A Guide to Feeding our Future

Archive for the ‘Health Tips’ Category

Mothers create the foundation of health

This weekend, we pay tribute to mothers! Mothers are often the ones who create the foundation for health in many ways for their families. One way is through instilling proper eating habits in the home. Young children who learn how to prepare wholesome food in a pleasant home environment, are more likely to do this later in life and become healthier, more self sustaining adults. The value of this cannot be expressed enough! If you are a mom who is committed to helping your family by training them how to prepare fabulous meals, we say “Bravo!”  If you had a mom who gave to you this great gift, now would be a good time to say “Thank You!”

 

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A Great Detox Drink first thing in the Morning!

 

Juicing for Health

One of the great joys and choices we have is in deciding what we will put into our bodies! This winter, while you need a boost in energy and vitality, why not consider juicing?

We have recently purchased the Breville Juicer, and we are having good results with it! There are many different products on the market and differing recipes and reviews. Do your research to discover which model, make and recipes are right for you.

Another way to get the most out of your fruits and veggies is with a high powered blender; and there is much to be said about that! We will discuss that method and topic on another day…

For now, enjoy collecting your recipes and information. If you have a recipe already that you particularly love, please feel free to share it!

In Health,

The Educated Eater Team

MAY Feature Food: Stinging Nettle

Spring where I live in Victoria is bountiful! There is so much at our fingertips to forage here in N. America, if we know how. I strongly recommend looking for a foraging workshop in or around your area, if you are at all interested in doing any yourselves. There are plenty of invasive plants or what we call ‘weeds’ and many of us kill these off in our own yards with chemicals. Did you know that so many of those invasive plants are full of powerful nutrients and can be so healing? This month is Nettle. Yep! That pesky stinging nettle… Maybe I chose this one this month because I’m pregnant, and when you’re pregnant in my world you drink plenty of nettle tea for iron. It’s seeped into my blood stream so much so that I feel amazing and just can’t wait to share it’s benefits with all of you.

Stinging nettle is a bother when we’re out in the bush camping or hiking and we accidentally brush up against it. It stings! It burns! It itches! But it’s not dangerous. That’s because it contains formic acid. The formic acid ids a natural protector for the plant in nature, so that it can be left alone! Buuuut what we humans discovered is that if we wear gloves, long sleeved shirts, pants and covered shoes, we can harvest this amazing plant. Once we get it home and boil it for under 5 minutes, the sting is gone and it tastes like any other leafy green…I’d say, closest to a mustard green, which happens to be one of my faves!

boiling nettles
Like any other dark leafy green, nettle is really high in iron, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. If we cook it properly we can absorb these nutrients that help build and repair our blood. Nettle has been proven to be a super hero when it comes to healing any blood disorders, ie: anaemia, ITP, leukemia, Thrombocytopenia, low Vit B 12 or folate. Provides a very healthy amount of all of these nutrients, which all work together to support healthy clean running blood, capillaries and veins, creating vibrancy.

It contains natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. It supports a healthy inflammatory response, which is great for helping us rid ourselves of toxicity. This may seem strange considering the effect it has on our skin when we come in contact. Although, after it’s been dehydrated for tea, made into a tincture or cooked down slightly, it’s properties change. It can be used internally or externally and when taken as a capsule or tea, can be very helpful for combating seasonal allergies. It’s great for supporting the immune system, and safe for anyone with an auto-immune disease. Nettle can also be used topically as an astringent or tea compress for cuts, bruises, strains and inflamed areas.

This great leafy green can also be used for detoxification. It’s a great kidney builder and liver cleanser. A good time to consider using nettle medicinally would be if you’re battling a UTI, or kidney stones, if you’re feeling toxic and are showing signs of needing to detoxify (ie: acne, poor bowel movements, skin conditions…) or if you have a hormonal condition, especially one related to the kidneys, like type 2 diabetes.

Being a whole food as it is, using nettle is a safe way to help heal. It’s safe during pregnancy, and that’s great for me and anyone else planning a babe, building a babe, or breastfeeding a babe. It contains a natural form of Folic acid (folate), which is the most recognized by our bodies therefore easily absorbed into out blood stream and won‘t likely cause constipation, like many of those pesky supplements out there.

