I feel like I spent a long time searching high and low for answers to my food and health questions, in my observations and queries that have come out of my own health and eating struggles and that of those around me. It isn't until hearing about the Weston A. Price Foundation a few years ago and their approach to whole foods with a traditional bent, when my daughter was in preschool that some of the information about food I was hearing from the outside world was starting to jive with what I had going on in my own body through observations and long pondering, not to mention that felt like it resonated with what I had heard from my own parents and my Grand-Maman Lena too. It was like a beacon of light that shone the way in the right direction, at least for me.
Fast-forward a few years, and I am now knee-deep in the study and observation of where food and health intersect and do this diligent research in the hopes of finding answers to these questions I continue to have. As a Holistic Nutritionist and food (and foodie!) lover, why is one thing good for one person, but not necessarily a good idea for their neighbour? Why would someone who has been eating well for the last two decades appear to still have such health troubles? In the spirit of keeping it brief, I will save you from my long list of questions.
In my travels brought on by all of my queries, there are some bits that fit and others that don't. For me. And different ones for different people, clients, friends and family members. The one truth that really resonates with me in the middle of all this, is that EVERYONE CAN BE BETTER SERVED BY EATING NUTRIENT-DENSE FOODS and by slowly changing their food rules away from consuming food-like substances to stocking their fridge and pantry with food that your grandmother would recognize. One item at a time. I like Michael Pollan's take on this: Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Oh and yes, one of those rules he speaks of in the fabulous book Food Rules is to not eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. Solid advice. This information is behind one of my favourite tags, #JERF. Just Eat Real Food. No gimmicks. No counting. Just eating. And real fooding.
What does it mean to eat Nutrient Dense Food? Choose those foods that are packed with micro- and macro-nutrients (meaning vitamins and minerals, plus carbs or fats or proteins) that would be deemed from good sources. Sometimes it's hard to figure out if a food comes from a good source. As your nutritionist, I can certainly help you navigate these waters, figuring out what your personalized Foods and Key Ingredients may be, and where to source these ingredients and foodstuffs like locally pastured beef or sprouted grains, or figuring whether or not to buy organic or conventional.
For today's blog post, I want to highlight a fantastic local-to-Calgary supplier of quality olive oils and vinegars. If you haven't heard of Blue Door Oil & Vinegar yet, you are in for a treat. Their slogan hits the nail on the head: Your New Secret Ingredient. Their olive oil is top shelf, excellent and fresh quality. Part of their work is to educate consumers on the health benefits of olive oil, and the questions you need to ask in order to find out if the olive oil you are purchasing is of fresh and good quality. (Tom Mueller, a columnist with the New Yorker exposed the fraud that some olive oils are not what they appear to be back in 2011.) I assure you that the olive oil you purchase from The Blue Door are indeed true and pure, fresh and absolutely packed with micronutrients (antioxidants!) and macronutrients (healthy anti-inflammatory fats!). We're talking nutrient dense foods here folks, to fuel your very best selves!
I am so pleased to be a part of Blue Door Oil & Vinegar's Brand Ambassador Program. They are a family-owned local business that has at their heart providing YOU with the ingredients you need for nutritious and delicious home-made food. They sent me some tasty samples to try out and come up with some recipes. They have very graciously also offered a giveaway to lucky readers of good food + you! Read to the end of the post for the how-to on how to get your name in the hat for the giveaway.
Today's recipe is for a nutrient-dense salad dressing that serves as a great base for all kinds of salads. I whipped a batch of this Easy Homemade Mayo and added some curry powder, chopped celery and apples and served it on a bed of the greens that were still left in my garden as of last week, along with a few flower stragglers that hadn't yet succumbed to the frost. (That'd be borage and nasturtiums. Eat beauty! Eat flowers!) I added a tin of smashed sardines (the original tuna salad!) to increase the anti-inflammatory fats and offer a solid protein. I like to use sardines instead of tuna as they are lower on the food chain, and as a result have a lower level of heavy metal toxins. Plus, the brand I use is packed in tins that do not contain BPA. Hooray for nixing the endocrine disruptors!
This is NUTRIENT DENSITY.
EASY HOMEMADE NUTRIENT DENSE DRESSING
Based on a recipe found in Sally Fallon's book "Nourishing Traditions", the bible of all things WAPF
1 cup creme fraiche (recipe here)
2 egg yolks (from pastured eggs only! not conventionally raised chickens, to eliminate possible contamination from E.coli)
1/4 cup good quality olive oil (I chose the EVOO from Blue Door)
1/4 cup Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon of good quality sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
THE HOW-TO: Put all ingredients in a glass jar. Shake the jar until all is well combined. Tuck in the fridge until ready to eat. Will last in the fridge for 3-5 days.
VARIATIONS: swap out the Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic for another vinegar to change the flavour; same goes for the olive oil, you may want to choose a flavoured one here in order to make your guests ask you 'what IS that flavour?'; or try adding 2 teaspoons of curry powder and mash it in with a can of sardines as I did for a nutrient-dense lunch option; or chop fresh herbs like parsley and chives to make a yummy dip for veggies or crackers.
In their sample box they sent along for me to go play with my food, there was this packaged duo just waiting for a new home. Which means only one thing...
It's GIVEAWAY time!
Here's how to get your name in the hat: 'like' this post, and leave a comment on what you would do with this oil and vinegar combo if you were to win it. You can also leave word with a simple change you have implemented in your food regime lately that would qualify as increasing the nutrient density of your meals. Contest closes Friday November 6th at midnight, so get your entry in by commenting below before the bell tolls midnight.
Contest is open to everyone. Now go play with your food! (And thanks to Bruce and Courtney at Blue Door for providing us with good quality foods and flavours to play with!)