Hey Patch, Let’s Chat

PP: Why do you grow your own food? 

JW: To my core, I am a learner. I love to experience new things and put knowledge into action. Over the last year, I have been developing my kitchen skillz and I have learned a lot about local food. I like growing my own food, because I know exactly what goes into it! Water and love, baby!

Read More: Patch Planter’s Blog

52 weeks in the kitchen

One thing I learned in 2012 is my way around the kitchen. I have always known the basics, but never cared enough – or spent the time learning about the vast amount of ingredients and spices that exist in the world! The focus this past year has been on clean eating.

Clean eating doesn’t mean eating carrots, broccoli and everything that tastes like cardboard. Instead it means focusing on whole, natural foods. Examples would be fruit, vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates. The goal is to stay away from processed sugar, bad fats — and anything that is manmade. In simple, it means paying attention to what you put in your body and fueling with good eats.

Over the holidays I was chatting with a coworker about routine, healthy eating and learning to cook. Before you know it our baby was born — and by that, I mean my first 2013 goal — and a fun little project!

Introducing… 52 weeks in the kitchen

1 guy {his name is Alessandro}, 1 girl {that would be me}, 52 ingredients {check them out here}.

The plan is 1 recipe a week till the end of the year!

52 weeks in the kitchen

 

Over the last few months, I have really enjoyed my time in the kitchen. I love to experiment, cook for others — and plan meals for the week {ughhhh, how housewife of me}. It brings me some sort of weird peace — somewhat like running does… well except for when I drink wine and cook, that’s a different story. ;)

So anyways, 52 weeks begins now. First up, yams!

Nourish Your Body

Today has been hell-ish.

Started with a guy telling me I’m a selfish bitch and finished with me locking myself out of my office building … and condo. Ordeal. Bah.

Hammering out a heated post right now is a waste of the minimal energy I left. :) Instead I’ve been meaning to write a post on healthy eating and all that I’ve learned about food since my trip to Costa Rica earlier this year.

So deep breath, here we go…

In Costa Rica I met Joanne Gerrard Young, an amazing raw food chef — and personal chef to Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady! I enrolled in a 2 day raw food cooking class while in Santa Teresa and soaked up so much knowledge. Joanne is all about incorporating healthy living / eating / being into your life. There is no need to hold yourself to crazy {and hard to achieve diets}, instead focus on living {By the way she is absolutely stunning. Stunning. Beautiful person inside and out}.

Treat your body like a temple and fill it full of the goodness it deserves. She gave us lots of examples of easy switches.

For example:

  • Choose butter over margarine
  • Choose sea salt over table salt
  • Choose extra virgin olive oil over olive oil
  • Choose almond milk over milk
  • Choose MAPLE SYRUP {corrected by Joanne!} or raw honey over sugar

Easy! Make those switches now!

A few things I have added to my diet since attending Joanne’s class: kale, dates, nutritional yeast, spirulina, agave syrup, tumeric and lots and lots of nuts {macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews}. You need to know about the benefits of germinating nuts, read up.

What I love about Joanne’s style of teaching is that she made it easy. She was a real life normal person and knew how to take the stress out of the kitchen so that you can just focus on the food!! I definitely think this has been most healthy year of eating in my life. I didn’t eat terrible before, but I now make every effort to cook at home and I’m very aware of what I put in my body.

I’ve learned the power of a substitute. Who needs a Twix bar when you can make chocolate-avocado pudding? Who needs a creamy caesar dressing from a bottle when you can make an absolutely ‘to die for’ raw caesar dressing at home? Who needs a power bar when you can make energy balls? I’ve learned how eating the right food can turn around how you’re feeling {and vice versa}. Joanne told us about the uses of ‘Grapefruit Seed Extract’ — add it to a smoothie or glass of water when you’re feeling blech — and you’ll have a magical recovery. I’ve become grocery store smart. I head straight for the outer edges of the store, moving from the fresh flowers to the health food section to the nuts and then to fruits & veggies — yes, sometimes I creep into the aisles for almond milk, balsamic vinegar or chickpeas. :) I’ve learned to read labels! No not for calories {gawd, no}… instead to see what kind of nasty is in a product. Almond butter? That better be damn almonds. Pineapple? That better be damn pineapple. Greek yogurt is the toughest one in my opinion. So many yogurt companies have gone ‘greek’ and they’re just loaded with sugar. I’m committed to knowing what I’m putting in my body {even if it’s a Kit Kat}.

I’ve always just assumed people are looking out for me — yes, restaurants, grocery stores, my family, friends… I’ve assumed that everyone is thinking about what they are providing and consuming. Seems a little naive saying that out loud! I’ve learned that the only one can control what you put in your mouth is YOU. I don’t believe the focus should be on creating a pure body temple, only filled with best of the best healthy eats, instead I think it’s about being aware. No different than learning a new hobby, sport or stress relief technique — your body plays into your day, week and life. You’ve gotta pay attention to it and continually learn on how you can keep it nourished.

