The Rise of Pop-Up Organic Dining
The flip side of enjoying farm to table is taking the table to the farm. So-called “pop-up feasts” are booming at farms throughout the country during growing and harvest seasons. While the format varies, dinners are typically hosted on working rural or urban farms, last about three hours and include aperitifs and a tour before the meal. Wine pairings or beer tastings and live music may be among the enticing activities offered. (read more…)
Clever Ways to Eat Healthy Anywhere
Traveling can be tricky for those trying to eat a plant-based diet, especially on long stretches of highway. More than 33 percent of Americans, or 100 million-plus people, are eating vegan/vegetarian meals more often, even if they do not adhere to a strict plant-based lifestyle, concluded a 2011 Harris Interactive study commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group. Here is what the discerning traveler can do when hunger strikes. (read more…)
Grill Scrumptious Pizzas and Flatbreads
Summer is high season for grilling when just about anything sizzled over high heat tastes great. Grill masters Karen Adler and Judith Fertig recently put this theory to the test when they fired up their grills—gas and charcoal—to cook bruschetta, panini, flatbreads and pizzas. The results tasted so good that they created a cookbook: Patio Pizzeria: Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads on the Grill. (read more…)
How to Buy Good Eggs from Happy Hens
Janice Cole, the author of Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes, knows how delicious a really fresh egg tastes. She keeps three chickens she calls “the girls” in the backyard of her suburban Minneapolis home. “Jasmine, a white Silkie, lays small, beige-colored eggs; Keiko a black and white Ameraucana and Silver Wyandotte cross, green eggs; and Peanut, a brown, feathery Cochin mix, brown eggs,” relates Cole. (read more…)
How to Move Past Food Sensitivities
Complaints of digestive upsets, brain fog, headaches, relentless food cravings and unrelieved stress appear to be at epidemic levels these days.
“These symptoms may be part of newfound awareness of the wide-ranging and seemingly unrelated health problems caused by food sensitivities and intolerances, which are different from food allergies,” explains microbiologist Kiran Krishnan, from Chicago. (read more…)
Good Fat Doesn’t Make Us Fat
In an era of too much information, the role of fats in our diet has been a victim of not enough information. Today’s turnaround in nutritional thinking acknowledges natural fats as being vital to heart health and weight loss.
Heart Health Benefit
A recent metastudy in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal of the American College of Physicians, concluded that saturated fat does not appear to increase heart disease risk, overturning almost 60 years of accepted medical thought. (read more…)
Easy-Grow Microgreens Are Big on Nutrition
Fast, fun to grow and packed with flavor and nutrition, tender young microgreens can go from seed to table in as little as a week. Close cousins to edible sprouts, microgreens are grown in potting soil or seed-starting mixes instead of plain water. They customarily grow beyond the sprout stage until they have produced a true leaf or two. After that, harvesting is a simple matter of snipping off fresh greens. (read more…)
Restorative Drinks Revive Good Cheer
During jam-packed special occasions like holidays, our drinks should multitask, too. We need festive tipples to refresh us without overdoing it, restore equilibrium if we overeat or drink or revive us when we’re feeling low from a seasonal cold or flu.
In addition to traditional offerings that family and friends might expect, why not add a new and improved signature drink to everyone’s repertoire? These feel-good beverages, featuring winter fruits high in vitamin C, anthocyanins, therapeutic herbs and fresh ginger, deliver delicious boosts to help us feel our best. (read more…)
Vegan Holiday Treats that Everyone Loves
For those that like to eat plant-based meals most of the time, the holidays can present a challenge. Social occasions from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day abound, including multi-course dinners and potlucks; tree-trimming and baking parties; neighborly hospitality; nibbling on treats while wrapping gifts; and gathering to watch a holiday movie.
Because so much is happening in such a short period of time, people often revert to serving traditional foods such as Aunt Mary’s cheese ball or Grandma Daisy’s three-layer chocolate bars. These vintage recipes, however, can be laden with processed ingredients. Foods that signaled holiday cheer ages ago need a tweak or two to satisfy today’s health-minded friends and family members. With traditional flavors of the season like aromatic spices, fresh rosemary and chocolate, plus a plant-based philosophy, family favorites can get a new twist. (read more…)
Why Ancestral Diets Boost Health
In The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan surmised that we’d be healthier if we ate the way our great-grandparents did. It would mean sticking to regularly scheduled meals instead of impulsive snacking, having a meat or protein item comprise only a quarter of our plate, adding fresh vegetables and eliminating junk food. (read more…)
Plant-Based Choices Provide Midday Boost
We all have good intentions to eat more fruits and vegetables, and it’s easier if we start with just one plant-based meal a day—lunch. Natural Awakenings has enlisted the help of vegan lunchbox experts to help us all enjoy easy-to-make and colorful feasts good for home, office, school and on the road.
