Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sustainable Seafood

There is a growing movement towards sustainability right now. But what does it mean exactly and why is it so important? For one, it means that people of the future generations will have the same access to food that we have today. Without sustainable practices set in place we are using up the resources of today so there are only minimal, or none left for tomorrow. Not only is this unfair but when it comes to food it means our kids and their kids and theirs kids will not have the same quality of health that we even have today. As the quality of the food degrades so will our health with it.

The demand for seafood is increasing and what has come along with that is harmful fishing practices. In certain areas fish can not reproduce fast enough to keep up with the rate at which they are being caught and eventually there will be none that remain in those waters. Practices that catch the desired fish faster and more easily are used at the cost of the lives of other sea creatures and the ocean's natural ecology. Fish are also now being imported at a higher rate than ever. They are brought in from dirty, chemical laden waters overseas which means the fish contain toxins, like mercury.

Yet, seafood plays an important role in a balanced diet. Fish supply essential fatty acids that our bodies can not produce on their own. Omega 3's are our bodies anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids, we must get them from our diets and they are not overly abundant by any means. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and halibut supply EPA and DHA which are readily abosrbed Omega 3's. These healthy fats decrease our risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. They are vital for a healthy immune system and are severely lacking in the Standard American Diet. Aim for 7-10 ounces a week of these fatty fish to get your Omega 3's but choose wisely.

Choose sustainable caught seafood. 
Choose sustainably raised animals. 
Choose sustainably grown produce.
Choose sustainability and your choice will give the future generation what you have had the privilege of today.

Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. There is a guide and app you can download with healthy seafood choices that minimize toxins and ensure that the least harmful means of fishing are being practiced.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wheat Berries and Cauliflower

There are multiple things about this recipe which need to be discussed. The first being wheat berries. Yes, I am posting a recipe using wheat! But not just any wheat, these are local, organically grown, soaked and fermented whole wheat berries that have been cooked to perfection. What a mouthful! But with wheat and other grains, especially those containing gluten its all about the quality and the care that goes into preparing them. These things make all difference in whether or not your body can breakdown and metabolize the grains.

Organically grown grains don't contain any pesticides and have a higher nutritional value. Wheat, specifically should only be consumed if it's organic because of all the hybridizing, GMO's and mass-production of this grain. These whole wheat berries were grown organically at Shepherd's Farms a local farm in Carpenteria. I couldn't resist these beautiful, golden nuggets!
None the less grains, especially gluten-containing grains can be  damaging to the body if they are not grown and then prepared properly. Grains should be soaked, sprouted or fermented to enhance digestion, particularly of minerals. This was a practice that all ancient cultures used on a regular basis. Soaking in water with a bit of an acid like lemon, apple cider vinegar or whey leads to fermentation, a further step that begins the break down of the grain and therefore eases digestion. Since we are 'what we eat', or more 'we are what we actually assimilate' as I say, we should be doing all we can to enhance digestion! Your health begins with your digestive tract so treat it well! Grains, especially gluten-containing grains can be quite damaging to the body if they are not grown and then prepared properly.
Second I must mention is in regards to the leafy greens in this dish that you may have noticed. I have been quite in the habit of cooking up the greens that you find on cauliflower, broccoli and other vegetables. These parts of the vegetables are entirely edible and offer much nutritional value! I can't believe I have been throwing them away for so long! Not to mention they add such beautiful color and variety to this dish. Next time you get your cauliflower, choose one with lots of greens and use up the whole thing!

1C whole wheat berries
1 large head of cauliflower with lots of greens
2-3T ghee
half a lemon
freshly cracked pepper
sea salt 
Step 1: Soak the wheat berries in plenty of water and a dash of an acid like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or fresh whey. 
Step 1: Drain water from wheat berries. Add 2-3 cups fresh water to the berries in a stove pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about an hour, maybe an hour and half. You want the berries tender, yet chewy. Drain excess water.
Step 3: Once you grains are almost ready, finely chop the whole head of cauliflower. Use the greens on the outside and the white stalk on the inside.
Step 4: Heat the ghee in a saute pan and add the cauliflower once it's melted. Saute the caulflower until tender.
Step 5: In a large serving bowl, combine the grains and the cauliflower. Add the juice if about half a freshly squeezed lemon. Freshly crack some black pepper, add a pinch of sea salt, maybe a bit of zested lemon peel and you're ready to serve this beautiful dish!

To learn more about this hefty topic on wheat, gluten and grains contact Dani Rhoades!