food & drink Column Eat good food! Everywhere I go, conversations are largely centered around food. People are wondering what they should be eating or bragging about how poorly they eat. It’s our favourite topic yet, as a nation, we’re unhealthier than ever before! This is the first generation whose life span will be shorter than their parents’. And for what? A McHappy meal? Video games? Packaged breakfasts? Soda pop? Convenience foods? You don’t need me to tell you that obesity levels have reached epidemic proportions in our society. Our CHILDREN are now being diagnosed with diabetes, on a regular basis, at as young as 8 years of age. 8! It’s criminal.
When will we wake up and realize that we are killing ourselves slowly? Can you even imagine what your retirement years will bring if this is the shape you’re in now? I know that I’m on a soapbox here. I hope that I’m scaring you into some action. We can no longer continue to eat the Standard American Diet (fittingly referred to as SAD) sitting on our couches, living in isolation and expect to enjoy good health. It just isn’t possible. We need a revolution and it’s easier than you think. As a nutritionist, I believe in good food. Whole, live, natural foods. The stuff that our grandparents not only ate, but grew.
Food doesn’t even look like food anymore. We have GMO’d it to death and as a result, it will be the death of us. Step away from the shiny packaging and marketing claims. In my workshops, when I talk about food industry labeling I ask that participants do this: When there is a health claim listed on a food, always ask: “Who is paying for this?” I bet the answer you come up with will not be someone who is looking out for your health and wellness. That’s up to you and you alone. Step towards food in its most natural form. Make a friend of a farmer. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by farms. Many sell grass fed meats, free-range eggs,
and some even sell cheeses made from raw milk. You can purchase baskets of produce that arrive weekly at your door for a very affordable price, often much less than the grocery store. Learn to use what’s readily available to you and use it in its whole form. When fall comes, buy bushels of apples and eat them as they come. Could you grow a small garden? Even a terrace or container garden for some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers? There is great value in this! A term that we have been using at school is “plant forward.” This means that the largest portion of your diet should be made up of plants. Plants will alkalinize the body and
disease cannot live in an alkaline host. That’s a powerful statement. And it’s so do-able. For your own health, the health of your family, our society and our nation, I am begging you to step away from packaged and convenience foods, fast food, and the like. Think about what you are consuming and what you are feeding your children. Understand that the decisions you are making now will affect how well you live in the years to come. Commit to making exercise a part of your everyday life. You don’t need to run a marathon or bike across Canada – simply add 30 minutes each day – of something you ENJOY and do things like taking the long way
around, going up stairs instead of using the elevator, parking farthest from the store and walking. It all adds up. Make friends. Socialize. Turn off the TV and the computer. Laugh. Relax. Give yourself a break. A return to our roots is in order. Do it now, before it’s too late.
Vickie Dickson is studying Holistic Nutrition at CSNN in Ottawa.
Column On the farm
When was the last time you picked a basket of strawberries? Did you read that question carefully? I said “picked,” not “picked up.” Actually PICKED the berries – right from the plants – yourself! Does the thought take you a long way back on memory lane, to times with Grandpa and Grandma in their
great big 4-door car, with the huge trunk which, of course, had to be full of berry flats before anyone was leaving the berry farm? Or does it conjure up more recent memories of a trip to a Pick-Your-Own (PYO) patch not that long ago, perhaps with your own family in tow? There is nothing
that signals the start of summer quite like the readiness of juicy, sweet, ruby-red strawberries. Without a trip to the patch though, you’re really only experiencing part of the enjoyment offered by Strawberry Season in Ontario. “Why bother to pick my own berries?” You ask. Well, here
are just a few reasons; It’s a chance to get out and enjoy nature. Head on out for some time alone with your thoughts, OR bring the whole family and make some great memories together. Either way, on a breezy, early summer day, the berry patch is a wonderful place to be. And speaking of family, it’s a great opportunity to let everybody see first-hand where their food comes from. You’ll save money! Those baskets of berries at the farm stand don’t just wander on up there by themselves. There is a cost to the producer to put them there. When you choose to Pick-YourOwn, the savings are yours for the taking.
The difference can be substantial – up to 40% less for PYO compared with pre-picked. The final reason – It just feels great to know you’ve picked them yourself. You really can’t put a price on the satisfaction of seeing a return for your labour – even though it may not have even seemed like work at all! So you’ve done like Grandma and Grandpa and filled your trunk or maybe just a few baskets. What next? Besides the obvious option of eating nothing but strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner until they have disappeared, there’s always the freezing alternative. Freezing your strawberries is ridiculously
simple. All you need to do after the berries are hulled and rinsed, is lay them out on a cookie sheet, left whole or sliced, set them into the freezer until frozen, and then transfer to freezer bags or containers. That’s it! Then you’ll have a ready supply for smoothies, parfaits, pies, jams, muffins, and anything else you can think of that could use a taste of summer added in. Watch for delicious, local strawberries to be ready around the middle of June. The season typically only lasts for 3 to 4 weeks, so be sure to enjoy the bounty while it is available. Shannon Miller Miller’s Bay Farm
Published on May 28, 2015