As the number of people identifying as vegetarian & vegan nears 10 percent, in Canada, meat-free eating is no longer just for hippies & weirdos. Even classic ‘meat & potato’ folk are starting to recognize the benefits of cutting back on or eliminating animal products.Read More
Peaches are a fan favourite. Juicy, sticky, wet—they're an ongoing mess but totally worth it. It's the last summer fruit before moving into the heartier apple season. Basically, it's your last chance to taste summer before the colours shift & everything falls to your feet.Read More
It’s season is short & among the first of the summer harvests we get to enjoy. It’s small & bite sized; compact & incredibly juicy. They grow on big, bushy trees & love the sun. A single tree can produce up to 100 pounds of fruit in a season. For many, myself included, cherries mark the true beginning of summer.Read More
Mentha piperita, or peppermint, is hearty & will take over any garden space given the chance. It's extremely easy to grow & find. Perhaps this is why it's so commonly found in the home for both culinary & medicinal purposes. Rich in volatile oils, it has a antimicrobial property making it extremely useful in fighting infections of the sensory organs (ears, nose, throat, & eyes). As it has an astringent quality, the mentha family is able assist in the fight against harmful bacteria, particularly where the lymphatic system is involved. A drop of essential oil on the nostril, inhaled, or applied to the chest helps clear mucous from the system & clear nasal passages or relieve the aches & pains caused by the flu.
Mint is also very helpful in issues involving the digestive system by "...relaxing the stomach muscles, increasing the peristalsis of the intestine, & reducing the production of gas in the system." As a carminative "They thus support the the movement of material through the system & relieve distension due to gas." (The Complete Herbs Sourcebook). A small amount of its essential oil rubbed on a forehead will relieved headaches & as it's a rubefacient, it stimulates circulation when applied to a congested or inflamed area.
In short, peppermint "...is an anticatarrhal, an aromatic, an antimicrobial, a carminative, a diaphoretic, an emmenagogue, a febrifuge, a nervine, & a stimulant." (mucous fighting, pleasantly smelling, digestion supporting, pathogenic microorganisms destroying, toxin eliminating, perspiration promoting, menstrual flow normalizing, fever fighting, nervous system supporting, physiological system stimulating).
Mint is extremely versatile in that it can be used as an essential oil, infusions, ointments, compresses, in tinctures, teas, dried, fresh, or frozen. It grows indoors or out. Can survive cooler weather & is a perennial. Mint is also a common ingredient in many dishes & is easily accessible in common grocery stores.
Available every Spring Equinox season.
Though technically a fruit seed, buckwheat is generally treated as a grain. Though its flour has wheat-like characteristics, there is no relation, making it the ideal gluten-free alternative.Read More
The world of food is littered with fad diets, contradicting studies, & confusing parables (well, sort of). It's all too easy to get lost or caught up in this this black-hole, rat-race we, as a society, have created. Here's the short of it: keep it simple. As much as possible, shop on the outside perimeter of the grocery store. You know, where the fruits, veggies, & other yet-to-be-processed foods (& donuts) live. Golden Rule: Fresh is Best.Read More
Globally, we centre our culture & tradition around food. It joins family, friends, & neighbours, makes us strong, brings us joy, & nourishes. It's provides opportunity & excuse to gather. We show our love by sharing it. Regardless of where you are raised, how little or much is on the table, or whom sits there with you, this basic anthropological condition is fact.Read More
Quinoa is a great choice as it is gluten free & among the least allergenic of all grains. It also possesses a complete amino acid profile—as in, it's a complete protein, making it an excellent choice for vegans & vegetarians.Read More
Ten years ago, when I decided to end my relationship with meat, concerned loved ones bombarded me on my protein sources. That first year, I decided to avoid all animal products as I adjusted to the new diet. I managed this quite successfully — except clamato juice, turns out it's made of clams. Not sure what I thought it was but you can imagine my dismay upon finding out mid-caesar.Read More
It's common knowledge that dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate. What's often misunderstood however, is that many of these proclaimed health benefits are lost in the processing. Its through an understanding of this that you begin to recognize the difference between cacao & coco, raw chocolate & processed.Read More
Pistachios are always smiling their faces off; no wonder they're so popular ;) They are well nicknamed, 'smiling nut' in Iran & the 'happy nut' in China.Read More
What's a cashew?
Most of us have enjoyed a cashew or two at some point but did you know cashews are actually seeds & not nuts?! (hehe) I find this so interesting, though not as interesting as the fact that they grow at the base of what’s called a cashew apple. The cashew grows in a thick, hard shell at the base of the fruit. Ever notice cashews always come shelled? This is because the inner resin of the shell is actually toxic & must be properly removed. Native to Brazil, cashew apples are considered a delicacy though most people in North America have never heard of them.
What makes the cashew good for you?
Like most seeds & nuts, cashews are packed with calories & good fat (though significantly less fat than many other seeds or nuts) - 100 g of nuts provide 533 calories. Good for the heart, they are packed with monosaturated-fatty acids that fight off ‘bad’ cholesterol while promoting the ‘good’. Extremely nutrient dense, they are also full of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, & other disease-fighting agents.
Cashews are also a great source of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, manganese, & selenium.
Why are these nutrients important?
Magnesium helps regulate a diverse range of biochemical reactions in the body including energy production, structural development of the bones, it’s an antioxidant, transports calcium & potassium. It also aids in the regulation of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, & the maintenance of normal heart rhythms.
Potassium can be found in most food, particularly leafy greens. Like magnesium, calcium, & chloride, it is an electrolyte, promoting electrical charges throughout the body. It’s an essential mineral in the maintenance of proper blood levels and the maintenance of healthy heart & nerve function.
Copper is a trace element aiding in the proper function of organs & metabolic processes. Iron is a key ingredient in the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is in your red blood cells & carries oxygen through your body. Manganese assists in bone production & the maintenance of skin integrity & health. It also fights against free radicals & blood sugar control.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant & supports normal thyroid function.
In other words, this little fruit-nut is super good for you! Sweet & savory, crunchy & creamy, it’s incredibly diverse & is only limited by your imagination.
Pssst....studies have also suggested that eating nuts twice a week helps prevent weight gain so eat away!
(If you’re still with me, congratulations! I know I just threw tons of very broad information at you and chances are you’re left with more questions than answers but fear not (!) we’re going to dive deeper into all these concepts as time moves on and you’ll be an expert in no time! I want to empower you to make healthy choices for you and your family and to be able to trust your intuition as time moves on.)
Thank you to ‘The World’s Healthiest Foods’ and Wikipedia who are both used as sources for this post.