These make-ahead meals in a jar will simplify your meal planning an prep. STIR will demonstrate how to create a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner to please everyone in the family. Recipes and samples provided. ticket includes a meal in a mason jar for you to take home
by Jennifer Leslie
The research into so called “Blue Zones” in different areas of the world fascinates me! Lifestyle, food choices , activity levels and stress management render specific areas in the world as blue zones (originally circled with a blue pen). These areas have a high concentration of 100 year olds who have grown old without problems like heart disease, obesity, cancer or diabetes.
In this blog I am going to share with you the lifestyle habits of the Sardinians who live in the highlands boasting the largest concentration of centenarian males in the world. In one small village of 2500 people there are 5 centenarians!
The Sardinians healthy old age can be attributed to long days spent herding sheep on very steep hillsides. This pastoralism has a high correlation with living a long life. The shepherds are always moving up and down the hills in a low to moderate activity level. The people never actually “retire”, they simply shift into other roles in the community but still maintain an active and respected part of the community.
Their diets are very interesting, the only dairy they consume is milk and cheese from sheep and goats. These cheeses are higher in Omega 3’s than cow’s milk because the sheep are grass fed. Meat is only consumed in small amounts and usually for special events. Their main protein source is from fava beans and chickpeas. They consume only sourdough bread and use low glycemic barley flour. They also eat sourdough whole wheat flat bread, that is very high in fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Vegetables are a staple and featured at most meals. Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C and potassium and popular fennel is loaded with fiber and soluble vitamins. Olive oil is the fat of choice and the drink of choice of course is red wine. The centenarians love their 3 to 4 glasses of Grenache grape wine when gathering for happy hour to discuss the day’s events.
This diet deviates from the traditional Mediterranean diet where oily fish are often an important protein source. The Sardinians in the Blue Zone live too far from the ocean to enjoy fish! Instead they have benefited from a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, vegetables, sheep and goat dairy products.
This combined with long days of being active accounts for their amazing cardio-vascular health and longevity.
Explore the diverse flavours of the Meditteranean region with this demo-style cooking class. What is the Mediterranean Diet? This style of eating features plant based foods ie. fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Olive oil is the main source of fat with fish and poultry as protein sources. The Mediterranean Diet suggests red wine (in moderation) and the enjoyment of meals with family and friends contribute to the health benefits. Join us as we cook and pair using Mediterranean ingredients and influences. Includes 4 wine pairings.
Kitchen, Food and Cooking Apps
by Kelli Etheridge
Here are some of my favourite apps that make life easier when choosing ingredients, planning meals and cooking. I’ve chosen all free apps.
This app is great for figuring out conversions when cooking. It’s easier to measure ¼ cup of something than 4 Tbsp, for example. You can convert between Celsius and Fahrenheit if you have a cookbook that measures oven temperature in Celsius only and your oven is set to Fahrenheit. It even has common weights of everyday ingredients. I used this tool a lot when I’m cooking and doing recipe development, especially when I’m doubling (or more) a recipe for batch cooking.
Want a place for recipe inspiration? Yummly is filled with endless meal ideas and recipes. You can customize your preferences so it shows you what you like to eat most.
One Sweet App
I love this app because it tells you where the free sugar (added sugar) is hiding in products and how much is in there. Just scan a barcode using One Sweet App and it will give you feedback. I suggest using this when shopping to help decide between products (or better yet, decide to make your own). What’s neat is that this app was developed in Canada at the University of Toronto. It was created in conjunction with the Canadian documentary Sugar Coated (a great movie, available on Netflix).
Healthy Living App
This is another app that you can use while shopping and trying to decide which products are healthier. Just scan the product barcode and the app will give you a rating. It includes food as well as cosmetics. This app was created by the Environmental Working Group.
This Environmental Working Group app highlights the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides and should be purchased as organic. It also gives you the Clean Fifteen list of produce that is lower in pesticide residue. The app features the list from 2016, which is still very relevant. The new list just came out for 2017.
Want some plant based recipe inspiration? Check out this app – it features beautiful photos of a variety of vegan food with complete recipes. Some recipes are locked, but there are many others from which to choose.
This is a One Green Planet app loaded with recipes and beautiful photography; good photos are important when you are deciding what recipe to choose, right? The app is customizable to your own eating preferences, such as nut-free, gluten-free, etc.
Energy is defined as:
The ability to do work or
The strength and vitality for sustained mental or physical activity
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!
For a great no-sugar added snack check out our Carrot Cake Energy Balls.
Ticket includes a Now Real Food Sprouting Jar with Stainless Steel Mesh Top
This workshop includes a demonstration of sprout recipes with samples, how-to-sprout instructions and a sprout tasting.
By the end of the evening you will be a confident sprouter and will know how to grow and use various seeds, grains and legume sprouts!
This class is gluten-free and vegan. You will also receive 10% off storewide when you shop after the class.
Fast, easy, nourishing meals will be featured in this hands-on cooking class. Learn how to save time in the kitchen while enhancing the nutrition of each meal! We’ll also create a nutritious dessert.
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.
Some ideas to get you started…
- kimchi fried rice
- kimchi soup
- kimchi grilled cheese
- kimchi pancakes
- kimchi quesadilla
- kimchi slaw
- savory kimchi oatmeal
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.