Thursday, March 4, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things.

When you go food shopping do you ever steal peeks into other people's carts, curious to see what they are buying?

I am super excited for next week's post because it's going to satisfy exactly this curiosity.

Peeking into other people's carts can be really educational. When I first decided I wanted to start to eat more healthfully, I would walk into the super market or health food store and feel totally overwhelmed. There are so many interesting and bizarre vegetables and products out there, it's hard to know where to begin. Sometimes I would steal a peek at someone else's cart just for some inspiration and a place to start.

This practice, plus learning from friends and of course reading lots of articles on food and health has helped me develop a solid list of go-to healthy products that I really adore. We're talking about the fun stuff here. The goodies that are beyond the grains, beans, veggies, etc.

One of my favorite parts of the 1st annual in. Wellness shake off, was the opportunity to introduce some of these foods to other people.

For a bit of a tropical escape, on one night I greeted the Shake Off girls with a young coconut for each of them!

Coconut water, which can only be found in Young Coconuts, has loads of nutrients, potassium and electrolytes. It's sweet and has a slightly almondy taste, and is low in calories. It's totally natural and has been dubbed "nature's sports drink". These days  pre-packaged Coconut Water has become quite a thing and can be found at many regular supermarkets and foods stores. It's a good option, but nothing compares to the real thing. Depending on where you live, finding a real young coconut may be tricky. Health food stores are a good place to start. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a coconut (by the way, you need to look for the smooth variety not the hairy ones - they don't have the water in them), then the trick becomes how the heck do you open them? Click on this link for a good tutorial. It's tricky and a little scary at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not that hard. Some juice bars carry coconuts as well, so ask around!

OK, here some of my other favorite things:

I've been boderline obsessed with Sardines lately. Mashed up on to a piece of hearty grain bread (toasted) with avocado... a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon... I'm sorry, but there is nothing better.

Sardines are a super food. These little fishies are very low in mercury, have heaps of Omega 3's and anti-oxidants, and are a great source of Vitamin D, which many Americans are deficient in (especially during this interminable winter). Oh, they also have calcium... iron....B vitamins... just eat 'em. Look for ones that are wild caught (farm raised fish are far less nutritional and are doused with antibiotics).  You can also put them in salads. They're a great alternative to tuna.

Next up we have my favorite vinegars: Apple Cider & Brown Rice:

Apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used as a folk remedy to cure all sorts of ailments, plus is believed to help with weight loss. Some new research indicates it does have positive benefits in the treatment of diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss. (*note these are preliminary studies and more research is needed). I don't know much about it, but on a recent Oprah show Dr. Oz stated that apple cider vinegar can actually help to lower the glycemic index of your food (the glycemic index (GI) measures a foods impact on blood sugar levels. Foods that break down quickly into glucose in the blood have high GI, where as foods that take longer to break down have low GI)

Plus, it's just super yummy and great on salads.

I sometimes make a potent health drink out of it - 1 full glass of water, two tablespoons vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of Agave nectar to sweeten it. B thinks it tastes and smells disgusting, but I actually really like it.

Brown Rice vinegar is another great option (not for the health drink). Make sure to buy one that isn't loaded with salt, sugar and/or corn syrup.

Rice vinegar really changed my life. It's my go-to vinegar for salads or I sprinkle it with a little olive oil over some steamed greens and vegetables.

B is a peanut-butter-aholic. Not a bad thing, but you do need to be careful about what kind you buy and how you keep it. For a little while B and I had something we dubbed The Nut Butter Wars. I would buy raw almond butter one week, he would buy Skippy the next. Finally we compromised on this guy:


There should be a maximum of 2 ingredients in your peanut butter: peanuts & salt - or preferably just one - peanuts. No sugar. No added oils. And peanut butter should be refrigerated as it's prone to mold.

My newest obsession is with this:

Lacto-fermentation is what happens when the starches and sugars in vegetables and fruit convert to lactic acid by a friendly bacteria.

This process creates a tangy, delicious flavor. This is an ancient tradition done to preserve food, and it does much more than that:

“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”"
Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, pg 89
(excerpt from 

It's great with some brown rice and veggies. I also like to put it on sandwiches.

Finally, I love salty crunchy snacks, so I usually pick up a package of some sort of brown rice crisp.

Ingredients: Brown rice, tamari, seaweed.

Not bad! A great substitute for chips and they come in lots of fun flavors.

For more shopping inspiration, stay tuned for next week's post... the 1st edition of Cart & Soul!

OK, so you're local health food store is on fire, you only have time to grab one thing, what is it?


  1. I rarely use salt, however, I would definitely grab Gomasio which is a mixture of organic dry roasted sesame seeds and sea salt. It also comes with sesame seeds, sea salt and garlic.
    Its a wonderful low sodium, low fat condiment and it tends to thicken sauces as well. I use the Eden Organic brand. Jan

  2. Hi Nora...I hope all is well. Thanks for introducing me to rice vinegar...I love it!

  3. In B's defense. It is not that he (we) are peanut-butter-aholics. We were just raised that 'a spoon' is one of the appropriate ways of consuming the product.