Farmer’s Market Finds

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One of the vendors that we purchase from at the Farmer’s Market at City Hall and in summer, on 104 Street recently had heart surgery for a heart defect (not cardiovascular disease).  We know this vendor well and he eats a whole foods/Paleo-based diet.  He also eats a very alkaline diet to reduce inflammation.

While in the care of the cardiac unit at the Royal Alex and then after at the Mazankowski Institute, he met other heart patients who were on whole foods/Paleo type of food plans and they recovered well and quickly from their medical procedures.  The vendor also got to know very well, the cardiac staff at the hospital and the Mazankowski Institute and discovered that a good number of the doctors, nurses and other practitioners were eating a whole foods/Paleo-based diet.

The news in all this is that our vendor was not able to work for a while after his heart surgery but was off work for far less time because of his previous daily physical activity level which is running a farm (no pesticides, no herbicides, no GMO’s, no antibiotics, no growth hormones) and his whole foods/Paleo nutrition as a lifestyle.

Andreas, we are happy to see you at the Market again and doing so well.  We buy our duck fat, duck eggs, duck breast and much of our sprouted greens for our green drinks from Greens Eggs & Ham.  Be sure to say “hello” to Andreas and Mary Ellen when you see them at City Hall (fall/winter) or 104th Street Farmer’s Market (spring/summer).

 

What is Health Span?

The term life span is familiar to the majority of people.

hourglass

There’s a new kid on the block now, as defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary, known as health span.

“A person’s health span is the length of time that the person is healthy – not just alive”.

So, as our mentor liked to quote, “are you living short and dying long?”

We believe that whole foods nutrition and daily exercise will help to increase your health span as well as your life span.  So, do you want to be more than just alive?  Do you want to live out your years ageing well – with vigor and vitality?

Here is where we come in and we are here to help.  I am nearly 60 and Jack is nearly 64 and we have no plans in stopping what we do anytime soon!  As active ageing Baby Boomers who are full-time fitness trainers and nutrition coaches, we would love to help you increase both your life span AND your health span.  We have the nutrition program and fitness training regimen appropriate to your age and your ability to assist you in achieving this goal.  We invite you to contact us!

Spice. . .is the Variety of Life!

spice

I always like to share any unusual finds that I come across when shopping, especially when it comes to food or fitness.

Those who know me, know that I love Middle Eastern food and Indian food.  To me the blend of spices these countries use in their cooking smells like perfume.  I came across these 3 sets of spices at Superstore in the “ethnic foods” aisle and promptly brought them home to add them to my meals that I am cooking this week.

With ingredient blends such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, nutmeg and cardamom in the Chicken Shawarma blend, who says I can’t use that on my fish?

Or the Kibbeh Spices blend, with blended ingredients such as cloves, marjoram, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, allspice and rose; who says I can’t use that on some beef sausages that I will roast in the oven later.  I am just imagining how good my kitchen is going to smell today!

Consider using the Shisk Taouk spice blend with ingredients such as pepper, ginger, paprika, chili, fenugreek and garlic on some pork tenderloin that has been brushed with a cherry chipotle glaze before putting it in the crockpot to simmer on low.

I apologize for the poor quality photo here but the brand name is ARZ and it is a product of Lebanon.  These bottles of spice are blended and ready to go so be bold and add some interesting flavours to the meats you cook and even use them on roasted vegetables too.  Another bonus is that the spices just make the food look appetizing with the colour that they add to the meat or vegetables.  I have already sampled two meals with them (some wings on Friday night and some Hake fish today) and will be experimenting with more meals.  As it is Valentine’s Day on Sunday, be adventurous with savory spices and try something different for that romantic dinner you might be having.

heart hands

 

See (Sea) Food Chowder!

Another busy day in our household so out came the crockpot again!  Got two busy renovation guys to feed, so I found some halibut and large shrimp in the freezer and bought a carrot, an onion, 3 celery ribs and two stalks of lemongrass, plus a dozen oysters to make a large crock of Seafood Chowder.

Everything tastes better with bacon so I prepped some frying bacon, celery and onion in my frypan and fried the veggies to transparent and glossy, then dumped them into my crockpot.  I had some coconut milk warming on the low setting to set the base for this cream soup.

It will cook on low all day with the lemongrass adding its unique flavour to this soup.  I bruised the lemongrass stalks with my mallet to release the fIMG_1771lavour from the stalks, into the soup.  Just before I put the fish in about one and a half hours before serving, I will pull out the lemongrass stalks as they are inedible.  A little sprinkle of smoked paprika adds a nice finish to round out this Seafood Chowder.  I do not generally follow recipes to the exact ingredient but rather I adapt them and add my own spin.  Lots of fun!