The goal isn’t to turn psycho and live by your diet. :) Just know that if you have down some poutine, you’ll probably feel like a sluggish beast in 2 hours.

Vegan mania

Often people ask me if I’m vegan. Why? Likely because I talk about raw food, gluten free and vegetarian food quite a bit. Truth be told, I was raised without red meat or pork in my diet. I remember having a McDonalds burger when I was drunk in early university years {btw I vomited everywhere}, but otherwise don’t remember having an ounce of red meat in my lifetime. As for pork, I find it disgusting… but I’ve been known to have a piece of crispy bacon every now and again. {I obviously pretend that it’s not pork.} I’ve grown up on a chicken and fish/seafood diet, but I’ve always enjoyed veggies the most. I used to eat quite a bit of chicken, but in 2010, I went to a Tony Robbins talk in Chicago — and I was forever changed. He showed horrific videos of how chickens are raised and the disgusting hormones that are put in them — and I’ve never looked at chicken the same way since. Fun fact: Chicken shouldn’t have a taste. If it has a taste, it’s nasty crap in it. Disgusting. {Note: I will likely have Butter Chicken — and enjoy it — at our team lunch at work tomorrow}. I’ve tried to keep up the chicken intake for the last few years, as I’ve been heavily iron-deficient since the beginning of time and I figured I need to up my protein. Now I’ve learned that you really shouldn’t force yourself to consume things you don’t like. Try new foods sure… but focus on enjoying and experiencing food. Should be a good process, not a bad one! If you don’t want to eat chicken, then don’t!

Am I vegan? No. I think I could be, but I really like cheese a lot.

Am I vegetarian? No. I definitely could be, but I sure do love halibut, crab cakes and fish tacos.

I don’t fit into a category. I eat vegan a few days a week, vegetarian most of the time, a raw diet every so often and sometimes I just eat pancakes smothered in butter with crispy bacon. That’s life and I’m ok with it.

Small changes and slow changes can have a huge impact on your diet {no need to start drinking cayenne pepper and lemon}.

Eat local food

The rage is organic. We know that, we’ve been hearing it for years. Instead of focusing on the $4.99 organic kale, start learning about where your food comes from. Where was it grown? How did it get to the store? In British Columbia, we have organizations like “Get Local BC” that make that learning even easier! Check out this chart that shows what fruits and vegetables are in season for our region — so handy. The Farmers Markets in Vancouver are amazing — and they run all winter long!

Make green smoothies 

Start your day with a smoothie. Fill your body with nutrients and I promise you’ll feel like a million bucks. Smoothies are an excellent way to get a whole lot of fruit & vegetable servings in you without doing a lot of work.

A few tips to make your smoothie-filled life easier!

  • Freeze ripe bananas. Peel and break into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Lay the chunks on a baking sheet and freeze for up to an hour. Store frozen bananas chunks in an airtight freezer bag.
  • Buy fresh berries in large quantities {from gems like Harvest Union} and freeze. Follow baking sheet method.
  • Freeze greens! Yes, you can do that. Buy a bag of spinach and just throw it in the freezer. It breaks off easy when it’s frozen.
  • Buy a Magic Bullet — such a time saver on weekdays.

My favourite smoothie go-to’s {not all at once of course}… greens {spinach, kale, parsley}, fruit {blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, pineapple, grapefruit, mango, avocado},  greek yogurt, almond milk, hemp protein and omega oils!

Drink loads of water

Something that I have learned via training / running / all that jazz is the importance of being hydrated. You know you’re hydrated when you pee clear. You know how much water you need to drink to be hydrated? A lot. Water is good for your heart, head, skin and digestion. Drink it.

I could go on and on… oh and by the way, nutritional yeast on popcorn… amazing.

If you’re ever in Costa Rica, check out The Healing Cuisine for cleanses and workshops {absolutely fantastic}. Joanne also posts great healthy eating tidbits on her Facebook page. For example, these dynamo juice recipes {pink beauty, snow white, green monster}, a how to for ginger champagne and the benefits of mangoes!

Pinterest has tons of great recipes — who knew eh? A few food blogs I love are Post Punk Kitchen, My Darling Lemon Thyme and Smitten Kitchen.

It’s now 2:30am. Debating a slice of apple pie from the farmers market before bed. Best decision, right?

Take care of your body. It will thank you. Promise.

trademark drama

I’ve been in California for the last 10 days… and I’m behind, behind on so many things. Apparently Canada is having an election. :/ The Royal Wedding is this week… :/ The Canucks have been struggling… and are down to game seven this week… :/ Oh and my friend Dan is being threatened with legal action.

Often rage motivates my blogging and tonight it one of those times.

Through the wonderful world of Twitter, I have had the opportunity to become friends with a lovely young man named Dan Clapson. Dan is the General Manager of a local independent (and amazing) coffee shop, a Freelance Writer for Canada’s Food Network, and a do-gooder in the Calgary community.

In November 2010, Dan established Kick The KD; formal launch took place in February 2011.

What is Kick The KD?

