Food of the Month

Food of the Month: Nutritional Yeast

Care of Amy Symington No, nutritional yeast won’t make your bread rise or your home brew taste better, but its uses and nutritional benefits are absolutely nothing to sneeze at.   What is Nutritional Yeast? For those of you who haven’t been privy to the existence of what should be referred to as the veghead’s best friend, nutritional yeast is a derivative of yeast combined with a cocktail of sugarcane and beet molasses that has been fermented for a period of one week. After which, it is then harvested, washed, dried on roller drum dryers and packaged for sale. It is available in either flake or a powder form and can be located in most health and bulk food stores. What does it taste like!? It has a strong nutty, and creamy flavour that makes it perfect for the concocting of cheese substitutes. The flakes or powder simply disintegrate into or amalgamate with whatever they are sprinkled on to, poured over or stirred into, enhancing any savoury snack or meal alike. Besides taste, what’s in it for me? Nutritional yeast is good for you. It is a complete protein and is a very good source of dietary fibre as well… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Food of the Month: Fun with Flax Seeds

Care of Andrea Gourgy Flax has garnered a lot of media attention recently, and rightly so, as its nutritional properties are said to protect against everything from cancer to heart disease and stroke. But while its popularity may be a recent phenomenon, flax has actually been around for thousands of years. Also known as linseed, flax was cultivated in Babylon way back in 3000 BC and Hippocrates, the father of medicine around 650 BC, wrote about flax for the relief of abdominal pain. Nowadays, Canada leads the world’s flax production with thousands of acres of land in the prairies dedicated to growing flax. Flax seeds contain about 42 percent oil, and more than half of that oil is omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic fatty acid or ALA). Evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can protect against heart disease, stroke, hypertension and even autoimmune disorders. Vegetarians and vegans are at particular risk for deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids (after all, the most common source of omega-3 fatty acids for omnivores is fish). Flax, as a plant-based source of omega-3, can play an important role in vegetarian and vegan diets. Flax also contains phytoestrogens called lignans that, in animal studies, have shown to… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Food of the Month: Mo’ Molasses

Care of Amy Symington  When thinking of molasses we’re often reminded of the stick-to-your-ribs, molasses rich baked beans, grandma’s sticky date spread or hot porridge on a cold morning topped with heaping spoonfuls of the sticky stuff – past memories of our childhood. Even now, most packaging found in the baking aisle screams old timeyness. However, one should not be fooled by the nostalgia of it all; molasses has never been more “now.” Derived from cane or beet sugar, molasses is most commonly used in baked goodies. This holiday season, molasses more than surely made a guest appearance on the dessert table in various spiced cookie and cake forms. However, its deep, rich and bold flavour can sneak its way into the most unfamiliar areas of the kitchen and we should be joyful that it does. Molasses has a great deal of (gasp) nutritional benefits to note; blackstrap molasses in particular. It is obtained after the third extraction during sugar processing and has the lowest sugar content of all the extractions (the first and second are lighter molasses and have higher sugar contents). Blackstrap molasses is an excellent source of manganese and copper, as well as being a very good… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Food of the Month: Beets

Care of Andrea Gourgy Beets should be on everyone’s shopping list this season—they are economical, versatile and offer an abundance of nutritional benefits. Also known as beetroot, beets date as far back as Roman times, but it wasn’t until the 16th century that they became widely popular. In fact, they were originally cultivated for their leaves (or greens), which can be used on their own in dishes ranging from salads, soups and smoothies. Beets are abundant in phytonutrients, specifically anthocyanins which are responsible for their deep red colour. Anthocyanins are involved in the repair of DNA in the body, and are being studied for their role in cancer and heart disease prevention. Beets are a good source of iron, magnesium and folate. Beet greens in particular are rich in carotenoids, like beta carotene and lutein which have been shown to be key nutrients in chronic disease prevention. Most people are familiar with red beets, but they can also be found in yellow (golden) and white. Look for small or medium-sized beets (they are more tender), and check for firmness and smooth skin. The greens should be removed before storing beets, and they can last about three weeks in a plastic… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition


Care of Amy Symington What the Spelt?! For those agricultural scientists at home, spelt is classified as a Triticum Spelta species and comes from the Poaceae family. In layman’s terms, spelt is a cereal grain from the grass family. It is a delicious and healthy alternative to more widely used grains or flours. Recognizable by its nutty taste, while the exact origin of this lesser known grain is unknown, most accounts suggest it was first found somewhere in Europe or the Middle East. Why the Spelt? Spelt is becoming more and more popular in North America, particularly with organic farmers as spelt requires far fewer fertilizers to grow adequately. Spelt is rich in protein, B vitamins, fibre and manganese. It is also a reliable source of iron, niacin, and phosphorous. Due to its richness in fibre, vitamins and minerals, spelt (like most whole grains) can be used in the prevention of Canada’s top diseases – Cancer, Heart disease and Diabetes – if consumed on a regular basis. On top of potentially saving lives, spelt is also easier to digest than regular wheat because of its low gluten content.  It does however contain a small amount of gluten, so is therefore… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Crazy for Currants

