The Whole Grain and Nothing But the Grain (Part 2: Free Gluten)

Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeA couple of posts back we talked about the goodness of whole grains and why grain-excluding diets aren’t so great after all. Today we’re going to shift your focus and delve into the increasingly popular gluten-free diet trend that has everyone going cross-eyed with confusion.

WHAT ON EARTH IS GLUTEN?

Well, I guess clarifying things would help. Let’s pause. Contrary to popular belief (thanks to loads and loads of marketing and misinformation) it is not some horrifyingly fattening, health-impeding substance that will cause you to drop dead. Gluten is a protein found in the center (endosperm) of wheat, barley, and rye. Physically speaking, it helps the grain maintain it’s shape and elasticity when used in baking or cooking.

NOT FOR EVERYONE

As wonderful as whole grains are (as previously established here), there are a few instances where they are not well tolerated. Celiac disease for example is an auto-immune disorder that affects 1% of the Canadian population. With this condition, gluten proteins are not digested or absorbed, leading to some pretty unpleasant symptoms and in severe cases, anaphylactic shock – yikes! Remember, in Celiac Disease there is an immune response.

To make matters more confusing we are also noticing a number of folks struggling with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Symptoms are similar to those of celiac disease but luckily the overall clinical picture is less severe. Folks with a non-celiac gluten sensitivity don’t experience an immune response per se, but they may feel groggy, bloated, experience pain, headaches etc when gluten is ingested. In these cases it is always best to STAY CLEAR of wheat.

If you suspect you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, contact a physician or Registered Dietitian to get some help.

1BlackBeanBrownies_squares

Gluten free brownies.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Gluten containing yummy mac and cheese (veggified of course!).

BUYER BEWARE: GLUTEN-FREE vs HEALTHY

As the incidence of celiac disease increases, more and more gluten-free products are constantly becoming available on supermarket shelves. With this shift in the market, gluten-free products have been promoted as “healthy” or “trendy”, which is confusing to the average consumer. Note to self: the words “gluten-free” in bold on a package is not code for healthy. Gluten-free products when refined (ex. white rice crackers) can be just as harmful as the refined, gluten-containing grains described in the previous post.

For those who have trouble tolerating gluten, I recommend experimenting with gluten-free options such as amaranth, buckwheat, uncontaminated oats, quinoa or brown rice pasta to create healthy snacks and meals at home.

BUT IF I GO GLUTEN-FREE, I’LL LOSE WEIGHT RIGHT?

Think of it this way: when a person with celiac disease is properly diagnosed and begins a prescribed gluten-free diet, they may in fact gain weight since the malabsorption that was once happening subsides and they are better equipped to absorb the nutrients and calories they have been consuming. You heard me right! – gluten-free diets were actually intended for people to maintain their ideal weight, sometimes meaning weight gain.

Whether or not you lose weight on a gluten-free diet all depends on how you go gluten-free. Giving the boot to gluten-containing refined grains like white-flour bagels, pasta, and crackers, and processed snacks will definitely be an effective weight loss method if you are replacing them with wholesome, high fiber alternatives. However, if these gluten rich foods are replaced by hyper-processed gluten-free products weight loss isn’t a guarantee. Besides, it never truly is.

FREE GLUTEN

The stigma surrounding gluten deserves to be squashed! Consider how silly this sounds: “My friend is allergic to peanuts – therefore they must be terrible for my health and I must give them up immediately!” That would never fly in one million years – so why would we apply this mentality with gluten? (on a side note: you would have to pry the jar of PB out of my cold dead hands before I would give it up).

The takeaway:

whole grain, gluten-containing foods are absolutely A-OKAY in our books. Unless you have been properly diagnosed with an allergy or intolerance keep munching on whole-grain goodness!

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

That’s Ceone rocking some gluten love.

If you’re not in a rush to leave this blog page, check out this video by Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy is notorious for his comedic ways, pranks and well, making us laugh a little more in our day. Enjoy.

Food photography and blog post written/captured by a talented student volunteer, Ceone Dyck. To learn more about Ceone click here or follow her on Facebook.

Don’t forget to follow Carrots and Cake on Instagram to see tiny square snap shots of my life.

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

The Whole Grain and nothing but the Grain (Part 1)

Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeAs soon as you type the word “diet” into your preferred internet search-engine, you’ll probably be met with results like “gluten-free,” “low-carb,” or “cutting out wheat for weight loss.” This grain-free diet trend has become increasingly popular, compliments of endorsements by many celebrities and Instagram stars. But before you write off grains for good, take a look at some of the top reasons we love whole grains, and why they’re essential to your health.

