Food For Thought
Let’s go local!
By: Leanne Ely
There’s something happening in cities and towns throughout North America right now that’s been a long time coming. More and more consumers are shopping for local food sources and demanding that their local grocery stores stock local options for meat, produce and dairy.
The local food movement is alive and well, and so it should be!
Local food sources are more nutritious because they’ve been harvested more recently, giving us more minerals and vitamins at the time of consumption. (The nutrition of a food is depleted the longer it sits between being harvested and eaten.)
Buying local foods is better for the environment because the less time your food spends in transit, the less carbon emissions you’re responsible for. Buying direct from farmers also requires less packaging of produce, as veggies and fruits are often sold au natural rather than in plastic.
And the economic impact of buying local has a very positive effect on the community you live in. You’re putting more money directly in the pockets of farmers when you seek out local sources of food.
So, how do you go about finding local food sources?
If you live in a climate where fresh produce is available year-round, you will have an easier time and a wider variety of foods to source locally than those living in a part of the world that goes into a deep freeze in the winter months.
Here are a few ways to source the best local foods your community has to offer:
Farmers’ Market. The absolute best source of local foods is your closest farmers’ market. If you’re fortunate enough to have a farmers’ market in your town, make it a point to shop there as part of your weekly (or daily) routine. Get to know the farmers who bring you the food you put on your table. Ask them questions about how the foods are grown, what they feed their animals and where their seeds come from.
CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Farmers everywhere are literally bringing their hard work to people’s doors through CSA programs. When you sign up for a CSA, you’ll receive a box of your local farmers’ freshest produce each and every week, or you pick it up from the farm gate. Google CSA programs in your community, or ask around the farmers’ market and you should be able to find one to join. These programs guarantee farmers a steady source of income, while guaranteeing consumers a weekly box of the freshest foods available.
Ask your neighbors. If you can’t find a CSA to join and you don’t have a farmers’ market close by, ask around your neighborhood to find out where the producers are. Most farmers are happy to work directly with consumers! Even if you live in an area that doesn’t produce crops in the winter months, you should be able to find a local source for items like meat, poultry, eggs and honey.
When all else fails, talk to the manager at your grocery store and ask them to stock their produce section with local items. Ask them to bring in local honey, eggs and meat. Keep the heat on them until you start seeing those local items on the shelves!
Eating local foods keeps your hard-earned grocery budget working in your very own community.
Going local benefits everyone!
Do you have any advice about how to source local foods?
Five Egg-citing Dinner Ideas
By: Leanne Ely
You will never catch me without at least two dozen eggs in my fridge at any given time. Eggs are one of my favorite forms of protein. Not only are they cheap, versatile, quick-cooking and full of nutrition, but they are also one of those delicious foods that you never tire of.
Eggs are one of my go-to meal ingredients on those days where I’m less than inspired to cook, but I still want to put a nutritious, family pleasing meal on the table.
You know, eggs don’t have to be served alongside toast and bacon to make a meal! The following are five of my favorite ways to eat eggs for dinner:
Wrapped in meat. A Scotch egg is a heavenly treat—perfect eaten out of hand as a snack anytime of day. But, if you serve alongside a big salad, Scotch eggs make a great meal. To make Scotch eggs, start with peeled, hardboiled eggs and some bulk sausage. Make a pancake shaped portion of meat and wrap it around your boiled egg. Fry until golden and transfer to your preheated 375 oven. Bake for approximately 5-7 minutes until the sausage is cooked through.
Frittata. A frittata is, essentially, a baked omelet. You can easily use up any leftovers you have in the fridge, while putting together a quick supper that everyone will love. To make a frittata, heat up an oven safe skillet on the stove top. Fry any veggies you’d like to use (leftover potatoes, mushrooms, onions, and red peppers are some great frittata veggies) until they are cooked to your liking. Toss in any leftover meat that you’d like to add at this point. Then whisk 5 or 6 eggs and pour them on top of the veg/meat mixture. Cook at low heat until the eggs are set on the bottom. Then pop in a preheated 400 degree oven and finish cooking until the top is set — 5-7 minutes.
In a broth. You know how I feel about bone broth (if you don’t, you can read about it here). A delicious way to get that broth into you is by heating it up and stirring a cracked egg into it. The egg will cook in the hot broth and give a lovely consistency to your soup. Toss in some spinach or kale, and you have a nourishing meal in a bowl.
Cooked soft over veggies. I love frying up sweet potatoes and bacon into a hash, adding in spinach to wilt near the end of cooking time. This mixture is delicious when you serve it with a nice runny fried or poached egg on top.
Baked in a ham cup. Line a muffin tin with sliced prosciutto, bacon or ham. Add some aged cheese and a few diced veggies if you like. Crack an egg into the muffin tin, on top of the ham/cheese/veggies. Top with salt and pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until set. Serve with a great big salad. Dinner is served!
Tricks, Tips and a Recipe
All you need to know about pomelo
By: Leanne Ely
Pomelo fruits are in season between December and April, so it won’t be long before you see them popping up more often.
These citrus fruits are larger than grapefruits (they are actually the largest members of the citrus family), with a sweet and floral flavor and a pale green yellow color.
It’s believed that grapefruits are a hybrid of pomelo and orange. This is curious because pomelos and oranges are on the sweet side, but they somehow managed to produce bitter-tasting grapefruit!
Like other citrus fruits, pomelo is a good source of fiber and Vitamin C.
