Local Living and Blueberry Muffins

I’ve been eating only local foods lately for two reasons ~ first, fresh BC foods taste so incredibly good and second, our beautiful province is in a state of emergency again because of global warming (and human) induced forest fires. We have over 600 fires burning in total right now and I need, for my own happiness, positivity and mental health, to be part of the global warming solution.

I already have what some would consider an extremely green lifestyle ~ live in a small space, don’t have a car, don’t love being a consumer so keep my possessions to a minimum…but, with dark smoke hanging in our skies and beautiful BC being choked by smoke and fire, I need to do more.

So, I’ve been educating myself lately about the huge carbon footprint created by transporting our food across the world. Did you know that Canada ships farmed salmon to China for processing and then the fish are shipped back here for our consumption. Ugh, the madness has to stop. And what kind of chemicals and preservatives does our food have to be laced with to stay “fresh” during the many miles covered to get to our plate? As someone who grew up with a big backyard garden that fed the family, what is now happening with global food transport seems so unnatural and is clearly taking its toll on the planet.

To bring a more natural, eco friendly way of eating back into my life, I’m rediscovering the 100 Mile Diet. The last time I did this challenge a few years ago I felt amazing and eating close to home helps our beautiful planet that is currently in crisis. It might seem like we don’t have a lot of personal power in saving the earth but as David Suzuki says, if several million people made even small changes to their lives the result would be astronomical!

Last but not least, local food tastes so amazing. In fact it’s bursting with flavour. An imported papaya from the other side of the world just doesn’t compare to fresh, beautiful BC fruit!

And, to get you inspired to love local, here’s a yummy, healthy recipe that features BC berries:

Wholesome Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh and local
  • 1/3 cup oil if your choice
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the dry ingredients together, then whisk the wet ingredients together and add to dry, folding in blueberries last. Put in lined muffins cups and bake for 25 minutes. Then enjoy the goodness!

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Sunday Smoothie

This luscious smoothie is full of vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes to nourish and energize.

Serves 2 smoothie-loving people.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups cashew milk
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 4 romaine leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp of fresh ginger
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1 scoop Vega greens plus protein powder
DIRECTIONS
  1. Toss everything in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass (so you can see the beautiful shade of green) and enjoy!

What is Monsanto doing to our wheat supply?

Do you ever find it strange that so many people in the past few years have developed a gluten/wheat intolerance? I can’t help but think back to my childhood, teen years and even 20’s and 30’s, when hardly anybody had an allergy to anything. I don’t even remember hearing the word allergy when I was in school. Granted it was a small, country school, but still. It feels like every other person I chat with today has a sensitivity/allergy/intolerance to something in their diet, or leaky gut, IBS or another illness of the digestive tract. All of this has made me wonder just what is going on in with our health these days. Then I stumbled on an article last week that could explain the problems and issues and ill health that so many of us are currently experiencing. The topic of the article was Glyphosate.

What is glyphosate? It’s a poisonous weed killer that conventional grain crops are now sprayed with a few days before harvest time. In fact 95% of farms in Canada’s prairies are spraying this GMO Monsanto poison…oops, I mean product on their crops.

Why is it sprayed on crops? Because it kills the crops and they dry out and die, making harvesting them easier, faster and more profitable for the farmer. The only problem is that the glyphosate residue is all over the grain and stays there until we eat it. Now I’m not a scientist but, considering how much grain we eat, we are probably being dosed with a Monsanto pesticide almost every day of our lives. Not good. Not good and not natural and a probable explanation for all of the health problems mentioned in the second paragraph.

What crops are sprayed with glyphosate? Here’s a list of conventional crops (organic are okay) to avoid. All of these crops are currently heavily dosed with glyphosate:

  • Lentils
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans
  • Millet
  • Flax
  • Rye and buckwheat
  • Canola
  • Peas

I don’t know about you, but I find that a very depressing list. Not only are some of my favourite foods on the list, but some of the items on the list are in almost all packaged food, meaning this Monsanto pesticide is heavily embedded in our food supply.

