Fall Class with Sunnyside Holistic Group

Recently, I joined a wellness center called the Sunnyside Holistic Group. I will be meeting with clients and teaching classes at this new location. On Monday, October 25th, from 6 PM to 8 PM, I will be teaching a nutrition class in the community room of this new location. Please read further if you are interested in participating in the class!

 

The Necessary Evils: Sugar, Salt and Fat

 Are sugar, salt and fat indulgences or are they necessary to life? Do you want to learn about eating real food that actually supports the health of your body, and also tastes good? Are you tired of being on a diet that simply does not work? Part nutrition education and part cooking demonstration, students will learn how to eat to maintain good health and vitality.  A food demonstration with samples will be provided based on recipes and meal plans created by the instructor. Students will leave with a packet of information to assist in their transition to eating healthier traditional food.

When:  Monday, October 25th, 6 PM to 8 PM

Where:  Sunnyside Holistic Group, 2450 SE Belmont

Contact:  Traci Goodrich, NTP

503.233.7064 or etlnutrition@gmail.com      

Cost:  $35  Class size is limited. Registration is required.

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The Cultivation of Local Sprouts

Picture of  Jonah Fertig, cooperative owner and co-founder of Local Sprouts Cooperative
Mission Statement of the Local Sprouts Cooperative:
“Local Sprouts focuses on using local and organic ingredients to build connections to our community, to grow sustainably, to support Maine farmers, to protect our environment and to build our local economy. We are a worker-owned cooperative that believes in creating a democratic and equitable business to serve our workers and our community.”
AN ALTERNATIVE BUSINESS MODEL
I must admit, the idealist in me was really excited to hear about the existence of the Local Sprouts Cooperative in Portland, Maine. In a nutshell, the mission of Local Sprouts is to provide the community with access to quality local food, while at the same time, serve as a positive example of an alternative business model where workers have ownership in the business. Currently, there are just three worker-owners and numerous volunteers. Worker-owners are able to participate in this business model after a 3-month review and are given the option of joining the cooperative after 6 months with a modest investment, work-trade or a combination of the two.
Local Sprouts is the first Community Supported Kitchen in Maine, and their business model is based on San Francisco’s successful Community Supported Kitchen Three Stone Hearth. As a worker-owned business, Local Sprouts also reminds me of many of the worker-owned cafe collectives in Portland, Oregon, such as the Red and Black Cafe, and the now defunct Back to Back Cafe and Redwing Coffee and Baking. Upon a recent visit, I had the opportunity to speak with cooperative owner and co-founder Jonah Fertig about the evolution of the Local Sprouts Cooperative.
FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS 
In its early stages, the cooperative didn’t have a cafe space, but they did have a certified kitchen and did catering for area nonprofits and served as a community supported kitchen where members of the community were invited to invest $100 and were give $110 credit to order from rotating weekly menus. Member were able to order online and do pickups at the Public Market House.The cooperative used the pre-order system for about a year and a half, before they decided to open a cafe. Jonah Fertig said, “It’s about how to develop and support your community. What does your community want?” Apparently the community wanted a cafe.

EVOLUTION OF A BUSINESS
Fertig talked at length about the outpouring of volunteer efforts from the community to create the space, boasting that over 200+ volunteers participated in the build-out of the cafe–and it shows. The cafe itself is beautifully designed. Clearly, a lot of attention went into creating this cheerful and inviting space, and there are many  artful touches–from the mosaic of a tree at the entrance to the handsome hand-crafted wooden furniture that still maintains the integrity of being a tree. The space has a very organic feeling. Fertig explains that the majority of capital for the creation of the cafe was raised from private donations, CSK memberships and local low-interest loans.
Now, the cafe has a menu with something for everyone, pleasing herbivores, omnivores and carnivores alike. Fertig claims that as much as 80-90% of the food is locally-sourced and the cafe uses food from many area-farms and the business strives to support local agricultural and conservation efforts in the region. Some businesses Local Sprouts supports include Turkey Hill Farm, Freedom Farm, Fishbowl Farm, Kate’s Butter and Mainely Poultry to name a few that were listed on the cooperative’s website.
THE COOPERATIVE AS A COMMUNITY RESOURCE
The cooperative has a strong history of providing food for events and working with area nonprofits by either donating or offering discounted food when possible. Fertig explains that Local Sprouts is interested in being a resource for area school and nonprofits. The cooperative also offers classes and teaches people to cook using local food to increase awareness about local food.
Fertig also talked about the inspiration for a community space and the desire to serve as positive cooperative business model for the community. Fertig explained, “the cooperative wants to demonstrate a different system, where food is localized and people can make a real difference on a global scale.”
INVEST IN YOUR COMMUNITY
As a native of Maine, I can’t help but be intrigued by how the food culture in Maine has evolved in the past 10 years. My memories of food from childhood consist of lots of haddock chowder, fried seafood and french fries, and sweets galore including blueberry pie, whoopie pies, strawberry shortcake, no-bake cookies, ice cream and fudge. Now, cities like Portland, Maine are rolling with the times, connecting people to healthy local, regional and organic food. The importance of buying food from your own region has become crucial. So do yourself a favor by eating better and supporting your community. The Local Sprouts Cooperative is just one business in Portland, Maine that is doing just that. The food system is circular and by supporting businesses that support local food the money stays in the community and supports the local economy.
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Community Supported Kitchens and Public Demand

