All Posts Tagged ‘CSA

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Roasted Nectarine Salsa on Wild Salmon

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I am really enjoying the abundance of ripe, fresh fruit this summer and the abundance of fresh wild sockeye from our CSA. I combined my love for nectarines and salmon tonight and came up with this meal that we devoured in minutes! We enjoyed this with a side of roasted beets and mixed baby potatoes.

Ingredients:

1 large tomato

1/2 red onion

1 nectarine

1 jalapeño, seeded

1 small sweet Italian pepper

1 lb wild salmon fillet

1 avocado

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:

1) Wash and dice your first 5 ingredients into small, uniform pieces.

2) Toss them in melted coconut oil and spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3) Place your baking sheet on the top rack of your oven and set your broiler to high.

4) Broil for 5-10 minutes or until salsa just begins to blacken. Remove and let cool.

5) Place your salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6) Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the top rack of your oven and broil on high for 10-15 mins until salmon is cooked through.

7) While the salmon is broiling, dice your avocado and gently mix it into your salsa. Add the chopped basil and toss gently to combine.

8) When salmon is cooked through, remove and place it on your plate. Top with your salsa and enjoy!

salsaonsalmon

 

 

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Life After Whole30

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So you’ve completed the Whole30 challenge, but now what? How do you make this work in real life? After some trial and error and multiple Whole30 challenges, I’ve found what works for me, and I think this process will help you find what works for you too. 

Step 1: Reintroduction

I really messed this part up after my first Whole30 challenge. If I remember correctly, I ended my challenge with a binge meal at Olive Garden of all places. In a single large meal I reintroduced dairy, gluten, alcohol and sugar. Trust me, this is NOT the way to celebrate! Needless to say I ended up on the toilet pretty soon after my meal, but I had no idea which one of those things caused it.

A lot of people miss this incredibly important step of the process: reintroducing the food groups that you have cut out for 30 days. You’ve successfully cleansed your body from all potentially harmful food, and now is your chance to see what kind of reaction your body will have to each of these foods, telling you whether or not you should eliminate them completely.

While still keeping your diet Whole30 compliant, reintroduce a food group, one at a time, and wait three days before reintroducing the next previously restricted food group. During those three days, be in tune with your body and keep a close watch for any changes. Watch for all kinds of reactions, ranging from sluggishness, bloating, or pimples, to diarrhea, constipation, or stomach cramps. After 3 days, while still keeping your diet Whole30 compliant, reintroduce another food group. Watch for changes in how you feel. Repeat this process until you’ve reintroduced all of the food groups that you feel like you missed out on during your Whole30 challenge. Don’t bother reintroducing foods that you did not miss and are not interested in including in your diet.

It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig goes into a more detailed description of how to do this and I highly recommend buying it. You can also find their complete reintroduction plan on their website, Whole30.

Here is a sample schedule of how you could reintroduce food. This is just the order I chose to reintroduce foods into my every day diet but you can alter it to your preferences and needs.

Day 1 (Day 31 of Whole30): Reintroduce dairy. Throughout the day, add some cheese, milk or yogurt to your regular meals. Watch for signs of intolerance. Many people get stomach cramps, pimples, a runny nose and congestion from dairy products. Decide how you feel and if it is “worth it” to add dairy back to your regular diet. For myself, dairy gives me dark circles under my eyes, a runny nose the next day, and a general feeling of tiredness. Because of this, I keep it out of my regular diet. However, because it doesn’t send me running to the toilet or give me intense stomach cramps, I have no problem indulging in some dairy as a treat once in while at a birthday party or similar situation. I know I won’t feel my best the day after, but it’s not going to make me extremely ill.

Day 4 (Day 35 of Whole30): Reintroduce grains/gluten. Have a bagel or some toast, some crackers and maybe some rice throughout the day. Just as you did with the dairy, pay attention to any reactions you may have. For myself, bread make me constipated and sluggish. I hate how I feel for 24 hours after I eat it and so I avoid it as much as possible. Some grains bother me less than others but almost all make me feel sluggish and so I keep them out of my regular diet.

Day 7 (Day 39 of Whole30): Reintroduce sugar. This was such an eye opener for me. I had no idea how sensitive I am to sugar until I did this reintroduction. Just a handful of M&M’s can give me a major sugar crash about 20 minutes after indulging. With the exception of high quality very dark chocolate, I reserve sugar for special occasions. I rarely sweeten things in my regular diet, but if I do then I use organic raw honey or organic maple syrup in small quantities.  Pay special attention during this evaluation as the signs may not be as physical and obvious as they can be with gluten or dairy.

