Hooked on Kombucha

I have a secret addiction. I’m also sort of a pusher. Thankfully, it’s pretty healthy, as addictions go. And as secret addictions go, it isn’t actually all that secret either. Let me explain.

PrettyJarOKkombuchaI got into cultured food a year or so ago and tried a variety, first diary kefir, then water kefir, then fermented veggies such as green beans and cabbage (sauerkraut). The latest and most enduring culture-al trend in my house is kombucha, a fizzy drink made from a blend of black (or green or white) tea, sugar, and a blob of culture called a scoby, or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.

Yes, it sounds weird enough to strike fear in the hearts and minds, possibly stomachs, of many. But, a fair number are willing to try it and some have even become converts. You may have become aware of the kombucha trend in health food stores, which carry a highly sweetened, often fizzier version of the drink that substitutes for carbonated soft drinks. Continue reading

Addicted to Weeds…and Seeds

I’m addicted to Weeds. Oh stop it, you. If you’re from British Columbia you’ve read that as “Weed” and that’s not what I said. What I said and mean is Weeds. Weeds & Seeds, actually.

Weeds&SeedsCerealI discovered Weeds & Seeds at the Vancouver Wellness Show, a showcase of products meant to promote health and wellness. I do mean products that promote health/wellness, though not necessarily actually produce it.

After cruising aisle upon aisle of nicely packaged, well-marketed products, many from healthy-sounding companies, it became very clear that if you want to be healthy you’d better take your health education into your own hands and not rely on branding, marketing and sales brochures to ensure your wellness. But I digress. Continue reading

Fancy Food Packaging Doesn’t Mean Healthy

VancouverWellnessShowI had a great day wandering the Vancouver Wellness Show and came home with a bag of goodies to share. That’s the sign of a successful tradeshow visit, isn’t it? Well not exactly, but getting free stuff always feels good. Which is what promotions people are counting on, that the goodwill of getting free stuff will make you feel good about the products they are promoting. But even at an event called The Wellness Show you really must keep your wits about you. Continue reading

Deciphering Food Labels

Deciphering Food LabelsI’m a big fan of my local health food store/grocer. Nature’s Fare Market has a great selection of products and is staffed by well-informed staff, especially in their vitamins and supplements department. In addition, they are involved in the community and regularly offer educational seminars. Another of their great educational tools is their newsletter, The Good Life. In an issue this past summer they included a great explanation of food labels that was so clear and thorough I am reprinting here, with permission.  Continue reading

Bottled Water Builds an Island

In Vreni Gurd’s article the other day, Another Reason Not to Drink Bottled Water, she touched on the issue of where those plastic water bottles end up. It may be much worse than you imagined.

trash-islandEver heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Yeah, I didn’t just make that up, it’s real. A giant (and I do mean giant) garbage dump floating in the North Pacific Ocean, made mostly of plastic. And it’s not going anywhere fast. Because plastic doesn’t break down and decompose. Continue reading

Another Reason Not to Drink Bottled Water

bottledwaterA couple of years ago I went on a bit of a rampage about bottled water (click “Water” in Categories to see a list). I knew it was more than a little ridiculous to pay for something you could get for free out of the tap, but the more I learned the more than ridiculous I realized whole affair has become. Continue reading

How to Beat the Worldwide Food Shortage

Overpopulated_EarthWhen I talk with people about accessibility to food (a key element in food security) I’m often reminded by them that there are too many people on this planet and not enough food and THAT is the problem. This is “common knowledge” after all. Right? Well actually it’s a more a common misconception. The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough food, it’s that what we have isn’t used very wisely. Continue reading

Learning More About Animal Welfare

Professor Natalie WaranAfter the rise in awareness of animal abuse in the dairy industry in recent weeks, I’m very excited to have just completed the first week’s assignments of a FREE 5 week online course on Animal Behaviour and Welfare from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. I am very interested in animal behaviour and want to understand more fully what truly constitutes animal welfare from their perspective, so coming across this course was a great find. Continue reading

Edible Vancouver, Yum

Edible Vancouver MagazineI’ve often joked with friends, including here on my blog, that the West Coast Seeds annual catalogue is gardener’s porn. If you are a gardener in Canada and perhaps even farther afield, you have heard of and eagerly await the arrival of your copy.

On a similar vein, Edible Vancouver Magazine is porn for local foodies. Oh yes, yes, yes it is! The best part is, you get a fresh issue every 2 months rather than once a year. Continue reading