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We’re Movin On Up!

October 16, 2012

As most of you have probably read on our Twitter or Facebook accounts, we are indeed moving! But fear not: we’re just crossing the street.

The new storefront, as seen from behind the counter of the old store. Not far at all! (We’re not keeping the Food Family Sign, either)

We’ll be in our new location at 2044 Danforth Ave as of November 1 mid November. We need a bit more time. It’s a bigger space, and we’ll be able to bring in even MORE great products for you.

We appreciate your patience as we consolidate, shuffle, and relocate our current stock in preparation. We’ll have a few days where we’ll need to close, but it won’t be too many, and we’ll keep you well informed via our social media accounts and store window signs.

We hope you’ll love the new space as much as we do, and we can’t wait to see you all there in November!

Why Bulk Is Best For Back To School

August 30, 2012

Back to school shopping is almost a ritual in North America. New backpacks, clothes, pens, pencils, binders, it all adds up. We can’t help you with that stuff, but we can help you out when it comes to school lunches. And easy breakfasts. And on-the-go dinners. Here are our 3 top tips for making back to school simpler, greener, and more cost-effective.

1. Bulk Up Your Lunch

School lunches are a great place to take advantage of buying bulk. Dried fruit makes an amazing snack, and buying it in bulk then transferring it to reusable containers makes it environmentally friendly as well. Same goes for nuts and seeds (if your school allows), and even crackers and cookies. Buying the larger packages of Shasha snaps, as opposed to the single-serve, saves you money and cuts down on waste.

2. Quick and Easy (Nutritious) Breakfast

Cereal is a great breakfast option on the go. Nature’s Path Cereals come in Eco Packs, and have many healthy-yet-delicious options. You can also add your own nuts/seeds, etc. to bulk up the protein content. Hemp hearts make a great addition to any cereal, packing in 8 g of protein in every 25 g serving. 

Even more cost-effective is bulk oatmeal. Steel-cut oatmeal is the most nutritious option, but is often overlooked due to its long cook time. Luckily, if you make a batch in advance, it keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator. All you have to do in the morning is reheat it with your favorite milk (I like Almond Breeze) and any additional fixings to make a great breakfast. My favorite at-home oatmeal features chopped apple, almond butter, chia seeds, cinnamon, and a little bit of stevia or sweetener like maple syrup or coconut palm sugar that won’t spike your blood sugar levels.

3. Dinner On The Run

When everyone in your house has lessons, after school sports, clubs, etc., finding time to eat dinner together, let alone cook it is a challenge. We have lots of quick and easy meals, like Amy’s Frozen Burritos, and Patel’s Micro-Curries. Eggs are also an easy go-to. When I’m pressed for time, I like to keep pre-cooked grains and beans in my fridge. A batch of quinoa, like steel-cut oats, will last for a week. Same goes for cooked beans. Quinoa, beans, a few vegetables and spices makes a meal in minutes.

And now for the hidden 4th tip: getting around that pesky “No Nuts” rule at school. Wow Butter has come out with a nut-free, soy based “peanut butter” that is a great sandwich substitute. It even comes with lunch labels so teachers don’t have to worry. Give it a try!

Do you have any great back to school tips to share?

Superfood of the Day: Chia!

July 24, 2012

Welcome back to the Superfood of the Day series! Today’s featured food: chia!

If you watched TV at all during the 80s and 90s, I’m sure you’re familiar with Chia Pets, those strange little animals and heads that grew leaves. Well, the seed used for those are the same chia seeds that are now SUPERFOOD!

What makes chia seeds so awesome? Joy over at Joyous Health wrote a great post on 8 Benefits of Chia. I’ll summarize for you here:

  • Chia seeds help to balance and stabilize your blood sugar, which is key for everyone, but especially for diabetics
  • They help lower insulin sensitivity which can, in turn, help reduce belly fat
  • They are INCREDIBLY high in fibre and good fat. They have the highest incidence of Omega-3s, and ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), a key fatty acid.
  • Chia seeds contain the amino acid tryptophan, which helps in the production of seratonin (happy hormone) and melatonin (sleepy-at-appropriate-times and keep-away-the-cancer hormone)
  • They help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar after meals
  • Chia also contains many nutrients: calcium, magnesium, manganese, folic acid, phosphorous, and iron

“Awesome,” You say, “Sounds great! But how do I eat a chia seed? They’re tiny, and have next to no flavor.”

Very true. But this is the key to the chia seed’s magic: it can be incorporated seamlessly into almost anything without altering the flavor. You can blend them into smoothies, sprinkle them on salads or yogurt, or add into sauces etc. The possibilities are endless!

My favorite way to eat them takes advantage of one of their other magic properties. If you add water to chia, they take on a gel-like texture, and simultaneously soften and expand. This is perfect for making a no-cook chia pudding (it’s still hot – who wants to cook?)

Take 2-3 tablespoons (daily recommended serving of chia) and soak in your favorite milk (I like coconut or almond milk). Add cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, cacao powder, whatever flavoring you like, and let it sit for a few hours (or in the fridge overnight). You can add nut butter and fruit to make it a hearty breakfast pudding, or just eat it as a snack or dessert.

How do you eat YOUR chia?

 

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!