How To Change The Way You Think About Food

Food has become scary. And, for some (unfortunate) reason, it’s all based on semantics.

how to change how you think about food

We’re so frightened of what our food might do to us, from weight gain to cancer, that restaurants and grocery stores cater to our fears. They offer us organic salad (and better yet without dressing), multigrain bread, farm-fresh eggs and sweet potato fries. The terrifying “unhealthy” options still linger in the far corners of menus and aisles for the brave souls who practically risk their lives for Wonderbread and factory-farmed chicken. No one wonder there’s so few—their choices likely raised their cholesterol or spiked their blood sugar to such a degree that they didn’t survive to see the bottom of the Ruffles bag.  

8 Instagram Accounts Every Canadian Foodie Needs To Follow

Warning: there are no stereotypical cute, food-coma inducing or plant-based diet Instagram accounts ahead. If you’re into that kind of food porn, you know where to find it. That’s not to say these Instagrammers don’t shoot stellar dishes and inspiring ingredients, but they do so with the knowledge to back it up. These are food Instagram accounts for the teacher’s pet.

Serving the Community



Toronto-based The Stop (@thestopcfc) Community Food Centre offers drop-in meals, community kitchens, a food bank, engagement programs and support in an effort to increase dignified access to nutritious food. Discover the results of their drop-in programs from salads to sewing and their Market Café’s latest offerings. Meanwhile, Santropol Roulant (@sroulant) strives to unite communities of all ages through food with such programs as Meals-on-Wheels and volunteer collectives. Their bilingual Instagram account documents the going-on’s of the volunteers and staff who drive the organization and their delicious labours of love.

For Year-Round Farm Finds


Beautiful baked goods by @clairelivia at Hastings park farmers market #hastingsparkwfm #eatlocal #veryvancouver

A post shared by Vancouver Farmers Markets (@vanmarkets) on

While other farmers’ markets’ Instagram accounts tend to die out over the winter, Vancouver Farmers Market (@vanmarkets) posts all year long. They showcase a range of farmers, artisans and food truckers and regularly offer their followers competitions. Participate for delicious prizes.  

Beyond the Bud

 


Way to go! Women in #Ontariocraftbrewing !! @sleepinggiantbrewing #indiecraftbeer #craftbeer #iwd2017

A post shared by Ontario Craft Brewers (@ontcraftbrewers) on


Bored with your current beer of choice? Ontario Craft Brewers (@ontcraftbrewers) is sure to inspire you or at least take you to school on your craft beer knowledge. Let their pictures of tall cans and brimming pint glasses shake up your next night out or LCBO run.

Calgary Food Crushes


Beautiful baked goods by @clairelivia at Hastings park farmers market #hastingsparkwfm #eatlocal #veryvancouver

A post shared by Vancouver Farmers Markets (@vanmarkets) on

Since her Top Chef Canada days, I always pay attention whenever I hear the name, Connie De Sousa (@conniedesousa), co-owner of Calgary’s Charcut Roast. Elegant and smart, she’s known for her butchery skills. Aside from delicious eats, her adorable daughter is a regular feature of her Instagram account. Meanwhile Julie Van Rosendaal (@dinnerwithjulie), a cookbook author and food columnist, also Calgary-based, shares her daily food adventures—home-cooking and restaurant trips alike—via Instagram. However, you’d be remiss not to check out her website featuring a slew of accessible recipes.  

Yukon Bread-ctivism

 


The life of a baker 🍞 #alpinebakeryyxy #organic #breadlife

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The 33-year-old Alpine Bakery (@alpinebakeryyxy) made news earlier this year when founder Suat Tutzlak retired and sold the business to German regulars, Silvia and Walter Streit. Tutzlak created a Yukon institution known for its brick oven and environmentally friendly practices. To be fair, Alpine hasn’t posted to their Instagram account in over a year, but consider it a tribute to Tutzlak’s legacy as the Streit’s make their mark.