SO…. WHAT IS A WHOLE GRAIN?

What makes a whole grain whole? Well, really ALL grains start out as “whole.” The harvested seed is made up of three edible parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm.

  • The bran is the darker coloured, outer skin of the seed, which is where most of the antioxidants, B-vitamins, and fiber is stored.
  • The germ is the center embryo of the seed, which stores B-vitamins, but also protein, minerals, and healthy fat.
  • Lastly the endosperm, which is the largest portion of the seed, contains starchy carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.

When whole grains are refined, the bran and the germ are kicked to the curb, leaving all those wonderful and healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber behind. Whole grains are not refined, and because of that all parts of the seed are included in the final (healthy) product. Remember, you don’t want to go grain-free, you want to go whole grain.

THE GOOD STUFF

Clearly, those un-refined whole grains have got a lot of good things going on. Here are a few of the amazing benefits of whole grains:

  • Dietary fiber helps you feel fuller, faster, and longer. It also aids in digestion and promotes gut health. Fiber is found only in plant sources (nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), and grain fiber specifically has been shown to be protective against digestive cancers even more so than other forms of fiber. Beta-glucan, found in high concentration in both oats and barley, has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels remarkably. Personally, we love starting our day with a big bowl of oatmeal and fruit – which honestly keeps us feeling satisfied all the way until lunch.
  • B vitamins are metabolic champions which you need, in order to make use of all those other amazing super-powered nutrients you are consuming. These power house vitamins ensure that the food you consume is utilized and absorbed to the full extent so you can get the most out of your daily nutrient consumption! They also maintain healthy skin, hair, muscles, form red blood cells, and promote healthy immune & nervous system function – kind of incredible, right?
  • Minerals – such as zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, and iron are abundant in whole grains. Collectively, these compounds have the power to boost your immune system, regulate metabolism, reduce blood pressure, and keep your skin & hair looking healthy!

The moral of this story: whole grains keep you looking and feeling like the total 10 you are.

kjkj
Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

HIGH QUALITY VERSUS LOW QUALITY GRAIN

So, after reading that first section, it’s probably clear to you that not all grain products are created equal in terms of nutrient value. It’s important to choose the right grain products in order to get all those wonderful benefits described above. Refined grains, which is the bulk of what people consume today since they’re the bulk of what’s stocked on market shelves, have been linked to obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes – whoa! Just about the exact opposite effect of whole grains. That can feel overwhelming, but here’s something to hold on to: little changes in your diet can make a huge difference. (psst, looking to make smart goals, click here). Look for the words “whole wheat flour” or “100% whole grains” as opposed to “enriched wheat flour” or “wheat flour” on the ingredient lists of your favourite grain products. Or, even better, opt to make more snacks and meals at home ahead of time with a healthy whole grain flour (try whole-wheat flour, oat flour, buckwheat, or spelt). And hey! Bake these super seedy chocolate chip cookies made with whole wheat flour, you won’t regret it I promise!

Drumroll please…. a few of my favourite whole, unrefined grain swaps are:

  • Overnight oats as a replacement for boxed breakfast-cereal (get the recipe here)
  • Quinoa or brown rice noodles as a replacement for white rice in stir-fry or soup
  • 100% whole wheat wraps to replace refined, white flour sandwich bread
  • Whole-wheat or oat flour to replace white flour in baking (replacing even half is a great way to start)

It is important to note that a lot of whole grain products on the grocery shelf today get a bad rep for being “unhealthy” due to some of the other ingredients included in their making. For instance, certain brands of 100% whole wheat bread, crackers, or pre-packaged snacks may also contain high levels of sodium, sugar, or additives which are admittedly not so great. Because of this, often the whole grains themselves take the blame. The best way to avoid some of those unhealthy extras is to incorporate unprocessed whole grains into cooking or baking at home and get familiar with reading nutrition labels.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

TO SUM IT ALL UP

Whole grains are the BOMB! (The capitalization is totally needed, I promise!). Whole grains are jam-packed with nutrients, energy, and overall deliciousness, so they make a great addition to just about anyone’s diet. Now that you’ve received a brief grain education (you are hereby granted your diploma in grain education!) you are ready to navigate the grocery store and pick out some seriously nutritious whole grains! Go forth, be adventurous, and enjoy adding those amazing whole grains into your life!

