3 Things I Loved Last Week…

In no particular order of importance, here are some items that rocked my healthy junction boat last week.

EE-book-front

1.  From an amazing whole foods based cookbook authored by one of my favourite nutrition teachers at The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, Caroline Dupont’s The New Enlightened Eating cookbook provided me with some seriously enlightened meals.  From her Lemon Date Squares, Spiced Chia Pudding, and Applesauce Muffins, to more savory dishes like Indian Spinach and Broccoli Puree and  Roasted New Potatoes W/ Tarragon Vinaigrette – Caroline’s book has quickly become one of my “go-to” favourites for weekly meal planning.  If you like cooking with whole foods but don’t enjoy hunting for obscure ingredients, check out this book.

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2.  I’ve especially enjoyed cycling to work these past few weeks with all the beautiful fall foliage on display.  The view from The Bloor-Danforth Viaduct is my favourite, especially because I know the Evergreen Brickworks (the most wonderful place in all of Toronto) is nestled in the trees below.

Don Valley Parkway Fall

 

3.  A friend and colleague of mine suggested a website called My Yoga Online for times when an aspiring yogi just doesn’t feel like leaving the house to hit up a scheduled class.

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You pay a monthly subscription fee (I think it’s about $9/month) and get unlimited access to hundreds if not thousands of online yoga videos that are professional and diverse.  For instance, you can choose from different types of yoga (hatha, restorative, vinyasa, etc) as well as the class length which can range between 5 minutes and 1 hour and 30 minutes.  There are even meditation videos!  It’s a convenient and inexpensive method of practicing yoga daily and I find I’m able to get to my mat more often.

THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama):

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”   

– Albert Camus

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A mint chocolate “nib” smoothie fit for Gwyneth Paltrow

I don’t know why, but I hear a lot of people have beef with Gwyneth Paltrow.

GOOP

Not sure why, but Gwyneth really bothers people.  My hippie vegetarian sister who hasn’t washed her hair in 15 years is about as holistic as they come…and even she thinks Gwyn is a smug jerk.

Sister Sharon
Sister Sharon

I quite enjoy Gwyn and her natural foods/lifestyle blog, http://www.goop.com.  While her cookbook yields some pretty delicious food, I agree some of the ingredients are a bit tough to find.  I have to say, that even though it can be annoying to find some of the obscure ingredients, the payoff with Gwyn is always big.

gwyneth-paltrow-sticks-to-her-diet-while-family-eats-pizza-and-pasta__oPt

I saw a recipe for a mint chocolate chip smoothie on GOOP.com that required something called raw cacao nibs and I was stumped but determined to make this smoothie happen.  Lucky for me, I happened to pass by the  ChocoSol food stand this past weekend at the Evergreen Brick Works which is my favourite place in all of Toronto.  ChocoSol makes and sells chocolate products here in Toronto using ingredients from indigenous communities in the Lacondon Jungle of Chiapas and the Oaxacan mountains of Southern Mexico…part of their product line includes raw cacao nibs.

Photo Credit:  The Torontoist
Photo Credit: The Torontoist

Raw cacao nibs, by the way, are cocoa beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks and broken into smaller pieces.  Raw cacao is high in zinc, iron, magnesium and antioxidants.

Raw Cacao Nibs

With my ChocoSol raw cacao nibs in arm, I attempted Gwyn’s smoothie with my own modification and the results were…spectacular.

Photo Credit:  GOOP.com
Photo Credit: GOOP.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp Manitoba Harvest Pro 70 Hemp Protein Powder (15 grams of vegan protein!)
  • large handful of spinach
  • 5 oz water
  • 5 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3rd avocado
  • 1/8th tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp raw honey (in Toronto, try Bees’ Universe unpasteurized Wildflower Honey available at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market)
  • 1 tbsp raw Cacao Nibs (try ChocoSol’s as it is DELISH!)

Blend well and serve for an invigorating morning smoothie or afternoon pick-me-up snack.

THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama)

“I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.”

–  Gwyneth Paltrow

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Get your probiotic on with DIY sauerkraut!

One of my favourite times of the week is visiting the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings with my friend Emily S.  It’s so fun, I can’t handle it!  We move from vendor to vendor picking up most of our weekly fresh produce and sampling the goodies on display.  This past week, I walked past the Pyramid Farm & Ferments table and sampled some dill and garlic sauerkraut.

Pyramid

Woah.  It was mind-blowing.  Delicious.

