While travelling, I was turned on to a new breakfast food: Greek yogourt. I’d never eaten it on its own before, but I don’t like the super-sweet taste of regular, fruity yogourt (not to mention that it’s typically loaded with added or artificial sugars). Greek yogourt has a tangy taste, which you can sweeten by adding a few drops of honey. Toss in some museli and berries, and it’s heavenly.
I don’t know much about the stuff, other than it can be a bit higher in fat than regular yogourt. It also appears to be less processed, and there’s no added or artificial sugars. I found “Balkan-style” yogourt at my local grocery store last night. The ingredients are: skim milk, cream, skim milk powder and active bacterial culture. This particular brand has 150 calories, 10 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein in a 175-gram portion.
Compare that to 175 grams of my regular yogourt: 175 calories, 6 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein. And the list of ingredients is a lot longer: skim milk, cream, sugar, concentrated skim milk, fructose, milk and whey protein concentrate, corn starch, gelatin, modified corn starch, active bacterial cultures, natural and artificial flavour, locust bean gum, natural colour, malic acid and caramel colour.
When you go grocery-shopping, do you think about buying locally grown, in-season fruits and vegetables? Sure, that might be tough during our Canadian winters, but now that it’s spring, there’s lots of variety. Plus, locally grown produce is often fresher, cuts back on greenhouse gases and supports local farmers.
On Sunday afternoon, I stopped in at Rowe Farms — I’m pretty lucky to have one of the retail stores for this local, organic farm in my neighbourhood. The produce table was full of in-season vegetables:
That list is from Foodland Ontario’s website. It’s an excellent resource; not only does it have a monthly calendar of seasonal fruits and vegetables, but it also provides nutritional facts and lots of recipes.
If you live out west, go to ActNowBC for a list of seasonal foods; Quebeckers can go to Mangez Quebec; East-Coasters should check out Select Nova Scotia; or go to Pickyourown.org to find harvest calendars across Canada.
For now, I’ll just have to make do with reading the great, new articles on Chatelaine Walks:
Do you know how many calories there are in a muffin? Find out with this fun little game from Discovery.com. (Thanks to Vanessa, one of Chatelaine’s editors, for the link!)
It’s been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic illnesses — and the latest study about the Mediterranean diet shows that it may also protect the brain: Researchers tracked the eating habits of 1,393 people for nearly five years and found that those who most closely followed the diet had a 28 percent lower risk of mental decline. And those who already had memory problems had a 48 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s
But do you know what Mediterranean eating really involves? It’s not all pizza, lasagna and souvlaki, points out the New York Times health reporter, Tara Parker-Pope. She offers some basic guidelines, along with a handy food pyramid from the Greek Health Ministry:
- The diet is plant-based in nature, with a heavy emphasis on fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and olive oil. Eggs, dairy, poultry and fish are consumed regularly, but the portions are smaller than typically consumed in a Western diet.
- Meat makes only an occasional appearance, and it’s usually added in small amounts to make sauces, beans and pasta dishes more flavorful….If you are packing your diet with produce, nuts, legumes and whole grains, you won’t have a lot of room left on your plate for big servings of meat anyway.
- Refined sugar and flour and butter and fats other than olive oil are consumed rarely, if at all.
- “One of the basic tenets is the enjoyment of food, and respect and pleasure of food. When you’re in the Mediterranean, your meals are three hours and you savor your food.”