“Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”
Thus goes the old proverb (1866) that predated our own, more recent truism “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s an old saw that’s still given credence for a wide variety of reasons: An apple, for instance, contains pectin a soluble fiber that lowers blood pressure, LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and glucose levels; boron which supports strong bones and healthy brains; vitamin C which boosts immunity levels and overall good health; and quercetin a flavonoid which shows promise for reducing the risks of certain cancers. The connections between our food and our health are ongoing and tenacious and it’s a link that we celebrate in our annual “Nutrition and Wellness Expo.”
This year, the Expo takes place on Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Spectator building and, according to Karen Aquino, our Go Cooking co-ordinator, the links between good food and good health evolved into an important issue over the first five years of the Go Cooking programme.
“Go Cooking has been in business for ten years now and initially — at least for the first five years — it was all about fine dining,” says Aquino.
“Good restaurants were very expensive and only the elite could afford them. But gradually ideas began to change. People wanted a more casual dining experience and they began to look for more nutritious, locally grown foods and organic products.
“Part of this had to do with the “slow food” movement that originated in Europe. But also, in our own backyard, Jeff Crump, owner of the Ancaster Old Mill and the Earth to Table Bread Bar wrote ‘Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm‘. In it, he highlighted the sheer deliciousness and the nutritional value of eating local, organic and seasonal foods and this had a tremendous influence. And then, of course, there also was the inspiration of Mark Picone from the Picone’s Fine Foods in Dundas who was also part of the slow food movement and who preached the gospel of using local food purveyors.
“At the same time, I was working with Go Cooking customers and finding that they seemed to be having more and more difficulties with allergies and food sensitivities. Many people were diabetic and we often were losing customers. I discussed these issues with Grace Fuentes a chef and nutritionist who was doing children’s classes for us at the time. Her question was: “Why isn’t Go Cooking stepping forward and acting as a platform for discussion of food and health issues?”
The result, Aquino says, was the first Nutrition and Wellness Expo, held five years ago. To her amazement, 300 people attended. Her surprise, she notes, was because five years ago holistic practitioners, nutritionists, naturopaths and chiropractors, along with organic products, were viewed with a certain amount of suspicion. Afterwards, she felt good, she says, because Go Cooking was initiating discussions and the exhibitions have been held, with much success, since then.
“This year, ” she says, “we are at a pivotal point. People can now more easily take advantage of many, many healthcare products and we have places such as the Mustard Seed Market and the Farm Network at the Farmers’ Market — places that provide us with easy access to local and organic products.”
One of the special features of this year’s show will be talks by Community Food Advisors who will give tips on food shopping and budgeting. There will also be demonstrations. For instance, Lori Rez will be creating a Cheddar and Garden Vegetable Side Salad on stage in the Spectator’s auditorium, while Bonnie Dowling and Edda Jaenisch demonstrate recipes for Kale and White Bean Soup and for bruschetta.
Thirty-four vendors will be offering holistic, natural and green products of all kinds and there will be demonstrations by fitness instructors. The whole experience is geared to being both educational and fun.
Tickets to the Expo are $4.00 at gocooking.ca or at the door, and we hope our customers will take advantage of this opportunity to visit the Spectator. If you happen to already have tickets to the Women’s Show, on this same weekend, show us your tickets and your entrance will be free.
And here’s Lori’s recipe for Cheddar and Garden Vegetable Couscous Side Salad.
Cheddar and Garden Vegetable Couscous Side Salad
From: “5 a Day, The Better Health Cookbook” by Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka and Barbara Berry
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) chicken broth
1 cup (250 ml) instant couscous
1/3 cup (75 ml) white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
granulated white sugar
1 1/2 cups (375 ml.) diced cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) diced, unpeeled English cucumber
1 cup (250 ml) diced seeded tomato
3/4 cup (75 ml) diced green pepper
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped parsley or fresh dill
salt and pepper
1) In medium sauce pan, heat broth to boiling.
2) Stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes
3) Place couscous in a large bowl, fluff with a fork and let cool 10 minutes,.
4) In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine vinegar, oil, garlic and sugar.
5) Whisk together thoroughly.
6) Add cheddar cheese, cucumber, tomato, green pepper, onions and parsley to couscous.
7) Pour dressing over and toss well to coat.
8) Add salt and pepper to taste.