“Peasant food has been the smartest, thriftiest, and most nourishing food available to us. Simple, seasonal, and regional foods are what we are meant to live on.”
Tressa Yellig
chef and proprietor of Community Supported Kitchen (CSK), Salt, Fire and Time

The local food culture in Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon has a thriving local food culture. It’s no wonder, with a 12-month grow season and some of the most fertile soil in the country. Local farmers benefit from the supply and demand created by the general public. Renegade chefs are flocking in droves to the Willamette Valley, to be part of a food revolution that offers quality ingredients to the local consumer. With a variety of purveyors to choose from, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Portland Farmers Market offerings abound, providing chefs with the raw materials to support a population of people who are demanding local, seasonal and organic food.
It is the existence of this local food culture and the support of the regional agricultural system that drew local chef and proprietor of Community Supported Kitchen (CSK), Salt, Fire and Time to the area. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Tressa Yellig about community supported kitchens, how she got her start and why people should be supporting the four CSK’s that are in existence.
CSK defined
Yellig explains, the technical definition of community supported kitchen is, “a community scale model for food preparation” and that this is the only common link between the four community supported kitchens that exist in the United States today. As sole proprietor of Salt, Fire and Time, with a handful of volunteers, Yellig has her hands full cooking nutrient-rich food for 30+ families, teaching classes, and hosting events, not to mention the recent addition of a low-key cafe that is volunteer-run. The cafe offers a small selection of simple, traditionally-prepared foods that nourish. Think of a plate with dense bread and homemade butter, flavorful sauerkraut with texture and an egg made your way and you have the idea.
Yellig’s influences, and how she got her start as a chef
Yellig credits her grandmother, who was a traditional German chef, as among her first culinary influences. Yellig claims that it was not a participatory process in the kitchen, as her grandmother maintained secrecy, and did not divulge trade-secrets, as family recipes were a prized possession. Yellig also credits her uncle, who was a farmer, as a significant influence.
Although Yellig acknowledges her family experience as playing a significant role in the development of her food philosophy, she also comments on the process of educating herself, acknowledging the Slow Foods movement and the Weston A. Price Foundation, as fundamental sources of information, and Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook.
In New York, Yellig complemented her self-education by working for herbalists and attending the Natural Gourmet Institute. Yellig explains that she had the desire to do work that was healing, and at one point, thought about becoming a naturopathic doctor before attending the Natural Gourmet Institute.
Although the Natural Gourmet Institute, in some ways, formalized her education as a chef, Yellig recognized that she really had already learned the fundamentals of cooking well before she attended this school, and credits her personal experiences, mentors and the learning that she did on her own, as being a substantial part of her education. The Natural Gourmet Institute provided her with some valuable contacts and the opportunity to intern at Three Stone Hearth and work with Natural Gourmet Institute alumni and mentor, Jessica Prentice.
In the trenches
From New York, Yellig headed west to do an internship with Three Stone Hearth, a community supported kitchen in Berkley, California, and the first of its kind. Positively influenced by the Full Moon feast series, established by Jessica Prentice, Yellig was able to learn by watching and participating in a large scale operation that provided feasts for 50 to 100 people at a time. The labor was volunteer-based, and the business model supported 5 worker-owners full time. Yellig explained that the start-up money for this business was established with private donation-based funding and the great success of this business was in the excellent reputation of the worker-owners, and the community-based resources the chefs were able to access. According to Yellig, this cooperative was not only able to pay back $100,000 of borrowed money but able to pay themselves a salary within 1 year’s time, which is incredible for any business in their first year.
From here, Yellig went on to do formal paid work as an Executive Chef in Mendocino, leaving her volunteer kitchen manager position with Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley. As Executive Chef for this restaurant, community-minded Yellig worked with local purveyors and farmers to create meals for the public. These connections in the community led her to become the manager of the local farmers market and to become better connected with the agricultural community.
All points head north
From California, Yellig witnessed the migration of great chefs as they ran to the promised land. As a smaller city, with an already thriving food scene, Portland became popular. Access to local food, was a public demand. In similar fashion, Yellig chose Portland to be the location of Salt, Fire and Time because of the already established community support, and existing scene that was largely supported by the public. Yellig also noted the lower cost of living and the lack of taxation as being incentives to move.
Existing Community Supported Kitchens