Fishing It Out for Herself


Beautiful baked goods by @clairelivia at Hastings park farmers market #hastingsparkwfm #eatlocal #veryvancouver

A post shared by Vancouver Farmers Markets (@vanmarkets) on

Hana Nelson also made news when she opened Afishionado (@halifishmonger), Halifax’s only independent fishmonger in 2014. She’s driven to offer Haligonians sustainable catches and develop a relationship with the folks that catch them.  Like the other community-minded organizations and businesses in this list, Nelson also offers her customers workshops, classes and events. Get to know Nova Scotia’s fishing and fish-loving community via Nelson’s images.

What To Order From Tim’s Based On Your Class Schedule

As a child, Tim Horton’s meant bagels and Boston Cream donuts—each eaten on a specific day at a specific time. A plain buttered bagel with a carton of white milk at 7 am the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend and a Boston Cream donut early afternoon every Saturday after our weekly grocery shop. Since moving out, I’ve become more adventurous with my Tim’s selection. And with Tim’s at both my university and college campuses, as a student, I was regularly exposed to the intricacies of its menu and incoming developments. During my university years, I learned about the prevalence of mental illness and the drama of house parties as well as the ability to order cheese and sliced tomato on your Tim’s bagel or even lasagne.

2011 was indeed a year of revelations.

After some experimentation, I pass on my Tim’s menu wisdom to you: what to order and when. Because, yes, your 9 am econ lecture can be improved thanks to Tim’s.

what to order from Tim Horton's based on your class schedule

Why am I up this early?

Given my nostalgia when it comes to Tim’s bagels, for me, there is no other breakfast option. Filling yet light and so soft to the bite, your prof or TA won’t know you’re indulging in breakfast as they indulge in their “thought-provoking” lecture. My recommended combinations include:

  1. Health Nut: 12 Grain Bagel with peanut butter and a drizzle of honey
  2. Sunday Brunch: Maple Cinnamon French Toast Speciality Bagel with Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread
  3. Savour Me: Jalapeno Asiago Mozzarella Bagel with Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread, tomato and cucumber slices and a sprinkle of black pepper

When am I supposed to eat lunch?

Whether or not it’s common practice, in my books, two- to three-hour 11 am or 12 pm lectures and seminars are inhumane. How can you possible focus while visions of sandwiches and soups dance in your head? Thankfully, for the most part, my professors of these ghastly lunchtime lectures welcomed food in the classroom. And, thankfully, Tim’s is easily transportable to the classroom. As long as the jealously-inducing smell doesn’t distract your peers, I recommend Tim’s Homestyle Chili with a Cheese Croissant for dipping. Unlike soup, its thicker consistency won’t spill down your front or all over your keyboard. Their Oatmeal and Yogurt and Berries offer similarly reliable consistencies while still providing on sustenance and flavour. Only have a 10 minute break? Try the Boost App on your campus to pre-order and pick-up according to your schedule. 

Why is there a lecture when I should be at the pub? Or asleep?

Almost as unjust as the lunchtime lecture, even the phrase itself “evening lecture” is tiresome. (And redundant for that matter. Both aspects independent of the other are likely to put you to sleep.) To distract you from the millions of other enjoyable and even productive ways you could spend your evening, I propose your baked good and hot beverage of choice. Skip them as a mid-morning treat. By 7 pm you need whatever help you can get to survive the next two or more hours. In my case, it’s a hot chocolate with a chai flavour shot and a Honey Crueller. Or an Earl Grey tea with a splash of milk and two Oatmeal Raisin Spice cookies. Why not help out your fellow classmates—and even the prof—with a box of Timbits? A fifty-pack makes any arduous task easier.

What Does “Good Fat” Look Like?

by Danielle Del Vicario

Ten years ago, we were told to run the other direction if coconut oil was one of the top three ingredients in a food product. Fast forward to today, we stir big spoonfuls of it into our morning coffee. All of a sudden, fat—or at least the chimeric “good fat” so religiously touted by today’s nutritionists like coconut oil—is the so-called solution to dozens of health problems. What changed?! Let me tell you, navigating ever-changing dietary trends certainly hasn’t.

what does good fat look like?

