@postmedianet @CalgaryHerald @EdmontonJournal cut access to #local editorial food content with layoffs of @gwendolynmr #GwendolynRichards and @eatmywords #LianeFaulder

I’ve always looked forward to opening The Calgary Herald on Wednesday morning. I knew there would be food content that was editorial and journalistic. Whether it was her Cooking the Books review column or the scoop on a new development in Calgary’s burgeoning food scene, Gwendolyn Richards wrote with savvy and gave a voice to stories that would make a difference in our community.

I met The Edmonton Journal’s (until yesterday) food editor, Liane Faulder a few years ago when she was teaching a food writing course at The Okanagan Food and Wine Writer’s Workshop. I watched her in the field as she interviewed a pioneer in the seed saving movement, synthesized the data and crafted a story which she then filed for print the next day. If you scan the headlines of that paper’s food blog it’s easy to see her dedication to covering the stories of Edmonton’s food scene and to imagine the impact of those stories.

Both these journalists had the ability to judge the impact of stories that would be important for their community. They made a difference for fledgling restaurant businesses, chefs, farmers, food artisans, cookbook authors and cross-cultural food community events.

I wonder how news about local food projects will be shared now? We’ve lost two trusted critical thinkers. You can be doing great work as a food business but unless there’s an objective editorial voice to share that with your community it can make or break your project’s success.

Today, when I read the paper I found a long-standing recipe advert-orial column sponsored by the local gas utility and a collection of food photos from Twitter and Instagram. The photos and their one sentence tag lines don’t seem to contribute meaningful impact for the broader community given their propensity to glittering generalities and myopic focus.

I know this content helps newspapers pay their bills but, sometimes it seems newspapers are turning into a print version of Pinterest. The publishers “pin” stories from news feeds and patch together a scrapbook for publication each day. I’m not sure this is a great strategy as consumers can find that content themselves – very easily and in much more beautiful formats.

If content is king, then it is no wonder our local papers are turning into paupers.

Local papers have always been about local content. If that is missing, the local paper will be less and less compelling as a part of local culture (culture as in DAILY LIFE and HABITS). The last bastions of local content in local papers seem to be backgrounder columnists for politics, business, finance and human interest breaking stories. But, let’s face it, breaking news is old news if you wait to receive it in paper format each morning and so is the re-hashing of it.

I value original story journalism and observe with solemnity the bleeding edge of print media and its declining subscriptions. But, instead of holding onto their strength – the provision of depth and variety in local original content for local interest – newspapers that let go of local content experts take the leading edge that they had and add to that bleeding edge that’s slowly (or not so slowly) killing them.

We just lost two golden keys that opened the gateways to understanding our food scene as a piece of our local culture. To use an analogy from the food world, restaurants that take favourite features off the menu frequently fail in entirety shortly thereafter. I’ll see what the Calgary Herald’s Friday Swerve Calgary and Saturday food section continue to bring, but in all honesty, reading today’s paper felt like “the day the music died” for me. I’ll be looking elsewhere in my efforts to savour it all.


Filed under Writing

January Detox Naturally – take care of your liver and feed your body

Juice, Juice and more Juice – photo – Karen Anderson

A brief scan of headlines under New Year’s Diets for 2016 revealed the following diet fads: the master cleanse lemonade diet, all kale and chewing gum, no sugar at all – no carbs ever, the bulletproof coffee diet (a coffee filled with butter and MCT oil – synthesized medium chain triglycerides), super elixirs, super trim pills, veganism, paleo diets  and “all juice –  all the time”. We’ll also see kelp replace kale as the new superfood, people soaking in epsom salts to “remineralize” and an increase in matcha green tea drinks and bone broths instead of fruit and vegetable juicing according to the always trendy Harper’s Bazaar.

A recent article entitled “A Healthy Diet’s Main Ingredient: Best Guesses” in The New York Times cautions away from these “one true path” regimens because ultimately our bodies are as complex as they are individual. Some researchers feel it could take another 200 years before we truly understand the human body well enough to prescribe diets and they will most likely be highly individualized when we do.

I’ll talk about how the trend for Designer Juice Cleanse companies is currently growing by 4 – 8 per cent annually and some of the pros and cons of juicing on Alberta at Noon today. I’ve posted on the very January tendency to want to “detox” here.   Turns out we don’t need to detox because our brilliant liver does that for us on a continual basis.