To sustain CSK’s as a movement, the public will have to be involved. Yellig invites the consumer to participate in the “life cycle of the business” by supporting 1 of the 4 CSK’s in existence, and to engage in a community movement. If you want to get to know know Salt, Fire and Time stop by the kitchen and make yourself known.
Check out a CSK near you:
Salt, Fire and Time (Portland, OR)
Sweet Deliverance(New York, NY)
Three Stone Hearth (Berkeley, CA)
Some reasons why you should support your local CSK
The food purchased through a CSK is often the best use for your “eating out” food dollars.
The food purchased through a CSK is nutrient-rich, meaning, you are getting your vitamins and minerals, without using a supplement.
The food purchased through a CSK is traditional, and good for what ails you. Just ask your Grandmother, who had the right idea by placing sauerkraut beside the sausage on your plate.
The food purchased through a CSK is local, seasonal, and organic, thus it supports regional agriculture, the systems of the body as well as your local community.
The food purchased through a CSK supports your own good health and that of your family.
The food purchased through a CSK saves you time, which benefits the working public.
The food purchased through a CSK saves you money. As businesses, CSK’s benefit from wholesale discounts; a soup that would cost $34 dollars to make at home, only costs you $16 from a CSK. Your food dollars go into long term food costs, with better quality ingredients that would cost you 2x’s as much in the store.
And last but not least, the food purchased through a CSK allows you the opportunity to support revolutionary changes that are occurring in regard to food culture. As a consumer, you are demanding a higher quality product, thus making other food providers stand up and take notice, and supply the same quality ingredients. The principles of supply and demand are simple: as a consumer, if you demand high quality health-supporting food, you will get it, and at a cheaper price, because of the competitive market we live in.

Food for Flight


I don’t like my food to come in plastic shrink-wrap or to be served on TV dinner-style trays. So, what’s a girl in flight to do? Last November, I arrived at the airport prepared. I was scheduled for a flight to the east coast, and with a parcel of groceries in hand–I was committed. I was not going to be purchasing any small, over-priced meals that were potentially warmed in a microwave. In hand, I had: a jar of crunch peanut butter, several pieces of whole fruit and vegetables, cottage cheese, raw hard cheese, avocado, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and dried meat. I was so pleased with my selection of nutrient-rich foods that, in theory, was going to last me the entire flight.

My bubble was burst as my parcel of food was being scanned for potential explosives or liquid content. My unopened jar of peanut butter and cottage cheese were pulled from the bag immediately. The attendant said, “These are considered liquids, you will have to throw these away”. I tried to argue that ground-peanuts are not considered a liquid, and that if the attendant would actually look at the cottage cheese in his hand, he would discover that it was actually a “dry-curd” cottage cheese (if such a thing actually exists). To my chagrin, my efforts to hold on to my food failed due to standard procedure.

A women looked at me skeptically as I tried to give her the unopened food, but it seemed shameful not to try. In the end, the best I could do was leave the unopened containers on the edge of a trashcan and board the plane hoping that the food would be eaten by someone.

This is one of the many reasons I do not enjoy flying. At the airport, personal freedom is restricted, and one’s choices are limited. This interaction started me thinking about how I might be better-prepared with my own food for flight the next time I travel. If I view the restrictions in service and the limitations as a challenge it will be interesting to note what I can get away with bringing or making myself.