Food photography done by the talented Ceone Dyck. To learn more about Ceone click here or follow her on Facebook.

Don’t forget to follow Carrots and Cake on Instagram to see tiny square snap shots of my life.

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

5 Reasons you Should be Eating Pulses

Photo from www.iyp2016.org

Photo from www.iyp2016.org

Oh hiiii! Or I should say, heho! Forgive me, I’ve been celebrating the Festival Du Voyageur over the last two weeks. Hence the blogging hiatus. Okay, one last time, HEHO!

If you haven’t caught on, over the last little while we’ve really been encouraging you to load up and experiment with legumes. For a refresher on what a legume is, visit our previous blog post. For the next little bit, we’re going to explain the WHY behind the WHAT. It’s your health (and tummy) so you should know our top five reasons for recommending legumes.

  1. High in protein.
    Whether you opt out for a lentil or bean, you’re guaranteed to consume a solid amount of protein. Protein is that good stuff you need to keep you full, maintain muscle, produce enzymes and plays in important role in maintaining our skin.

    • 1 cup cooked lentils = 18 grams of protein
    • 1 cup cooked black beans = 15 grams of protein
    • 1 cup cooked kidney beans = 13 grams of protein
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  2. Source of fibre.
    Unlike most animal proteins, beans and lentils contain a complex carbohydrate component that is rich in fibre. Beyond just promoting gut health and keeping you regular with washroom visits, fibre does your body an amazing favor by helping to keep blood sugar levels stable. It’s even known to reduce the risk of colon cancer, and, it can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels to a healthy range. Oh, and one more thing: it keeps you full for longer.___

    Image from www.pulses.org

    Image from www.pulses.org

  3. Environmentally friendly.
    We’re starting to learn more and more about the agriculture industry. Here’s what we’ve come to know so far:

    • Growing pulses increases farming biodiversity
    • Pulses are highly water efficient (to produce 1 kg of lentils we need 50 litres of water; for same amount of chicken, we need 4325 litres of water)
    • Crop residues and byproducts can be use for animal feed making pulses multifunctional
    • Pulses produce very little carbon footprint, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions that pollute our air
    • The nitrogen in pulses improves soil fertility
    • Okay that’s enough bragging.
  1. Versatile.
    If you’re new to beans and lentils like most of our clients, please take comfort in knowing that these little “big” guys are extremely versatile. You can slowly start incorporating them into meals you already enjoy. Here are a few ideas:

    • Mix red lentils into your favorite mac and cheese recipe
    • Add a can of beans into homemade soups and stews
    • Throw in an extra can of beans into your chili
    • Add lentils into your hamburger patty mixture
    • Mix refried beans into your taco beef
    • Throw in ¼ cup of red lentils into your berry smoothie
    • Source recipes that use beans for baking like these black bean brownies
    • Use lentils in your homemade granola
      _
      _____
  2. Economical.
    Lentils and beans are extremely gentle on your wallet and help you maximize food dollars. For a fraction of the cost, you get the benefit of protein (see point one) and fibre (see point two) without the saturated fat that animal proteins come with. Note to the universe: I do love me a good steak, or homemade chicken fingers but prefer to enjoy veggie proteins for the bulk of my meals. I did some price checks at my local mom and pop grocer, here’s what I learned:

    • 1lb extra lean ground beef = $4.99
    • 1lb sliced bologna = $3.99
    • 1lb chicken legs = $2.49
    • 1lb bag dried red lentils = $2.19

So that’s it folks! This rounds up our top 5 reasons for eating pulses. If you’re feeling motivated by all of this information but stumped on how to put this into practice, contact me so we can discuss things further. In the mean time, stay tuned for a load of Carrots and Cake tried and true recipes featuring pulses.

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Real Talk: The Raw Food Diet

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Photo purchased from Shutterstock

Alright, raise your hands: how many of us have seen something on social media recently with a photo of a happy, fit-looking model, and the words “detox” or “cleanse” thrown somewhere in there and thought, “Oh, wow. I’ll have what she’s having”? In today’s age of social media, health fads have the ability to spread faster than ever. And us evidenced-based nutrition folks don’t like it. With all sorts of information now at our fingertips, it can be difficult to navigate through to find sources that are valid. That’s the purpose of this blog post.

The Raw Vegan Diet or also know as the Raw Food diet is a trend that is loud and clear on our radar. Actually, it’s on our front door step. Let’s learn:

What is it?

