Archive for the ‘Buying’ Category

There is a time and a season for everything

There is a time and a season for strawberries and apricots. That’s summer.

There is a time and a season for guavas and avocados. That’s winter.

“Together we shall rejoice through all the seasons” Kahlil Gibran

Different foods come at different times of year. Berries need the sun and warmth and buying them in winter prompts suppliers to heat greenhouses and battle the natural seasons. Wait a little.

In the mean time there are all sorts of good things around…

Winter veggies

Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, gem squash, kale, leeks, mushrooms, potatoes, onion, parsnips, peppers, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, spring onion, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, tomatoes, peas, turnips.

Winter fruits

Avo, apples, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartjies, limes, guavas, pawpaw, pineapple, gooseberries, granadillas, kumquats

 

Have a look at Earthshine’s full seasonal list.

Winter lunchboxes

Try using glass jars to pack delicious lunchboxes of easily re-heatable leftovers or soups. Fill up a jar and throw in a fork or a spoon and you’re set. At lunch just take of the lid and microwave it to have a winter-friendly warm meal.

So much less packaging than a ready-made meal or take-away, no plastic forks and no ingredients whose quality and origin you don’t know.

Finding a Balance: Tips to Alkalise your body

Blood is the way that oxygen and nutrients are distributed through the body. For the blood to be able to do this job properly, it needs to be within a very specific pH range – 7.36 to 7.44 which is slightly alkaline. If the blood acidifies, you could well find yourself feeling tired, craving stimulants like coffee and craving food. However, if oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to your body efficiently, you will have energy and fewer cravings. Additionally, if your body is acidic, it will store fat around your organs to protect them from the acid. So if you alkalise your body, it is free to shed that protective fat.

The food that you eat is a major determinant of your body’s pH. I am trying to cut down on the foods that acidify my body and include more alkalising foods.

Foods that acidify your body:

  1. Processed foods.  When your body digests processed foods, it creates an acidic by-product.
  2. Caffeine. For me, drinking coffee in the morning is highly habitual. I like to drink my coffee, then have breakfast a little later. I’ve tried to change my early morning habit to be mixing up a glass of wheatgrass and drinking that while I wait for my chia to soak.
  3. Soft drinks. These contain carbonic acid, not to mention refined sugar. Try my healthier options to wean yourself off soft drinks and onto water.
  4. White refined sugar and artifical sweeteners. Oh no! Life is no longer sweet! Never fear, here’s a page on how I’ve been incorporating natural sweeteners instead of the bad guys.
  5. Alcohol. The acidity created by alcohol starves your brain of oxygen, which causes the dizziness and headaches.
  6. Soy. This one I’m quite happy to cut out. As a vegetarian, I’ve never used soy as a meat substitute, just based on a gut instinct that it was too processed for my liking. Turns out it also acidifies your body since it is processed in aluminium tanks. If you do want to eat soy, opt for organic soy sauce, tofu or tempeh and not those boxes of Veggie Hamburgers.
  7. White refined flour. This is also an empty-calorie carb, which blocks the intestines.

Foods that alkalise your body:

  1. Citrus. An easy way to intake citrus is just putting lemon in your water.
  2. Green leafy vegetables. Rocket, spinach, purslane, lettuce. Unfortunately leafy plants are the ones that farmers spray the most pesticides onto, so increasing your intake of greens will also increase the amount of pesticides you’re eating. Have a look at Harvest of Hope to consider getting organic greens instead and read my organic debate.
  3. Herbs. Herbs are a nice easy way to get into growing your own food, and even if you live in a flat you can have some potted herbs growing.
  4. Sprouts. Sprouts are delicious and surprisingly easy to prepare at home. Read more about sprouting.
  5. Celery is very alkalising and also aids digestion.
  6. Wheatgrass and sunflower greens. Wheatgrass is highly alkalising and is so packed full of chlorophyll that it’s known as liquid sunshine. I drink a glass of it every morning – you can buy the powder at Superfoods.

The Organic Debate

I’m damn sure that organic food features on Stuff White People Like. Organic is a buzzword, it’s trendy, it’s the Right Thing to Do.  It’s a marketer’s paradise – people are prepared to pay a hefty premium to be Trendy and to know that they are Doing the Right Thing. I’ve always taken this cynical stance and assumed that only hipster kids and soccer moms buy organic because they’re dumb enough to buy into the marketing behind it.