Kick The KD is a pilot cooking program in association with the University of Calgary’s Students’ Union. Kick The KD is aimed at local students who are interested in expanding their culinary horizons. We understand that ‘quick and easy’ food is a perfect fit for the busy student life, but not everything that’s simple has to come out of a box or take-out container.
Dan called out to the student community to apply to be part of the program. Students were required to be interested in learning more about cooking, available over the 10 weeks to follow and have access to a kitchen – oh and they needed to be able to laugh and have a good time!

On April 18, 2011, Dan Clapson received a letter from Kraft Canada indicating that he was using Kraft Dinner’s trademark and that it was to be removed from the program and all marketing materials by May 2, 2011.

In the days that followed, he appearned on CBC’s The Eyeopener and the story went public across Canaada.  On April 20, Dan blogged about the legal situation and next steps. He posted a formal press release and that he would take the required steps in changing the name of the program by Kraft Canada’s required date.

A few of the blog comments that I loved:

“It has often been referred to as Yellow Death..YD…not sure how popular this class would be. But hey, I still eat this stuff.” – Lib, April 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm [Kick the YD… love it!!]

“1. Kick the “Suing Me Because They Are A Multi-Billion Dollar Corporation That Makes Severely Unhealthy Macaroni and Cheese” Dinners Class aka KSMBTAAMDCTMSUMCDC (trademark the initials so you can sue if someone uses it). 2. Taking Angie’s suggestion a little further: Kick Kraft Krap aka KKK (although now you might be sued by another less reputable organization).” – Retrodivot, April 21, 2011 at 10:04 am [Ha ha…]

In my opinion, there are two issues at hand trademark law and education on healthy eating.

Trademark

Kraft has trademarked KD and Kraft Dinner. Alright fine. They win. Hooray! :/

Over the last few months, I have seen similar situations happen with a few companies. Whether a startup organization or a small non-profit, you think of an idea, you google it, and you generally put it into action. You snatch up domains, social media handles, and build your brand… rarely, you trademark. Why? A whole lot of hassle and money.

If Dan had known that the “KD” of Kick The KD was trademarked, I doubt he would have gone with the name. The look though… likely. The similar font though… maybe. Does Kraft really own macaroni noodles painted orange? Gawd, I hope not.

How do we ensure that small businesses don’t get assaulted with trademark law going forward? Education first and foremost. Education on the how to’s of trademarks and copyrights, when to take a risk and not trademark, and how to rebrand [and next steps] if/when the multi-million dollar company mails a registered letter.

But what else? I honestly don’t know.

How can you protect a brand while still having a heart?

By the way… Canada’s trademark database can be found here.

Healthy Eating Education

Forget about the actual name of the program… Dan Clapson and his 15 students are doing good in the community. They are attempting to change the way university students eat and incorporate healthy food into their lifestyle.

Whether Kraft Canada would like to admit it or not, the decision they made this past week was negative PR. Was forcing a name change the right thing to do? No. Should they have handled the situation delicately? Likely.

Kick The KD is a community initiative.

Kick The KD is creating waves in Calgary’s foodie industry similar to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution in the US. Not surprisingly, Jamie’s program has been hugely controversial. Is that a good thing? Absolutely. The US needs to get a handle on their obesity rates and portion control.

To quote Jamie Oliver:

“This Food Revolution is about saving America’s health by changing the way people eat. It’s not just a TV show; it’s a movement for you, your family and your community. If you care about your kids and their future, take this revolution and make it your own. Educate yourself about food and cooking, and find out what your child is eating at school. Make only a few small changes and magical things will happen. Switching from processed to fresh food will not only make you feel better, it will also add years to your life.”

Kraft Canada could have asked to be included in Dan’s program. They could have sponsored or supported it in some way shape or form. Why didn’t they? Kraft Canada is in business for the dollars, not for do gooding in the community, nor for supporting healthy eating. If Kraft had got involved with the program, they would have to wholeheartedly admit that their product was crap.

Tonight I looked up the brands under Kraft Foods and the countries they distribute to… 151 to be exact. All I can say is whoa.  Highlights… Cheezwhiz, Cool Whip, Kool-Aid, Kraft Dinner, Lunchables, and Velveeta. The closest thing I could find to healthy is Cracker Barrel cheese.

Way of the future? Likely… unless we start doing something about it. Start talking, learning, and challenging society’s norms.

Pay attention to what you put in your body.

Don’t get all neurotic over diet and weight, just pay attention.

Feed your body the nutrients it deserves.

It’s truly your powerhouse.

Kick The KD [rebranded to a new name May 2011 ;)]… will be offered at both The University of Calgary and Mount Royal University in Fall 2011.

Kudos to the Calgary Co-op, SteamWhistle Brewery, Yelp.ca and the universities involved for supporting this program!

Supplementary articles on the trials & tribulations of Kick the KD can be found here: CBC, The Consumerist, and The Globe & Mail.

Thoughts or comments? Email Dan at kickthekd@dansgoodside.com or post your love below.