Archive for the ‘Healthy Eating’ Category

The Farmer’s Market


The Farmer’s Market is back!

After a long cold winter, and wet spring, the farmer’s market is back in the West End.  This week, May 6th,  marks the opening of the summer farmer’s market.


It is early in the season, but many of our family’s favourite vendors were back today!

We bought Free Range Organic eggs and apple chips from Klippers Organic Acres, huge green beans and eight types of heirloom and cherry tomatoes from Celyddon Farms, colossal green olives stuffed with cashews from the Dundarave Olive Company, thee types of local honey from Vlad’s Apiary, some dangerously delicious vegan hazelnut chocolate spread from Bad Girl Chocolates, Wild caught Salmon Indian Candy, lox, and frozen salmon from Blue Comet Seafoods , and for the firsts time, tuna from Estevan Tuna.


Besides many of the usual vegetables and fruits, eggs, fish and dairy products this years markets promise to bring a variety of unusual and delightful new delicacies and crafts.


Today I saw Ostrich products from ostrich jerky and pepperoni, ostrich eggs, ostrich oil, oil soap, feather dusters and leather, from Forstbauer Natural Food Farm.  Also surprising were  predatory plants like Venus fly traps from Twin Oaks Herb Farm.  Cut flowers, Performance Posture Group was there with posture screening, raw cat and dog food, granola, salsa, candy and jewelry.  Even our local MLA, Spencer Herbert was there!


Held at Mole hill, at  Comox and Nelson Street, beside Nelson park it is an ideal shopping experience for the whole family, even the dog as there is an off leash park right beside it.


I look forward to eating all the yummy food we bought this week and each Saturday morning to discover what the farmers have brought to us city folks!


Bon Appetit!


Keeping it fresh

No matter what your age, it is likely when you were young you carried a lunch box.  It may have been  a standard metal dome lid or a stylish plastic or vinyl one.


It could have had displayed Fraggle Rock, fraggle

Star Wars, vintage-1977


Superman lunch-54superman11

or even something else.                            lunchboxshop_hendrix

Whatever you carried, it was not only practical and necessary, but a fashion statement to boot! I clearly remember my plastic dome lid, Care Bears lunch box with matching thermos! It was the highlight of the day to see what Mom had packed into my treasure box, fruit roll up? candy bars? Most likely raisins, regardless, everyone loved their lunch boxes!

As time passed we lost the lunch box in favour of a brown paper bag or a cafeteria bought lunch (you can’t beat the fries and gravy from my high-school cafeteria, YUM!).

These days most students and adults resort to a fast food lunch. If they do choose to bring a lunch, the brown bag is still quite common but what if you want to bring something other then a sandwich? How about  something hot  or messy? The lunch box has become hip again, and not just for kiddies!

You can still find hundreds of boxes with the old flair, many of them now boast a lead free lining, are ecologically produced, and many  are reproductions of the old Snoopy or Wonder Woman ones of days past.

For the environmentally conscious consumer there are many options on the market today. We use all of the following, and not just to pack a lunch but also to use instead of the disposable Styrofoam (why is this still legal?) option to take away some fast food.

Our first purchase ( and still favourite)is the To- Go Ware two tier stainless steel tiffin box. We have the original style, it has been revamped, with what looks likes clips instead of the original closing mechanism. The handle makes it easy to carry and when getting hot food at the food court the server has something to hold on to when serving and handling it.  The new design has a fold down handle which would make it easier to pack. The lid doubles as a plate and the size is sufficient to hold a decent amount of food.

togoNew design To-Go Ware Stainless Steel Container.

Another option in stainless steel is this container from Sanctus Mundo

ssThis simple design is practical and straight forward. It also has a silicon seal to make it water and air tight. We have all the sizes and have found these to be very handy for travel and storage of leftovers.


Anther option is the Zebra containers. These are light weight and  made in Thailand. The clasp is easy to open and close so kids can use them. The size is the only limitation on this one, but for a snack or left overs this container fits the bill.

For hot items we use these lovely little containers from thermos called FooGo. foogosmpinkfoogosmblueThese containers are leak proof, keep food cold or hot, light, stainless steel inside and out, with a wide mouth opening they are perfect for kids and adults alike.

The lunch box has evolved into many forms and these four are the ones we use in our house and on the go.  Whatever you choose, chances are you will have the fond memories of lunch times past.  When you choose to go with an environmentally sound option of reusable containers you can be sure your choice is the “green one”.


Vegan Chocolate Cake


I came across this wonderful Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe recently on my homeschooling message board.

I have made it close to a dozen times already and each time it is perfect!  It is so simple and really moist.


Gather all your ingredients together first.

Preheat your oven to 375.

Grease and flower your cake pans, I use two 8″ rounds or 24 muffin cups.

Ingredients                                 03-02-09-023

1 1/2 Cups Organic flour

1/3  Cup Organic Cocoa powder

1 tsp (tea spoon) baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 Cup Organic Sugar

1 Cup Cold Water or Coffee

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

2 tsp Vinegar

1 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract (optional)


In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt, cocoa, and baking powder, mix and set aside

In a second mixing bowl combine water, sugar,oil, and  vanilla.   reserving the vinegar until all is mixed


Mix well

Add the dry ingredients to the wet

Add vinegar as the final step, this will cause a reaction with the baking soda and will look swirly


Pour into greased pans and bake for 10 – 12 minutes depending on how hot your oven is.