The Raw Vegan, or Raw Food diet consists of eating plant-based foods that have not been cooked, or that have been dehydrated at a very low temperature (usually not higher than 40 degrees Celsius). This is (falsey) based on the premise that cooking destroys enzymes and nutrients that are essential for human health, as well as can “produce toxins that accumulate in the body”.

Wait, is this true?

Well, there are some truths, however, don’t hop onboard just yet. Yes, cooking can destroy some nutrients in fruits and vegetables such as vitamin C. However, many nutrients actually become more bioavailable, or easily absorbed and used by the body after being heated at a certain temperature. This includes some good stuff such as lycopene in tomatoes and red peppers, and beta carotene in carrots and sweet potato.

Cooking = not a bad thing. 

Cooking vegetables also helps to break down tough cell walls in plants which releases nutrients that would otherwise be inaccessible to the body. This, in turn creates less work for your digestive system (ie. spinach). Many people who have switched to a raw food diet report concerns with bloating and gas due to the excess fibre content associated with consuming large amounts of fruit and vegetables. No fun.

There is one nutrient that would be very difficult to obtain from a raw vegan diet, Vitamin B12. This micronutrient is found mostly in meat, or fortified foods – neither of which are allowed in a raw vegan diet. Deficiency of this particular vitamin leads to a host of problems including fatigue, weakness, memory loss, and depression. Not fun. Not fun at all.

What about those enzymes? Don’t I need them?

Yep, cooking does indeed denature some enzymes, which are made up of proteins. This means that they unfold and unravel so that they can no longer function properly. But guess what? These enzymes are no match for stomach acid either. Raw or cooked, proteins in food will get denatured so that the body can break them down into building blocks to use for other things. We are fully capable of producing all the enzymes we need. Our bodies are smart like that!

Show me the money. Cost?

With the rising cost of produce in Canada, the raw food diet simply isn’t economical. Since fruits and vegetables are lower in calories than other food groups, you would have to eat a much larger volume to meet your required energy intake. Therefore, you would have to buy way more (can you imagine a professional hockey player on this diet? No!). If you live somewhere where most fresh fruits aren’t in season in the winter, you’re not only paying more for imported produce, but increasing your carbon footprint due to the transportation of these foods. Those instagram collages of pretty blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are worth the double-tap but can cost a fortune.

What about the benefits?

Many raw vegans claim to feel more energetic, and have lost weight loss since starting this diet. Swapping out certain processed foods for more fruits and veggies will do that for ya. Indeed, eating more fruits and vegetables is great, and we should definitely take advantage of the nutrients that raw food provides (check out these easy recipes for Avocado Chocolate Mousse, Energy Date Balls, and Tropical Green Smoothies)! However, restricting yourself to only raw foods could really limit your variety. It would mean excluding many vegetables that have SO MUCH to offer, like root vegetables, squash, and pulses which have formed the staple diets of various cultures for centuries. I mean, how would we have survived the Great Depression without potatoes?

Despite individual testimonies, there is no evidence that shows the long term effects of a raw diet on the body. On the flip side, fire has been used for cooking for hundreds of thousands of years! Many anthropologists believe that our brains would not be as developed as they are today if it weren’t for the switch to the consumption of cooked food. Gotta love the industrial and agricultural revolution.

At the end of the day, when it comes to most of us, the best diet is no diet.

It’s all about balance

At the end of the day, when it comes to most of us, the best diet is no diet. All foods provide energy and nutrients. Eating a variety of whole foods; cooked and uncooked is the best way to ensure that we get the proper amount of nutrients we need to thrive. Our bodies will take care of the rest! When in doubt, consult with a Registered Dietitian before starting any new meal plan. They’ll tell you what’s up!

To learn more about our thoughts on detoxes, click here.

And, before peacing-out check out the video below created by Registered Dietitians Abbey Sharp and Abby Langer. I love the banter.

This blog post was written by Christy Lai, 4th Year Human Nutritional Sciences student. Follow Christy on Instagram, trust me, you’ll want to.

Don’t forget to follow Carrots and Cake on Instagram to see tiny square snap shots of my life.

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

To all the Sweethearts out there: Here’s what you need to know about sugar

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Photography purchased from Shutterstock.

In recent months, the sweet ingredient itself – sugar – has been busy making headlines. If you don’t already know why, you should. Consuming too much sugar is not beneficial to our health. It’s associated with a variety of health conditions, so it’s important to know the facts.

