Two-fer: Introduction to Westin Price and Dinner options

Aside

I’ve been a little distracted lately.  It’s all good though… I’m realizing more and more that my crazy approach to good health through good food and staying active isn’t so crazy; it’s actually rooted in history and has a modern structure. In other words there are lots of ‘crazies’ like me and my family (actually we are kinda neophytes in this particular department)  and we are on to something.

The last few weeks I’ve been  meeting local farmers and getting to know some local movers and shakers in the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Known for putting a premium on eating healthy animal fat, these folks are radical about food and I love it!  Can’t nurse your baby and want a healthy option? They can help you (they are actually seeking a ban on soy milk for infants). Want to find a source for pastured fed meat? This is a good place to start. Their focus promoting nutrient dense eating through education. Weston Price offers information on topics such as organic farming, community supported farming, how/why to consume raw dairy (this is something I am exploring) and honest food labeling. By the way their International conference is in Atlanta this year November 8-11.

SN: This foundation was is based on the research of  Dr. Weston A. Price a scientist who studied indigenous societies . He took note of the wisdom they offer as it relates to maintaining good health. In the video on the WP site, he refers to these cultures as ‘primitive’.   Ugh and Groan.  I will avoid going into a detailed discussion as to why this is inaccurate and offensive. Let’s just say it is and I am happy that the Foundation does not use that terminology.  🙂

On that note:

What’s for dinner?

Like so many families, we’ve been caught up in the American family matrix: Overly commited and overstimulated.  Our boys have become pretty accomplished athletes and that is a good thing. However, our  schedule was out of control for a long time and it affected our eating. It is close to impossible to have a proper dinner time when you are committed to a 2-3 hour/day practice schedule… and that was just one kid!

We’ve been working hard to change that. While said kid would give up his left arm before giving up his spot on his nationally ranked team (who needs arms in soccer anyway?), we are no longer bowing to the soccer god.  We used to take EVERYONE to EVERY game which meant weekends months of nothing but soccer. When the boys started traveling all over the country that became impossible and we realized how ridiculous it was in the first place. Now, we respect his soccer aspirations and our daughters love of horses and singing but we are seeking balance.  We get closer and closer every day. 🙂

One of the first changes we made a couple of  years involved dinner.  Instead waiting until 5:00pm every day  to figure out what we were having, I set aside one day and cook several meals for the week. It’s a brutal 8 hour day of cooking but it has just about solved the dinner delimma.

***Bonus: I end up with raid the refrigerator days  at the end of the week (Friday and Saturday) . That’s when all leftovers are up for grabs and every man, woman, and child is on  his/her own.  My kids learned how to cook as soon as they could reach the stove (my motto: “you know how to eat, you need to know how to cook “- hey, don’t judge me).

Here is a family favorite:  a whole chicken roasted with red onions, sweet potatoes and carrots.  I rub EVOO all over the bird and then season it with turmeric (I put that on EVERYTHING), himalayan sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. I also fill the cavity garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs and a lemon (I poke holes in the lemon first).  Cook at 350 degrees until the legs start falling off (this is honestly my test but you should probably use a thermometer). It comes out perfect every single time.

We eat meat-less most days for two reasons: 1) getting the quality of meat I am comfortable feeding my family is expensive.  2) My daughter does not eat meat.  We eat hearty omelets often on those days. Full of tomatoes, onions, asparagus, mushrooms… you name it!  Did I mention that we go through up to four dozen eggs a week? Farm fresh and local for  $4/dozen. I know that is much more than at the grocery but I consider it a steal compared to the cost of meat. Besides, after reading The Ethics of What We Eat, you will never get me to buy regular grocery eggs again!

We typically have fish/shellfish 2x per week. This, too, can get expensive so  I make salmon patties (I buy this  canned salmon , mix with egg, seasonings and  almond flour an  pan fry in coconut oil) or tuna salad (made with avocado kalamata olives, and red onion) as one of those meals to offset costs.  The rest of my family is not grain free like me, but grains do not make up a huge part of our meals. I serve brown rice and pasta on occasion particularly for the boys who require loads of calories.  We eat lots and lots of vegetables. Typically seasonal and fresh from our local farmers’ market.

I recently went to Florida and had ceviche again. I came back and found this recipe and made it for my family.  Mega huge hit!  Summer  is over but I’ll keep making this for a while!

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Ceviche at The Food Shack- Jupiter, Florida

Another dish I love making came from my friend Dana.  She calls is a roasted red pepper dip and serves it with homemade pita chips. I call it soup because I limit wheat (so no chips for me) and I’ll be honest, I’m eating a whole bowl of this stuff!

Red, yellow, orange bell peppers (2 each).Cut in half (lengthwise) and remove stem and seeds. Roast  at 425 degrees until the are soft and a little charred (about 20-30 minutes). Blend in vitamix or blender for less than a minute (I use the variable speed with dial on about 7  with the vitamix) with 1/4 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil (use the really good stuff for this), I few twists of my salt mill, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes for flavor.

