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Better Bulk Recipes: Udon Noodle Salad

July 17, 2012

This summer is a hot one. There is no other way to describe it. Days like these, nobody wants to break out the oven. Minimal cooking is a must.

I think I’ve found your answer to low-cook, high-flavor meals that won’t overpower your air conditioner. I picked Udon noodles for this recipe, because they are known for being an easy-to-digest pasta. Let’s face it: who wants to be weighed down by a heavy meal when the heat is so oppressive?

Since Better Bulk doesn’t carry cucumber, green onion, or carrot, check out the East Lynn Farmers Market on Thursdays from 3-7 for some great local produce.

Now, on to the recipe:

BETTER BULK

RECIPES:

UDON NOODLE SALAD

1 package KOYO Organic Udon Noodles

½ cucumber peeled, seeded, and cut into matchsticks

¼ cup Seapoint Farms Organic Edamame, boiled, pods removed

2 green onions, sliced

1 baby carrot, grated

Dressing:

2 tbsp Eden Organic Toasted Sesame Oil

2 tbsp Eden Organic Brown Rice Vinegar

1 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Soy Seasoning or San-J Tamari

¼ tsp Organic Select fresh ginger, finely grated

½ tsp minced Organic Select garlic

Juice of ½ organic lemon

Mix all dressing ingredients together and refrigerate, along with prepared vegetables. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles, and rinse in cold water until they are cool to the touch. Allow to drain for 5 minutes, rinse again, and drain. Transfer to bowl, add cucumber, onion, and edamame. Toss with dressing, and garnish with grated carrot. Chill for an hour in the fridge, then serve.

As always, let me know how it works for you! And samples are always most welcome . . .

Did You Know?: Seaweed

July 6, 2012

Most of us don’t consume much seaweed, apart from the bit wrapped around the odd sushi roll, or briefly each day when we accidentally swallow some toothpaste (kelp is used as a thickening agent). It’s not a big part of the Western diet, but did you know it is actually one of the healthiest foods in the world?

  • Seaweed has nearly every vitamin and mineral, some of which are hard to get from any other food source
  • It is an excellent source of iodine, which is an important element in healing, as well as in maintaining a well-tuned metabolism
  • It is also a good source of alkali, which we learned about in my last post. Basically, it’s important for keeping the body’s PH in balance
  • As one of the best sources of vitamin K, seaweed helps with blood clotting, and reduces your risk for osteoporosis
  • Also a great source of folate, magnesium, and calcium, in addition to many other vitamins and minerals

We carry 2 kinds of Nori, and Arame

Not too fond of the taste of seaweed, but don’t want to miss out on the health benefits? Try putting a few pieces in the water when you make your quinoa, rice, or other grains. The grains will be infused with the minerals and other good stuff, without that seaweed-y taste. Then you can simply pick out the pieces after cooking and you’re set! This also works for soups, broths, etc.

Happy kelp-ing!

Gomasio – Who Knew?

July 2, 2012

A few weeks ago, the boys brought in Gomasio (sometimes called Gomashio). I wrote it off as some new “foodie” spice I was completely unaware of. But as we have 3 flavors of said spice, I figured I should learn a little bit about it. Suffice it to say, a shaker of Gomasio will be making its way home with me tonight.

What is it? Gomasio is a mixture of toasted sesame seeds and sea salt. It is used in macrobiotic diets as a salt substitute.

Why? Gomasio has an almost instantaneous alkalizing effect on the body.

Why should I alkalize my body? The human body tends towards acidity due to the foods that we eat and the toxins in our environment, and the resulting pH imbalance can cause many health problems.

Alkalizing the body can:

  • increase energy
  • lower blood pressure levels
  • improve digestion
  • prevent premature aging
  • help prevent heart disease
  • possibly help with Type II diabetes

There are many other reported benefits from including Gomasio in your diet:

  • can be used as an antacid (more effective than alka-seltzer)
  • when taken by a breastfeeding mother, it reduces the risk of colic in infants
  • can “sober up” a drunk person
  • can reduce symptoms of anemia, hypoglycemia, MS, and other inflammatory disorders

Who knew sesame seeds and salt could do so much for a body? I’ll be trying some soon . . . let me know how it works for you!