I’m happy to not ask too many questions in order to forgo some fat-free, artificially sweetened yogurt substitute for thick and creamy Greek yogurt. That said, I’m convinced there is something to all this talk about good fat—and have done a little bit of research to support that opinion, which I won’t bother boring you with. You should incorporate extra monounsaturated fats into your day if you don’t do so already. They’re found in avocado, flaxseed, olive oil, fish, eggs and some nuts. And they’re the feature of my recipes below. So don’t cut the fat, embrace it.

 

Quickest fresh tomato-avocado “omelette” with chili-lime yogurt

splash of olive oil

2 eggs

dash of milk

salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup full-fat Greek yogurt

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 chili, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp parsley or cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, halved and diced

1 tomato, diced

  1. Heat a frying pan and oil over medium-high heat. Whisk eggs with milk, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the pan, cover and reduce heat slightly. Cook about seven to eight minutes or until the mixture is completely set.
  2. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, lime zest and juice, chili, garlic and parsley or cilantro and set aside.  
  3. When the eggs are set, transfer to plate, top with diced avocado and tomato and fold in half. Serve with chili-lime yogurt.

Meditate On This

by Josh Racho

About four years ago I decided to start a meditation practice—even though at the time I didn’t really know that’s what I wanted. That said I did realize I often had a hard time sitting still, enjoying “the quiet,” and silencing work- and school-related stress in my spare time. For a couple of months I struggled with what meditation even meant to me. I worried constantly about how I should be positioned, what I should or should not think about and how I could possibly measure any noticeable change. In general I sat in a cross-legged position slightly elevated on a cushion, simply for comfort, in the quietest space I could find for anywhere from five to twenty minutes a day.

meditate on this

For the first month I would use my ‘meditations’ to listen to my breath and make my eyes still. This in itself often took over ten minutes and then I could settle my mind and ever twitching body. By the second month I was able achieve this state within a few minutes. It was by about the third month where I really noticed actual benefits in my day-to-day life. At this point when I would sit down I was immediately still and would move in and out of listening to my breath and remain without thought. I found that throughout the day I didn’t fidget and worry so much—I discovered true contentment.

Up until this point I hadn’t read any books about meditation, but wanted to take some steps towards building a better practice and here is where, for me, I went about it all wrong. I started reading books about how to meditate, when to meditate and what techniques to use. I started to become very focused on techniques or practices I thought were cool rather than the whole reason I had originally brought a meditation practice into my own life. As I tested out different techniques I became worried and consequently frustrated myself about following steps and methods. My daily 30 minutes of so-called meditation were now filled with thought and lost any form of stillness.

After a few months it became a chore and I stopped practicing regularly. In an effort to rethink my practice, I closed the books and promised myself that each day I would find five minutes to be still in some position in some location and just sit. The most beautiful thing happened: within days I was back to where my practice had been.

Now two years since starting again I (re)discovered the simplicity of just finding time to sit still every day and in turn have naturally developed my own techniques. My practice is far beyond exclusively listening to my breath for five minutes a day. Now I find myself looking forward to my practice whether that means absolute nothingness, visualized locations or emotions, a body scan or even pure emotional release.

I am by no means an expert on meditation, but now understand why there’s an abundance of books published on the subject. Meditation is a very personal process. Essentially everyone could write their own book on what they do and how they’ve progressed in their practice. There is no ladder to climb, set way to position yourself, technique to follow or individual to compare yourself to. Intention and the desire to meditate regularly are the only requirements. Take five minutes each day to sit still and go from there. Find your own practice—not somebody else’s.