I hope you’ll all get curious about Nettle, maybe find some on your next hike and try out a recipe. If you do get stung a helpful and easy way of relieving the pain is using vinegar, baking soda or mud on the affected area, to reduce the symptoms and speed the healing. Whichever you use, make sure you clean the area with good water first. If you use mud, scrub the mud into the area as much as you can handle and then rinse it away. If you use vinegar spray or hold it on the area with a cloth. If you use baking sods, make a paste and rub into the area like the mud, and rinse clean. You can repeat these processes as much as needed. Just make sure to dry it in the open air and not to bandage it up. If you’re in the bush and know what a dock plant is, grab a leaf and hold in over the wound, spore side down. Pure aloe can be applied afterwards to reduce the heat.

Nettle does not HAVE to be foraged by any means, it’s often available at produce markets, local farms and friendly neighbours. It can also be found dried, in the grocery store for the fall and winter months. So, keep your eyes peeled and enjoy this lovely nettle soup recipe:

Nettle Soup:

nettle soup
Ingredients:

1 large onion
1 head of garlic (pre-roasted is best)
2-3 medium sweet potatoes
2 large carrots
1 hot pepper (if desired)
1 bunch of herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint, chives…)
However many nettle leaves you have is just fine. Around the size of a head of lettuce when bunched together is perfect.
2 cups of soup stock
1 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Chop sweet potato, carrot and onion (garlic too, if not pre-roasted). Add to a pan at med temperature with ½ cup of stock. Cook until root veggies are soft enough to poke through with a fork.

Add the rest of the stock to the pan heat for 2 minutes.

Add to blender.

Bring a large pot of water to boil (about 1.5L)

USE GLOVES! Wash and trim your nettle, removing any thick stems and keeping the leaves.

Add nettle and 1 tsp salt to the pot.

Boil for 5 mins, strain and add to blender.
Add salt pepper, herbs and a hot pepper if desired to blender. Blend until a creamy puree.

For a creamier consistency add 1 cup of pre-soaked cashew, sunflower seeds or walnuts.

For a more liquid consistency add more water, coconut milk, hemp milk or stock.

Enjoy!

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN

APRIL Feature Food: Fiddleheads

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

fiddleheads for the month of April-complete

For some reason, every time I think of fiddleheads, I’m reminded of leprechauns. It’s possible this has something to do with a connection I have to running through the woods as a child with my father, while he made up stories of mythical woodland creatures that I truly believed existed. This would always be about the time the fiddleheads were beginning to pop through the luscious mossy covered soil. It’s a great memory. Although I do wonder why I don’t think of violins or cellos…

Now, as an adult and Registered Holistic Nutritionist who sadly doesn’t believe too strongly in these gnome and fiddlehead leprechauns anymore, I am still excited this time of year to share with you the nutritional benefits and health impacts of foraging and munching on the diverse flavour of FIDDLEHEADS! YAY!

Fiddleheads are lovely spring fern shoots. Also known as Ostrich ferns or fiddlehead fronds. They can easily be foraged on some grassy/mossy paths near river beds, IN rivers or especially wooded areas. You may be surprised how easily accessible they are, you don’t always need to go on a big foraging trek to get at some munchy treats such as these. They may be right in your own backyard, on the trail you ride to work on, or in the park you take your kids to. They grow along the rhizome path of ferns. Fiddleheads taste much like green beans or asparagus with a slightly increased sweet earthy flavour. So keep your eyes peeled for these and make sure to carry a basket or bag for collecting your FREE nutrient dense side dish this evening.

Let’s get down to the facts, shall we?

Antioxidant super powers:

These young shoots are full of carotenoids that our body so kindly converts into Vitamin A. A is for Amazing Antioxidant, Against cancer. 😉 It’s also great for our mucosa, cell protection and formation and strong beautiful skin.

Vitamin C. We all know this one well. When we feel the sickness coming forth, we pump ourselves full of this great immune supporting vitamin. As usual, there’s also so many great ways of ensuring we’re getting enough of this support through whole foods. In fact, this is the BEST way to absorb many nutrients, as it’s naturally paired with the others that we need the most. This is how food is medicine. Do you get it now? Hippocrates was a smart man!

