A Guide to Feeding our Future

Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

Vinegar-free, Lactic-Acid-Fermented Pickles

 By: Susan Kingston, RHN – Montreal, QC

pickles

“Vinegar is found in many products, and although it is now used in a variety of pickles, it is not the best choice for our bodies. Vinegar feeds a fungus called Candida that lives in our systems, and can contribute to an overgrowth, causing damage to our gut lining, an imbalance in micro-flora, and a plefora of undesirable symptoms.

Lactic acid fermentation produces probiotic cultures similar to those found in kefir and yogurt, which makes traditionally-fermented pickles a healthy and tasty choice to boost healthy intestinal micro flora.

A healthy gut brings a healthy state of body and mind, so chow down on a pickle and enjoy the benefits!”

Ingredients:

  • 6 quarts/ liters of pickle cucumbers
  • 4-5 heads of fresh dill weed or 2 TBSP dill seed
  • 1/2 cup of Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 cups of raw cane sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 6-8 sterilized mason jars

Directions:

  1. Wash and soak cucumbers overnight.
  2. Drain.
  3. Split equal amounts of dill in bottom of jars.
  4. Pack cucumbers in jar.
  5. Put more dill on top. Make sure there is a 1″ space at top of jar for expansion.
  6. Combine salt, sugar, and water in a pot, and bring to a boil.
  7. Pour over pickles and seal.
  8. Makes 4 liters. Cure for 6 weeks before eating.

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!

FEBRUARY Feature Food: Sprouts

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

sprouts for Feb

Many of you may be questioning my knowledge about seasonal foods about now.  Sprouts?  Gardens aren’t sprouting yet!?   It’s still cold outside!   You’re correct.  Most soil in N America is NOT pushing out little green shoots at this point in the year, what I’m referring to are sprouting sprouts and microgreens, from sprouting seeds.

As mentioned in last month’s article, these cooler months do not provide us with many fresh fruits or veggies.  Sprouts are an easy and efficient way to ensure we are still getting enzymatic and nutrient dense foods that still taste crispy and fresh through the winter.  The best part is, we can make this happen in our own homes no matter what the temperature is outside AND kids love it.  Yay!  There are 2 simple methods to sprouting that I will include at the end of this post, so stay tuned.

Most of you may be familiar with the more common sprouts that we buy already sprouted, these are usually alfalfa, clover and bean sprouts.  Although, specific sprouting seeds come in many varieties, any beans, nuts and seeds can and SHOULD also be soaked and sprouted for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.  Sprouting seeds, in particular, are available in many health food and garden supply stores.  Daikon and white radish, mung beans, lentils, quinoa, broccoli, mizuna and kohlrabi are just some of the options available.

Copyright 2010 http://vegrecipesofindia.com

Sprouting is a great way to ensure that we get the most out of our foods.  Sprouts contain an amazingly high nutrient content, especially if eaten raw.  They are known for being cleansing (particularly for the liver and colon), hydrating, and full of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as amino acids and Omegas 3 and 6.  Sprouts have a great cancer fighting ability (especially radish sprouts), they are great for supporting weight-loss and for increasing the body’s fat-burning ability.   They are also very supportive for the cardiovascular system due to the high folate and B6 content.  Sprouts are a great supporter for neurological support due to the high levels of thiamine (B1) and fatty acids.  They are amazing throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding by ensuring a high nutrient content for energy production and supporting a balanced hormonal system.  The more pungent sprouts, like daikon radish, kohlrabi and mizuna, are great for moving stagnant energy (qi) and for clearing the lungs and mucous.  Almost all sprouts are very high in Vitamin C, iron, and protein, making them an excellent immune strengthening food.  Some sprouts are high in Vit K and, with the combination of the rich water content and high Vit C, these sprouts are excellent for improving the function of the eyes, hair, nails and skin – especially for improving elasticity and development of collagen.

Just as an example, lentil sprouts alone are very high in protein, iron, Vit C, manganese, phosphorus , copper, flolate (B6), thiamine (B1), Fiber, Omega 6 and 3 and amino acids.  Add mung bean sprouts to the mix and you have more folate, Vit C, manganese, Omega’s AND Vit K.  If you add in some cleansing and clearing radish sprouts you have yourself a beautifully supportive and yummy salad, that is fresh and hydrating.

