I'm about to embark on my second 90 day challenge at Vancouver's Bar Method in less than six months. I joined the Bar Method because I needed desperately to regain my phsical health, and to keep up with my very active pre-schooler without constantly running out of breath.
For those of you not yet aware of BM, its a rigorous program of excercise that combines, "the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the intense pace of interval training into a powerful exercise format that quickly and safely reshapes and elongates muscles."
While the Vancouver location of the Bar Method, founded by Burr Leonard in 2000, is a great hub of instant social bliss around excercise and health on a daily basis, the 90 Day Challenge takes this vibe to another level: think prizes, holitistic nuturition worshops, recipes and food with Jennifer at My Edible Advice, a trip to do the Grouse Grind (haven't done that in over a decade), and a serious nudge to join this year's Underwear Affair.
Each Saturday, if I wear my Bar Method tank top (haven't worn one of those in ages), I'm told that I'll get a healthy smoothie after class. Jennifer has already made us some seriously yummie smoothies. And, I'd like to share one with you.
3 or 4 handfuls of spinach (organic preferred) 2 or 3 dates 1 banana Some ice/water to your desired consistency
This smoothie tastes as good as working out at the Bar Method makes me feel.
"Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back?" -WST online
Since an excerpt of Amy Chua's forthcoming book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was published in the Wall Street Journal online, I have been sent numerous links to this piece from friends. Everyone asking the questions: Have you seen this? What do you think? The debates about her book have certainly been fierce online.
While WeeMunch is primarily a place for food, we do think these issues and questions about parenting styles are connected. The decisions we make for and with our children on all levels speak to who we are as a person, and ultimately as a parent. This week we host a special edition of WeeMunch: a response to Chua's article by Pieta Woolley, a mother of two children, and a Vancouver-based freelance writer (formerly the staff writer at the Georgia Straight).
"As someone parented with the polar opposite of what Amy Chua employs with her children, I appreciated her perspective. The WSJ excerpt reminded me of two books I heartily agree with. First, Shop Class as Soul Craft (2006), by Matt Crawford. This motorcycle mechanic/ doctor of philosophy changed my ideas about the origin of self respect; he delivers the compelling argument that esteem comes from having marketable skills. I believe this is what Chua is driving at when she barks her children into achievement. Second, Hold Onto Your Kids (2004), by Vancouver doctors Gabor Mate and Gordon Neufeld. The duo offers a manifesto on the importance of orienting kids towards their parents, rather than their peers. Again, Chua seems to embody this when she restricts her children's friend time.
As a mom, I am fairly freaked out by the shrinking middle class in Canada. Two generations ago you could raise an average kid, and expect they'd grow up, get a good job, buy a house, and retire comfortably. No longer. So I'm shamelessly seeking strategies to inveigle my kiddies to excel.
Plus, with CPP under the axe, someone needs to pay my Whole Foods bill when I retire."
Do you constantly find you are defending your choice to buy organic produce, meats, and dairy to your friends and family? I do. We certainly can't afford to buy everything organic, but I do prioritize my shopping list by choosing to buy organic items instead when the conventional ones have been found to be laden with chemicals, dyes and hormones. WeeMunch has created a shopping list to help you here. And, as we suspected, there are other reasons to go organic. A recent article on MSNBC hightlights recent research that links ADHD to the consumption of pesticides in young children. Read it and weep!
It's now a complete myth that you need a house and acreage to have a garden or for that matter a farm. One of my most favorite bloggers, Todd Selby, has recently expanded his practice to include photographing foodies in their kitchens, restaurants and urban farms. He recently photographed the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn, an urban oasis that offers educational programs, a farmers market, and special events.
Gardening, whether in your backyard or balcony, is one of the best ways to get your little ones connected with real, whole food at its very source. If you have any stories about gardening with your children or starting a garden/farm in an unlikely place, let us know. We would love to hear from you.
Wishing you and yours a happy, prosperous and healthful year (full of healthy wee-foods :)
Yummy Green Smoothie (yes, it IS possible)
I have to admit I’m generally pretty skeptical towards supplement products that claim to provide essential nutrients; those often missing from our modern diets of refined/processed foods. And I think my skepticism is warranted as many are anything but nourishing. There are, however, a handful of holistic companies out there trying to make good products with (not ‘from’) real, whole foods. One of them is Vega and I recently found myself purchasing their product ‘Whole Food Smoothie Infusion’. I was feeling the need for some additional clean, green, easy-to-assimilate protein and I happened to sample it recently and found it quite palatable. I also liked the ingredient label.