So what is sugar? Simply put, sugar is a carbohydrate that provides energy (calories) to our bodies. Other than that purpose, sugar has no specific nutritional benefit (for example, it isn’t high in iron or other nutrients). In other words: beyond carbs, sugar isn’t doing much for you. (Remember that we all need carbs in our diets, but not without some healthy limits).

Where is sugar found? Sugars can occur naturally in many foods. We can’t do much about that type of sugar. For example, milk, fruit, some vegetables, and grains contain sugar. Sugar can also be added to foods and drinks to enhance the flavor, texture, or to preserve a food such as in jams and jellies. This is where you want to keep an eye open!

What’s the problem? Canadians are consuming a lot of foods with added sugars. This is the type of sugar you want to be worry about and be conscious about controlling. Over time, a high intake of sugar can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, cancer and high cholesterol.

In a day, you may consume two cookies, a bowl of cereal, a few glasses of juice or a cola beverage, a handful of dried mango, and fruit flavored yogurt – what’s the common thread? All of these foods are very likely laced with hidden sugars that have been added by manufacturers (or consumers via that handy spoon in the sugar bowl). Now, if you’re getting most of your calories from whole foods that come from the earth and eat little in the way processed foods, then no need to worry – you’re likely on the right track.

Did you know a glass of orange juice is pretty much equivalent to eating 3 or 4 oranges all at once? Would you eat that many oranges in one sitting? Not to mention you miss out the bountiful load of fibre and phytochemicals that get lost in the processing. And about that tempting can of cola: it contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar with no nutritional value whatsoever. Would you ever dare to place 10 teaspoons of sugar into your coffee? (Or, better yet, would you pop 10 sugar cubes in your mouth?). I think (or hope!) not.

So, what can you do?

  • Get informed. Get in the habit of reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists. Usually anything that ends in an “-ose” or “-ide” is a hidden form of sugar (monosaccharide, dextrose, maltose etc).
  • Limit the amount of processed foods you eat.
  • Load up on fresh, canned or frozen fruits and veggies that are loaded with fibre, water content, and other nutrients.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar you use in your coffee, baking & preparation of other foods.
  • Sip smart. Instead of gulping down heaps of juices and soda beverages, try sipping on low fat milk, water, or even plain soda water.

The bottom line: Just because we need to be informed of sugar consumption doesn’t mean you need to forgo making your favorite chocolate chip cookie, never ever make pavlova again or never sip on that fizzy cola drink. What it means is you not only need to know where/what sugar is, your body deserves to know. Another tid bit in case you’re wondering: my favorite sugar substitute lately has been honey and agave nectar; still sugar, but with more of the natural good stuff.

For more information about sugar visit www.dietitians.ca or visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation for their position statement on this hot topic!

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

Sharing Stories: Summer, with Ice Cream

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Just when you thought it might not come, it did. Summer came to Winnipeg.

I rang in the start of my favorite season by driving to a local grocer, picking up a pale of ice cream, chopping a few juicy strawberries and enjoying a modest portion of Cornell Crème’s Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream.  Yes people, I, Nita Sharda, Registered Dietitian eat full fat ice cream #aintnoshame.  For me, eating ice cream or any “treat” is a proclamation of how content I am with my physical body, and I’d also like to think it reflects the control I have over my personal health and well being.

You may not spot me licking ice cream on a daily basis, but when the occasion calls for it, I’m all in. I’ve bid farewell to the days of feeling “guilty” after inhaling a high-sugar high-fat food item. Instead of being bogged down by treats, I allow them to elevate me and remind myself that yes, I am in control. Besides, life is short and fine-tuning that balance is something we all struggle with as we work through life.

Okay, okay, I’m done with my venting.

What I’m really excited to share is some briefing notes from a cyber chit-chat I had with Lisa Dyck, owner of Cornell Crème ice cream which is taking over Manitoba. Similar to when I shared my personal food philosophy, Lisa feels it’s important to know where her food comes from, to become well versed in reading nutrition labels and to understand ingredient lists. As an ice cream producer herself, she admits that life is about balance: “eat a balanced diet; treat yourself in moderation”.

