Poke means” to cut” in Hawaiian, simply said chopped fish in a marinade. These delicious tasting bites can be served on a wonton cracker, seaweed salad, rice or on its own as a main course with Asian noodles and lettuce. You can make Poke out of sushi grade raw fish, shrimp, tofu or even cooked chicken.
We would all like to have more energy or at least be able to get more energy when we need it. Let’s take a look at the dietary energy robbers in our diets as well as the energy boosters we can add daily.
The greatest energy robber in most of our diets is sugar in all its visible and hidden forms.
Watch for refined carbohydrates and the highly processed foods that are an unfortunate main stay of Canadian diets. Ie. white bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, cookies, desserts, baked goods, sweets. Not to mention all the hidden sugars that come in so many forms. Read labels and watch for names that end in “ose”, “itol”, as well as syrups, sweeteners and fruit juice. Why is sugar so bad? The main reason is that it plays havoc with your blood sugar. When the refined carbohydrate gets into the blood stream, it causes insulin to be released which removes the sugar leaving you with less energy than before it was consumed. Foods that have a high Glycemic Index cause a high and rapid increase in blood sugar resulting in a greater insulin secretion and a deeper energy dump.
Caffeine is another energy robber. It causes a similar reaction to sugar leaving you with less energy after about 15 minutes. Caffeine increases the firing rate in the brain causing thoughts to race followed by an energy dump. Chronic consumption can cause sleep disruption due to over-stimulation of the adrenal gland.
High Allergen foods or intolerances can also cause an over taxed system taking their toll on the immune system. Congestion, swelling and difficulty breathing result in energy depletion.
Consuming a high fat and/ or protein lunch will leave you feeling sleepy because more energy is required to process this macro nutrient. A lighter lunch combining complex carbohydrates and lean protein will give you the energy you need for the afternoon.
Highly processed foods that are for the most part, “pre-packaged and ready to eat” contain non-food chemicals that interfere with accessing energy from the food.
So what can you eat to get energized for the day?
Include a source of magnesium in your diet. Almonds, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews, wheat bran/flakes and soybeans help to decrease fatigue.
Beta-carotene found in carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, squash, pumpkin help to boost the immune system freeing up energy.
Spices are a great energy boost! Add some cinnamon, curry, fenugreek, allspice, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, oregano to daily cooking. They help to increase the blood’s sensitivity to insulin.
Include a regular source of Omega 3s in your eating plan. You will find them in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines as well as flax seeds, chia, hemp and algae.
Let’s not forget to HYDRATION!!
Water is one of the main energy boosters. If you are feeling draggy and tired, drink a full glass of water and enjoy an immediate energy boost! Keep a water bottle in your car and on your desk and sip all day long, don’t wait until you are thirsty!
Let’s finish off with a winning energy formula for meal planning.
Combine a complex Carbohydrate with a Protein for snacks and meals and you will reap the benefits of sustained energy throughout the day! Complex Carbohydrates take longer to breakdown and don’t cause high glycemic responses in the blood stream. Add a healthy source of fat and you are ready to perform at your best.
Examples of winning combinations
Complex Carbohydrate+ Protein
Veggie sticks and hummus
Multi grain toast and almond butter
Berries and Greek yogurt or kefir
Apricots and cream cheese
Pineapple and cottage cheese
Apple slices and seed butter
Multi grain pita,avocado and chicken
Jicama sticks and black bean dip
Oatmeal, nuts and milk
Brown rice and edamame
Fruit smoothie with tofu
The combinations are endless! Use this formula to plan meals and snacks for maximum energy through the day!
Add all ingredients except coconut flour and carrots to a food processor. Process until mixture breaks down and starts to stick together.
Add coconut flour and process until well incorporated.
Add carrots and pulse just until combined.
Scoop out about 1-2 Tbsp, depending on the size of ball you prefer. I use a small ice cream scoop to ensure uniformity. Squeeze gently to form ball, then roll in the palms of your hands until you have a nice sphere.
Roll in coconut, press gently to ensure it adheres.
I still remember my very first taste of kimchi. I received a jar of homemade kimchi from my friend, Trish for my birthday. The pungent aroma was followed by its deep, funky flavour. I was hooked and soon after I made my very own batch.
Kimchi is a fermented Korean sidedish. It is ubiquitous in their diet – they eat it with almost every lunch and dinner and sometimes breakfast. . Kimchi is a regular part of Korean banchan, small side dishes that are served along with meals. It is estimated that Koreans eat 40lbs each per year of kimchi. There are over 160 seasonal and regional varieties of kimchi! In North America, however, we are most familiar with the deep red, spicy variety. Each year, when the napa cabbage crops are ready families and communities come together for Kimjang, an annual kimchi-making celebration. Kimjang may last for 2-3 days and families may go through as many as 100-200 cabbages. Many Koreans even have special fridges just to store their kimchi.
In 2010 there was a kimchi crisis in Korea due to weather conditions that damaged the napa cabbage crops. This impacted their culture greatly – napa cabbage was brought in from China and they even used the less desirable European cabbage in desperation. I can’t think of any one food in Canada that is so important and ubiquitous in our diet.
Traditionally kimchi was fermented in large ongi (earthen pots) that were buried in backyards. Today, with fewer people having space or land to ferment in the traditional way, new vessels for fermenting kimchi are emerging. At STIR we use 1.9 litre glass jars to make our kimchi. The glass allows you to see how the ferment is progressing and is a safe, easy to clean vessel.
In addition to its deep, spicy flavour, kimchi is loaded with probiotic bacteria and enzymes. Try a few forkfuls with your next meal or incorporate it into your everyday dishes.
Do you find feeding a picky family or friends challenging and frustrating? BOWLS are the latest and greatest way to feed a group with varying food interests, intolerances, likes and dislikes. They are creative, tasty and most importantly easy! At this class we will prep, create and sample Fiesta Burrito Bowls and Asian Flavour Bowls with a variety of sauces to accompany them. These can easily be reproduced at home for your family or for entertaining! More info and to register.
Learn fun and creative ways to include fermented foods in meals and snacks each day to boost the nutritional content and probiotic goodness. Together, we will be making mains, sides, and condiments from existing fermented foods to demonstrate how simple it can be to incorporate these healthy foods into your culinary routine.
Do you lack energy at certain times during the day? Do you find yourself turning to caffeine and sugar for a pick up? Do you need ideas for healthy school-friendly snacks? Join STIR Cooking School and Pomme Natural Markets to learn new healthy, nutrient-dense snacks that are easy to prepare and taste great! STIR Cooking School will demo and provide samples of three delicious, healthy snacks to help avoid those low energy slumps and get a fresh start on new year.