What To Treat Yourself To When You’re Feeling Sick

by Hannah Lank

What should you eat when feeling under the weather? You’ve probably heard your share of clichéd answers: chicken soup, chicken broth, more chicken soup… There’s only so much soup a person can take, even if it’s delicious, homemade and served to you on the couch under your favourite blanket mid-Say Yes to the Dress marathon. When I’m sick, I treat myself to these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies—possibly the most delicious I’ve ever had. For the chocolate chips, I prefer the milk chocolate variety. It’s hard not to feel better when you’re nibbling on a warm cookie—the blanket/couch/TV combo only assists the recovery process. Sure, it’s true that food should be your medicine and maybe oatmeal chocolate chip cookies aren’t a so-called health food, but when they’re melting in your mouth, you can’t deny that you feel a little more hopeful.

 

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Amanda Stine and Mary Garland’s Sharing the Table at Garland’s Lodge)

  •      1 cup butter
  •      1 cup brown sugar
  •      1 cup sugar
  •      2 eggs
  •      2 tbsps milk
  •      2 tsps vanilla
  •      2½ cups flour
  •      1 tsp baking powder
  •      1 tsp baking soda
  •      1 tsp salt
  •      2 cup rolled oats
  •      12 ounces chocolate chips
  •      1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds or your favourite combination of nuts and/or dried fruit
  1.     Preheat oven to 350 F.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy, approximately two to three minutes.  Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl once during mixing.  Beat in the eggs one by one, then mix in the vanilla and milk.
  2.     Whisk the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt together in a separate bowl before adding to the butter mixture, blending well.  Mix in the oats, chocolate chips, nuts and/or optional dried fruit.  Drop by tablespoons full on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Bake for eight to ten minutes until light brown and slightly gooey.  Cool on a rack (but eat when warm!).

 

How First Year Impacted My Diet

by Hannah Lankhow first year affected my diet

I came into first year university with a ravenous appetite that led to an overindulgent diet. “I’m young—I can eat what I want, right?” became my mindset, partly because I believed it, but also partly because that was the mindset of my fellow first-year diners.  There was no one to tell me that maybe a dinner should consist of more than carbs. Rather my friends only served to reinforce such a diet, indulging right along with me. “So many carbs,” we’d complain as we walked back to the caf for a second serving of pizza.  

Living away from home for the first time ever in residence brought about many changes and a great deal of freedom and responsibility.  A healthy diet became just one of many items in the litany of “things I need to take care of.”  Of course I, along with every other first year, feared the infamous “freshman fifteen” (the amount of weight, legend tells, that the average first year gains by the end of the school term).  Conscious of this, I tried to be good.  Having been raised to eat healthy, after a few months of indulgent dining, I began to tire of pizza, pasta and potatoes.  For me, it became about eating in moderation and being particularly aware of stress-eating and snacking in my dorm room.  There were nights when, by myself or with a friend due to a combination of stress and the fact that we simply could, I would find myself consuming half a box of cookies—and never feeling very good after.  By the end of first year, even with my daily gym excursions and runs, my friends and I had each gained at least five pounds.  

When I got my own place over the summer I lost those five pounds and stopped consuming gluttonous amounts of sweets.  For me, it was part of the experience of being a first-year student. You have to come around to realizing that a diet based on the principle of moderation is best, meaning it’s fine to enjoy a couple cookies, but not half a box.  And yes, you need your vegetables.  I don’t regret the diet choices I made in first year, because now I can honestly say, “Been there, done that—and never going back!”  I’ve learned from my mistakes, but I had to make them in the first place.

Fish For Your Heart

by David Kitai

A piece of frozen haddock, fried within an inch of its life and slathered with tartar sauce, isn’t going to make you sit up and think about the deliciousness of aquatic life. But when given the chance, fish can be memorable, a dish seared into your memory like grill marks. If my sister and I are any indication, a lot of young kids in North America are awfully picky about fish. So when we have the bite, urged on by our parents during a trip to the seaside, that wakes up to the beauty, versatility and pure joy of seafood, it’s a taste we’ll never quite forget.

fish for your heart

That said my most distinct memory of fish took place in a kitchen, not over a dining table. I was an apprentice cook—my first restaurant job—in a little French hotel-restaurant. I was a terrible: nervous and constantly seeking validation. I barely spoke the language and thusly was unable to understand half of my chef’s instructions. Needless to say, I was miserable for my first few weeks there. I questioned everything I loved about food and quaked with fear every time a chit hit the board. My coworkers who, in hindsight, were remarkably sweet and understanding, terrified me. I felt isolated and incompetent in a foreign country. I butchered the simplest tasks and as a result was left with jobs where I could do the least damage. One of them was cleaning fish.