This is a partial list of reasons that I am not interested in eating airplane food to begin with:

  1.  it is expensive
  2.  the size is small
  3.  there is excessive packaging
  4.  the food is not fresh
  5.  the food is often microwaved (no thanks)
  6.  the food is of poor-quality (not organic, not sustainably-sourced, not sustainably-raised, etc.)
  7.  the food leaves me hungry (what’s the point of eating, if you are still hungry in the end?)
  8.  the food tastes bad (who wants to buy food that tastes bad to begin with?)

Instead of eating airplane food, I’ve decided to commit to creating my own meals while on the plane with the nutrient-rich ingredients I bring myself. If you think picnic you have the idea. On this particular flight, and with the ingredients I had left, I was actually able to make a simple and yet tasty guacamole, that would have been considered a “liquid” had I mashed the avocado before boarding the plane. Not bad, for some of my food being spurned by airport attendants!

Guacamole recipe:

2 whole avocados

1/4 red onion

1/4 red pepper

a thin-skinned lemon

salt, pepper, cayenne to taste

Directions:

  1. Use the plastic fork or plastic knife that is provided by the airline to cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit and scoop out the avocado center. Mash the avocado content in the plastic water cup that is provided.
  2. Take out some cut onion and pepper pieces that you sliced the evening before, and mix them in with the avocado.
  3. With a plastic knife, take a whole thin-skinned lemon and slice off a section (not as difficult as you may think), squeeze the desired amount of lemon juice into your guacamole. You can use the rest of the lemon to flavor your water. If you do not have a lemon on hand, you might ask one of the flight attendants if they have any lemon or lime, as these are often served with drinks (it is, at the very least, a whole food).
  4. Mix in the salt, pepper and cayenne you brought along. Your guacamole is ready to eat!
  5. Enjoy alone or use as a dip for vegetables, tortillas, or anything else you brought to spread it on. I spread mine on some tortilla chips and added a little raw cheese!

As it stands, I will be leaving for the east coast in a few weeks, this time, I will be better-prepared and more creative with what I make. What else is there to do while on a plane for many hours?

Copyright©2009 Eat To Live Nutrition. All rights reserved.

Make the Commitment, Transition to Eating Whole Foods in 2010

I will be teaching a class about the fundamentals of nutrition and transitioning to a whole foods way of eating this Saturday, January 23rd, from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM at the Northwest Women’s Fitness Club. The class is free for members and I believe it is only $15 for non-members to get a day pass. Call the front desk at 503.287.6755 to register for the class! Space is somewhat limited.

This is a small blurb about the class:

“A busy lifestyle doesn’t have to lead to poor eating habits, weight gain and frustration. Instead of committing to a fad diet for the new year, commit to a new way of eating by learning about real food that supports the health of your body. This class will teach you the fundamentals of whole foods nutrition. Everyone is an individual. Learn more about what your body needs to feel better, look younger and have more energy for yourself and to share with others in 2010!”

Date: January 23rd

Time: 1:00 to 2:30

Location: Northwest Women’s Fitness Club, 2714 NE Broadway St., Portland, OR

Amount: free for members, $15 for a day pass for non-members

 

Winter Nutrition Classes 2010

Sugar Addiction: Trouble-shooting a Problem of Epidemic Proportion

 If you were to list addictive substances in order, sugar would be at the top of the list, and part of this reason is access–we are surrounded by it! I know that in Portland, Oregon, you cannot throw a stone without landing on an artisan cupcake. Sugar is also in many prepared foods that you might not consider to be sweet. This class will focus on strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar people consume in order to avoid larger health concerns such as hypoglycemia and diabetes. In this class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources that they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

  • Students will learn strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar they consume.
  • Students will learn about the glycemic index and the glycemic load of food and how carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels.
  • Students will learn how to “recalibrate” their blood sugar levels.
  • Students will learn how to avoid being part of the epidemic that is diabetes.
  • Students will sample foods that support blood sugar regulation, and leave the class with a packet of information that includes: a sample 5-day meal plan, recipes and recommendations that balance blood sugar.

