Jan 19 2013
Ashley Charlebois is a Registered Dietitian with a private consulting business based in Vancouver BC. She specializes in sports nutrition and digestive health. Ashley works with a variety of athletes ranging from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, national and provincial level athletes, to individuals just starting to include more physical activity in their lives. On the digestive health front, growing up with IBS inspired Ashley to specialize in this are to help others treat their illness an discomfort with diet. She collaborates with gastroenterologists in the city to further improve the health of individuals with IBS, Chrohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other digestive disorders.
This month Ashley shares her personal experience and expertise on how proper nutrition can be used to fuel your life and keep you energized through out the day.
How to Energize Your Life
Ever feel fatigued halfway through your workout? Feel like you want to push yourself harder but physically are just unable to? How about that mid-afternoon slump during the workday where you just can’t get anything done? It all comes down to energy levels. And guess what – diet has a huge part to play.
Last week during the second half of an intense cycle class at the gym I was feeling… fantastic! I looked around, and it made me feel even stronger, because I seemed to be one of the few that was able to keep up with the instructor, an elite cyclist. How could this be? I am in no way an elite cyclist. Yes, I do enjoy biking, I do have a good base level of fitness, and I am determined to regularly challenge my body physically. But I hadn’t been to a cycle class for weeks before this one, yet alone started to commute daily to work by bike (that started this past week when the sun came out!). I am 100% convinced that the reason I could push hard throughout the hour long class was because of my diet. I had a pre-workout snack, yogurt and fruit, high in carbs (our primary source of fuel during moderate to intense activities) just over an hour before my workout, and healthy meals and snacks throughout the day leading up to it. This enabled me to push myself hard, keep up with the instructor, and feel great throughout my workout.
A simple explanation for this – blood sugar levels. When we eat foods, they cause a rise in our blood sugar levels. Our food is digested and some of it (depending on what we eat) is broken down into glucose, or sugar, which gets fed into our cells and used for energy. This is what kept me going during my cycle class. This is also what keeps anyone going during everyday activities. However, when we feel hungry, tired, or just low in energy – this is when our blood sugar levels are below normal. We have no fuel in our bodies for our everyday activities. But our bodies are still functioning – how? By breaking down internal stores of fat and muscle. This in turn causes a decrease in strength and endurance during activities, and the feeling of fatigue and poor concentration at work.
How can we avoid low energy levels and their side effects? By eating small frequent meals throughout the day. Aim to not go longer than 3 hours without eating. This will ensure energy levels are consistent throughout the day – avoiding the spikes in blood sugar or extreme lows in blood sugar, but staying somewhere in the middle, within our normal range (somewhere between about 4 – 8 mmol/L). Here’s a sketch to help you visualize:
The effect of smaller, more frequent meals on blood sugar levels.
What we’re eating also has a part to play. A nutritious, well-balanced diet is key. A diet rich in vegetables and fruit, whole grains, protein, and low-fat dairy products or alternatives (to provide us with calcium and vitamin D).
Everyone is different. Depending on your schedule, your daily activities, or your sport and the intensity and duration of your training sessions – you will need to fuel your body accordingly. What and when you eat are two key things to take into consideration. If you’re an athlete, or even just engage in sport or exercise once in a while – timing, specific nutrient make-up, and size of meals and snacks depends on when you will be engaging in exercise. You want to eat something that will be digested in enough time to fuel you for your activity, but no too far in advance that you have no energy left during your activity. Sometimes it is necessary to top off your energy levels with a high carb snack during your activity, and always necessary to re-fuel with carbs and a little bit of protein after your activity.
No matter what, DO focus on eating healthy foods throughout the day at regular intervals. Nutrition is a powerful tool that can greatly affect how you feel throughout the day, and throughout your workouts or sport!