Farmer’s Market Find: Raw, Local Honey

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The whole row of flowers was buzzing with bees today!

I just happened to be at the Ferry Plaza during their Tuesday farmers market, so I browsed a little and ended up getting raw honey. I actually had been searching for raw honey with pollen. Honey has been revered in Eastern cultures for thousands of years. In Ayurveda, honey is used for many ailments and preventive measures. Raw honey with pollen is prescribed to those suffering from allergies to scrape mucus and to build resistance and immunity. Of course, thousands of years ago, there wasn’t a concept of industrial farms, adulterating food with additives and fillers,or pesticides. Also, honey was never radiated or cooked. Actually, all of this only happened in the last 150 years. Unfortunately, there is now the issue of Colony Collapse Disorder where worker bees are mysteriously disappearing from their hives. The issue of CCD goes beyond just consuming honey. Bees pollinate other many other food (apples,  lemons, chestnuts) and are very vital to our food supply ecosystem.

There is a significant difference between honey produced on large industrial farms and honey produced on small, local family farms. Sadly, bees are treated like livestock on industrial farms. They are forcefully fed corn syrup, not nectar from wildflowers. Shocking. The honey found in most grocery stores comes from China and is adulterated with other substances. In other words, most of the time you are not getting pure honey. That is a huge reason why honey from large, industrial beekeepers is so cheap. The benefit of buying local honey is that you can trace it back to the beekeeper and know that the honey is pure. Pure, raw honey is full of antioxidants and enzymes that are good for your health. You can ask questions about beekeeping and honey cultivation. Also, most small beekeepers take care of their bees, do not use deadly pesticides or treatments and let their bees swarm and drink nectar. In the end, you get pure honey.

Sure, honey produced on small farms that use sustainable and ethical practices will be much more expensive. But then again, how much honey do you really need to consume? An 8 ounce jar of honey lasts us for a full year, if not more.Snyders Honey at the Ferry Plaza Tuesday’s market. Their hives are located at Crystal Springs Reservoir south of San Francisco. Super local. 

Gina and I at the Fort Mason Farmers Market. Gina sells Snyders Honey along with her family’s olives and olive oils.

For more information about bees and CCD check out the film  Vanishing of the Bees. You can also sign a petition to tell the EPA to get to the bottom of CCD.

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Farmer’s Market Find: Strawberries and Asparagus!

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We got the first crop of strawberries and asparagus already! Subtle signs that Spring isn’t too far away.  I am not entirely sure, but I think the two strawberry vendors at today’s market were from Southern California, where the weather is much warmer than here. Strawberries are just lovely, but they have a really thin, delicate outer and absorbs the pesticides and is listed number 1 in EWG’s Dirty Dozen list. The Dirty Dozen lists fruit and vegetables exposed to the most pesticides. I will have a lot more on the strawberry issue soon enough- California did silently pass the use of methyl iodide, scientifically proven to be very dangerous.

The take home message here is that buy organic strawberries and ask the farmer questions about their farming technique. I remember seeing one of the strawberry farmer’s last summer and spring at this market but I never talked to them. I wanted to ask them a lot more questions, because I am conflicted on  eating non-organic strawberries, but I got shy! It happens. Though, I did taste the pesticide-free strawberries and it was so good.

Smoked Salmon from Montery Bay’s Blue Ocean Smoke House

I splurged a little and got smoked salmon today ($10/6 ounces). We started eating smoked salmon much more after hiking the Kalalau trail in Kauai.  We packed smoked salmon, hard goat cheese, nuts, and grass-feed roast beef deli meat to sustain us on the two-day, 12 mile hike. Now we eat it for breakfast, a quick snack, or topped on a bed of different vegetables. Of course, we only eat wild Alaskan salmon from sustainable resources. If you are not sure about which fish are safe or sustainable check out the Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch.

Celery Root- Swank Farms

We recently had celery root dessert at Ubuntu- I had no idea it looks like this in its original form.

Cheddar Cauliflower- Swank Hill Farms

No, they don’t taste like cheddar cheese! They are higher in vitamin A (the color) and taste like white cauliflower.

Tat Soi flowers- Happy Boy Farms

The tatsoi flowers are related to broccoli family and have a really nice taste to them. They are not as delicate as they look and taste wonderful sauteed with garlic, ginger, and little soy sauce.

I was at the Ferry Building for breakfast with a friend on Tuesday morning and the Tuesday market was going on. I bought a few oranges, asparagus, and ranunculus. There were tulips too, but I just adore ranunculus. The farmer gave me an awesome tip of just putting a spoonful of sugar in the water to help them bloom. They are still blooming!

Other purchases:

Spinach (Serendipity), Meyer lemons (Hamadas), Cara Cara oranges (Ken’s Top Notch Produce), Leeks (Happy Boy Farms), Button mushrooms (Far West Fungi), and Roma tomatoes (Swank Farms). I spent a total of $32 this week at the farmers market.

 

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Whole Grain vs Refined Flour

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It is day 13 of January Rules and I am going strong. Interestingly, I have been presented with opportunities to eat processed flours- like croissant sandwiches, Mac n’ Cheese from Grub, and pizza from Tony’s Coal Fired Pizza. Constantly. I normally do follow the three rules of January Rules, or at least I thought I did. I have come to realize that my weakness for food made with refined flour is greater than I thought and I make a lot of exceptions. Pizza, croissants, desserts, breads, pasta- oh you name it and I love it. Unfortunately, all of these things are made with refined flours that have very little nutritional value and contribute to empty calories, fatigue, malnourishment, constipation, mood swings, and preventable chronic diseases.