LOCATION:

Common Ground Wellness Center

FLANDERS HOUSE, 2926 NE Flanders St., Portland, OR

DATE: Tuesday, January 19th

TIME: 6:00-7:30

COST: $60

 

CONTACT:

Traci Goodrich, NTP, 503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

Low-thyroid Solutions for the Next Generation of Women

Difficulties with thyroid function often run in the family, and by far, more female than male members of the family are affected. Yet, when it comes to nutritionally supporting women with low-thyroid function, knowledge is power. If there is a history of thyroid dysfunction in the family there are things you can do to lessen the severity of the problem and provide the nutritional support that is needed for the thyroid to function properly. Students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

  • Students will learn which foods support healthy thyroid function and which ones do not.
  • Students will learn how to sleuth out barriers to thyroid function.
  • Students will learn about some alternative methods to improve thyroid function.
  • Student will learn how to improve their energy level and metabolism, as well as how to control food cravings.
  • Students will sample foods that support thyroid function. Students will leave from the class with a packet of information that includes: a sample 5-day meal plan, recipes and recommendations that support healthy thyroid function.

LOCATION:

Common Ground Wellness Center

FLANDERS HOUSE, 2926 NE Flanders St., Portland, OR

DATE: Date: Monday, February 15th

TIME: 6:00-7:30

COST: $60

 

CONTACT:  

Traci Goodrich, NTP, 503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

Supporting the Nutrition Needs of the Post-partum Mother

Providing nutrition for two is not as easy as one may think. The nutrition needs of a newborn baby are significant, but so are the nutrition needs of the mother, who may be lacking many essential vitamins and minerals as a result of providing nutrients to a growing fetus for 9 months. This class will discuss the post-partum nutrition needs of breast-feeding mothers, as well as mothers who are trying to get their bodies back on track after pregnancy and breast-feeding. Students will leave with a packet of information that includes: a 5-day meal plan that supports nutrition needs, recipes and nutritional recommendations for the new mother.

  • Students will learn about foods that support the baby’s health as well as the mother’s health during the first year.
  • Students will learn about vitamins and minerals that are important for the health of a newborn baby.
  • Students will learn about vitamins that have been depleted from the mother during pregnancy and what steps to take to restore them.
  • Students will learn how to get their bodies back on track, once breast-feeding ends.
  • Students will sample foods that support the needs of the post-partum mother and leave from the class with a packet of information that includes: a sample 5-day meal plan, recipes and recommendations that support the mother and newborn baby.

LOCATION:

Common Ground Wellness Center

FLANDERS HOUSE, 2926 NE Flanders St., Portland, OR

DATE: Date: Monday, March 1st

TIME: 6:00-7:30

COST: $60

 

CONTACT:

Traci Goodrich, NTP, 503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

Support Fertility and Reproductive Health Naturally

Infertility is a costly problem. Americans spend billions of dollars each year to enhance their fertility with fertility drugs and invasive medical services that enhance reproduction. Is there another way? Nutrition plays a significant role in an individual’s ability to conceive. This class will provide students with useful information to enhance fertility naturally with the very foods they consume. Students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

  • Students will learn which foods provide the nutritional foundation that helps to support fertility.
  • Students will learn how to stabilize blood sugar and control food cravings.
  • Students will learn how to sleuth out barriers to fertility.
  • Students will learn how to improve their digestion and immune system function (two potential barriers to fertility).
  • Students will sample foods that support fertility and leave from the class with a packet of information that includes: a sample 5-day meal plan, recipes and recommendations that support fertility.

LOCATION:

Common Ground Wellness Center

FLANDERS HOUSE, 2926 NE Flanders St., Portland, OR

DATE: Date: Tuesday, March 16th

TIME: 6:00-7:30

COST: $60

 

CONTACT: 

Traci Goodrich, NTP, 503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

 

Why vegetarians should not be eating Tofurky for Thanksgiving

I was a guest nutritionist on the KBOO Community Radio Food Show on November 18th. I talked about why vegetarians should not be eating Tofurkyor other soy products that are not properly fermented for Thanksgiving.

Follow this link to listen to the show which is called “Thanksgiving Special: Tofurky, Oregon Cranberries and The Adaptable Feast”.

Eat To Live Nutrition on KBOO Community Radio

I will have a 15 minute segment on theKBOO Community Radio Food Show on November 18th from 11 AM to 12 PM. I will be discussing why vegetarians should not be making or eating tofurky for Thanksgiving and what they should make and eat instead. Tune into 90.7 FM to check it out!

