I was a nurse for over 20 years. I was a Masters-prepared Nurse Practitioner for 10 of those years. I left that profession because, though I loved working with people, I wanted find ways to help people stay healthy instead of caring for them once they’d become very ill. I saw that the further we got from food as a society the sicker we were getting. I thought writing about food and starting up food tours would be fun ways to engage and connect people with the source of food and all the health and joy it can bring to our lives.
I’m very pleased that after 11 years in my new career I have the opportunity to go full circle and to write for Alberta Health Services’ health magazine (applemag.ca) on the topic of healthy food. It’s a dream come true to write for a magazine whose credo is “Be healthy. Be Well. Be informed.”
In my regular “Food Sight” column I’ll be writing about a different great ingredient each issue. For the food issue I also got to write about five ways to build a healthy plate. Here are the first two pieces. Grab a carrot to munch on and have a read.
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|A carrot close-up
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|Build a healthy plate
Talking about Alberta’s signature foods – bison, beef, honey, Red Fife Wheat, canola, Saskatoon berries and root vegetables – is a great way to start any day for me.
Here I am on Global TV Calgary doing just that.
Watch the segment, get a super easy recipe for an Alberta Grizzly Gold appetizer and come on out and join one of the 15 talented food tour guides that lead our Alberta Food Tours in Calgary, Canmore and Edmonton during our 2017 season. It’s a great way to savour it all – Alberta-style.
Well deserved kudos to the United Nations for designating 2016 and the International Year of Pulses. Canada is the top grower of pulses in the world. Pulses are the dried seeds of peas, beans, chickpeas and lentils. They are nutritional powerhouses.
The recipes in this little five video series above are beautifully presented by Canadian Lentils. Take a look and you’ll be inspired to intersperse a few of these recipes in your holiday meal-planning. While most Canadians gain six pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years Day you can pause, take your pulses, avoid the “holiday six” and spring into 2017 eating healthfully and supporting thousands of Canadian pulse farmers as you do so.
Easy to make food gifts for the holidays – photo credit – Karen Anderson
This post delivers three easy – mostly no bake – chocolate-y treats you can give or enjoy for the holidays. There’s a luscious Dark Chocolate Bark, Oreo Candy Cane White Chocolate Bark and my new favourite – Pretzel Toffee Crack. Chocolate is such a great ingredient.
The bounty of summer – photo credit – Karen Anderson
It happens. You go away for a few days in August and come back to a zucchini patch that has hatched green baby belugas. Apples cover the lawn like a spilled bag of marbles under your backyard tree. The kitchen table is covered with the peaches that you just had to stop at that roadside stand for. The bounty of summer is upon us and for most of us, it’s more than we can use.
Contrary to what we’re often told, there isn’t so much of a food shortage in the world but rather, food is not equally distributed and a full 40 per cent of food is wasted. It never has the chance to make it onto the tables of the hungry and there are a lot of hungry people. The U.N. says 800 million people suffer from chronic hunger and 2 billion – a third of the world – suffer from hidden hunger.
Several Alberta organizations are working to do something about food inequity. This post will reveal who they are and how you can support them. As for those zucchini posing as big green baseball bats? Consider this post Zucchini 101 where I’ll reveal my Top 10 things to do with the wild child of the garden. Continue reading
Since 2010 I’ve purchased a subscription to Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery. This year I signed up again and I can take my share in spot prawns, ling cod, halibut, albacore tuna and many forms and kinds of salmon: candied, canned, smoked, lox, whole or fillets – pink or sockeye.
From one father and son operation Skipper Otto’s has grown their fleet of fishermen and boats committed to sustainable fisheries. Now they want to build their own processing facility to manage costs and support their fisheries while delivering the best quality fish straight to you.
They deliver to across the Prairies weekly in the season and ordering is easy. Memberships start at 100 dollars.
Click here to learn more then sign up now because today is the last day to sign up for this season! Don’t flounder around. This could be the best catch of your life!
Polenta Lasagna – photo credit – Karen Anderson
This month on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon I’ll be talking about the importance of cooking skills for children. I believe cooking is a basic life skill that determines how healthy an individual and in turn a family will be.
A lack of ability to cook from scratch leads to a life dependent on processed foods. Processed foods are more likely to contain excess salt, sugar and food additives and a diet filled with processed foods is more likely to cause obesity.
Harvard University says the health consequences of obesity include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma, some cancers, susceptibility to depression due to discrimination and the emotional impact of that. Thirty per cent of youth are now obese.
We are three generations since the norm was a stay at home homemaker and cook for each family. Many parents (let alone their children) lack cooking skills beyond reheating, microwaving and combining packaged foods. Women in the 1960s were told cooking was a chore and they needed to be emancipated from the kitchen. Women did go out to work but instead of “freedom” they now work outside the home and still do the majority of household work as well. Equal partnerships are slow to evolve. Reframing cooking as a family activity and a creative way to nurture, care and ensure health for ourselves and our children could go a long way to correcting our society’s obesity epidemic.
I developed the Polenta lasagna recipe in this post to act as a cooking skills bridge from reliance on highly processed packaged food to cooking with healthier choices. The result is a fun assembly of quality ingredients with delicious results. Older children can make it on their own. Parents and younger children can make this together. Continue reading