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October: Unprocessed and No Single-Use Plastics

Twinkies and Meat

Image by blue_j via Flickr

This month I am going to challenge myself by giving up processed foods completely and reducing my consumption of single-use plastics significantly.  Okay, you must be thinking: Nimisha, you are always eating farm fresh food and carrying your own reusable bags and water bottle. What more can you do? The truth is, I can do a whole lot more. If you raid my pantry, you wont find much junk food, but I too eat processed food. And I too use a lot of plastic. And the biggest part of it all is that I do it unconsciously! Unprocessed foods and plastics are so integrated in our lives that we can’t even recognize them.

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Make Our Food Edible

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The news and media may no longer cover the massive egg recall, but the issue is still real and “hasn’t gone away”. We vote for change with our forks and dollars, and you really can make a difference. Vote by feeding yourself and your family better, cleaner, safer and ethical food. Checkout this really short video if you are even slightly curious as to what I am talking about.

Where to find safer food:
-Farmer’s Markets
: Most family farms practice sustainability and really love the land and what they produce. Most farmer’s will even let you come to their farm and pick your own eggs or give you a tour!
-Smaller grocery stores that carry local, sustainable meats, dairy, eggs, vegetables, and fruit
-Buy organic, cage-free (really cage-free), pastured eggs
-Make sure your your eggs come from small, local farms that raise their chickens outside of cages and treat them humanely.
-Avoid insanely cheap eggs and meat, which means they were factory farmed and all of the livestock were raised in tiny cages, biting and pooping on each other and then transported to another factory to be sorted and packaged to sell at grocery stores around the nation.


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Are All Sugars Equal?

If you haven’t heard it by now, you must have been living in a cave for the last few years. Sugar is bad for you. Actually, they say it’s the reason why you are obese, have diabetes, and are fueling the multi-billion dollar health industry. However, does that mean that the juicy, plump peach is the culprit? A large peach does have 15 grams of sugar per serving. Or is it the pint of ice-cream you just downed? After all, sugar is sugar, and your body breaks it down all the same- right?

Let’s logically think about this for a minute. There are different types of sugars and your body does process them differently. There are refined/artificial/processed sugars, and there are fruit sugars. And then, it’s all about how you consume the sugar.

Sugar from fruit is called fructose. It is a simple sugar that is metabolized quickly and easily by the body. Simple sugars, like fructose, are not a problem for people who are active and healthy.  Fruits are staples of a healthy lifestyle and delightful to the senses. Of all the natural foods available, fruits are the most attractive, delicious and enjoyable. Taking from “Food Rules” by Micheal Pollan, “Eat sweets as you find them in nature.” Meaning eat the fruits whole, not processed or juiced. Fruit juice is often made from concentrate with added refined sugar and does not contain any fiber, which leaves you consuming more calories and unsatiated. Whole fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, fiber, and water.

 

Snacks from Nature, loaded with good nutrition

People do not become overweight or unhealthy from eating fruit. It’s the other types of sugar, found in other places that is the contributing culprit.

Table sugar (refined sugar) comes from two primary sources: sugar cane (60%) and sugar beets (40%) in form of sucrose. Sugar refining is the process of extracting out the sugar (sucrose) from the plant materials and then removing other unwanted materials from the extracted raw sugar. In the repeated processes of washing, boiling, centrifuging, filtering and drying, nearly all of the plant’s nutritional elements are lost. What remains in this so called “raw sugar” product is 95% sucrose along with nutritionally insignificant minerals. If sanitized by steaming, this “raw sugar” can be marketed as turbinado. Turbinado sugar is just a couple of steps shy of the final bleaching process. Bleaching agents such as lime and carbon dioxide are added to make white crystals known as table sugar. The table sugar is then further “purified”  and whitened by being filtered in a water-added liquid state through charcoal made from animal bones. This process removes even more minerals. “Pure” sugar refers to chemical purity, devoid of all nutritional and other elements, and not to a wholesome quality. Brown sugar is this table sugar that is turned brown by the reintroduction of molasses.

The Way We Consume Sugar

Refined sugar is in almost EVERY manufactured food product in the U.S. This sugar is, hands down, America’s number one food additive. Sugar is hidden in many of the things people buy at the supermarket. For instance, a tablespoon of ketchup contains a full teaspoon of sugar. Breads, soups, cereals, cured meats, hot dogs, lunch meat, salad dressings, spaghetti sauce, crackers, mayonnaise, peanut butter, pickles, frozen pizza, canned fruits and vegetables, tomato juice, and a host of other products all contain added sugar. Food that doesn’t even need the added refined sugar. The obvious offenders are desserts, candies, soft drinks, and ice-cream. People are consuming sugar without even knowing it! Be wise by avoiding processed food.

 

Manufactured Snacks with no nutritional value

 

When you have sweet attack, reach for that piece of fruit instead of the more processed foods high in sugars and other carbohydrates. A well rounded diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and protein is the best bet for overall health.

Stay tuned for more on Sugar.

***I highly recommend you reading “Food Rules An Eater’s Manual” by Micheal Pollan. It will positively change your lifestyle. It’s super easy and fast to read.

Super Toxic Foods: Strawberries

Beautiful, plump, deep red strawberries attract even the finickiest eater to enjoy their juicy sweetness in their mouth. They are the most popular berry in the world. Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in for their rich source of polyphenols. … Continue reading