Nutrition and Cooking Classes

EAT TO LIVE NUTRITION

Healing the body with nutritional therapy and a culinary re-education

Traci Goodrich, NTP                                                                                                                                                                             

As a nutritional therapist and cook who emphasizes the use of nutrient-dense foods and traditional food preparation methods, my goal is to help people find time to prepare meals and to educate people about foods that support and maintain their vitality. Knowledge is power and with the right information, people can heal their own bodies with the vitamin and mineral-rich foods they consume. With a little planning, preparing meals that nourish the body can be easy. Part of this education emphasizes using quality ingredients, and helping people locate foods that contribute to maintaining health. I believe that an investment in the quality of foods you consume is an investment in your future, and is a form of preventative health care.

Check out upcoming nutrition and traditional foods cooking classes in November with Traci at community supported kitchen Salt, Fire and Time in Portland, Oregon.

THE NECESSARY EVILS

Sugar, salt and fat have a bad reputation, and for good reason! Refined and processed version of each are responsible for many of the degenerative diseases that exist today. Consumers are often scared and confused by too many choices. Part nutrition class, part cooking class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

Students will learn about versions of sugar, salt and fat that actually support health and why.

Students will learn ways to improve digestion and how proper digestion supports healthy immune function.

Students will learn how to source food on a local level.

Students will learn about the vitamins and minerals in the foods that eat and how to get the most bang for their buck by choosing foods that are the most nutrient-dense

LOCATION: Salt, Fire & Time, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Unit A

DATE: Monday, November 2, 2009

TIME:5:30 to 8:30

AMOUNT:$60.00

Please contact Traci Goodrich for more information and to register for classes.

503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

The amount of the class includes nutrition education and food that is organic and sourced locally, for the preparation of the community meal. Class size will be limited to ensure individual attention. Some work-study positions are available that reduces the amount of the class. 

SUGAR ADDICTION: TROUBLE-SHOOTING AN EPIDEMIC

If you were to list addictive substances in order, sugar would be at the top of the list, and part of this reason is access–we are surrounded by it! I know that in Portland, Oregon, you cannot throw a stone without landing on an artisan cupcake. Sugar is also in many prepare foods that you might not consider to be sweet. This class will focus on strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar people consume in order to avoid larger health concerns such as hypoglycemia and diabetes. Part nutrition class, part cooking class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

Students will learn strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar they consume.

Students will learn about the glycemic index and the glycemic load of food and how carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels.

Students will learn how to “recalibrate” their blood sugar levels.

Students will learn how to avoid being part of the epidemic that is diabetes.

Location:Salt, Fire and Time, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Unit A

Date:Monday, November 16, 2009

Time:5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Please contact Traci Goodrich for more information and to register for classes.

503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

The amount of the class includes nutrition education and food that is organic and sourced locally, for the preparation of the community meal. Class size will be limited to ensure individual attention. Some work-study positions are available that reduces the amount of the class. 

SUPPORTING THE NUTRITION NEEDS OF THE VEGETARIAN

Many vegetarians often have difficulty digesting food. This seems counter-intuitive considering vegetarians have a mostly plant-based diet, which is considered easier to digest. Yet, all too often, many vegetarians rely too heavily upon foods that are difficult to digest and that many people are actually sensitive to, such as soy, wheat and cheese. This class will focus on the special nutrition needs of the vegetarian diet. Part nutrition class, part cooking class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

Students will learn how to jump-start their body’s ability to produce stomach acid and digestive enzymes.

Students will learn about specific nutrients that many vegetarians are deficient in and how to better absorb the vitamins and minerals they consume.

Students will learn how to reduce their dependence on soy, wheat, and cheese and which versions are considered better alternatives for wellness.

Students will learn about some of the low-fat myths that might be undermining their body’s nutritional needs.

Location:Salt, Fire and Time, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Unit A

Date:Monday, November 23, 2009

Time:5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Please contact Traci Goodrich for more information and to register for classes.

503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

The amount of the class includes nutrition education and food that is organic and sourced locally, for the preparation of the community meal. Class size will be limited to ensure individual attention. Some work-study positions are available that reduces the amount of the class. 

