Nestled in the Liberty Village “mall” is a place of health, healing and an enhanced way of life; specifically, learning how to create additive-preservative-free meals, snacks and treats.
Last night, courtesy of a GroupOn Christmas gift, I attended a 90 minute session on Cooking with Superfoods. Super what? Nutrient-dense (more than 1 or 2 properties) unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries and powders. From the company’s website: “Having elements of both food and medicine, superfoods have the ability to increase the vital force and energy of one’s body and improve overall health.”
Examples: cacao powder, acai, goji and golden berries, flax and sesame seeds, almonds, coconut milk, agave nectar and so on. Their respective origins and nutrient profiles were provided as each recipe was prepared. Dried Goji berries, for example, are a complete protein boasting the “highest vitamin C count in all of nature.” 1 teaspoon daily fulfills your day’s requirements. For those who require foods low in sugar (like me), coconut nectar (a sweetener) offers a lower glycemic index rating than agave.
My Story and Interest
Only a few of the items were new to me as I’ve had to change my diet to gluten-free 4 years ago then subtracted dairy and refined sugar last year due to health complications. Change has meant: 1) an enormous trial and error testing campaign (as wheat is put into mostly everything), 2) a massive re-education project, 3) a self-taught cooking regimen, and 4) elimination of all packaged-processed ‘foods’ and the aforementioned items. Someone asked me about hobbies yesterday and I listed gathering foodstuffs, recipe research, cooking, baking and washing dishes as a few of them.
Inflammation = Dis-ease
As I’ve been reading of late, the majority of illnesses are caused by inflammation. Up until last September when I went off dairy and refined sugar on a naturopath’s advice, my forehead was permanently crimson and speckled with ugly, hard, “yellow headed monsters.” Two weeks later, the redness (inflammation) and Mount Vesuvius effect (named after the infamous volcano that buried ancient Pompeii) had diminished significantly. I rarely get pimples now and if I do, I know their origin. That’s the value of seeking out an alternative health practitioner.
Vibrant Lifestyle co-owner Natalie Petyashina, a Holistic (whole body) Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition), pointed out that free radicals were the cause of many diseases and health complaints. They are molecules birthed by poor nutrition (processed foods, bad fats, red meat, acidic foods, refined sugars) that destroy cells and cause inflammation.
Along with her colleague Angel, who is also a Holistic Nutritionist, Natalie contributed some great insights and tips on food preparation and nutritional components. Oh yes, and the recipes and tasty samples as well.
Ok, What Did I/We Learn Last Night?
How to make a Smoothie Booster, tasty granola mix, a Blue-Green Algae Green Soup and the Cacao and Apricot Delight which lived up to its title. The others were equally yummy. Not ‘good’, not ‘not bad’ (a Canadian staple phrase), not ‘great’: Yummy, which corresponds to how we as children referred to chocolate layer cake with frosting. Only in this instance, these delightful dishes maintain clear-headed, even energy (with no spikes and troughs characteristic of a coffee and donut fix) while supplying our bodies-minds with excellent fuel and good fats – like Omega 3s. And this is exactly what is required to withstand the stresses of modern living, endless gridlock and environmental toxicity.
There’s no oven or grill in Vibrant Lifestyle’s food preparation studio as all recipes are of the uncooked variety. This accounts for the great taste sensations. Their adjoining shop houses all the ingredients used in the classes and everything else you’d expect to find in a Temple of Nutrition (literary license applied here. Gotta use it sometime!).
Natalie and husband Vadim began their business 1 year ago and things are going well. They offer nutritional counseling, related services and cooking classes on a smorgasbord of topics. Check out their upcoming classes. I’m signed up for Introduction to Raw which, upon learning it was about food prep, calmed my apprehensions about making food while nude. Even with an apron, I would have felt awkward. Maybe it’s me.