Its flavour is sweet. Too sweet for my liking (they all are), so I use half of what they recommend. This smoothie enables us to get in an extra serving each of a seasonal, organic fruit and veggie - always a good thing, especially if you have a fussie foodie. Both of which are cleansing to our blood and digestive system as well as being simultaneously building and deeply nourishing.
Here’s the simple recipe Oskar and I have been enjoying lately:
1 scoop Vega Smoothie Infusion (instead of the 2 recommended scoops) * adjust to your liking 2 organic apples of choice 2-3 leaves of organic kale (any variety) Approx. ¼ cup Ryza brown rice milk (it’s one of the best quality rice milk brands out there)
Approx. ¼ cup Organic Coconut milk *adjust to desired texture a few ounces of Pineapple –optional
*You need a good blender/food processor to really grind down the fibrous kale; the smoother the better.
This is a great recipe for really good, authentic pizza dough. It takes a little time to prepare but it’s really fun for the kids to dress it with personal toppings. Some of our favorite toppings are: fresh tomato, wild mushrooms, spinach or kale, prosciutto or turkey sausage, anchovies, olives or capers, various peppers, sun dried tomatoes, pesto sauce, thinly sliced potatoes, and a vast array of cheeses; goat cheddar or chevre, fresh grated parmesan, feta, Monterey or mozza .
And you must remember to add unrefined salt your pizza to bring out its natural flavour, as well as a nice drizzle of cold-pressed olive oil over top. Mmm…
Mix and match the toppings on different pizzas. It’s a good idea to make 2 or more pizzas, and then have leftover for lunches.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the perfect pizza is a HOT oven. We preheat our oven 15 minutes ahead to 500 F, turning down the heat to 375 just before putting in the pizza.
So get your crust ready tonight to have pizza tomorrow.
INGREDIENTS: ¼ cup sourdough starter 3 cups spelt flour 3 TBS olive oil 1 TBS salt 2 cups water 1 cups sprouted spelt flour (or you can use regular, if you prefer) 2 tsp olive oil
METHOD: 1. Combine starter, 5 cups spelt flour, olive oil, salt and water in a large bowl. 2. Cover loosely with a towel or lid and allow to stand in a warm place for 5-10 hours (overnight is best). 3. Next add 1 cup of (sprouted) spelt flour and work it into the dough, enough so you can handle it without it being too sticky. 4. Form the dough into a ball, and rub 1 tsp of olive oil all over it. 5. Place it back in the bowl and let it stand 20 minutes. 6. Then knead the dough with your hands until it is smooth and elastic, then place it back in the bowl, and allow it to double in bulk – about 1 hour. At this point you can use it to make pizza. 7. We bake our pizzas on cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper. This makes the crust super crisp and delicious. Pizza stones also produce good results. *Cook until your desired consistency and cheese is well melted.
This recipe makes about 1 large cookie sheet rectangular pizzas. If you are not going to use it all store in a freezer until you want to use it. Then, take it out to defrost, and roll out, and put your favorite toppings on and cook.
Well, I don't know about you but we're ready to change things up a bit a move to some new recipes this week (see last week's yummy holiday recipes if you haven't already)
Here are a couple more yummy recipes that will serve your sweet tooth but not make you 'explode' (in the many ways we do) this holday season.
Enjoy and, whatever your celebration, may you be surrounded with love and nourishment at this festive time of year...
Fudge-Drop Fridge Cookies (a family favourite... from ours to yours) ½ Cup Organic Milk ½ Cup organic butter 6T Organic cocoa
1 cup unsulphured dried coconut
3/4 cup organic peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla 2 cups unrefined sugar (‘Panela’ or ‘Wholesome Sweeteners’ brands) 1. Boil all of above for 1 minute (only 60 seconds) on low on the the stovetop.
2. Take off heat, add vanilla, coconut and peanut butter.
3. Lastly, add approx. 3 cups of quick oats until desired moist consistency is reached; gooey but not too soft (it should hold its form as a drop on a cookie sheet but should be quite moist).
4. Drop onto cookie sheet with parchment and put in fridge and cool into a fudge-like consistency.
makes approx. 40 'drops'
Brown Rice Shortbread (for those gluten-free folks out there) 1 cup soft organic butter 1/2 cup unrefined sugar (‘Panela’ or maple sugar) 1 ¾ cup brown rice flour 1/4 cup organic cornstarch or alternative
1. Cut butter and sugar into flour mix with pastry blender into dough (also with hands). 2. Blend until smooth and satiny. 3. Form into large ball and chill in fridge for 30 minutes. 4. Roll with rolling pin to ¼ inch think between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
5. Remove paper and cut shapes and place on greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 275 degrees C until golden (not brown). Approx. 10 minutes.