A Hierarchy For Herbs And Spices

by David Kitai

It astounds me that the whole world has been shaped by a drive for spices. From Roman salt mines in the Levant, to Chinese brine wells dug thousands of miles deep, to the spice merchants that launched the “age of exploration,” colonialism and the European world order that followed. Humankind crossed immense distances, did unbelievable, and terrible, things so they wouldn’t have to eat bland food.

Generally I don’t believe in a huge spice cabinet. As a student, picking up new spices for every recipe can really kill your budget. You don’t need more than a few basic staples to cook exciting, flavourful dishes. In my mind they exist as a hierarchy, the must-haves, should-haves, and might-as-well-haves.

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My must-haves

These are my absolute essentials, and thusly items I don’t like to cheap out on.

  • good quality kosher salt
  • whole black peppercorns
  • good quality dried chilli flakes
  • planted pots of fresh rosemary, thyme and basil

My should-haves

  • nutmeg
  • cloves
  • aniseed
  • fermented chilli paste
  • cumin
  • coriander seed
  • turmeric
  • powdered ginger
  • dried herbs de Provence
  • dried oregano
  • smoked paprika (hot and sweet)
  • cinnamon (powdered and sticks)
  • bay leaves
  • cayenne pepper.

My might-as-well-haves

  • allspice
  • marigold flowers
  • fresh tarragon
  • fresh dill
  • fenugreek
  • smoked and seasoned salts
  • white pepper

And a random selection of spice mixes I picked up from Carlos’ House of Spice in Toronto’s Kensington Market—they have everything you could ever need.

Seasoning is a pretty personal aspect of cooking, so you may develop a totally different hierarchy for your spices. If you like, pick a cuisine you enjoy for example French, Italian or Vietnamese—the list goes on—and build your rack around the common spices that appear in their dishes. Once you’ve worked out your palate, you’ll be shocked at how second-nature seasoning becomes.

Snacks To Fuel You Through Midterms (And Beyond)

by Hannah Lank

Too often university assignments fuel students’ junk food cravings. Yet regardless of what your body may be telling you, Oreos and Chips Ahoy aren’t actually what you need to get you through writing that 15-page essay. You’ve probably heard this before, but let me say it again: you will regret eating ten Oreos about ten minutes after you’ve indulged. And, no, they won’t help you focus.

But say you’re actually hungry at 11 pm. Studying uses up a lot of brain energy—you need to replenish those stores. There are certainly “healthier” snacks that’ll take your mind off food and back to your notes.

woman-hand-desk-office (1)

The first one, the classic, is popcorn. It’s easy to make, satisfies your salty craving and certainly isn’t as bad for you as store-bought cookies. The air-popped version even allows you to control the amount of added salt and fat. If you’re craving something sweet, you could munch on some kettle corn. Although addictive, it at least contains fibre.

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Second on my list of top-choice snacks is dark chocolate-covered dried fruit. Dark chocolate and fruit both offer the obvious nutritional benefits. If you buy single serving-portioned packages, you’ll control how much you eat when your mind is elsewhere—namely not on portion control. Again, like popcorn, if time and energy permits prepare your own homemade version.

Melt dark chocolate chips in a glass or stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Once melted dip your favourite dried or fresh fruit in the chocolate before setting aside and allowing the chocolate-dipped fruit to set.

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Lastly, I recommend the surprisingly satisfying unsweetened Greek yogurt with fruit.

As a university student, nutritional value and portion control aren’t a top priority. I get it. But what you fuel your body with will impact your academic performance, so put down that box of birthday cake Oreos and grab a healthy substitution instead. You’ll quieten both your stomach and guilt.