Nita Sharda Carrots and Cake

Lisa Dyck, Cornell Creme

Cornell Crème is sold across Manitoba with several retailers’ right in Winnipeg. For more information on where you can make your purchase, click here. Also keep your eyes open for Dan, the ‘Cornell Creme Bike Man’. He can be spotted at local jams, festivals and hot spots in the city. I’ve spotted him myself around Osbourne Village offering up a mini serving of ice cream to local folks. Here’s more from Lisa:

How did the birth of Cornell Crème come to be?
Cornell Creme evolved over time; from making a natural, good tasting ice cream at home for my family to wanting to develop a real-deal product made from our milk.

We wanted to make the best tasting ice cream from our farm’s milk. We support ethical ideals such as sourcing ingredients from local suppliers, Fair Trade, Non-GMO and Kosher. Every ingredient we use is sourced with thought and effort. We want to make sure we feel good about the product we are making as well as contributing to an ethically sound environment.

Do you promote the use of preservatives in your ice cream?  
No. I try to let our ingredient list speak for itself. All natural with no preservatives. This means we only use cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks and extracts that are either organic or kosher certified.

How do you raise your cows?
To a dairy farmer the health of his or her cows is number one.  Farmers work very hard to make sure their cows are fed top quality feed and that they receive the best care. We are very serious about our cows and their care, health and happiness comes first on our farm. Our cows are in a free-stall/free-roaming barn. They have access to nutritious feed three times a day with liters upon liters of fresh water. If the cows are happy, then farmer is happy.

Let’s talk about the flavors. Malty Ale Pale—how the heck did you dream of this one?
*insert giggles* A friend of mine who happens to be a chef suggested the beer flavor. We went with it and never looked back.

Where do you find inspiration for your flavors? They certainly are unique, not to mention mouth-watering.
Most flavor inspirations are derived from what goes on in my brain. I try to base selections on what I like and what is popular with consumers. My family, friends and fellow tweeters also offer up suggestions. If it will fit our production method, we consider it.

How is Cornell Crème Ice Cream different from those that are mass produced?
We use fresh milk straight from our farm to plant. We stick to the five basic ingredients. Being a local producer, we try our best to source local ingredients within our networks. Our ice cream also has a very low overrun. Overrun means the amount of air that is pumped into ice cream. So, if the overrun is high (lighter ice cream) you will be paying for more air in the product. You do get what you pay for but we believe when comparing prices you may actually be getting a little more than you are paying for with our ice cream.

We also went with high butterfat content because taste is carried through fat as the medium in (many) foods. When your body/palate craves “fat”, you can actually eat very little of our ice cream and your brain will register it has had enough. With lower fat ice cream you may need to eat more of the product to feel the satisfaction. Ice cream is meant to be a decadent treat not a meal replacement.

A part of being an entrepreneur is preparing yourself for more and more growth. How do you plan to grow Cornell Crème? Would you consider selling across to other provinces?
We make the ice cream at a CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) approved facility. This ultimately means we can sell nationally across Canada. If we move from our current plant (our plan this year) we have the opportunity to upscale production.  If we get sales in other provinces, yes, we will consider it! We are trying to grow one step at a time ensuring we are making the right decision for our family and for Cornell Crème. We certainly do not want to grow too big, too fast.

And for the grand finale, last question (enter drum roll): What is your favorite flavor?
Hands down, without a doubt: Vanilla Bean!

Thank you again, Lisa, for spending some time with Carrots and Cake. I’m humbled to have met you and wish you and Cornell Crème nothing but the best!

If you want get to know Cornell Crème a bit more, follow their blog here. You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Nita Sharda

Lisa’s favorite, Natural Vanilla Bean

The opinions contained within this blog post are solely my own (unless otherwise stated) and are intended purely for educational and sharing purposes. The purpose of the above post is not to display advertisement. Carrots and Cake did not and will not accept reimbursement for the above post.

                                – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

 

 

Love Local, Love Manitoba

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m a huge advocate for supporting local producers. This statement means that much more when you live in Manitoba; a part of Canada that faces extreme temperature changes and a very short growing season. But when has bad weather ever stopped Manitobans from doing anything?

This spring & summer, look forward to fresh local produce at Famers’ Markets across the city.  In fact, one of Manitoba’s largest Farmers’ Market has announced their opening on May 24th, 2014. Drum-roll please… it’s none other than the amazing Le Marche St. Norbert Farmers’ Market. When you get the chance to check it out, make sure you meet the many local producers and growers that are happy to serve this fine province.

At Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market, everything within sight will have been made right here in Manitoba – you can talk to the person who grew your dinner-table veggies, cared for the produce, and carefully construct drool-worthy pies.