 

 

 

Part II: Salt

From the three part series, “The Necessary Evils: Sugar, Salt and Fat”

 

THE ALL AMERICAN SPICE

Salt is the quintessential American spice. It is cheap, abundant, and it enhances the flavor of whatever you put it on. I know that mashed potatoes and gravy would not be the same without it. When I was young and I looked in the kitchen cupboard, the spice rack was sparse, but I could always count on seeing a container of common table salt, with the now infamous iconic image of a young girl leaving a trail of salt behind her as she casually strolls in the rain. Morton’s salt was the only salt that I knew of. Today, there are more options than ever before, as well as more information about the ills of a high sodium diet and eating foods that use refined table salt. Anyone with hypertension (high blood pressure) can speak to you at length about the evils of eating a diet that is high in sodium or salting foods too liberally. Yet, salt is essential to life.

A large part of the problem is the quantity and the quality of salt that is used. People often get more sodium from poor quality sources of salt than their bodies know what to do with. Many professionals in health and nutrition fields, including Simone Gabbay, RNCP, note that the research that exists today, connecting a high sodium diet to poor health and a range of chronic health problems, is based on research that observed the effect of refined table salt on people (Gabbay 2002, 22).

However, alternatives do exist, and not every salt is created equal.

REFINED VS. UNREFINED SALT

Refined table salt is a highly processed food full of additives. Refined table salt is rock salt that has been stripped of valuable minerals leaving sodium and chloride, and in some cases iodine, which is reintroduced after the minerals have been stripped. Refined table salt is heated at high temperatures, bleached, and caking agents, as well as other chemicals are often added. In the end, you are left with something that is pure white, but I would not say that it is food, and it certainly is not the source of salt that the body truly needs. Experts in conventional and alternative medicine agree, that if you are using refined table salt, you are using something that is lethal to the body and has proven connections to high blood pressure, heart disease and water retention, among many other health concerns.

Unrefined sea salt is harvested naturally from ocean water, and it does not go through the same harsh heating and chemical stripping that refined salt does. Unrefined sea salt also has the added health benefit of 84 essential minerals that the body does need. It is also interesting to note that the mineral composition in sea salt closely resembles the mineral composition of the major fluids of the body including blood and lymph.

Dr. Jacques de Langre, wrote two books about the healing benefits of sea salt, Sea Salts Hidden Powers and Sea Salt, the Vital Spark of Life. Dr. Jacques de Langre’s research is based on over 30 years of experience as a biochemist, and his theories about the effect of sea salt on the body are well respected by professionals in natural health and holistic nutrition fields. Dr. Jacques de Langre talks about the significance of salt as a component in bodily fluids and the health benefits of using unrefined sea salt in an interview that was posted by Regenerative Nutrition. De Langre comments, “People forget, but everyone was born in a salty solution—or mother’s amniotic fluid. This is probably the best biological proof we have that cellular structure is enhanced by salt. The amniotic fluid is a salty, “mini-ocean” for the fetus. This is the prime example of why we need all of the ocean’s minerals as part of our make-up” (Regenerative Nutrition, 2009).

WHY OUR BODIES NEED SOME SALT

Every cell in your body relies on salt to function properly. A moderate amount of salt in the diet benefits the body in many ways. In some instances, a small amount of salt normalizes blood pressure. Salt is also an important digestive aid, as HCI production in the stomach does not occur without it, making it nearly impossible to digest food without it. Alternative healthcare practitioner sometimes suggested adding a pinch of unrefined sea salt to water to assist with low adrenal function because of its benefit as a valuable source of electrolytes, and its value as an aid in the absorption of minerals. Salt is also needed to absorbed fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. Some salt in the diet also promotes circulation.

SOURCES OF SALT AND EXCESS SODIUM

Concern with over-consumption of salt is largely because of one key player: sodium. While some sodium is necessary to regulate blood pressure, and to balance the fluids in the body, many people can stand to reduce the amount of sodium they use, especially if the source is commercial table salt. In the article, Sodium: Are You Getting Too Much?, it is noted that people should be consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, which equals about a teaspoon of salt (Eat Right Ontario, 2009). Yet, sodium is in most of the foods we eat: meat, dairy and vegetables, as well as most refined and processed foods, and in significant quantities. Unfortunately, a busy lifestyle can lead to dependence on convenience foods, and eating foods from boxes, cans or from fast food restaurants.