Zinc. Oh zinc! Do I really need to express my love for zinc rich foods anymore than I have in previous articles? I’m going to spare you the repetition this time around. Feel free to read last month’s article on oysters, for many zinc facts: https://educatedeater.com/2015/03/04/march-feature-food-oysters/

fiddlehead heart

Have an energetic spring:

Due to the fact that these are an early/young spring food, they are higher in those lovely soil-transferred-rich vitamins and minerals. They hold a great amount of iron and copper. Iron from a whole food vibrant green source such as this is the best way to ensure absorption. Feel tired often? Think about your iron intake. Iron is a common deficiency for young adult women. It’s essential for energy production and cell oxygenation. It’s the C that helps us absorb the iron. In fact, it’s essential. Lucky for you, many iron-rich foods also contain high amounts of vitamin C. Just make sure to never overcook these fragile water-soluble vitamins. It’s often possible that if you suffer from anaemia, the proper amount of copper in your diet may not be sufficient. Although, it’s generally more common to have an excess of copper; a deficiency is often overlooked. Copper is much needed for the development of nerve, blood, bone and connective tissues.

There’s also a high amount of potassium and manganese that these lovely shoots absorb from the soil. Combined with iron and copper these all work synergistically to reduce blood pressure, and heart rate by reducing the effects of sodium in our blood stream.

It doesn’t end there. Fiddleheads contain plenty of B1, B2 and B3 vitamins. These are super helpful in supporting blood and energy formation, circulation, healthy metabolism, preventing mental illness and reducing stress.

And for you vegetarians or vegans out there; or any other folk for that matter…fiddleheads are a super option for protein and EFA’s. This makes them also great anti-inflammatory treats that help support auto-immune disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The Omegas found are great in supporting a more balanced nervous system, preventing neurological disorders, mental illness and general stress.

So, if I haven’t said enough: balance your life and balance your plate.

And eat some fiddleheads for STRESS AWARENESS MONTH!

How to prepare fiddleheads:

First thing’s first, I must mention that only the Ostrich variety of fiddleheads can be consumed. Make sure you know the difference and do your research before you start plucking away in your local neighborhood or forest.

Once you’ve collected or bought your fiddleheads, lightly brush off the brown scales with a dry cloth or vegetable brush.

Rinse them under cool water.

Fiddleheads should not be consumed raw. They must be cooked lightly in order to prevent stomach upset, dizziness, lethargy and confusion (much like food poisoning).

Boil or steam the fiddleheads for a brief minute or two in a small amount of water. Discard the water and continue with any recipe you desire. It’s important not to overcook your fiddleheads. Mushy fiddleheads are NO GOOD!

My favourite way to eat fiddleheads, is definitely the easiest. It’s the same way I eat asparagus:
Toss them (3 cups, raw) in a pre-heated pan on Medium heat with a TBSP of butter (or coconut oil), 3 cloves chopped garlic, 1 small shallot, a dash of s&p and lemon zest. I sometimes throw a few chopped herbs on top when serving for extra nutrient value. Best served with a nice fresh fish or chicken. For a great veggie option, add in some cooked fava or kidney beans and toss in olive oil and parsley let cool in the fridge and you have a tasty spring salad.

I hope you enjoy your new non-mythical friends.  These guys are the real thing!

Health Tip: Add Colour Without Chemicals

By: Kimberley Record, Health Coach, RHN – Campbell River BC

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This time of year, I start to cringe at the variety of “treats” in stores, bakeries, and restaurants – those coloured treats, created to honour the upcoming celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, that seem mostly geared towards children (green beer being an exception of course!). They are eye-appealing to our little ones, but they taste no different from their colour-free versions.

So why am I cringing? Because food colouring is toxic, plain and simple. But try explaining that to a 5-year old…

Unfortunately, we’ve only been taught to focus on examining labels for their calorie, fat and/or sodium content. There’s been very little focus on reading into ingredients for the “little things” like unecessary added chemicals, because they have been approved for safe consumption in the quantities listed. But we need to look further, especially where our children are concerned.