My biggest loathing towards organic food is when some place like Woolies has little shiny packets of 8 dried peaches, organically grown in Southern Peru, wrapped in large quantities of non-recyclable packaging (nice and green in colour though, perhaps with a picture of a tree) that was shipped around the world to satisfy my urge to be organic.

I also am wary of the economics behind organic food. Growing food organically is obviously not as efficient as large scale non-organic farms, and sometimes I think I’d rather have chemicals in my food that someone destroy another bit of natural forest.

Besides, I eat a LOT of vegetables so whatever veggies they are, they need to be convenient, affordable and in regular supply.

Despite all these problems, I really do want freshly grown, delicious vegetables, free from harmful toxins and chemicals. I normally eat a huge amount of veggies and recently have been wanting to eat even more – especially greens as they are good alkalisers.  I’ve recently been learning more and more about why it’s so important to be eating plenty of greens. However, greens are the worst affected by pesticides and so if I increase the greens I eat, I’d like them to be ones I’ve grown or organic. So when I discovered Harvest of Hope I was converted.

Harvest of Hope provides boxes of freshly grown, organic vegetables to a host of convenient Cape Town pick-up spots.

Here are my reasons why since I discovered Harvest of Hope I now am just another white person who buys organic food.

  1. Harvest of Hope grows their veggies out on the Cape Flats, in an urban area. The veggies are grown by women from local townships like Nyanga and Gugulethu, for whom the project provides employment and a secure income. The women also feed their families with the veggies they grow.
  2. Since the veggies are grown in an urban setting, the veggies are travelling the shortest possible distance to me, the consumer (well except if I’m eating what I grow myself). Minimising transportation seriously cuts down on the carbon footprint of my food
  3. The veggies are not packaged. They come in boxes that are reused each week.
  4. It’s convenient! I can pick up my veggies at UCT! Here’s a full list of everywhere else they drop off.
  5. It’s affordable. R72 for a small box of 6-7 veggies for 2 people and R105 for a medium box of 9-12 veggies.
  6. They taste so good!
  7. It forces me to experiment with new veggies that I wouldn’t normally buy, which makes for more interesting cooking.

PS.  After some research, it has been discovered that it is true – #6 Organic Food, #5 Farmers’ Markets.

Superfoods

Superfoods are a revelation! The term includes foods that are powerhouses of nutrients and goodness to the point that they are also medicinal.  They are high in vitamins, minerals, and so eating superfoods provides the body with the minerals it needs, which reduces cravings for sweet or rich foods. Superfoods include: Chia, Maca, Raw Cacao, Hemp Seed, Spirulina and Baobab. Many of the superfoods have been used by ancient civilisations for millenia and were hailed for their healing and life giving properties. Maca was used by the Incans before warfare for the stamina and energy it gave.

Since I was introduced to the wonders of chia while spending time in the wonderful land of Hogsback, I have been incorporating more and more superfoods into my daily life and so you will be hearing lots more about them!

Some recipes I can recommend so far are: Chia porridge, Fruity Maca Smoothie and Raw Cacoa Snackbar

Where can you get them? Superfoods has a factory shop in Westlake Business Shop and you can find their products in more and more pharmacies and health shops around the country.

Atlas Trading Co

Atlas Trading Co:94 Wale Street, Cape Town;  (021) 423 4361;

Atlas Trading in Bo Kaap, Cape Town is a dark cave of enticing aromas. Boxes of spices, rice and legumes line the shop and friendly shop helpers will scoop these into brown paper bags for you, folding the bags tightly closed with a practiced flick of the fingers.

I buy my spices, herbs, legumes, seeds, dried fruit and nuts here.

To give you an idea of how affordable sprouts and legumes are here:

  • Soya beans: R.9.26/kg
  • Lentils: R14.50/kg
  • Mung beans: R23/kg
  • Chickpeas: R21/kg
  • Almonds: R76/kg
  • Pumpkin seeds: R77/kg
  • Sunflower seeds: R28/kg
  • 100g packets of mustard and fenugreek seeds to sprout are under R2.

The same goes for spices!

And after all, a little stroll along the cobbled alleys always makes the trip worthwhile!

Organic rooibos – an excuse for some cheesecake

I buy my rooibos from Arnold’s on Kloof Street. For R35 I get an enormous bag of organic rooibos and a free pot of tea while I’m there. It makes a perfect excuse for a piece of cheesecake!