“Vegan food offers so much variety, especially at lunch,” says Johanna Sophia, of Pine Plains, New York, who recently hosted the online series The Raw Lunchbox Summit. “A vegan lunch gives an extra boost in the middle of the day for more brain power, clarity and energy.” (read more…)
Keeping Food Out of the Trash Bin
As much as 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is wasted, even as one in six Americans goes hungry. Instead of feeding people better, we are feeding the city dump. Of all types of trash, food consumes the most space in our municipal landfills, followed by plastic and paper. Rotting food then releases harmful methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
While food waste is a big problem, social entrepreneurs see a big opportunity. Around the country, they are working to reduce, recover and rethink discarded food valued at more than $160 billion a year. In the process, they are not only cutting food costs, but also creating jobs and fighting climate change. (read more…)
What All the Food Labels Really Mean
Locally grown foods are more likely to have been bred for flavor and nutrition than durability and a long shelf life, says Emily Akins, outreach director for the Kansas City Food Circle, a cooperative that links residents with farmers that grow and raise organic and free-range food. An added benefit is getting to know the farmer and being able to ask the questions—and receive the answers—that are important to us.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that local food sales totaled $12 billion in 2014, up from $5 billion in 2008. They continue to grow.
Organic or Certified Organic
Consumers want to know the difference between organics and certified organics. Today’s number of U.S. certified organic operations has jumped nearly 300 percent since 2002 to more than 21,700. (read more…)
Tasty Homemade Alternatives to Junk Food
photo courtesy of Ella Leché/Andrews McMeel Publishing
Planning ahead is an effective key to healthy eating and weight management. Having healthy snacks available, both savory and naturally sweet, helps us to conquer cravings and avoid a sugar rush—or slump.
Between-meal nutritious and delicious snacks can be easy to make. Plus, unlike commercial foods, we know their ingredients. Here, Natural Awakenings has tapped two plant-based whole foods experts and cookbook authors for their best snack recipes and tips.
“Healthy happens when we’re prepared,” says Elise Museles, of Washington, D.C., the mother of two sons who writes at KaleAndChocolate.com/blog and recently released Whole Food Energy: 200 All Natural Recipes to Help You Prepare, Refuel, and Recover. “Nutritious is delicious; healthy doesn’t have to be bland and boring.” she says. Nor does it take hours to make. (read more…)
Small Shifts Can Drop Pounds and Gain Health
Our food habits are often just that—mindless, repetitious eating behaviors. Some serve us well; others, not so much. Natural Awakenings asked experts to serve up many doable small changes that can add up to big shifts.
According to Brian Wansink, Ph.D., the John S. Dyson professor of marketing at Cornell University and author of Mindless Eating, changing just one lifestyle habit can eliminate two or more pounds each week. By changing up to three habits, we may lose more weight. At a minimum, we will likely improve the quality of the food we eat overall.
Wansink advises that having the only food on our kitchen counter be fruit encourages healthy snacking. At work, he suggests lunching away from our desk to discourage mindless eating. At restaurants, order half-size entrees, and then add a maximum of two items, such as soup and bread, salad and side dish or an appetizer and dessert. (read more…)
Old-Fashioned Fruits and Veggies Return to the Table
By Avery Mack
Of the 7,500 varieties of apples in the world, 2,500 are grown in the U.S., but only 100 commercially. As of the 1990s, 70 percent were Red Delicious; more recently they’re being replaced with Gala, Granny Smith and Fuji types from taller, thinner trees that can be planted more compactly for easier harvesting, yet are more sensitive to disease and require trellis supports.
Mass-produced fruits and vegetables have been modified over the years to make them look appealing and ship well, while sacrificing taste. Consumers in search of health-enhancing nutrients and robust flavor can find them by instead connecting with the past through food and flowers. (read more…)
Host a Halloween that’s Natural, Healthy and Cost-Conscious
Slipping masks, sagging costumes and sugar hits can all contribute to cranky kids at Halloween. Healthier, greener and safer options will up the ongoing fun factor.
Hooray! Princesses and superheroes are more popular than witches and devils these days. With encouragement from parents, kids can enjoy a greener Halloween with tiaras, wands and capes made from recycled cardboard and hobby shop items. Thrift stores offer up hats and jewelry for added bling. The Internet overflows with inspiration. Also, many public libraries host costume swaps this month; find other swap locations at Tinyurl.com/CostumeSwaps. (read more…)