I know my format for recipes leaves much to be desired.  But if I waited to format correctly, you’d never get it. Scout’s honor. I also keep meaning to take a picture but  I start eating it as soon as the blades stop on the blender. Trust me. It is that good…you want this in your belly!  Feel free to comment with questions. 🙂

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How I spent the day with Georgia growers (A recap of the Georgia Multicultural Sustainable Agriculture Conference)

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By now my revolutionary talk is no surprise to those around me.  Neither is my focus on ancestral health.

So when a friend sent me a text about the Georgia Multicultural Sustainable Agriculture Conference I smiled. And I registered.  It feels good to be surrounded by people who get you. It has taken me 40 years to fine tune that! 🙂

While I continue to explore topics that have global relevance, I was excited to learn what my home state of Georgia is offering in terms of support and guidance to existing farms and those interested to growing food.  Sponsored in part by Georgia Organics, their website explains the experience:

This conference will highlight urban organic farming, seasonal high tunnels/micro irrigation, farmer markets, farm to school, community supported agriculture (CSA), how to start a farm, equine management/rotational grazing, food safety and how to grow international/ethnic foods. Conference participants will attend sessions on how to become eligible and apply for USDA Farm Bill programs, developing a farm business plan, soil and plant resources, developing a successful conservation plan, risk management, best management practices and engineering design for your farm.

I registered myself and my husband (who has the green thumb of the family) and told my AHS buddies. Karla, one of the presenters at AHS (and a new friend) jumped at the opportunity. Did I mention the conference was only $20? Lunch and back to back sessions with the top agricultural brains in the state… yeah she and I were on the same page with this!  She came along with her sons (whom she homeschools) and her mother; I love her holistic, multigenerational approach.

All of the sessions were informative. From ‘Spores to Shrooms’ to ‘Unlock The Secrets in Your Soil’, there was something for everyone.  They also had an interpreter available for non-English speakers.  I found the general session speakers to be the most captivating. Pilar Qunitero, of Rancho Alegre farm spoke on building a diverse urban farm enterprise.  I was excited to see her! I had met her years ago at my local farmer’s market and have been randomly stalking her ever since. I knew her farm was growing and it was great to hear her speak about her experience. She moved from Columbia to America at age 2.  During a trip to Columbia Pilar saw first hand how an individual can serve their family and community by working the land.  She returned to Georgia and purchased a farm.  Today, Rancho Alegre educates visitors on the benefits agricultural living through field trips, cooking demonstrations, and education classes held on site. Pilar has given me an open invitation to visit the farm.. sweet lady has no idea what she’s done! Hee Hee!

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K Rashi Nuri was a breath of fresh air during lunch. A Harvard graduate with a M.S.  in Plant and Soil Science, he was as down home and cozy as my Uncle Bubba (one of my favorites!).  He is the Chairman of Georgia Organics and has lived  and worked in Southeast Asia, Nigeria, and  Ghana.  He has managed public, private, and community based agricultural businesses in over 35 countries around the world.  He has created  5 urban gardens in Atlanta through his organization Truly Living Well.  They are managing to use minimal green pesticides by being strategic in their growing practices. Composting is a major component in their success. While they supply produce to 7 out of Atlanta’s 12 top restaurants, his greatest pride seems to come from the changes he’s sees in the community.  The citizens support the garden; some even volunteer. They offer summer camps for children and internships for college students. Seniors are given a discounts and those on government food assistance get $2 worth of produce for every $1 they spend. They also offer an urban growers training program.  Umm… I think I see a another certificate in my future.

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Rashid said many profound things. One of my favorites:

What you return to the Earth, the Earth returns to you.

The second half of the conference, I found myself doing what I do best, connecting directly with people. I left my husband in the sessions to take notes and I enjoyed chats with Pilar, Rashid, and a few others.  I met the coordinator of the Atlanta Food Bank’s community garden.  Really nice guy. He told me that WIC used to have a program which allowed for purchases in community gardens. I’d love to see that available again. I also met a beautiful lady from Habesha Inc. Check out her cool t-shirt:

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She told me about the cool things they are doing over there.  Here’s what their website says:

HABESHA, Inc. is a Pan-African organization that cultivates leadership in youth through practical experiences in cultural education, sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, holistic health, and technology.

I plan on visiting all of these local farms. They each have their own unique flavor but share a common thread of combining heritage, agriculture, and education.

What was my takeaway from the conference?  While night quite recognizable, the tide is shifting. People in Georgia (and I suspect around the country) are realizing that it begins with food.  Health, family, and community are fully realized when we focus on what we eat and share with others.

My study on the benefits of ancestral health continues.  I am convinced more than ever that our future resides here.

Well don’t just stand there… grab a shovel!