This blueberry rhubarb flatbread is a simple, easy, and unique way to enjoy some of your fresh fruit! Just throw it together, put it in the oven, and pretty soon you'll have a sweet and savory dish!
Serves 2-4 depending on size of flatbread
So many of us are trying desperately to eat healthier and actually enjoy it, but we're unable to see what can be incredibly beneficial to our diet that is so close to use: locally grown food. Locally grown food can help improve our diets, healthy, the environment, and the economy! Keep reading to learn how.
I will never forget the first time I ate a locally grown strawberry. As a young adult, I thought I simply didn't like strawberries. They weren't very sweet, weren't very juicy, and simply did nothing for me. Until I got an apprenticeship on a local strawberry farm. I remember training the first week and one of the owner's telling us "I haven't eaten a store bought strawberry in the last 40+ years I've been here."
I internally rolled my eyes thinking, "Well duh, you're biased." until I finally experienced what she experienced. Toward the end of the season, they let us interns and apprentices harvest a pint of strawberries to take home. After 4 weeks of working on the strawberry farm I finally ate one of their strawberries and my world changed.
It was juicy, bright red, and SO sweet. I tried just one on the ride home from work, expecting to bring the pint home to my family. Instead, I finished the entire pint on that 15 minute drive. Why? Because it's flavor and quality was unbelievable. It was picked at peak ripeness, and as I learned, was exactly what a strawberry should taste like.
Unfortunately, being raised in environments in which we are used to buying foods that have been shipped from different parts of the country, or even the world, we lose so much quality in our foods. Quality we didn't even know existed!
Why should you eat locally grown foods?
Food Has More Flavor
Locally grown produce is picked at peak ripeness, allowing it to be more flavorful. It's also grown and picked at it's ideal time of the year, allowing for optimal growing conditions. Most produce in retail stores is picked before it’s ripe to withstand shipping and holding in stores, making it have a lower quality flavor profile.
Higher in Nutrients
Picking produce that’s in season and at peak ripeness means that it’s also higher in nutrients as opposed to produce picked before fully ripe. Allowing the produce to grow until it's fully ripe allows it's nutrient profile to fully develop, giving you more nutrients than foods shipped from across the country.
Helps Reduce Carbon Footprint
Most produce in retail stores is shipped from farms thousands of miles away, contributing to carbon emissions. Purchasing local produce promotes a lower consumption of greenhouse gas emissions because the produce simply doesn't have to travel more than a few miles! If you pick your produce up at a Farmer's Market, you can trust that the farmer probably didn't travel more than a 30 minute drive. Or if you purchase a CSA, you know exactly how far you're traveling to pick it up.
Helps Protect Small Farm Land
Purchasing local invests in small farms, preventing their land from being developed into industrial or corporate land. Developing land for corporate or industrial parks eliminates biodiversity in that area. If left undeveloped, farm land allows a place for birds, insects, and other animals to live and prosper. Many crops even create an ideal home for bees, whose populations are quickly declining (and are SO important for our food systems).
Lower in Pesticides and Preservatives
Small farms tend to use organic or sustainable farming methods to promote the quality of their land and crops, as opposed to large agricultural businesses with mass spray their crops. The produce of smaller farms doesn't travel as far as large agricultural businesses, meaning they don't have to worry about their crops going bad as fast as large businesses. As a result, they tend to use less pesticides and preservatives, which is healthier for you and the environment!
Even livestock on small family farms tends to receive less treatment of antibiotics and hormones--only used on as as needed basis, compared to being heavily relied on. It's important to note that the reason why antibiotics in livestock is frowned upon is because in large corporations they are used routinely due to overcrowding issues. In contrast, small farms administer antibiotics and hormones only when their livestock is sick. Why? Because just like people, sometimes animals get sick too.
Where can you buy local produce?
The best way to find local produce is to visit your local farmer's market. If you're unaware if your town has a farmer's market, contact your Chamber of Commerce. Although not frequently updated, the USDA has a list of Farmer's Markets in your area https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets
BUT what if you still can't find one near you? GUESS WHAT?! Fortunately, we live in the year 2018, where googling or facebook searching events is very easy. Try searching either for farmer's markets in your area.
Don't have time to visit a Farmer's Market weekly, or even know what produce to buy?
So many farms do that work for you by providing CSAs (community supported agriculture). At the beginning of the season, contact a local farm to purchase a CSA, allowing you to pick up a box or bag of produce WEEKLY--no thought necessary on your end!
Have anything to add? Feel free to comment below on how local produce fits into your life!
For decades our society has known the benefits of pre & probiotics on gut health. But in the past few years, the health & wellness field has exploded with pre & probiotic products. Are you wondering what all the buzz is about? Here is some information that I hope will clear things up for you....
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are bacteria that live in your gut and provide many beneficial functions, such as preventing growth of harmful bacteria. Prebiotics are specific carbohydrates that feed the probiotics. In general, pre & probiotics help maintain good digestive health.
Are probiotics healthy?
Yes. In many ways, how they specifically help us is unknown. However, it is well understood that a healthy gut microbiome (collection of bacteria in your gut) is imperative to digestive health. Meanwhile, altered gut bacteria can lead to GI issues.
What foods have probiotics?
There are many foods that contain the primary probiotics in focus: lactobacillius and bifidobacterium.
The primary sources include fermented foods such as:
Although you can consume probiotics from these sources, they are not the only component in maintaining gut health. A jar of pickles will not magically give you good gut bacteria (it might actually do really discomforting things to your gut.) There are many foods in excess that can promote growth of harmful bacteria. For example, candida overgrowth is often found from consuming a diet high in refined sugars, allowing yeast overgrowth in the body. That's why balance is best.