There have been multiple studies on the links between artificial food colouring (particularly Yellow #5, a.k.a. Tartrazine) and children’s behavioural disorders , including ADD and ADHD. Their little bodies are particularly sensitive to synthetically-produced chemicals. I have personally seen the effects on my daughter, whom I’ve raised on a relatively clean diet: a well-behaved child turns into a bellingerent, hyperactive one, within minutes of consuming anything with food colouring in it. Fascinating, and scary – and it’s no coincidence that the rates of behavioural disorders in children are increasing as these food additives are also increasing in prevalence.

My daughter knows why I regularly refuse to buy artificially-coloured treats. But it doesn’t mean that she won’t continue to request them (they are pretty after all)! So rather than fight it,  I find natural alternatives – which is actually easier than you may think.

natural colours

Here are some guidelines:

In stores:

Read ingredients! You won’t likely find the natural alternatives mixed in with the regular candies/cookies, but many stores now cater to shoppers with natural food sections that offer chemical-free treats. Natural colours, which are non-toxic, include: annatto, beet extract, caramel, beta-carotene, turmeric and grape skin extract. When you see these in a product’s ingredient list, that’s a better choice. Click here to see the most common artificial food dyes used and their names, which you can look out for in labels (although many labels may simply indicate “artificial colours”) – if any of these are listed in the ingredients, opt out!

In restaurants/bakeries:

Always ask! Some establishments are starting to make an effort to keep chemicals our of their products, especially if they make their goods in-house. Although many still opt for colouring to make their products more visually appealing, so you may need to shop around until you find one that uses natural colour alternatives. Custom ordering (for birthdays and other special occasions) may allow you more options. I’ve personally always loved the bakery at Whole Foods, which never uses any artificial colours, so if you have one if your area, it’s a great choice for the occasional treat!

At home:

Add natural colours to your own homemade treats! You can buy natural food colouring in bottles at health food stores (for ease, but they tend to be very pricey), or you can make your own. My favourite colour staple is liquid chlorophyll (for vibrant green) – I keep a bottle in my fridge at all times and use in drops as needed. It has virtually no flavour, and dyes very effectively (and makes a great green beer!).

Here’s a quick reference list for easy homemade food dyes – try them out in our Easter recipe for Crispy Bird Nests:

RED: beet or pomegranate juice
PINK: cranberry juice
PURPLE: blueberry or grape juice (concentrated)
GREEN: liquid chlorophyll
YELLOW: turmeric powder
ORANGE: carrot juice
BROWN: cocoa powder or steeped black tea

MARCH Feature Food: Oysters

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

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Well, spring is in the air here in Victoria, though it may not be that way across the rest of N America, it’s still time to begin thinking about your garden. Because there’s no time like the present, and for us it comes faster than the East Coast. Whether you have a small garden bed, a few pots on the deck, a yard or a farm. Get those seeds germinating and that soil nourished and ready to go!

That’s all I have to say about gardens, I just thought I’d get you ready for next month. Now on to oysters… The reason I thought of oysters for this month’s article is because they’re nearing the end of their season and I still haven‘t touched on them. And in all honesty, because they’re my favourite recommendation for clients with zinc deficiencies; also for anyone who’s trying to become pregnant this spring! Spring makes me think of creation, beginnings, new desires, fresh eyes and clear minds, oh, and also, sexual desire. For all, or at least many, of those things, we need protein, zinc, iron, Omega 3’s, Vit C and B12 – ALL of which oysters are chalk full of!

I realize that there may be many of you who are allergic to shellfish or don’t have a taste for it. If that’s the case, don’t stop reading, simply learn and pass on the information to others who may love to know, they’ll appreciate your knowledge. And just because we can’t have something, doesn’t mean someone we love can’t enjoy it.

Great Date Food

I know Valentine’s day has come and gone, but I’d like to remind everyone that it’s important to appreciate our most loved and desired person any day of the year. So let’s start with increasing libido! Just to get your attention. We’ve all heard that oysters are great date food and that, after consumption we often want to jump into bed with our partners. But do we know why? Oysters are proven to increase testosterone and estrogen levels and are full of zinc, calcium, potassium and iron. All of which are essential nutrients to help increase the production of blood flow and healthy sperm count. The blood literally pumps through to our genitals increasing our desires, while the nutrients work to produce a great supply of active sperm and fertile eggs. Zinc is also known to help increase our sensory organs, thus making us want to taste, touch, see, hear and smell the pheromones of the ones we desire most.