Step 2: Eating Well for Your Body

So now you know which foods irritate your body and which foods make you feel great. You’ve decided which foods are worth adding back into your regular diet either consistently (every day), moderately (2-3x per week), or rarely, for special occasions. Now you get to practice this in your life and get comfortable with your new way of eating. Learning to meal plan and meal prep takes time at first, but with practice it becomes quicker and simpler. It used to take me a few hours each week to make my meal plan, write out the corresponding grocery list, and chop/prepare my food for the week ahead, but now I spend approximately 20-30 minutes making my meal plan and shopping list and maybe another 30 minutes preparing food.

Every Sunday I receive an email from my CSA group letting me know what veggies I will be receiving on the following Tuesday. Once I’ve skimmed the email and got an idea of the contents, I sit down and make my meal plan. I thumb through my favourite cookbooks (Against All Grain, The Paleo Kitchen, Well Fed 1&2, Practical Paleo, Nom Nom Paleo, etc) and find recipes that use the produce I will be receiving. I choose 7 dinners and 3 or 4 smaller meals for breakfast and lunch. As I write down the title of the meal and page number of the cookbook it’s from, I jot down any extra ingredients that I will need to buy on a separate piece of paper, and that is my grocery list for the week. (With more and more practice and exploring, I’m aiming to make this extra ingredients list as small as possible so that I am using only what comes in my CSA box.)

When I receive my CSA box on Tuesday, I wash and chop most of my vegetables and separate them into produce bags or glass containers. If I know that I have an exceptionally busy week ahead, I will chop and partially cook any yams, potatoes or beets. You can partially steam any dense vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, or you can also pre-shred your zucchini and yams for Breakfast Hash. If I have any vegetables left by the end of the week, I throw them all together in a Breakfast Skillet.

Each week I visit my local butcher shop and get just enough meat for the week, corresponding with the meals I have planned for. I ask them to wrap it all separately for each individual meal so it defrosts quicker on the day I need it. In Well Fed 1 and 2, Melissa Joulwan lays out a detailed description of how to cook and prep your meat for the week. I have the time to cook mine fresh each day, so I don’t follow her plan, but I know others who do and find it extremely helpful.

I cook once and eat two or three times from that meal. I love leftovers and never let any food go to waste. I often eat leftover dinner for breakfast, and leftover breakfast for lunch.

Why?

Where do I even begin? Because I’ve never felt so strong as I do now, after about 1.5 years of consistently eating this way. Because I no longer have any guilt related to my food choices. Because by choosing to live this way, I can keep up with my 3 year old and 1 year old and still have energy to spare. Because I’m free from the anxiety and confusion surrounding my food choices. Because I’m showing my children that this lifestyle is a real, attainable and sustainable way to live.

Read more about why and how Whole30 Changed My Life and helped me recover from years of disordered eating.

Some of my favourite meal planning resources:

Nom Nom Paleo

The Clothes Make the Girl

Against All Grain

PaleOmg

Civilized Caveman

Photograph by the incredibly talented Vanessa Voth Photography.

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On Sustainability – And Doing the Best You Can

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I’ve hesitated to write this post for awhile now, because I really don’t want to write something that makes you, the reader, feel guilty. I want to inspire you to explore the topic of sustainability; I don’t want to beat you over the head with facts about pesticides that will scare you into buying organic. No one I know has this completely figured out. No one I know is living a 100% sustainable lifestyle. What I want to focus on is how to do the best you can with what you have. This has been my motto of late: to consistently move toward a more sustainable lifestyle, to cause as little harm to the earth, to others, and to myself as possible. 

Sustainability is a huge topic and can be very intimidating. When I started to research it, I became overwhelmed with all the things I’ve been doing ‘wrong’, and started to panic and try to fix everything at once. This became disastrous and made me wish I never had started looking into it in the first place! I’ve dialled back a bit and I’m now trying to adjust one section of my life at a time. Here are the three sections of my food intake that I have recently committed to sustainable practices only.

Meat/Eggs/Fish

One of the biggest criticisms of the Paleo lifestyle is the increased amount of meat intake. If you are buying your meat at Superstore, Walmart, or many other large grocery store chains, then yes, I have to agree with this criticism. We’ve all heard the rumours of what goes on in those factory farms. If the Pink Slime incident doesn’t disturb you, maybe the treatment of the animals on those farms will. Maybe the rumour of arsenic being fed to chickens might cause you to think twice. Don’t care about animals? You might care about the way it affects the earth, you know, that same earth your children and your children’s children have to live on.