When glyphosate is ingested it upsets the all important balance of good bacteria in our gut, probably contributing to a host of health issues and may compromise our immune system as well. 

What can we do to get glyphosate out of our diet?

  • Make sure to only buy organic when it comes the list sprayed crops.
  • Buy local as much as possible as small, organic farms don’t use Monsanto products.
  • Eat rice instead of wheat or rye
  • Don’t use canola oil in cooking or as salad dressing
  • Don’t eat soybeans as all are pretty much GMO or sprayed now-a-days
  • Email this address and tell them that it’s not okay how Monsanto is affecting our food supply

When you’re searching for safe grain products, avoid conventional agriculture and packaged food with suspect ingredients.

 It make take a little effort but your health is so worth it.

Delicious Chocolates and a New Path

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re not living the life you’re supposed to be living? And, when you get this feeling, is it so uncomfortable that you try to push it down and ignore it until it goes away? That’s what I do but, this time, it didn’t go away.

A bunch of bad things have happened to me recently. It started with my dog getting really, really sick (see here), then I had some dental work that went sideways and kept me in chronic pain for about a month until it was resolved. Then water started dripping out of my bedroom ceiling at an alarming rate on Jan. 30th (my upsatirs neighbor’s washer in her closet had sprung a leak), necessitating a couple of big, ugly, noisy blowers in my bedroom, my track lighting being trashed and my ceiling dotted with drilled holes and water stains. Oh, and then I broke up with my boyfriend the next day. You’d think that would be enough, right? But, no, about a week later a bunch of binders fell off a top shelf at work and the sharp edges hit me in the face, causing angry, red, stripy cuts across my nose. And that’s when I hit rock bottom emotionally. I was sad, angry, resentful, in grief over my relationship, in fear over my dog’s health and underneath it all was that niggling feeling that I wasn’t living the life I was suppose to be living.

chocolateAt the same time I cut my nose, I was hit with the flu so had to take a couple of days off of work. I was in healing/hideout mode so all I wanted to do was put on oversize sunglasses and walk along a secluded beach with my dog and think about all of these unpleasant things that have been happening and also think about that little voice telling me to change the path of my life. As, I thought about the future, the expression “It hit me in the face” kept going through my mind. Then I thought how maybe that feeling of the past few months, that I haven’t been living my best life, finally hit me in the face, both literally and metaphorically. This led me to think about my passions – psychology and nutrition. The ones I’ve been pretty much either ignoring or downplaying. Now, I love psych but I also know that I don’t have what it takes to be a full-time counsellor. I love nutrition just as much, especially raw food nutrition and I’m always making raw goodies and coming up with eating plans for people who want to lose weight or get healthier. The brambles cleared (both metaphorically and physically) and I started to see a path.

Not one to waste time when something feels right, I quickly walked home, found a local raw food nutrition institute and signed myself up. So I am now on my way to becoming a Raw Food Educator and then continuing with more nutrition and wellness courses.

To get myself in the swing of things, I made these little goodies last night. The healthiest, and maybe most delicious, chocolate you’ll ever taste.

Raw Dark Chocolates

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup organic raw cacao
  • 4 T pure maple syrup

raw-chocolatePlace all ingredients in saucepan over low heat. Stir together until melted, place in empty ice cube trays. Freeze.

These are total people pleasers. They’re a hit with healthy folks and junk food junkies too.

 

 

Homemade Vegan Lentil Soup

My little garden is still looking pretty lush. And not wanting to let any of this goodness go to waste, I thought I’d whip up a hearty, tasty soup, using a little bit of everything from my patio garden.

garden basil

garden tomatoes

garden

Garden of Eden Soup

  • 3/4 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 onion, cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 potato, shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, cubed
  • one cup water
  • parsley
  • chives
  • T. tomato paste
  • 2 or 3 fresh tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup pasta
  • sprinkle smoky paprika
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper

Throw everything into a large saucepan and simmer until veggies are soft and blended together, approximately 40 minutes.

lentil soup

A hearty, warming soup to curl up with as the last days of summer turn into the crispness of fall.