According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), a whopping 77% of daily sodium intake is from refined and processed foods, while only about 5% of daily sodium intake is from adding salt to foods as you cook, and 6% of daily sodium intake is from foods that are salted to taste (MFMER, 2008).

As a child of two busy working class parents, many of the meals I ate came from places such as McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken out of economic hardship and convenience. A recent glance at the nutritional facts on the websites for Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s proved to be illuminating. A typical evening supper of chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw and a biscuit from Kentucky Fried Chicken far surpasses anyone’s sodium needs for an entire day: 1050 mg of sodium in a chicken breast, 560 mg of sodium in mashed potatoes and gravy, 270 mg of sodium in coleslaw and 530 mg of sodium in a biscuit.

Consumers know that knowledge is power, and they want to be informed about what they are eating. As interest in public health issues rises, more fast food restaurants are publishing their nutrition facts on their websites and menus. A recent article published in the LA Times, called Denny’s Sued Over High-sodium Foodillustrates how one consumer took his health concerns into his own hands by filing a lawsuit against the fast food giant Denny’s for not publishing the dangerously high sodium content of their food on their menu (Hirch, 2009).

Some other processed foods with high sodium content include: potato chips, soda, TV dinners, canned vegetables, boxed stuffing, packaged gravy, peanut butter, and many, many others. Even packaged health foods are a concern.  The nutrition label of a can of “organic” spicy fajita chicken soup has 770 mg of sodium in just 1 cup. So, it is wise to check the label first, even if it is considered to be a healthy brand.

SODIUM AND WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Read the nutrition label.

Look for the obvious sources: salt, sea salt and sodium.

Look for the not-so-obvious sources of sodium contained in condiments, soy sauce, baking soda, and baking powder, bouillon cubes, canned soups and canned vegetables, and “spice packets”.

If an item has monosodium glutamate (MSG), leave it on the shelf.

USE A MODERATE APPROACH

By eating foods in their whole form, and eliminating highly processed and refined foods, you automatically reduced the amount of refined salt in your diet. A natural next step is to switch to an unrefined sea salt.

Educate yourself. Sodium is in most foods, refined foods, whole foods and packaged health foods. As individuals, people process salt differently, so always communicate with your health-care provider about how much sodium is appropriate for you. Sleuth out the not-so-obvious sources of sodium. Switch to an unrefined natural sea salt. Read the nutrition label. Salt to taste. Use alternatives to salt such as herbs, garlic, ginger, lemon or limes to flavor your food.

As far as commercial table salt is concerned, I still have some uses for a container of Morton’s salt. During snowy winter months, it makes an excellent anti-icing agent, so for this purpose, I will keep it on hand.

REFERENCES

Bradshaw-Black, Vivienne. “Is Salt Good for Your Health? Unrefined Salt vs. Industrial Grade Sodium Chloride…Does it Matter Which We Use?” Townsend Letter, Issue 300 (July 2008) : 74-78. http//ebscohost.com.   

Bschorr, Hild. “Salt is Vital to Health.” Townsend Letter. Issue 291 (October 2007) : 99-100. http//ebscohost.com.                

Butler, Graham. “Health-sustaining Sea Salt”.  Alive: Canadian Journal of Health & Nutrition. Issue 255 (January 2004) : 110-111. http//ebscohost.com.                                                                          

Eat Right Ontario. “Get the Scoop on Salt.” http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/ViewDocument.aspx?id=265. (accessed July 23, 2009).

Eat Right Ontario, “Cut Out the Salt.” http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/ViewDocument.aspx?id=7. (accessed July 25, 2009).

Gabbay, Simone. “Ask Our Experts: Professionals from a Variety of Health-care Fields Answer Your Questions About Natural Medicine.” Alive: Canadian Journal of Health & Nutrition. Issue 235 (May 2002) : 22. http://ebscohost.com.                                                                                      

Hirch, Jerry. “Denny’s Sued Over High-sodium Food.” Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2009. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-denny24-2009jul24,0,734556.story.        

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). “Sodium: Are You Getting Too Much?” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284                                                       

Regenerative Nutrition. (interview with Jacques de Langre), “Celtic Sea Salt.” http://www.regenerativenutrition.com/salt-celtic-blood-pressure-unrefined-sea.asp. (accessed July 20, 2009).