This post will discuss specific ways you can support your liver and feed your body with guidelines from Canada’s Food Guide, The Canadian Liver Association, The British Liver Trust and some sound thoughts from Dr. Mark Swain, Head of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Calgary.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Alberta at Noon, Health

#Salad #Recipes for my January @AlbertaatNoon food column and to help you eat more fruit and vegetables – always a good resolution

Alberta produce

Here you’ll find 2 new recipes I developed for my Alberta at Noon food column for CBC Radio One. I hope they’ll inspire you to eat more fruits and vegetables. The current recommendations are 5 – 9 servings each day or about 4.5 cups. Are you getting enough? Are you getting any? (nudge, nudge – wink, wink)

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Alberta at Noon, Health, Recipes

In Keeping with a January Detox Theme – Alcohol And The Liver | via Videum – Health and Wellness Videos and The British Liver Trust

We all know that too much alcohol is bad for you, but not everyone is aware of how damage is actually caused. In this short video, Dr. Mark Wright of the British Liver Trust discusses liver disease and how many alcohol units you should stick to per week for optimal health. One thing that’s obvious from the video is that most people don’t have a clue how what the health recommendations for alcohol intake are.

Source: Alcohol And The Liver | Videum – Health and Wellness Videos …

1 Comment

Filed under Alberta at Noon, Health

#beer is big theme in 10 New Calgary Restaurants Opening in 2016 via @AvenueMagazine

There’s lots of good news in this Avenue Magazine piece by Alana Willerton. For the most part, beer is da bomb but if you are going to be flying from our sparkling new international terminal at the Calgary International Airport, plan to get there early and enjoy pre-flight wine and tapas at Vin Room Airport. Knowing owner, Phoebe Fung, it will be tres chic and tres fun.

Chef Darren Maclean’s long awaited Japanese Yakatori place called Shokunin will open this month, Village Ice Cream is expanding and the most exciting of all – for me – Nicole Gomes’s Cluck and Cleaver fried chicken place will open soon. I predict line-ups for this heavenly bit of taste bud orgasma. She doesn’t need to grow a white goatee or be called “the kernel”, for those of us that have been hooked on her fried chicken for years, she’s already the Queen of Cluck!

Read more from the

Source: 10 New Calgary Restaurants Opening in 2016

Leave a comment

Filed under Restaurants

Yes, it’s January – But Do You Really Need to ‘Detox’? – A Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter Article

stinging nettle, mint and orange smoothie - photo - Karen Anderson

stinging nettle, mint and orange smoothie – photo – Karen Anderson

I’m doing some research for my January Alberta at Noon Food Column and just came across an article that takes a lot of weight off claims made by the increasingly popular trend for “detox” or “cleansing” juice diets.

The designer juice industry is grossing about $5 billion annually with people paying between 60 – 90 dollars daily for their dose of “detoxification”. None of these companies tell you exactly what their product intends to “detox” in your body. They don’t have to because they don’t manufacture drugs and therefore don’t fall under the scrutiny of FDA sanctions.

As with all great product advertising, designer juice manufacturers are really good at understanding human frailty. They know what cue to give you, to cause you to change your behaviour (buy their product) for the reward you desire. In the cases of January and juices, they know you’ve indulged over the holidays and that you’d like to cleanse yourself of your edible “sins”, to feel “energized” and “light”. You may have indulged in a bit too much alcohol along with all the chocolate and mince pies, so they throw the word “detox” in their as well.

After you read the article that follows, I hope you’ll rejoice in your body’s miraculous ability to purify and detox itself daily all on its own. If you were tempted to join the juicing craze, pay close attention to the risks like lack of protein and vitamin deficiencies in these diets. Save yourself a lot of money and stay tuned for upcoming posts where I’ll update you on some best practices that will let you eat, drink and be merry for years to come.

Continue reading


Filed under Alberta at Noon, Health

2016 – What will inspire you to live fully? #ArtInstallation 16

People poohoo Twitter but it’s amazing how many times it’s inspired me. Last night I came across this performance by Aretha Franklin on CBC Music and it stirred me to my core.

The Queen of Soul is singing “You make me feel like a natural woman”. She is paying tribute to the songwriter, Carole King. The song was a hit for Franklin in 1967 but was included on King’s Tapestry album which came out in 1971.

I was ten years old when King and Franklin were singing about being “natural women”. This music is an art installation that had and still has the power to lift me quickly and easily to joy.

Continue reading


Filed under Art Installation, Joy