A Zinc Powerhouse

On to the immune system – again, with the zinc. Oh how I love foods that contain zinc!  There are so few, and many of us are deficient. Another factor that we should acknowledge about growing our own gardens this year, is that, with control over the quality of healthy soil that we can use and maintain, we can ensure our food is absorbing those essential minerals, we may not be getting from store bought foods. If you’re not growing your own garden and you live near the ocean, like us here on Vancouver Island, we have plenty of access to zinc rich sea foods, like oysters, clams, mussels and seaweeds.

Which leads me to my favorite point: OYSTERS have the highest zinc content than most other zinc rich foods. They are also rich in Vit C, protein and anti-oxidants, which are crucial for maintaining and improving our immune systems.

Brain and Skin Food (and so much more!)

Just to keep us moving through all that we feel so inspired to do this spring, we must fuel brain power. Well, oysters, my friends are of the sea and therefore full of Omega 3 fatty acids which are known to help support our nervous systems, decrease inflammation and help protect our cells from oxidative damage.

The protein found in oysters is also great for increasing collagen construction in our skin. Along with all the minerals, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, oysters are able to help in bone, tissue, ligament and muscle strengthening and building. Then add the high amount of iron found in oysters and you have a great supply of nutrients to support healthy blood flow, creating oxygen and power to fuel our cells and our minds.

Among the many other things that oysters are good for are: decreasing our risk of colon cancer, supporting our vision, lowering blood pressure, balancing cholesterol levels, decreasing inflammation, decreasing hormone related cancers.

‘Tis The Season

The fresh oyster season here is October-May.  Many people eat more oysters in the summer months because they think of them more, while at beaches and on patios.  Unfortunately, the summer months cause more chances of bacteria to form in shellfish.  This is when the oysters are spawning.  This warmth also causes the texture of the oysters to be chewier and less flavorful.  Most people still follow the ‘ol time fisherman’s rule to never eat oysters in a month that ends with ‘r’.  Most oyster connoisseurs still follow this rule, simply because they just taste better from cooler waters.  Farmed oysters are available year round because they no longer spawn.

If you have a fishing licence in BC or know someone who does,  you can collect your own oysters, straight off the beach.  This is great fun to do with the kids!

Do your research: Note that eating oysters raw poses a risk to your health by possible Vibrio vulnificus contamination. This is a pathogen that can cause serious life threatening food poisoning. Avoid eating oysters out of season or at the time of Red Tide. If you’re at all concerned about the freshness or source of your oysters, take precautions and cook them before consumption.

Also, if this article does help any women out there become pregnant…be sure reduce your intake of oysters and other high mercury sea foods. Leave them to your much appreciated partners.

Grilled Oyster Recipe

If you choose not to eat your oysters raw, which is preferred by most when consuming those big suckers, this is a great recipe to try. Since spring is here (or almost here for our friends on the East Coast), it’s nearly time to dust off ‘ye ‘ol BBQ and grill some fresh oysters. If it’s still too cool outside wherever you are, use the cast iron pan instructions and place the oysters in your oven at 425°C.

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Ingredients:

  • 12 live oysters
  • ¼ cup of good quality vegetable oil
  • 3-4 TBSP of butter, ghee or coconut butter
  • 1 TBSP lemon or lime juice
  • 1 small shallot, chopped fine
  • ½ tsp chili or cayenne pepper (flaked or powdered)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 4-6 turns of fresh black pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped herbs (basil, cilantro or parsley work best)

Directions:

  1. Heat the butter and shallots over medium/low heat in a small sauce pan for 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients, whisk together and remove from heat.
  2. If you have BBQ gloves, shuck the oysters, keep the liquor in the shell and add a small amount of sauce into each.  Place steadily on the grill using your gloved hands.
  3. If you don’t have any gloves, make a bed of rice about 3 inches high (or any grain) at the bottom of a cast iron skillet. Open the oysters and balance them in the pan, spoon the sauce into each oyster and place onto the grill.
  4. Cook the oysters for 8-12 minutes, or until the ends begin to curl up. Some smaller ones may cook faster than the bigger ones.
  5. Let cool before gulping them down!