Random things you might not know about pomelo:
According to Chinese culture, pomelo leaves are spiritually cleansing because they belong to the sacred pomelo tree. In fact, it’s tradition to soak in a bath containing pomelo leaves after attending a funeral. This is supposed to keep bad spirits away!
Pomelo acts as a natural air conditioner. One of these pretty orbs in your fruit bowl will give your house a lovely fresh scent.
Now that you’re ready to rush out to the fruit stand for a gorgeous pomelo, it’s time for your Trick:
There’s nothing quite like a disappointing fruit. To ensure that your pomelo is nice and juicy, rather than dry and shriveled up, pick it up. It should seem quite heavy for its size. The best pomelo fruits come from Tambum in a district of Malaysia, famous for its pomelo. Try to find pomelo with the Tambum pedigree for some of the loveliest tasting citrus fruit you’ll ever encounter.
You can use the skin of the pomelo fruit in savory dishes and in teas. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the pomelo (leave behind the white pith) and hang onto it for recipes requiring citrus zest.
And your Recipe:
Thai Pomelo and Shrimp Salad
12-16 medium shrimp, peeled
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup purple onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted cashews
1/2 cup of mixed salad greens
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoon coco aminos
2 Tablespoons honey
1/3 teaspoon chili flakes
Stir together until well mixed
Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add shrimp and boil just a few minutes, until shrimp turns pink and plump and firm to the touch. Drain and set aside to cool.
Peel Pomelo and cut into bite sized chunks. Add cucumber, red pepper, onion, mint, cilantro, cashews, salad greens and cooled shrimp. Toss with dressing.
Food For Thought
There is no conspiracy: Gluten really is evil.
By: Leanne Ely
The other day I heard a conversation that really bothered me. It took everything in my power not to interject, but we all know that sometimes it’s not appropriate to speak your mind to strangers in public places. This blog is my place, though, so I’m about to let ‘er rip.
The conversation was happening between two women who were casual acquaintances. Woman A mentioned having baked gluten-free muffins that morning. Woman B said that she didn’t know the woman was Celiac. Woman A said that she’s not, but she avoids gluten by choice.
Woman B (someone in the healthcare field) got quite aggressive then and told the woman that avoiding gluten when you’re not Celiac is a dangerous practice. She said that when you don’t eat gluten, you can lose the cilia in your bowel and those little cilia might never work again.
That was absolute misinformation she was feeding Woman A.
Gluten sensitivity really should have us all scared stiff of wheat.
What this woman was saying was the exact opposite of what really happens when you eat gluten. It’s gluten that destroys the cilia and it takes years of gluten-free eating to help heal your digestive system.
I watched an excellent video about gluten sensitivity the other day, and I have to tell you that Dr. Tom O’Bryan really does know his stuff.
In this video, Dr. O’Bryan shared five things that most people don’t know about gluten. One of the items on his list should shock you out of that sandwich you’re thinking about eating! He mentioned a study of folks who suffer from headaches, where 36% of the patients who eat gluten have dead brain tissue. In most of these cases of recurrent headaches, gluten is the culprit. Cut out the gluten and the headaches go away. Some studies show that the tissues in the brain can regenerate on a gluten-free diet. I sincerely hope that’s the case!
Dr. O’Bryan also talks about how gluten is messing with our skin, it’s zapping our energy, and it’s even linked to higher cases of suicide—especially among children.
You really should watch this video. It’s just under twelve minutes long, and it’s essential health information.
One of the most interesting takeaways, for me, was that when you are gluten free, you really can’t eat ANY amount of gluten. All it would take to set off a negative response in a Celiac would be 1/8th of a thumbnail of food containing wheat.
Now I feel like I should track down the lady in that argument and point her to this article!
PS–Are you looking to eat gluten free? You should try our Paleo Club! 5 new paleo Freezer menus and 5 new paleo Crock Cooker menus each month! Click here to join!
Respect your elder(berries)
By: Leanne Ely
For thousands of years, elder trees have been used for medicinal purposes. In ancient times, Hippocrates is rumored to have referred to the elder tree as his medicine chest!
The leaves and flowers of the elder tree have been used to reduce inflammation and to relieve pain, and the bark has been said to induce vomiting and serve as a laxative. But the black-blue berries of plant are where the real magic is.
Immune boost. Elderberries contain an abundance of immune boosting qualities. They are also full of antioxidants and antiviral properties.
Vitamins. These lovely little berries contain high amounts of vitamins A, B, and C. They also contain amino acids.
Flu treatment. Some holistic practitioners prescribe elderberry extract as a safe means of treating the flu. A study published in the July 2009 issue of Phytochemistry showed that elderberry extract is comparable to conventional drugs Amantadine and Tamiflu in the treatment of H1N1.
Cold and flu severity. Many studies show that elderberries reduce the duration and severity of colds and flu. It’s also believed that elderberries can help with sinus drainage and upper respiratory conditions.
Cancer treatment. Studies show elderberries might be able to slow the growth and spread of cancerous tissue. Elderberries contain similar antioxidant properties as cranberries but fewer antioxidants than blueberries.
You can find black elderberries growing in the wild, but it’s not recommended for humans to eat them raw. That’s because unripe elderberries contain toxins harmful to humans.
To make your own elderberry juice, remove the stems from the fruit and heat the fruit on the stove in just enough water to cover the berries. Let the berries simmer for about ten minutes to soften the skins and help release the juice. After the berries are cooked, allow them to cool and pour the whole works through a juice strainer.
After that, you can simply can the juice as you would can any other type of fruit. (YouTube can help y’all out with that if you don’t have your own preferred method of preserving!)
You can also buy elderberry extract and save yourself a lot of work!