Remove from oven and let cool a few minuets before removing from pans, then let cool completely on wire racks.



Frost with Organic frosting ( made from Earth Balance margarine and organic powdered sugar, or melt a chocolate bar in a double broiler ( I use a stainless steel bowl on top of a pot of boiling water, works great!)


I always add a layer of jam between my two cakes, this makes them stick together, and my mom always did this so I do too.


Buying Green?

I know the market today has thousands of items on the shelf that claim to be environmentally responsible. Words like “organic” , “fair trade”, ” natural”, “sustainable”and “good for the earth” even “good ecology” and you know that it also means good profit margin.  It is true that most organic or fairly traded products cost significantly more then the conventional alternatives, are organic products superior?

06 21 09 garden 019

Yes organic food is grown without pesticides, with the environment in mind. Typically an organic yield will be smaller then a conventional one, it is more labour intensive to farm and harvest, and therefore more expensive at the grocery store.

Fair traded products are just that, traded or bought in an environment that pays a decent wage to the producers, coffee and chocolate are two products that have flourished under the name of  “Fair Trade” but what is the hidden environmental cost of these and many organic products.

They may well be “certified organic” but if a product travelled from Chile in February, how “environmental” or “sustainable” is it?

What is the answer? To buy local, in season, at farmers markets.  What about that 100 mile diet, to live on things that are grown within 100 miles of where you live.  What if there is very little grown in that radius? What if where you live has a very short growing season? What about during the winter? In generations past people, (women traditionally) would can and pickle, preserve and store food for the winter. This is not a lost art, but a lot more work and planning is required! We have gotten into the habit of just running over to the local grocery chain and picking up what ever your hearts desire, almost any time of year. Convenient yes, is this progress though? Is this sustainable or good for the planet?

06 06 09 farmers market 007

I live in a big city, weekly heavy trucks barrel down the alley toward the Safeway loading docks. Bringing the cache of treasures for you and me. Pineapple in January, okay, strawberries in February, no problem, fresh produce year round is what sophisticated consumers demand and that is what Safeway, and everyone else who is in the grocery business supply.

The fact that the ground is frozen and buried under four feet of snow does not faze us as we dive into the delicious “fresh fruit” grown thousands of miles away,  sometimes travelling further then most of the people who will eventually consume it, ever have.

Is the answer to only consume local food, well maybe if the choice is between local and organic that has trekked hundreds of miles, then is the conventional choice is better for the environment?  Should we not buy the raspberries or mangoes in the depths of winter? That choice is of course up to you. If consumers demand it, then it will supplied. If people decided to really make sustainable choices they need to look at all the factors, conventional or organic? local or from another continent?

It’s up to me and it’s up to you.

Kids weekly update part 4:6 Activeties

Hello there it is me, Justin, and my topic today is six activities for you to do: activity number one:jungle gym getting old?Try climbing a tree!Its lots more excercise on account they were’nt made for it!The best one I know is the one at second beach park at the playground. Number two:Is that motor boating getting motor BORING?Try kayaking instead!So MAYBE it is tough on the elbows.BUT it will give you some excersize on the arms! and then it is tough to get to school when you are 2 minutes late so instead ride a bike!It is fast,excercize and it is fun!Also good for those darned grocery runs that you gotta do.#3:I have a bit of a hard time with this excercise but it is cool to know how to do it and that is swimming!#4:Skiing is an excellent sport if you can get the hang of it but it is fairly easy to do once you get the hang of it and if you like it enough go twice a week!#5: Nintendo thumbs killing you?Of course it is O.K. too use Thumbsmasher 3000 a little but to work out those hands to be stronger try this:pretend you have a newspaper in each hand and scrunch them as fast as possible.And number 6:nature programs can be…not so hot…but being right there is great!imagine if you were in a kayak and you came across a natural waterhole that connects to the lake or whatever and then you can see all these cool animals like maybe even a black bear!(editors note:with adult supervision please!!)well that all for this week but next week:a hint at the contest and my favorite indoor sports!next week,Justin.

Oprah Goes Vegan

I was pleasantly surprised to read last week that Oprah Winfrey has “gone Vegan” for a trial period of 21 days. She has been writing about it in her blog. She has been talking a lot about Eckhart Tolle’s new book called A New Earth, and as part of her quest for spiritual enlightenment she has deiced to incorporate a vegan diet into her life. I for one applaud her and I hope she inspires others to follow this example.

The idea that vegetarianism is connected to spirituality has been around a very long time. Buddhist are known for this being part of their beliefs. As I interpret it, animals that are bred for food experience a life that is filled with suffering and by eating the flesh of these animals you are also ingesting all the experience, pain, fear, and misery that animal lived.

Only someone who does not eat animal products can tell you for sure if by not eating flesh they feel somehow more peaceful. I know personally that I do feel better knowing I do not eat mammals and am very conscious about any animal products that I do use. I believe, like first nations people, that everything has a spirit and I honer the life of any animals that have passed on in order to make my life better.

I will be interested to read how this experiment will affect Oprah. She is already a beacon of light and inspiration for millions. Food has been a huge issue for her, as she has publicly acknowledged. I hope she is able to make the connections she is hoping for and this will raise her spiritual awareness even more.

If you are interested in finding more information about a plant based diet check out this site. Earth Save was started by John Robbins, son of Baskin Robbins founder.

URBNgreen is committed to education and environmental stewardship. Our objective is share information about what people are doing locally and around the world to create a sustainable future.
delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at