Eat your way through winter—wisely

Food for a better mood

Here we are, in the dead of winter.

Many of us are trying to get back up to speed and maybe recover from the indulgences of the holiday season. New Year’s resolutions of dieting and gym attendance are a popular pastime.

January is now also known as “Veganuary” and “Dry January.” I give kudos to those who follow such themes, but I do have some other ideas for you to start the year off in a healthy and happy way.

Have you ever heard of the Blue Zones? (link: https://www.bluezones.com/ ) They are five areas in the world where more people have been living longer than anywhere else in the world. Much research has been done in these regions to show the reasons for this longevity. Here are some of the top tips for living to 100, according to the Blue Zones team:

1. Use a smaller variety of ingredients in your diet. (This helps prevent overeating.)

2. Add cruciferous vegetables to more meals. (Broccoli and other veggies in that family may help slow your metabolism.)

3. Supplement with fresh herbs and spices like rosemary, oregano, sage, mint, garlic and turmeric. (They all have documented health benefits and add flavour to your dishes.)

4. Don’t forget the fibre in your diet. Greens, grains, nuts and beans all keep us heart-healthy and also feed the good gut bacteria that reduces inflammation and fuels your immune system.)

5. It’s not just what you eat, it’s how you eat. Eating with family and being grateful for our food puts us in a better frame of mind. Eating breakfast and keeping meals within an eight-hour window also helps.

Perhaps you are happy with your current diet and you’d rather enjoy a unique experience by dining out. Here are a few avant-garde options in case you need any ideas.

• Try the surreal menu at Alchemist (link: https://alchemist.dk/ ), a two-star Michelin-rated restaurant in Denmark. Chef Rasmus Munk is collaborating with farmers and scientists to create new ingredients for dishes (like silkworm silk that can be spun into meringue).

• Closer to home, you can visit Botanist (link: https://www.botanistrestaurant.com/ ) with its whimsical and exotic bar in the Vancouver Fairmont Pacific Rim. The restaurant focuses on the abundance of organic and sustainable ingredients from the local area, and the bar features weird and wonderful creations from their cocktail lab.

If you are someone who is more of a virtual foodie at this time of year, perhaps a new cookbook might inspire you. Many of the new releases include stories on the culture and history of the food, and/or the life of the author. The possibilities are truly endless, with new blog entries and Youtube videos getting loaded every day.

Here are some old-fashioned armchair options for you to sample, complete with pages and pictures:

• A book that declares food is not just something that sustains us but is also a representation of our culture and history is Black Power Kitchen (link: https://ghettogastro.com/pages/about ), from a group of culinary professionals called Ghetto Gastro. It has recipes of Caribbean, African and South American origin, as well as commentary on the history and current experience of Black Americans. This is sure to light up your dinner conversation.

• If you want something that is more back-to-basics and practical for everyday, why not choose a book from a former British Bake-Off contestant? Who better would know the stress that can come from cooking a dish? Ruby Tandoh’s Cook As You Are (link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/695851/cook-as-you-are-by-ruby-tandoh/ ) includes tips on shortcuts and substitutions, as well as notes on reheating dishes.

• I am more of a baker than a cook (yes, I know, I’m spoiled, being married to a chef). I also love to hear about people who give back. Maya-Camille Broussard’s book, Justice of the Pies (link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/673444/justice-of-the-pies-by-maya-camille-broussard/ ) not only gives us recipes for all kinds of pastry-encrusted delights, she regales us with stories of people who do good. Broussard has a bakery where she hosts “I Knead Love” workshops for children from low-income neighbourhoods, teaching them basic cooking skills.

All of this talk has made me hungry, so I’m going to sign off here and thumb through a few pages for inspiration on what to make next in my kitchen. I know the smells of food cooking and the warmth of the oven will cheer me up.

I hope my ideas this week have warmed your soul, too.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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