In the past year, we have slowly made the transition from buying our meat at Costco to buying our meat from a local butcher shop. Everything in the store is nitrate free, almost everything is sugar free, and as locally sourced as possible. There are no hormones or antibiotics fed to the animals. They are free to roam in the pastures and eat grass. The animals are not abused in any way. Yes, this kind of meat costs more than factory farmed meat. In the beginning, this was a difficult choice for our family to make, as we keep to a very strict budget. However, the more I researched, the more my conscience would not allow me to wane from this decision. For those of you who can’t afford this kind of meat, this is one of those areas where I urge you to do the best you can with what you have. When you can and as often as you can, choose humanely treated, grass fed, hormone free meat.

One of the ways we are cutting back on meat costs this year is investing in a 1/4 share of a cow. Information on the company we are using can be found here, but there are many other farms doing the same thing. Find one that works for your budget and your family.

For eggs, we currently buy two dozen eggs per week from a local farmer in our neighbourhood who allows his chickens to range free. They cost half the price of the organic, cage free eggs from the store, and when we go pick them up in the morning, the eggs are still warm and fresh, rather than having sat in a warehouse for weeks. It’s one of Charley’s favourite things to do and I love that she gets to see the chickens and learn where her food comes from. Ask around your community or go online to find a local farmer who sells eggs. I found this farm by posting the question on Facebook.

eegs

For fish, we have a share in a CSF – Community Supported Fishery. Huge thanks to my talented friend Liz Johnson who invited us to be a part of it. We have been so thrilled with this program. Previously I found it difficult to justify the cost of wild fish, but this program has made it possible for us to enjoy fresh, wild salmon two or three times a week (seasonally). We’ve also had a lot of fun as a family learning about where our fish comes from and learning how to eat it. It’s been a great experience for Charley and she now eats salmon with minimal complaints, which is nothing short of a miracle in our household. Click here to check out the program we are a part of.

Charley helping fillet our fresh, wild and sustainably caught pink salmon.

Charley helping fillet our fresh, wild and sustainably caught pink salmon.

Produce

For produce, I focus on buying seasonally, local and organic whenever possible. This can get expensive if you are not careful. I did some research and shopped around to find the best prices, and have found that in my surrounding area, Two Ee’s Market is one of the best places to buy.

This year we signed up with a CSA program – Community Supported Agriculture. I googled ‘CSA Langley’ and after looking through a bunch of options that came up, I chose Glen Valley Organic Farm. Each week they deliver a huge box of local, seasonal, organic produce right to my doorstep. With careful meal planning, I only need to pick up 2 or 3 things at the market each week in addition to what comes in our box. We are saving 20-30 dollars a week with this program! There are many options and farms to choose from, depending of course on where you are located.

This is one week's delivery, at my door step.

This is one week’s delivery, at my door step.

If a CSA program is not possible for you and if you are concerned about the prices of local/organic produce, check out this list to help you decide where to spend your money in the produce section of your grocery store.

Treats – Chocolate and Coffee

I recently read an eye opening article on how some of our food choices are unintentionally promoting child slavery and other horrible things on a great blog called Sustainable Dish. (Read the article here.) I have yet to tackle the banana issue, but am now striving to only buy fair trade or direct trade chocolate and coffee. I drink one cup of coffee every morning, and I love dark chocolate for a treat now and then. These are areas that are easier to take on sustainably, if you’re not drinking multiple pots of coffee per day or consuming multiple chocolate bars a day. One of my favourite brands of chocolate is Green & Black’s. Their chocolate is  a truly ‘guilt free’ treat.  For coffee, there are a lot of options out there. A couple of my favourites are Kicking Horse and Ethical Bean, but do some taste testing and find your own favourite.

I could talk with you for hours about these things and discuss so many more reasons behind it all. If you want to delve deeper into this or if you have questions, please leave a comment or email me at wellness@wellnesswithjoanna.com.

If you’re feeling guilty or overwhelmed, relax. Remember, do the best you can with what you have. When you can, make the best choice for you, for the earth and for others. Be intentional in your choices and where you spend your dollar.

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Basil Kale Pesto

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pestoI received a lovely bunch of fresh basil in my CSA delivery this week, so I figured now is the time to attempt my first homemade pesto sauce. I played around with it a bit today and came up with this combination that I absolutely loved.

Ingredients

3 cups fresh basil leaves

2 cups of kale, chopped and stems removed

5 cloves of garlic, oven roasted

1/2 cup of walnuts, oven roasted

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice from half a lemon

Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

1) Peel and smash your garlic cloves. Place them on a cookie sheet and roast them under the oven broiler until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

2) Spread your walnuts on a cookie sheet and do the same as you did with the garlic.

3) Throw all your ingredients into a food processor or Vitamix and blend until you reach desired consistency. Some like it chunky while others prefer a very smooth pesto.

We enjoyed this with scallops and red peppers over spaghetti squash for dinner. Delicious!

pestodinner