Mind Blowing

The only sauerkraut I had ever had up to this weekend was from a jar of Bicks and the taste doesn’t even come close to Pyramid Farms & Ferments.  Sauerkraut is made when shredded cabbage is massaged so that some of the juices come out of the shreds.  The shredded cabbage bits and the water that is pulled out via massaging is then stored in a container where it’s left to ferment.  The benefit of fermentation is that it makes nutrients more bioavailable.  Cabbage is high in Vitamin K, C, and Folate which become even more available to us once fermented.

Cabbage

Fermentation works when naturally occurring lactobacilli bacteria digest the sugar in cabbage which creates lactic acid.  The presence of the lactic acid makes the environment (ie: shredded cabbage sitting in a mason jar) too acidic so that it’s impossible for “bad” bacteria to overgrow and therefore the food doesn’t rot.  So you end up getting a lot of “good” lactobacilli bacteria without dealing with the pathogens that often result from spoiled food.

sauerkraut fermentation

What makes Pyramid Farms’ sauerkraut different is that not only is it fermented (like all store-bought versions) but it’s also unpasteurized which means that the lactobacilli bacteria, a strain of probiotic, are able to survive.  Having a gut that is populated with a healthy amount of probiotics  supports the health of our intestines and GI tract, improve digestion, and boosts the immune system.  Eating unpasteurized sauerkraut means that you’ll be getting a truckload of Vitamin C, K, Folate as well as a LOT of probiotics (30 x what you would get in a serving of yogurt!), fiber, and next to zero calories.

word_amazing

You can actually make sauerkraut at home, and yesterday, that’s exactly what Emily S and I did.  Check out this site by Fermentation Fanatic Mr. Sandor Katz and become a sauerkraut makin’ yahoo with a strong immune system, vitamin infused body, and enviable digestive system.

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THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama)

“Fermentation is the exhalation of a substance through the admixture of a ferment which, by virtue of its spirit, penetrates the mass and transforms it into its own nature.”

– Andreas Libavius

Yuppies & Hippies Co-Exist @ Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market

My friend Emily S has been raving about the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market for the year and a half since we met.  Emily brings her son Yatel and now new baby Sayen to the Toronto-based market that National Geographic named one of the top 10 geotourism destinations in the world in 2010.

brick-works

Emily said I would love The EBW and so this morning, I finally dragged my rump out of bed for an 8:45 am pick-up to visit the market with Emily, Yatel, and Sayen.  Woah, did I ever have fun.

Fun

Evergreen Brickworks is “a community environmental centre that inspires and equips visitors to live, work and play more sustainably.”   Aside from the amazing year-round market, EBW has programming designed to help schools, communities, and individuals build green sustainable spaces.  In short, Evergreen Brickworks is connecting us with nature and it’s pretty amazing.

Now, back the  market.  There was maple syrup, bread makers, a rainbow coloured array of vegetables (including Turkish eggplant…new to me), baskets of fruit (blueberries, pears, and peaches seem to be in season), cheese, soaps, lotions, lamb, beef, pork, fish, honey, crepes, muffins, COFFEE!, juices, beet brownies, wine, teas, chocolate, crackers, grains, and much much more.

market-03

organic-peppers

Pickles

goat soap

Going to a Farmers Market naturally helps us learn about what is in season locally.  I saw lots of leafy greens, carrots, green onion, onions, peaches, and eggplant.  If you’re thrifty, shop around and search for the  best vendors.  My friend Emily knows exactly where to go for the best deals and has over time, built a relationship with the farmers who giver  her a dollar or two off and pack her baskets extra full.

shopping-farmers-market_300

It was cool to see the variety of shoppers who co-exist with the shared goal of trying new food and being part of a greater community of health and environmentally conscious people.  I saw about 100 pairs of Hunter boots pushing Uppababy strollers and just as many slightly ripe smelling hippies wearing linen pants.

Hunter-boots

uppababy-vista-rumbleseat

Hippie

Hippies_welcome

I thought it was cool to watch kids interact with the food, farmers, and the extraordinary number of extremely cute dogs.  Yatel is almost four, but he knows a lot about food and where it comes from.  When they get home from the market each week, Emily pulls out all the produce and Yatel tells her what they’ve purchased.  Very cool.

kids_farmersmarket

I’ll definitely be making EBW’s a Saturday morning destination.  Check it out yourself (550 Bayview Avvenue) by foot, bike, car, TTC (28 from Davisville Station), or a Free Shuttle Bus (leaves from Erindale/Broadview just north of Broadview Station).  Whichever way you decide to come, just make sure to bring lots of bags and your inner eco-freak.

THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama)

“Farming is a profession of hope.”

–  Brian Brett

**DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY ADVERTISEMENTS THAT APPEAR ON THIS PAGE DO NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS OF THE HEALTH JUNCTION**

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