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local. And that’s kind of the same thing.”

I personally like to go to the market slightly hungry; it allows me to munch on some fresh Kettle Popcorn, sample cookies, or a stalk of crunchy celery as I shop around and enjoy music from live entertainers.

The “go local” food movement is far beyond any trend or a temporary fad. It’s here to stay, folks. People all over Manitoba (and Canada) are becoming more skeptical about where their food comes from, how it’s cared for, and – more over – consumers want to know who is producing the food that nourishes their family’s bodies. When you buy local food, you vote with your food dollar for family farms, thriving communities, and nourishing food.

 Over the next few months, make it a goal—go local.
 For more information on steps you can take to source local foods, visit Buy Manitoba. For more about Farmers’ Markets across Manitoba, visit the Manitoba Farmers’ Market Website.

     – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Detoxing the Detox

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Weighing in on the detox

Alas, winter is over. Spring is here (well, sort of). This also means summer is just around the corner and more than ever people are frantically preparing for that perfect beach body, brides are pressured to shed weight in honor of their big day, and others are given hope that a quick detox will result in a total transformation worthy of infomercial infamy.

If you’re on the search for that perfect detox, you don’t need to leave home. The human body was miraculously created with organs to facilitate exactly that: a natural process for detoxification all thanks to our livers, kidneys, and colons.

Be weary of products that promote weight loss after a “7 day detoxification” or a “30 day colon cleanse”.  Marketers strategically construct these products to appeal to those looking for an easy way out and sell people on the notion that they’ll somehow become healthier, thinner, happier, and more attractive after using such products. The pursuit of the perfect detox has become a million dollar industry that targets people looking for “a quick fix”.

–   The pursuit of the perfect detox has become a million dollar industry that targets people looking for “a quick fix”   –

Often sold in the form of a pill, tea, or loose powder—detox products’ claims often have very limited evidence to support their alleged grandiose changes. In fact, leading toxicologists give very little credit to these types of products; in some cases, detoxes can actually cause harm by disrupting our normal gut flora, exposing us to dehydration, and can also toy with our biological hunger cues. Many are laced with laxatives causing bowel urgency, leading people to believe this is somehow “cleansing”–it’s not, and it certainly isn’t natural.

It may seem like an old wives tale by now, but moderation is key. Rather than embracing this principle, our ‘slowly but surely’ health model is quickly being replaced by compulsiveness, extremism, and the impatience for instant gratification. We’ve all had moments of overindulgence and feeling the need to “reboot” how we eat, but don’t be swayed to believe any one product will transform your body or health for that matter.

The take away: a consistently healthy, well-balanced diet is the best “cleanse”.

        – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Off the Farm, In the City

Chilly outside, cozy inside.

Chilly outside, cozy inside.

I love Winnipeg, but as a self-proclaimed foodie it can be challenging to source locally-grown food given our northern climate. Though I may have to rely on California for my broccoli, and thank Chile for my grapes, I know I can always rely on our hard-working dairy farmers for local milk. When I spoke about my Food Philosophy I shared that I enjoy drinking dairy milk and nibbling cheeses.  For me, milk is nostalgia at its finest. Thanks to my mom, I have childhood memories gulping homemade lassi made with milk and yogurt—yum.

Where am I going with this?

I wanted to reflect on a wonderful event that connected me to local dairy producers, held at Thom Bargen Coffee & Tea (Must. Go. Back.). While sipping on lattes, guests listened to dairy farmer Henry Holtmann speak about the important roles farmers play in their communities. In addition to his talk being educational, it was endearing to hear Henry talk about the way in which he nourished and cared for his cows. I can say with confidence that our fine dairy farmers commit their daily lives to bring safe milk of the highest quality to our tables.
Carrots and Cake mingling_CnCPeople listening_CnC
Oh, I can’t forget about the delectable treats made by Winnipeg’s very own French bakery, A l’epi de Ble! The lemon tarts were my favorite!

They tasted as good as they look.

They tasted as good as they look.

Bite size pieces of heaven.

Bite size pieces of heaven.

Events like this can’t take place without the champions that host them. A big hip-hip-whooray to the folks at Grazing in the Field for finding an innovative way to bring the farm to our homes. I cannot stress the importance of supporting our local producers—think of it as an investment for the future of our communities.

For more information on upcoming Grazing in the Field events, click here.
Beautiful photography by Cory Aronec.

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