Creamsicle/Dreamsicle

I have a bunch of happy childhood memories that involve me running around on hot, sunny, Ontario summer days with a bright orange creamsicle melting in my hand. And the other day as I was perusing one of my fave food blogs, I stumbled on a post about the blogger’s juice cleanse last winter. One recipe in particular made me drool. It was a juice called the dreamsicle.

Unfortunately I’m not really a juicer. I don’t own one, it seems really expensive to buy a bunch of fruit and veggies, get a tiny bit of juice and have a ton of pulp left behind. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love buying the occasional raw juice but would never invest in a juicer and try to make them at home regularly. But, this dreamsicle/creamsicle was calling my name….

So, I decided to transform the juice recipe into a smoothie version. Should work right? It did. I went a little crazy with the greens, so mine doesn’t have the brilliant orange hue that the juice version has but, damn, it tastes good and reminds me of those sunny, summer creamsicle days.

Creamsicle Smoothie

  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple, cubed
  • one orange, cubed
  • 1/2  sweet potato, shredded
  • 4 carrots, shredded
  • handful dark greens
  • scoop of Greek yogurt

Blend until smooth.

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Flowers in the Rain

I took an extra day off last weekend to squeeze in as much beach time as possible before summer fades into a distant memory. And, guess what? The weather report lied. It had shown a sky full of a happy, smiling, bright yellow sunshine and what the weather gods delivered was a misty, grey Vancouver day accompanied by the gentle pitter patter of mellow but constant raindrops.

So, after taking some time to be annoyed at not being able to spend my day strolling on the seawall, I took Nick for a walk in the neighborhood and found this…

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My neighbor’s zucchini garden. The bright, sunshine-y flowers were almost shocking against the muted greys and greens of the rest of my world. My neighbor had already told me to help myself to his garden, so I obliged.

Pan-fried zucchini florets are one of my favourite things and they are so easy to prepare:

Fresh Zucchini Florets with Blue Cheese

  • Pour a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan
  • add as many florets as you have or will fit into the pan
  • fry until soft
  • add crumbled blue cheese at the very end (local, organic is always best)
  • put on a pretty plate and serve

One word of warning: When you start growing your own food and/or foraging, bugs often make an unwanted appearance. Unlike conventional food which is radiated, gmo and/or sprayed to within an inch of it’s life with pesticides, real food is a yummy home for a number of insects. After I thoroughly washed the outside of my florets, I put them in the pan and, guess what? Two slugs quickly appeared and ran around, as if to say “Why is it getting hot in here? What the heck is going on?” I grabbed a piece of paper and guided them out of the frying pan and into a pot in my balcony garden, screaming periodically whenever they crawled towards my hand.

Anyway, this can happen with fresh, organic food so be prepared. I think it’s a small price to pay for the exquisite, just picked taste and health benefits of real, unaltered, honest to goodness food.

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Gillian Aldrich started growing vegetables in her backyard three years ago, and she’s now working on planting a bed of hydrangeas along one side of her property. As she digs in the garden, her 8-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son often play around her, sometimes taking a break to dig for worms or pick strawberries. Instead of watching them, Aldrich is playing, too — “my kind of play,” she says.

“When you sit at a desk all day, there’s something about literally putting your hands in the dirt, digging and actually creating something that’s really beautiful,” says Aldrich, 42, a magazine editor in Maplewood, New Jersey. “There’s something about just being out there that feels kind of elemental.”

Aldrich isn’t the only one who feels this way. Many gardeners view their hobby as the perfect antidote to the modern world, a way of reclaiming some of the intangible things we’ve lost in our busy, dirt-free lives. – Health.com