Care of Andrea Gourgy Fresh currants are typically grown in northern climates like Canada, but nevertheless, most of us are not very well acquainted with these tart little wonders. Currants are a lesser known member of the berry family, related to gooseberries. And they’re well worth adding into your food repertoire — they are an excellent source of vitamin C, and also contain potassium, iron and fibre. Currants were first cultivated in Scandinavia, and then later in England. In fact, during World War II, the British government encouraged black currant cultivation (which was then made into black currant syrup) as it was one of the only sources of vitamin C available in Britain at the time. For those of you who have been to England, you’ve probably noticed that black currant syrup (or fruit concentrate), called Ribena, is still quite popular there today. Fresh currants are often confused with dried Zante or Champagne grapes (which also go by the name currant), however, these tiny raisins are not related to the currant in the berry family.  Fresh currants are available in black, red and white. They can be used in savoury or sweet dishes such as jams, sauces, soups, puddings and… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Perfect Parsnips

Care of Andrea Gourgy     With their nutty, delicate and mildly sweet flavour, it’s odd that the humble parsnip never became all that popular here in North America. Parsnips are a root vegetable: They are related to carrots, but actually are a member of the parsley family. Parsnips used to be considered a delicacy in ancient Rome, and were popular in Europe. That is, until potatoes were introduced from the Americas. Parsnips were brought to North America in the 1600s, but despite their lovely flavour, they could never quite beat out the potato in popularity. It’s a shame that parsnips don’t get more attention: they are low in calories, and a good source of folate, a B-vitamin that is essential during pregnancy to help reduce birth defects. Parsnips are also a source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C and pantothenic acid. They’re also versatile! They can be eaten raw, boiled, baked, sautéed or even juiced! When choosing parsnips, go for smaller ones as they tend to be more tender. Avoid ones that are withered or have blemishes. Parsnips can be stored in your refrigerator for up to three weeks. Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Vegan & Vegetarian Recipes

Holy Kale

Care of Amy Symington Kale, or borecole, is a cousin of the wild cabbage family, a buddy to your taste buds and mother approved as part of a well balanced diet. To put it plainly, unless you have been avoiding all forms of nutrition news over the past decade, you know that Kale is the new “apple a day” and with so many good reasons why. For starters, it is crammed with calcium. Yes calcium. On a gram to gram basis, kale’s calcium content is more bioavailable than cow’s milk (Heaney, R.P., 1990; Kamchan, A. et al., 2004). Other health superstars contained in kale include thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. We’re not done yet. Kale is also a VERY good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, manganese and lutein. Lutein, which is found in dark leafy greens, is believed by scientists today to assist in the reduction of age-related blindness (Geissler, C., 2010). And holy fibre! This is what people like to refer to as a natural Gastro Intestinal scrubber. Shall we go on? Ok. It’s also a fantastic way to add some additional protein to your diet as well as simultaneously top up… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Totally RADish

Care of Amy Symington Often pushed to the back of the veggie platter, the radish is actually one rad cruciferous vegetable that deserves a little more credit and recognition, so listen up. Radishes come in almost every colour of the rainbow from yellow to red to purple, and the types and uses vary all over the globe.  The most commonly used radish in North American is the red radish; Asian countries are known for their diakon usage, also referred to as Chinese or Japanese radish and/or Mooli; Scandinavians lovvve them some Plum Purple radish; and the Sicily Giant radish, is from, you guessed it, Sicily.  Radishes can be found year round and every season brings different varieties. With that said, come springtime radishes are among the first veggies to be happily harvested.  So happy harvest to you! Radishes, particularly red and purple radishes, are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin.  This may increase free radical fighting properties, which can decrease chronic inflammatory diseases such as fibrocystic disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and various neurological illnesses.  In addition to reducing inflammation, anthocyanins may also ward off nasty bacterial infections. Radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of folate… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Beautiful Barley

Care of Laura Wright Barley is the oldest domesticated grain in the entire world. It’s been cultivated for ten thousand years! This nutty, chewy, satisfying food is delicious in so many ways. Typically enjoyed in soups throughout the colder months, its heartiness fortifies and warms us up. Definitely an economical and nutritional superstar on that front. Its application isn’t limited to soup alone though. You can add soaked barley to your steel cut oats for a little variation, make it risotto style for a classy dinner, grind it into flour for a fibre boost in your cookies or toss it into a lovely grain salad like I’ve done in the recipe below. Pot vs Pearl: You will generally find two types of barley available in stores. If you are concerned about health properties and prefer whole grains in your diet, reach for the “pot” variety. These grains have only had their tough, outer husk removed. While pearl barley certainly cooks faster, it lacks the nutrition of the grain in its whole form because an additional two layers (the bran and endosperm) are polished off. You may also appreciate the more pronounced toasted and nutty flavour that pot barley has to… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition