Why Buy in Bulk?

Bulk as in bins, not COSTCO size packaging…

The first most obvious reason to buy in bulk is it gives you the ability to purchase as much or as little as you need.

It also ensures you are only paying for the food, not unnecessary packing, which usually means a better price AND less waste, saving valuable resources.

So that’s four reasons…!

bulk-jars

What Can You Buy in Bulk?

Glad you asked! There are many healthy, whole food options in bulk.

All of these should be stored in a dry, cool place in airtight jars or other containers. Properly stored they will maintain their quality for up to six month.

Dry Beans

Dry beans should be soaked in water for 8 hours or boiled in water for 3 minutes then left to soak for 2-4 hours before fully cooking. Soak 1 cup of dry beans in 4-5 cups of water. Soaking before cooking helps with the digestibility of the beans. Make sure and drain the soaking water and use fresh water before cooking.

To ensure proper cooking, avoid adding salt, sugar, tomatoes, wine, lemon, or soy sauce until after the beans are fully cooked. You may preseason with garlic, onion, bay leaves, or cumin.

Dried Fruits

If you have a choice, choose those that have no added sulfur. Sulfur is often added to preserve the color of the fruit, but it can also have some not-so colorful side-effects. So don’t be turned off by pale colors of dried fruit that does not contain sulfur- it will taste just as good!

Grains and Flours

Each grain and flour may have unique or multiple methods of preparation. Since there is no packaging to supply cooking instructions in bulk, you might need to follow a recipe, or consult with google for directions.

Nuts and Seeds

I love to make my own trail mix in the bulk section. This way I only have in it what I want and only in the amounts I want them. No need to just pick one nut or seed, and have a lot of it until the container runs out, but have a variety of several to play with in dishes and as snacks.

Liquids

Oils, vinegar, various kinds of honey or syrups are used often and in many ways in the kitchen. They can also be quite spendy. Bulk purchase of these liquids allows you to try just a little bit of a larger variety rather than to spend a large amount on a large container.

You can also re-use glass containers by purchasing in bulk- reduce, reuse and recycle!

 

I hope this overview of why (what and how) to buy in bulk proves helpful in all your future cooking endeavors!

 

Advertisements

HDFFA

High Desert Food and Farm Alliance

Ever heard of them?

No?

Well, you should. If you live in Central Oregon and you eat food, then you should know, and care, about this organization.hdffa_color_logo2_vert


In short, the HDFFA improves access and education for food grown in Central Oregon, to ensure a healthy and sustainable community.

They are a highly passionate, relatively new non-profit group with only one full time employee and a volunteer board. Their funds come mainly from grants with high hopes of becoming more self-sufficient as programs grow and more individuals, like YOU, realize their important role in your community and get involved.


Here are several reasons I am involved and invested in the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance.

I hope you will explore more reasons for yourself as well!

  1. Information on where to buy Central Oregon food and where to find it on the menu.

  2. A healthier dinner plate for those who might not be so fortunate to purchase fresh food on a regular basis.

  3. A healthier dinner plate for those who might not have previously known how to prepare fresh food.

  4. Less travel of food from farm to your plate means less carbon emissions.

  5. Less travel of food from farm to your plate means better quality and taste.

  6. Decreased food waste with gleaning efforts.

  7. Developing a culture of not only eating, but savoring.

  8. Developing a culture of not only eating, but of health and well-being.

All of these efforts help Central Oregon’s ability to self-sustain our food supply in light of an ever growing industrial nation.

This is so very important for our future, and the future of our children’s children, to have healthy food, a healthy environment and a healthy economy.


I encourage you to GET INVOLVED! with HDFFA.

-Like and tag them on social media.

-Sign up for their newsletter.

-Volunteer.

-Attend an event.

-Donate money.

-Spread the word to your friends.

Read more about HDFFA at their website, link here. #hdffa

Food Bugs

Foodborne illness- or food poisoning- is at the least no fun and at the extreme deadly.


Foodborne illness is defined as any sickness from food or drink contaminated with a microbe-bacteria, toxin, virus or parasite.

When I was taking classes to become a Registered Dietitian we were required to take a Food Safety course. Not your typical food handlers license that takes a few hours online, this class was a full semester, with a rigorous exam at the end; it covered everything from how egg whites chemically react when they are beaten, to all too graphic details on the ways you can get sick from contaminated food.

Alas, I admit, I remember only bits and pieces of this course- including the food borne illness bit. I know this because I recently had an uncomfortable case of food poisoning in which I spent the night on the bathroom floor. Was this from a food I ate? If so, which one and why? Was I contagious and need to stay home? I was shocked about how little I recalled when I was in this horrible scenario myself.

After diagnosing that seven family members I had spent the weekend with were also sick that same night, with the same symptoms, and none lasting more than 24 hours, made food a highly likely culprit. Upon some self-study, however the bug in question and the source remained unknown.

Until… my fiance and two other family members had the same experience a week later! This couldn’t just be coincidence could it? Did they eat the same foods that made us sick? I clearly needed to go back to the books…

Here are a few of the bullet-points I found on foodborne illness.

May you find them useful for your own understanding of this awful illness, save you ever end up as a victim to a food bug.

  • One out of six of all Americans will get sick with a foodborne illness every year. (The majority resolve on their own; in rare instances hospitalization is necessary).
  • There are hundreds of organisms that you might ingest via food or drink that can cause you discomfort. Symptoms may be mild to severe and include:
    • Stomach cramps and pain
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Headaches
    • Chills
    • Fever
    • Aching body
  • Any food or drink might possibly be the carrier of a microbe- it all depends on proper handling and serving of the food. However, raw foods are more likely to carry a harmful organism than those that have been properly cooked.
  • It is likely that you have ingested a harmful bug, or several, throughout your life and never knew it. Your body will first try to fight these bad microbes with saliva and the acid in your stomach before it has to resort to expelling them by vomit or diarrhea.
  • A foodborne illness does not necessarily come from the last thing you ate; it can take anywhere from a few hours to several days for a bug to cause symptoms.
  • Symptoms typically last from one day to a week, but the bug in question can stick around in your gut for much longer without you experiencing any discomfort.
  • You CAN spread bacteria and virus that cause illness to other people from direct or indirect contact … so wash your hands and anything that might be contaminated!

I have theorized that my family members and I had gastroenteritis, also known as norovirus or stomach flu. This virus is most active between October and April. It has a quick onset and a quick duration (for most), as was our experience.

Prevention


Prevent the spread of foodborne illness through proper food handling in your own kitchen:

  • Wash your hands!
  • Heat and cook food to proper temperatures.
  • Do not leave food at room temperature for more than four hours.
  • Avoid cross contamination of raw meats, fish and poultry with other foods by cleaning cooking surfaces and using separate cutting boards.
  • Purchase food from a reputable source.

The Fall-Out


If someone you live with experiences a food poisoning episode, treat it like a cold; don’t share glassware or utensils, wash hands, cover mouth when coughing, etc., to prevent the spread of the harmful microbe.

If you have an episode, as soon as your body allows:

  1. Re-hydrate and replace nutrients lost with all the fluids expelled from your digestive tract. Water, tea and fluids containing electrolytes such as a vitamin water, or a supplement containing potassium, sodium, and calcium added to water (I like Nuun tabs that dissolve in water). Gatorades and sports drinks are best watered down to avoid a large sugar rush to an empty stomach.
  2. Restore calories by consuming mild foods, as tolerable. Try crackers, breads, rice, soups, bananas, protein shakes, yogurt…or really anything that sounds good to the person!
  3. And of course sleep is good for recovery, so let yourself rest.

img_20140809_133327_795

Resources:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Mayo Clinic

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Health Research Funding

+ Health

Physical +

Mental + 

Spiritual + 

(Answer: + health)

“Health (helTH) NOUN 1. the state of being free form illness or injury.”

Physical health= body function; heart pumps, brain things, muscles move, lungs breath. The more efficiently your body performs these tasks the more physically healthy you are.

Mental health= psychological and emotional well-being; self-esteem, outlook on life, relationships and social interactions. Being aware of and respecting our feelings and the feelings of others.

Spiritual health= values and believes that shape our purpose in life. What do you believe? How do you matter? How do these shape how and why you do what you do every day?

It goes without saying that these three areas of health are intertwined in our lives.

Therefore, so are they connected to one another.

How might being physically free from illness or injury help you be mentally free from illness or injury? Or how might being emotionally unhealthy affect your spiritual health?

No easy answers; much is left to personal exploration…

Here are some examples to start you thinking:

  • Mental exhaustion from over working= no desire to be physically active.
  • Low physical activity= low endorphin release and poor mood.
  • Daily walk breaks= increase in blood flow, maintenance or gain of lean mass.
  • Gains in lean mass= increase in energy metabolism, efficiency of movement.
  • Efficiency of movement= accomplishment of daily tasks.
  • Enjoyment of sport= receive physical outlet and mental reset through mindful practice.
  • Mindfulness practice= energy and calm mind.
  • Death of a loved one= connect with family and friends, celebrate life and be thankful.
  • Job promotion= boost in self-esteem, confidence to accomplish more, pride in work.

I encourage you to recognize this health connections in your life. Use what you learn to better understand and positively influence your well being.

For further information in this area, here are some wonderful resources!

Food Rules

The rules of food… “don’t eat that!” “eat this in the morning only” “that food will give you gas” “this food is a fat burning food”… are anecdotal. And that, my friends, is the punchline of this article; there are no “rules” of food. No food police that will bust you if you break them.

BUT eating patterns and food choice CAN make a profound difference on your quality of life.


Food is necessary for survival and for enhancing our health and well-being. Beyond that, eating food is as individual as the clothes you wear. Like clothes, there are trends to food, research to guide best fit and comfort for the activity of its use, but in the end you choose what to wear and you choose what to eat.

Do you follow food rules? Who sets those rules for you? The media, a doctor, a dietitian? 

I wouldn’t be the first to admit that the nutrition and health research and advice out there is confusing at best. I also know how nice it is to have a plan to follow- where to start? So I encourage you to seek out as much knowledge and experience as you can to set your own personal guide to food. 

garlic and sage

The knowledge is simple enough. I recommend to:

  • Read about food
    • Not just one article or one book, but several- and ideally from both sides of an argument- with a critical eye. “This article tells me that eggs are good for me, is there any evidence out there that says they are not? And why do they say they are good, or bad, and is it relevant to my lifestyle and my needs?”
  • Talk and ask questions
    • With experts in the field of health and nutrition, as well as with friends, family, and acquaintance. What do they believe, why do they believe that, where do they get their information, what are their specific experiences? 

The experience is simply stated, but often much more of a journey: 

  • Eat food! Yes, you have been doing this your whole life, and you will do it today, and tomorrow… so think…
  • How and what did I eat as a kid, an adolescent, various stages as an adult? How did it make me feel? What will I have at my next meal and why? 

Play around with food based on the knowledge you have been collecting and the experiences you have thus far to see what works for you

  • (EXAMPLE) “My energy has been low lately… I have read several studies saying that coffee can be addictive and mess with blood sugar, plus I had a cousin who quite drinking coffee and says he now has a lot more energy in the day. Maybe I will stop drinking coffee for a week and see how I feel.”
  • (EXAMPLE) “I love running, but I used to avoid running in the evenings because I would get stomach pains and bloating. I didn’t know why and it was really annoying. I started asking my runner friends who all agreed that it might be food related. By trying various food choices for lunches and afternoon snacks, I have found that I need to avoid meats, apples and raw vegetables for at least four hours before I want to run.”
  • (EXAMPLE) “Whenever I used to eat spaghetti with tomato sauce I would get sores on the roof of my mouth. I had heard from my doctor that tomatoes are very acidic and could be the reason for my mouth sores. I avoided the tomato sauce the next time we had spaghetti and I did not get sores!”

The eating patterns and food choices you make will determine your energy, performance, and mood. So take the journey to figure out the best fit FOR YOU.

cherry tomatoes

Fat Gaining Myth 3

It is easy to fall for catchy phrases and perceived social norms surrounding how we should act to receive desired health results. A commonly sought after health result is low body fat, and boy does it have some taboos!

