Cooking with Olive Oil and Other Usage Tips

Italy - home of the Mediterranean Diet

Where the Olive Oil Grows – The Mediterranean Coastline, Cinque Terre Italy


When asked which is better – butter or margarine? The answer always is – olive oil. One thing that can be certain in nutrition science is that the Mediterranean diet has shown undeniable health benefits. This style of eating encourages an increased intake of nuts, fish, whole grains and vegetables, while eating less meat and processed foods. At the same time it promotes an increase in the good fats (monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated) and lesser amounts of the bad fats (saturated fats and trans fat). Despite the reported health benefits of monounsaturated rich olive oil there remains much confusion on how to use it in cooking, how to choose the right type and how to store it properly. Switching from butter or margarine seems pretty straight forward – but as you will see, there is a lot more to know about olive oil than we thought! Read more »

8 Common Fermented Foods You Probably Have At Home

Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermenting foods was first notorious as a means of food preservation. Now we know that a diet rich in fermented has the extra bonus of keeping our gut flora happy and healthy. But the health benefits are not limited to our digestive tracts; evidence shows that gut health can play a role in immunity, inflammation, mood, allergies, as well as autoimmune disorders. Unfortunately fermented foods have all but disappeared in our newly sterile, overly-processed world of food. And what our current Western-style diet lacks, traditional diets thrive on. In Asia it is tempeh and miso from fermented soy, in the Caucasus Mountains it is kefir from fermented milk. In Africa they enjoy fermented porridge and cassava. In Korea it is Kimchi. In Germany it is Sauerkraut. What happens when our modern day diet lacks these all important fermented foods?
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5 Reasons You Should Be Eating Lentils PLUS A Simple Prep Guide

Mixed Bean Winter Warming Soup
Last week I had the pleasure of dining at the notorious Lentils As Anything Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia. Since I got wind of this eatery’s concept some 10 years ago, I dreamed of one day dining there and finally got my wish. It was amazing. The philosophy behind Lentils As Anything is that you pay what you feel the food is worth, and with this you are given the opportunity to contribute towards a world where respect, generosity, trust, equality, freedom and kindness rule. This not-for-profit organization has been successfully working for over 13 years; when diners such as myself can afford to pay the proper price of the meal plus a few dollars more, it allows those that are less fortunate to be able to dine out and be social, regardless of their financial situation. Lentils are in my opinion the superfood of all superfoods. Now let me tell you why lentils should be allowed centre stage at your next meal, and I’ve included a simple prep guide to make it all the less daunting.
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Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds, Hemp Seeds – Which One Is For You?

Flaxseeds are grown in the Okanogan, BC

Mother and Daughter near the Okanogan, where Flaxseeds are now grown.

Superfoods are big money. With their promises of everlasting youth and renewed vitality, consumers will happily spend the big bucks without further question. Some really are super, some are flops (ie. noni juice). We have always known that seeds hold a high nutritional value, but we’ve moved past the common sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seed and are now looking for something new and edgy. Chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds have all made their mainstream supermarket debut over the last few years. As super as they all are, each of them has individual health properties that are as unique as their consumers are. Some are better suited to certain individuals, and some consumers like to factor in their environmental standpoint. Which one is better for you…?
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What Western Medicine Can Learn From Traditional Aboriginal Healing Therapies

Traditional Aboriginal Healing - Vancouver Island BC

Mural in Chermainus, Vancouver Island, BC

For me there is no denying, there is something so very enchanting about traditional Aboriginal healing. Maybe it’s the images of peyote and smoke ceremonies. Or maybe it’s the idea of the mysterious medicine man, with his limitless knowledge in healing herbs and plants. Or maybe its just knowing that our First People had an effective world of medicine before colonisation. Medicine that came from this land and was specific for the people that inhabited it. Aboriginal healing extends far beyond herbal teas and smudging. At its roots it is the belief and the practice in a holistic approach to health- in treating the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual facets of health as one.

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Why You Might Be At Risk For Zinc Deficiency and How To Improve Your Intake

1 in 4 Canadians are Deficient in Zinc

1 in 4 Canadians Have Diets Low In Zinc, Port Renfrew, BC

Did you know that the diets of 1 in 4 Canadians may be low in zinc? This increased risk of zinc deficiency is especially present in populations such as vegetarians, kids, pregnant ladies and breastfeeding moms. And it’s not just our diets. It has also been speculated that our soils have been depleted of this important mineral, thus putting the wider Canadian population at risk for zinc deficiency. But what does this mean? How important is zinc?
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What Your Health Professional Should Be Telling You About Food Sustainability

Cooking Class, Inle Lake, Myanmar

Cooking Class, Inle Lake, Myanmar

Last month I had the pleasure of writing a piece for the Dietitians Association of Australia’s Vegetarian Interest Group. The topic was food sustainability for health professionals. As consumers become increasingly concerned about the link between dietary consumption and environmental impact, it is important that their trusted health professionals can provide them with accurate, up-to-date information in this area. This version of the article is aimed at Australian Dietitians, although it is helpful for consumers to have access to the information their health professional should be sharing with them. The original version can be seen here.
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Maximising Calcium For Bone Health On A Dairy Free Diet

Cows In Bellingen, NSW

Cows In Bellingen, NSW

Contrary to popular belief, calcium doesn’t only come from cows! Crazy huh? A lot of marketing money stemming from the Dairy Industry has led us to believe that dairy is the one and only superstar in the battle against osteoporosis, which isn’t the full truth. Whether you are a vegan, environmentalist, lactose intolerant or just love your green leafy vegetables, there are other dietary options for  healthy bones.
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The Low Down on BPA – Health and Environmental Concerns

BPA Epoxy Resins Present In Surfboards,

BPA Epoxy Resins In Surfboards

The more and more I think and write about food, the more I put my pantry shelves to scrutiny. One food product that makes a regular appearance in my kitchen is canned tomatoes. They are an essential during the winter months when fresh tomatoes taste like cardboard and come with a hefty transportation induced carbon footprint. If you are not lucky enough to have jars of preserved tomatoes from your summer garden harvest, you could be subjecting yourself to BPA lined canned tomatoes. But what is BPA? Where else is it found? Are we being exposed without even knowing?

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Milk Alternatives – Finding The Best One For You

Choosing Milk Alternatives

Nepalese Women Make Traditional Yaks Milk Tea, Langtang, Nepal

So you have made the choice to give up milk. Mom says no, friends call you a hippie, the dairy industry is smacking their 3 recommended serves in your face. But you don’t care, your going to do it. Whether it be to ward off suspected intolerances, a cows milk allergy, to lower your carbon footprint or for personal ethical reasons, finding a suitable alternative can be tricky. Each book you read, every website you come across and every person you talk to will probably tell you something different. I just want to lay out the basics as well as expunge any myths. You can decide for yourself which milk alternative sounds like its best suited to your lifestyle and diet.
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