Love Your Skin With Sigrid

June 1, 2012

It’s all over the place these days: “Read the labels on your skin care products!” “Down with Soduim Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate!” “Beware the dreaded parabens!” And you know what? “They” speak the truth. If you’re not careful, you can be spreading chemicals and carcinogens all over your body. Scary, isn’t it?

Well, fear not: Sigrid Geddes to the rescue! Frustrated by the inability of “conventional” creams to heal a wound on her hand, Sigrid reached out to a friend with a homemade comfrey healing salve. It worked almost instantly, and Sigrid’s fascination with natural skin care was born.

Nowadays, her product line has expanded from her original Comfrey Healing Salve to include a full line of Healing Salves, Body Butters, Facial Care, as well as Mama and Baby products, Perfumes, Lip Balms, and other special items.

Sigrid is passionate about using only natural ingredients: no fillers, preservatives, alcohol, perfumes, emulsifiers, or stabilizers. Her ingredients are as local as possible . . . sometimes even from her own garden.  Each ingredient has a purpose, as outlined on her website.

Carrots and Roses Face Cream

Sweet Almond Oil:

  • Rich in vitamins C, D, B complex, folic acid, and carotene
  • Great for delicate and sensitive skin
  • Anti-irritant
  • Improves Elasticity
  • Softens, hydrates, and re-conditions skin

Water

Beeswax

Shea Butter:

  • Heals burns, sores, scars, dermatitis, and stretch marks
  • Contains fatty acids which moisturize the skin, helps retain moisture and elasticity, diminishes wrinkles
  • Promotes cell renewal and increases circulation
  • Contains vitamins A and E, which are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory
  •  Contains cinnamic acid which protects the skin from UV rays

Aloe Vera

Carrot Seed Oil:

  • Stimulates cell growth
  • Rejuvenates aged, damaged, and dehydrated skin
  • Rich in beta-carotene as well as vitamin B, C, D, and E
  • Helps to remove toxic build up in the skin

Rose Hip Oil

  • Relaxing, healing, full of love
  • Cleanser and purifier
  • Effective in reducing inflammation and irritation of the skin, especially rosacea
  • High in antioxidants, vitamins C and A, iron, calcium, and phosphorous
  • Anti-inflammatory

Rosemary:

  • Tones and revitalizes the skin
  • Improves circulation
  • Treats skin problems
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Helps control dandruff and stimulate hair growth

Benzoin:

  • Improves elasticity
  • Reduces redness, irritation, and itching
  • Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant

Myrrh:

  • Natural preservative
  • Helps chapped, cracked skin
  • Heals wounds
  • Fights wrinkles
  • Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory
  • Helps athlete’s foot

And, of course, Love. All of Sigrid’s products are “Handmade With Love”

We are proud to carry many of Sigrid’s products, and hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Let us know which one is YOUR favorite!

Art of the Danforth

June 1, 2012

If you’ve been hanging around the Danforth between Greenwood and Cedarvale lately, you’ll probably have noticed a few changes made. From May 20-June 10, Art of the Danforth is taking over our area, featuring everything from a 10-minute paint fight to a timeline painted on the sidewalk highlighting the history of the current businesses.

If you venture inside the businesses on the street, say, like your favorite health/bulk food store, you’ll find yourself in a mini-museum. At Better Bulk, we are proud to feature the art of Audrey Cooper.

Audrey is a self-taught artist whose unique style reflects her memories of growing up as a child on the Danforth.

Come by and check out Audrey’s work on our walls. If you think it would look good on your walls, let us know and we’ll help arrange a sale! Whatever you do, be sure to take a stroll around our end of town and check out how truly awesome and artistic our neighborhood is.

Eat Your Dosha

May 29, 2012

What’s a dosha, you ask? Good question. Doshas are constitution types used in Ayurvedic medicine. They consist of Vata, the air dosha, Pitta, the fire dosha, and Kapha, the earth dosha.

What’s Ayurvedic medicine, you ask? Another good question. Basically, Ayurvedic medicine is about balance. When you balance your doshas, you are considered to be in good health. If you figure out your predominant dosha (you can take a quiz here), you can learn what foods, exercises, etc. will help you achieve balance.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? I know my brain could use some balancing after figuring that out. Thankfully, as of today, we’re all in luck. Meet Botanical Bakery Bars!

Each one represents a dosha, and can help you balance your system naturally and organically.

Vata Bar: Focus and Grounding. Eat me if you are spacey, indecisive, or scattered.

Pitta Bar: Nourish and Soothe. Eat me if you are taking no prisoners, impatient, or hangry (hungry and angry)

Kapha Bar: Energize and Awaken. Eat me if you are moving slowly or feeling down.

Each bar contains all natural, whole food, organic ingredients, and is a quick, inexpensive way to get back in balance.

The company also had some other goodies . . . less medicinal, just delicious. Here are the Botanical Bakery “Shorties”

They’re tiny squares of shortbread in amazing flavors like Lavender, Ginger, and LemonThyme. Each contains natural and organic ingredients, and has “pairing” suggestions on the back. For example, the Lavender pairs nicely with Earl Grey Tea, Cafe au Lait, or floral white wine, a dry Gewurztraminer or Syrah.

Come check them out, and let us know how balancing and delicious you find Botanical Bakery.

Beans. Not a Fruit. Musical or Otherwise.

May 28, 2012

Warm weather always makes me think of picnic foods: potato salad, deviled eggs, and bean salad. I suppose there might have been some chicken wings or something, as well, but I tended to ignore those picnic foods.

But back to beans. Sometimes in the summer you just don’t want to eat  hot food. Beans are a great warm-weather protein option. Here at Better Bulk we stock both dried beans and beans in a can. Canned beans are a great option in a rush, especially since our Eden Organic Beans are in BPA free cans.

If you’re a frequent bean-eater, you may want to consider dried beans. It’s not as complicated as it seems. I keep mason jars of dried beans on my counter. Mung beans in particular make pretty decorations. It seems like a time-consuming endeavor, but I promise, it’s easier than it seems.

Take chick peas, for example. The night before I need them, I half fill a container with dried chick peas (they nearly double in size when soaked), and fill the container with water. Toss them in the fridge, and forget about them until tomorrow.  The next morning, drain off the water and pour chick peas into a pot. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for a couple of hours. Go watch an episode of the Celebrity Apprentice, or something equally lengthy. Your chick peas are done! They will keep for about three days, covered, in the fridge.

I’ve attached a handy chart so you know how long to soak and cook each variety of beans/peas/lentils:

BEAN COOKING CHART

DRIED BEANS

(1 CUP)

SOAKING TIME

REGULAR COOKING TIME

PRESSURE COOKING TIME

Adzuki

None

45-50 mins

15-20 mins

Black (Turtle)

Overnight

45-60 mins

15-20 mins

Black Eyed Peas

Overnight

1 hour

10 mins

Chick Peas

Overnight

1 ½ – 2 ½ hours

15-20 mins

Fava

Overnight

45-60 mins

Not Recommended

Kidney

Overnight

1-1 ½ hours

10 mins

Lentil, Red

None

20-30 mins

5-7 mins

Lentil, Green

None

30-45 mins

6-8 mins

Lima

Overnight

Regular: 60-90 mins

Baby: 45- 50 mins

Not Recommended

Mung

Overnight

1-1 ½ hours

8-10 mins

Pea, Split

None

35-40 mins

Not Recommended

Pinto

Overnight

1 ½ hours

10 mins

Soybean

Overnight

3 hours

15 mins

White (Great Northern, Navy, Marrow, Pea)

Overnight

45-60 mins

4-5 mins

If you’re looking for a quick and easy legume-based lunch this summer, here is one of my favorite vegan, gluten-free, protein-rich summer salads. Apologies that we don’t carry grape tomatoes, but the market opens soon! There is no link or cute blurb about the recipe creator, because it’s my own concoction. Hence the title:

BETTER BULK

RECIPES:

Kelly’s Quinoa Chick Pea

Concoction

1 cup organic quinoa, white or red (cooked)

1 organic avocado

1 cup organic chick peas

1 handful organic grape or cherry tomatoes

1 tbsp ground flax

1 tbsp Omega Nutrition Flax Oil

3 tbsp Omega Nutrition Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp dill weed

Mix ground flax, spices, oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Set dressing aside. Remove peel and pit from ripe avocado and mash the fruit. Mix with quinoa and chick peas. Add quartered tomatoes. Add dressing and mix until ‘concoction’ is coated. Serves 2.

Let me know what you think!

Superfood of the Day: Cacao!

May 15, 2012

No, I didn’t misspell cocoa. Cacao (pronounced ka-kay-oh) is chocolate in its purest raw form. That’s right. Chocolate is a superfood . . . sort of. Cacao itself is one of the 8 Most Nutrient Dense Foods on Earth. Because Cacao is chocolate in its raw form, it has a greater concentration of nutrients, as none of them have been compromised by heat.

Reasons why it’s great:

  • more antioxidants than blueberries, red wine, or green tea
  • elevates mood (we all knew chocolate=happy already)
  • great for your heart, bones, and skin
  • contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron

Here we stock Cacao in a powder form, and in chocolate “nibs”. Endangered Species even has a dark chocolate bar with Cacao nibs. The powder can be used in smoothies, puddings, etc, and the nibs can be used in place of chocolate chips or eaten as a snack. Don’t you love a good excuse to add chocolate?

One of our regular customers created his own Better Bulk Recipe for a Hot Chocolate Peppermint Tea using Cacao powder. Since the weather is so gorgeous, he’s given me permission to share it here as an Iced Peppermint Hot Chocolate. Enjoy!

BETTER BULK

RECIPES:

Iced Peppermint Hot

Chocolate

Created by Kevin Khan and Lindsay Yarmoluk


¾ cup Almond Breeze Original Almond Milk

3 tbsp Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder

1 bag Stash Organic Cascade Mint Tea

Water

Ice

 Bring water to a boil and steep tea for 5 minutes. Whisk one tbsp of the almond milk into the Cacao powder until smooth. Heat remaining almond milk in a saucepan until it just starts to boil. Add almond milk to the Cacao mixture. Top up with approx ¼ cup of the steeped tea. Pour over ice, and enjoy!

 Optional:

Use a blender to create a frappucino-esque texture.

Rim the glass with additional Cacao powder and garnish with fresh mint leaves

Eat Meat? Meet Rowe

May 10, 2012

It’s getting harder nowadays to find meat that fits in with a healthy diet. We’ve all seen the documentaries, the horror stories on Dr. Oz, and the news. Well, omnivores of Better Bulk, rejoice! Meet Rowe Farms.

We have carried Rowe Farms products for some time now, so I thought I’d take the time to tell you a little about their company.  They are locally-based (in Southern Ontario), and provide a healthy alternative to the ultra-processed meats you’ll so often find these days.

Their Farming Philosophies:

  • Locally-Grown
  • Antibiotic-Free
  • Hormone-Free
  • Conscientiously-Farmed
  • Nitrite-Cured (100% Nitrate Free)

Here at Better Bulk, we offer a variety of Rowe Farms products, including eggs, sausages, chicken, hot dogs, and newest to our lineup, 100% Beef Meatballs. All Rowe products meet the same high standards of farming, and we’re proud to be able to offer them to you. Come in and try some today!

 

Superfood of the Day: Maca!

April 30, 2012

There are so many foods being touted as “Superfoods” these days. I don’t know about you, but beyond seeing it splashed across a label, I don’t know much about what makes these foods so super.

So, I’m delving into a new blog series (and feeling rather like an investigative journalist) to learn all about the super-est of foods. First up: Mighty Maca, the Inca Superfood!

When I first heard about maca, I thought it was a mispronunciation of matcha, the tea. It was not, however. The back of the Navitas bag explains it best:

“Maca root has been used in indigenous Andean societies as a source of nourishment and healing for thousands of years . . . Studies have identified four alkaloids present in maca known to nourish the endocrine system. Maca root has been used as a stress-fighting adaptogen to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue. Maca is a nutrient-dense whole food packed with vitamins, plant sterols as well as many essential minerals, fatty and amino acids.”

Simply put, maca is fantastic for a natural energy boost, thanks to its 12 content, and is a natural libido-booster, as it helps to balance and stabilize hormones.

Awesome. But how do you use maca?

Thankfully, the answer doesn’t lie in choking back a spoonful of powder (which does NOT make the medicine go down) or stirring it in a glass of water a la Metamucil. The lovely Joy McCarthy over at Joyous Health has some great recipes, including one for a Maca Raspberry Chocolate Smoothie (which lists other maca benefits, such as the alleviation of PMS symptoms) and a raw cookie recipe she has titled “Sexy Balls“.

Come on in and give it a try. Let us know what you think of Mighty Maca . . . just spare us the details, please.