Last month we explored the fat gaining myth “If you eat fat you will get fat”. Today’s myth in question is…

“The longer you spend exercising in the “fat burning” zone the more fat you will burn” 


Intuitively this makes sense, why else would they call it the “fat burning zone”? After all, nothing in health and wellness is every misleading. Sarcasm aside, it is all about the framing. 

fatburningzone1

You DO primarily burn fat as fuel when you are in an aerobic state, meaning you are able to breath in enough oxygen to support efficient energy output. This is happening the majority of your day, including most leisure activity, likely while you read this, and also while you sleep. To go into an anaerobic state, where you are mostly burning carbohydrate as fuel and not fat, takes significant effort on your part. It does not just happen on its own. Your heart rate must get up high enough and you must be breathing hard enough to where you cannot supply enough oxygen to your muscles or organs to continue at that high work capacity for very long. This means a sprint, this means max effort, this means uncomfortable high intensity activity.

The “fat burning zone” such as you might see on an exercise chart or a cardio machine at the gym, is referring to a heart rate zone that keeps you out of this high-intensity, low-oxygen, mostly-carbohydrate-as-energy zone (aerobic verse anaerobic). Yes, you are burning fat for fuel, but it does NOT mean you are going to shed more pounds of fat by staying under this threshold. In fact, long durations of moderate to light activity has not been shown to be efficient at making body composition changes, nor is it the most effective means for improving fitness. 

Being active and staying moving at a low to moderate level has its benefits- such as improved blood flow, digestion, nerve stimulation, decrease in joint stiffness, skeletal muscle activation and mental clarity- but shedding fat is not one of them.


How can you use exercise to be a better fat burners?

By getting out of the fat burning zone and pushing your intensity into that uncomfortable anaerobic state of lung-burning and heart-pounding. Only when you push your body’s systems to a high capacity will they respond and adapt. What this means is you will be able to go longer at an intensity you previous could not because your body has increased its ability to burn fat as fuel. You will be more efficient at burning fat throughout your day, and night, as your fitness improved from bouts of higher intensity work.


Application: Next time you exercise or go out to get active, no matter what the type of movement it is, increase how hard you are doing it. It doesn’t have to be for very long; your current fitness level will dictate how long and how hard you can go. See how you feel and how your body responds. Repeat as you feel able. Add this practice into your movement routine(s) regularly to reap the benefits of improved fat burning. 

IMGP4062

Note: If you are an individual with heart, lung, or other health concerns or complications make sure you consult a doctor or fitness professional before engaging in high intensity activity that is not already part of your regular routine. 

 

Fat Gaining Myth 2

It is easy to fall for catchy phrases and perceived social norms surrounding how we should act to receive desired health results. A commonly sought after health result is low body fat, and boy does it have some taboos!

Last month we explored the fat gaining myth “Don’t eat past 8pm”. Today we will debunk:

“If you eat fat, you will get fat”

breakfast

The caveat: this will only start to be true if eating fat results in excess, unused calories, or if eating fat results in changes to how your body metabolized (uses) fat. These changes can take place in excess of ANY macronutrient, not just fat.

How to avoid these undesirables? Balance your fat!

  • Fat is an essential nutrient; we need it in our diets to survive. We use fat in its various forms to build cell membranes, make hormones, for signaling, for energy, for insulation, and for absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, E, D, and K.
  • Eating foods with fat releases chemicals that positively influence our attention and our mood (Acetylcholine, serotonin and dopamine to name a few). This is the reason it tastes so good! Unfortunately, our advanced society has long since discovered how to extract fat from foods and add fat to foods so that its use and flavor is more abundant than we often need.
  • It is smart to avoid added fats that can result in excess, unnecessary fat. Here are a few tips on how to do this:
  1.      Aim to prepare the majority of your meals at home
  2.      Add just enough oil or butter for proper cooking, as warranted
  3.      Use spices, herbs, other foods as flavor enhancers over extra oil or butter
  4.      Eat sparingly: greasy foods, fried foods, sauces, dips, dressings

Foods in their whole form are already well balanced with the right amounts of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals for us to digest and use to our body’s needs.

Therefore, fat naturally found in foods, eaten in reasonable proportions with foods from other food groups, is healthy and non-threatening to our waist line.

cheese and wine.jpg

References:

Gary L. Wenk Ph. D. Your Brain on Food: Why Does Fat Taste So Good? The importance of fat-tasting proteins on the tongue. Posted Jan 13, 2012. Found online at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-food/201201/why-does-fat-taste-so-good.