IMG_1773The oysters are fresh but were reduced 30% because they were close to their expiry date for optimum freshness so they were a good buy.  Both the guys love oysters so they will add a very rich flavour to the soup.  For all you Paleo people out there, this recipe is 100% Paleo and I adapted it from a recipe that does use dairy for the soup base.  Coconut milk is perfect and is creamy and just a bit sweet without a heavy coconut taste to compete with the fish in the chowder.

 

 

Slow Food in a Fast World

shank and squashThose who know me know that I use my crockpot a lot.  In fact, we have two of them going sometimes.

I especially like them when we are busy on weekends and want a hot, delicious meal with meat and vegetables and a salad on the side.  Today I have beef shanks with lots marrow in the bone slow-roasting with some onions, bay leaf, herbs and red wine.  The acorn squash will be cut up and added to the mix about halfway through the cooking, or if I forget, I will roast the squash in the oven separately with some olive oil to brown it.

Crockpots are great aids to busy lifestyles and they are low maintenance.  I use the low setting almost always and let food cook for a minimum of 5 hours up to a maximum of 8 to 10 hours.  Be careful not to put too much liquid in the crockpot as the meat and vegetables will release their own moisture.

A slow cooker ensures that we are on our mark with our food plan and are not tempted to run out for fast food, which isn’t as healthy as a home-cooked “slow food” meal.  Lamb shanks are especially great to slow-cook in the crockpot!  There are many great crockpot recipes to try and this is also a Paleo-friendly recipe.

Fat Fruit – Avocado! Yes, it is a Fruit – not a Vegetable!

IMG_1733This is the amount of avocadoes that Jack and I eat each week, approximately 2 day.  I mix half of one into my green smoothie, with spinach, kale, cucumber, spirulina, and pea shoots (tender pea sprouts).

We have been doing a keto-Paleo type of food plan wherein we have upped our fat intake by quite a bit.  Jack is consuming as much as 80% fat in a day and I am consuming about 60% fat in our macronutrient ratios.  Jack’s weight has dropped by 6 pounds and he is maintaining that weight loss (his weight started to creep up a little from his off-season weight now that we have retired from bodybuilding competition).  My weight is being maintained at my off-season weight from bodybuilding competition.  My struggle was having a hard time staying warm, even in the summer.  Eating more healthy fat has given me more energy, less sugar cravings and I actually feel warmer now in the winter months.

There is some great writing and research showing the benefits of a ketogenic way of eating and we are both feeling great on this slightly modified Paleo way of eating.  We are actually eating a little less protein because the higher amount of fat makes us feel more satisfied for a longer period of time without eating.

A great resource for learning about what a ketogenic diet is all about is Jimmy Moore’s book, co-written with Dr. Eric C. Westman.  There are several keto cookbooks out now that feature some delicious recipes on how to eat on a ketogenic diet.  Aside from weight loss benefits, many people are reporting that they have improved blood lipid profiles and a lot more energy.

keto clarity

 

3 Ingredient Pistachio Bark

IMG_1730Just in time for Christmas gift giving!  Only 3 ingredients used in my pistachio bark.  Melt 1.5 cups dark chocolate nibs in a double boiler (I use a premium quality baking chocolate), add 1 cup of roasted salted pistachio nuts, and crumble about half a cup of young coconut chunks into the melting chocolate.  Blend together until chocolate is melted.  Pour melted mixture onto waxed paper and flatten out with spatula.  Chill outside or in freezer for 1 hour.

For a change if you don’t like coconut, you can add dried blueberries or cranberries to this instead and it is just as yummy!  No eggs were used – they just were in the photo for no real reason!

Alternate Meats for Savory Meals

For those who know us, we do tend to enjoy some different choices for meats.  Today’s Sunday supper we are having slow cooker duck necks with cherry chipotle glaze and a bit of coffee rub.  By the time this is done, the meat will be falling off the neck bones so we will have something that looks like it has been pulled, like pulled pork.  We are serving it with grilled asparagus and a cabbage salad.IMG_1729

Duck meat is dark only and is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals.  Heme iron, which is the form of iron in duck and other meats is better absorbed by the body than non-heme iron found in plant foods.  Getting plenty of iron and vitamin B12 along with vitamin B6 by eating meats such as duck helps to prevent anemia.  I have found as I have gotten older that I require more iron to prevent fatigue and to have more more sustainable energy, so duck, other poultry and fish really meets my iron needs, plus Jack and I love the taste of duck.

The duck we buy is from the Farmer’s Market and comes from a trusted source, so we know we are eating non-caged birds that are free-range, with no anti-biotics or growth hormones used.  Why not try some duck today?

 

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