Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thai Manna

After cooking and enjoying yet another great curry from Thai Manna last night, I decided that it qualifies for one of my Go-To dinners, and that you all should know about it! If you may recall, my Go-To dinners need to fit these requirements: They need to be simple, healthy, delicious, fairly quick and easy to prepare (also free of dairy and gluten). These Thai curries fit the bill!

Thai food is tricky. I know. I have been trying to replicate (unsuccessfully) my most favorite Thai dish (Yellow Thai Curry) from my most favorite Thai restaurant here in Calgary (Chili Club ThaiHouse). The problem with some of these dishes is that the ingredients can be somewhat obscure, making finding them a challenge, and in many cases you only need a tiny bit of this or that, (and then what the heck are you going to do with the rest)?

Anyway, Thai Manna offers a solution to this exact problem, and sells these absolutely brilliant little curry kits so that you can make an authentic curry in your own home in a quick amount of time. (It’s also a great idea for vegetarians because you can leave out the meat, but the curry paste are made with shrimp paste and the kits contain fish sauce so it’s not perfect for vegans).

In my yellow curry last night, I added a zucchini, onions, garlic, broccoli, baby corn, tomatoes, cooked chicken (from a roast chicken meal a couple nights ago) and then threw in some cilantro. It was delicious – and nutritious!

I ordered this last kit through (another great tool for busy lives) but I actually purchased my first kit at the Spruce Meadows Craft Fair this past November. If you don’t want to use, there are a number of other ways that you can pick up a kit, which you can find listed on their website

If you happen to try one, please let me know how you liked it and what veggies you added! 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ethical Meats

Happy New Year to all of you! It’s been a while since I have posted – August 30th to be exact (when I started the Nutrition Diploma). It’s been very interesting so far and I have been enjoying it, but it has certainly tested me in many ways.

One of my greatest fears going into this program was that it would challenge the healthy relationship that I had worked so hard to develop with food. And at various points throughout these first 4 months, it has done exactly that. Knowledge is power, but sometimes ignorance is bliss. I have more to say about that later, but it’s this exact sentiment that has me really wanting to reach out about a particular subject that has been on my mind for a very long time - much before beginning this program. But it's the program that reminds me of how important this subject is. 

In my class we have quite an array of people. While almost all are women, the group itself is varied. Some are vegan, some are paleo, some are bodybuilders, some are people just wanting to get healthier in their own lives. There is a farmer, an electrician, and even a dietician in the class. It’s made for some interesting discussions along the way as you may well imagine.

I don’t ever see myself becoming vegan, although I think we all could greatly benefit from eating a more ‘plant based’ diet – even the paleo peeps. I don’t believe we need to eat as much meat as we do, and not every dinner needs to be fashioned around a big piece of protein. As a meat eater, I feel strongly about doing my best to ensure that the meat or fish I eat has, to the best of one’s ability, been raised and butchered as ethically and humanely as possible. I am an animal lover and it’s unconscionable how some animals are treated as they are prepared for us human’s to eat. I think there are much better models than factory farming, and I do believe that if one is going to consume meat, they need to take a deeper look into what it is that they are eating. It’s simply too easy to make this dissociation when we are in the grocery stores.

At least now, there are more options being presented to us as consumers. Co-op seems to be the best at this so far, offering choices like free-range meats from reputable places such as Sunworks Farms. I encourage every single one of you to start making more conscious choices when it comes to buying animal products. Believe me, this is and has been a work in progress myself for some time. When you know better, you do better (or at least you should). I don’t believe there is any reason why anyone shouldn’t be purchasing free range, cage free eggs (for example) or why you can’t at least begin questioning how your meat, poultry and seafood got onto your plate.

Visiting farmers markets and doing some online research can help you start finding the people who are doing things right in your area. Here in Alberta, there are many choices around us, if we care enough to find farmers and butchers who have made the decision to handle their animals more humanely and ethically. Below are a few organizations who are doing just that. If you’re a meat eater, I think you have a moral obligation to check it out. Also, if you don’t see good options offered at your local grocery store for free range, ethically and/or humanely raised, then ask them about providing such options! Also, ask the same of restaurants you frequent. We vote with our dollar every single time we make a purchase. 

Guys, there are so many options that are better than your standard supermarket, factory farm meats. It’s time to ask questions about how your meat was cared for, how it was handled, how it was butchered. If we all do our part, we can make a change.

True Bird (can be found on FB)