How much probiotics should I consume?
We don't know. That's what I think most people need to understand. It's still very hard to measure probiotics in the gut and in food. Although many come in supplemental form, we still don't understand how much of that ends up in the gut, let alone how much is already in the gut that's necessary for gut health.
On top of that, every person is different! Every body has different microbiomes and different needs. That's why the Human Microbiome Project is has been compiling data from all different types of people since 2008--and their research on the human microbiome is only just beginning!
Some people could eat all the refined carbs in the world and have no issues with their microbiome. While others may eat an incredibly healthy diet and have lots of issues with their microbiome. Genetics and many other factors play a huge part in what we need.
Also, probiotics have only shown to be beneficial in average, healthy people. In people with an impaired immune system, probiotic consumption is controversial. You should always consult your doctor about probiotics (or make any major diet change) if you have a chronic illness.
What should I do with this information?
As healthy as probiotics are, if someone is trying to sell you probiotics because it will solve all your problems, take it with a grain of salt. No single food will solve your lifes issues. Everybody (and body) is different. If you want to start consuming probiotics, do so slowly to make sure your body without discomfort.
If you don't consume any probiotic rich food at all, maybe start by adding a probiotic rich food 1-3x/wk in your diet. If this goes well, a probiotic rich food 3-5x/week may be suitable. But honestly, I'm only recommending that because I know some of you need an answer. Again, research isn't there yet, but if you have a healthy diet, no metabolic issues, and your body responds well to probiotic-rich foods a few times per week, it's probably just enough for you!
If you are buying probiotic-rich foods...
Make sure you buy it from a reputable source and read the label. Even if it's safe, I probably wouldn't buy kombucha from someone I don't know. Although fermented foods can produce plenty of good bacteria, if made inappropriately, bad bacteria can grow too. Don't eat anything that looks moldy or smells too funky. There are also many yogurts and pickles out there with no living bacteria. Read the label to see if it does have lactabacillus and bifidobacterium.
Again, no need to go overboard. You don't need a probiotic rich food in every meal, and you probably don't need it every day! Whenever you see promotion for a "healthy" food, always consider that the research on it's "health benefits" are always in terms of it's moderate incorporation into a balanced diet. (And we still don't even know what that means yet in terms of probiotics).
If you'd like to read more about pre & probiotics in way that is both trustworthy and easy to comprehend, check on this page from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
4. Smolin & Grosvenor. Nutrition: Science & Applications. USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. Print.
No, I'm not here to fool you into cooking something that you're going to hate. I was trying to find something to do with my swiss chard one day and thought "maybe I'd actually like eating this if it tasted sweet."
110% recommend experimenting with this side dish. Pairs well with grilled chicken. Also make sure you wash and cook the swiss chard properly to prevent grittiness :)
This recipe is a super easy way to enjoy your roasted root vegetables!
1 bunch Carrots
1 bunch Radishes
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Orange Juice
1 Tbsp Thyme
1/2 cup Cilantro
Salt & Pepper
We can agree to disagree if you're not a fan of tahini, but since I first tried it my consumption of cruciferous vegetables has multiplied. The variety of vegetables in my diet was very minimal, consisting mostly of tomatoes and lettuces, but now I'm going crazy over most vegetables.... just from learning how to cook them right.
I love this recipe so much that I even included served it as our Meatless Monday option at my foodservice rotation, and people loved it! It's filling, fueling, and delicious!
Check out this great recipe to enjoy some of the best vegetables of the spring season!
Who has an obsession with massaged kale? Definitely NOT me ;)
Eating kale massaged is better than eating no kale at all, right? Check out my spring vegetable massaged kale salad with lemon honey vinaigrette.
~10 cups Curly Kale
2 large Beets
2 cups Fiddlehead Ferns (or ½ bunch Asparagus)
¼ cup Sliced Almonds
¼ cup Feta Cheese
¼ cup Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette
¼ cup Lemon Juice
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Zest
2 tbsp Honey
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Just whisk together and drizzle on salad!
I should start by saying I was born hating cauliflower until April 4th, 2018 when I tried this incredible roasted cauliflower salad recipe from budgetbytes. It works perfectly as a side but can also be enjoyed as an entree with extra chickpeas.
For the past few years I've been asking myself, "What is the fuss about this tahini dressing that people are adding to all their food?"
And then I tried it. Oh. my. goodness. I'm shameless to announce that I drank the tahini 'kool aid' and have been putting it on top of EVERYTHING since I first made it. The flavor is sharp, rich, and can get you to eat even the most dreadful vegetables.
This recipe from budgetbytes was so much easier than I thought it would be to make. You can make tahini from sesame seeds, but I chose to buy the sesame seed paste (aka tahini paste) from the international section of the grocery store due to time constraints--and I'm sure most of you will want to follow the same method for convenience. Simply stir up a batch, pour it on your food, and store the rest in the fridge for the week.
So easy right? Hope you all try this. Making tahini dressing helped me enjoy cauliflower for the first time in my life. Amazing!
Christieathome & friends would not stop bragging about these latkes so eventually I had to try them. Maybe it's the potatoes, maybe it's the chives, maybe it's Christie (or all of the above), but these latkes are to die for. I ended up making a whole slew of them for the week (and had a very happy week).
Here's her recipe that you should try and share with everyone you know.
Plain greek yogurt is a great alternative for sour cream--I promise. I often don't notice a difference, especially with a few herbs added, such as parsley and chives.