To try sprouting at home…first, if you have kids, get them involved.  They tend to get super excited about planting and especially sprouting, thus are more likely to EAT the delicious sprouts if they’re involved in the process.

There are 2 methods:

THE JAR:

sprouts in jars

1. Rinse and soak 2 tsp of seeds in a 1 L mason jar for aprox 6-8 hours, in about 1 cup of cool water, to begin the germination process.   Cover the jar with a sprouting lid.  If you don’t have one you can use a steel screen or mesh and an elastic band to secure it.  Drain.

2. Continue rinsing and refilling 2x a day for 3-6 days.  Place the jar on an angle, lid facing into a bowl or sink.

3.  Watch them grow!  Once sprouts have fully formed and the jar is full of tails, drain well and place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

sprout

THE SPROUTING TRAY:

A proper sprouting tray is great, but if you don’t have one, a garden starter pan with a cookie sheet underneath will also work, so long as it has proper drainage holes on the bottom.

  1. Rinse and soak ½ cup of seeds in a bowl for 6-8 hours. Drain.  Sprinkle seeds onto the bottom of the tray and cover with a sprouting tray lid, plastic bag/wrap or cheesecloth.
  2. Rinse the seeds 2x a day for 3-6 days under the tap or with a mister, draining them properly and replacing the cover.
  3. Once sprouts have fully formed and the tray is full of tails, drain well and place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

Note: For micro greens, use the tray method and sow seeds into a veggie soil as if making starter plants but sprinkling seeds much more freely.  Water 1x/day for 8-12 days.  Once sprouted, use small kitchen scissors to trim greens directly from the tray.

TO EAT:

For maximum nutritional value, I recommend eating sprouts raw – although many can be cooked.  Raw sprouts can be made into sandwiches, wraps, spreads/pates, placed on top of stirfrys, soups, curries, crackers, stews or made into fresh salads.  Get creative and share your sprouting experiences with us here anytime!  We love to hear how you enjoy your healthy foods!

Guilt-Free Chocolate Pudding

By: Susan Kingston, RHN – Montreal, QC

pudding

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup cacao powder (preferably raw cacoa)
  • ¼ cup raw honey or stevia to taste
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a blender,.
  2. Chill and serve

 

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

By: Susan Kingston, RHN, NNCP – Montreal, QC

bananabread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 5 mashed bananas
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup maple syrup or other natural sweetener
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 TBSP yogurt or apple sauce
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter the baking dish.
  2.  Mix the chickpea flour and baking powder (and some cinnamon if desired) together in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, maple syrup, natural yogurt (or apple sauce), mashed bananas and butter together until well combined and pour into the dry mixture.
  4. Stir until the wet and dry ingredients are well combined.
  5. Pour the batter into a bread loag pan. Bake the bread in the oven for 1 hr and check with a toothpick, as it may need 10 minutes more.

Rainy Day Sweet Loaf

By: Hollie M. Hunt-Last, D. C’Ed. ROHP/RHN – Moncton, NB

rainy day sweet loaf

“Do you like zucchini bread? Carrot cake? Banana bread? Wondering which one to make but can’t choose? Why decide between them when you can wrap them all up into one loaf? This is a perfect accompaniment to a rainy day and a cup of tea …”

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup raw organic sugar
  • ¾ cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup non-dairy chocolate chips
  • Optional ingredients : 1/3 cup walnuts, ¼ cup currents or raisins
  • Spices and flavorings : 1 TBSP vanilla extract, ¼ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Shred carrot and zucchini in advance.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease two loaf pans with oil.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into mixture, blending well.
  5. Pour into loaf pans.
  6. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes at 375°.

Note: this is a very moist loaf. If some spots seem to be uncooked, return to oven and monitor. It is not a firm holding loaf. Loaf sets more firmly with cooling .

Educated Eater Baking Tip

If you have a recipe that calls for both oil and honey (or molasses, agave, or other sticky substance), use this to your advantage:

Pour the pre-measured oil first into the measuring cup you will be using for the sticky ingredient, and empty it into your mixture. Then when the time comes to measure your sticky sugar substance, the proper measuring cup will already be prepped for you. Cleanup will be much easier and the syrup will simply slide right into your bowl!

Thanks to Dr. Hollie M. Hunt-Last, RHN (Moncton, NB) for this helpful baking tip!