The inspiration for this blog post comes from an interactive Farm to Food Canola oil-inspired culinary workshop in Toronto at the chic and modern Kitchen24 that I had the pleasure to attend recently. Focused on the topic of Sustainable Seafood, Chef Ned Bell and Chef Rory White, led an engaging and memorable event filled with loads of learning, laughs, and my favourite of all – nutritious and delicious food!
The event also featured Canadian Farmer Jeannette Andrashewski from Alberta. As a canola farmer, Jeannette shared her captivating story of the heart, soul, trust, and grit that goes into her family farm to make sure the food they grow is safe, healthy, and sustainable for us all.
So, in my usual spirit of Craving Health, I’d like to share with you my key takeaways from this event with my goal to inspire you to cook healthy using sustainable methods that help preserve this amazing Earth we live on. Or as Chef Ned Bell eloquently said:
"Be stewards of our land to ensure we have it to sustain our food for years to come".
Chef Ned Bell
FYI - Since the event was brought together by the CanolaEatWell team who shared many interesting little-known facts about canola, what better than to use C-A-N-O-L-A to speak to these key messages:
C – Celebrate and connect with farmers!
Did you know that the name ‘canola’ means Canada oil? With 43,000 canola farms in Canada, canola plays a major role supporting Canada’s economy – there is a family behind each bottle! At CanolaEatWell, you can learn more stories from farmers and all about the hard work that goes into growing food for our tables. I experienced some of this hard work when we had the chance to roll canola meal and see first-hand how oil is extracted. In the essence of sustainability, the leftover meal is then fed to dairy cattle as it offers up a source of protein to keep them healthy and happy - how cool is that??
A– Ask where does my food come from?
I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to food shopping, convenience is always on the top of my list. Yet, the more I learn about food sustainability and the integral role of Canadian farmers, the more I want to lend my support and extend my gratitude for all they do and all we are fortunate to have here in Canada. So how do we do this? Quite simple really – shop local (farmer’s markets) and look for foods that are “Made in Canada” at the grocery store. Of course, don’t feel like you have to pull a complete transformation in your shopping – keep it simple and realistic for your lifestyle (just as we advise our clients all the time when they come see us for nutrition counselling).
Your farmers will thank you!
N – Nutritious and delicious are not mutually exclusive.
You really can have tasty food that is equally good for you. The event with Chef Ned Bell wrapped up with an amazing meal that we all enjoyed together – everything that was served had both health, taste, and sustainability as top priorities. My eyes fell immediately to this mouth-watering green veggie platter – who can say no to greens when presented like this? You can recreate a similar dish by steaming your favourite green veggies and then tossing them with a versatile oil like canola – it’s light neutral taste makes canola oil great for absorbing the flavours of any added herbs and spices. Canola also boosts the nutrition of your dish by offering a source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your body against harmful molecules called free radicals.
So good and so good for you - the perfect combo!
O – Offer up Omega-3 fats.
Our meal featured a to-die-for seafood dish - Wild Salmon with Heirloom Tomato Jam and Kale-Cashew Pesto. Made with a variety of healthful ingredients such as omega-3 rich salmon and canola oil, this flavourful dish has fast become part of my regular repertoire of my favourite fish meals (making it that much easier to meet Health Canada’s recommended 2 servings per week of fatty fish). Using canola oil over other oils is a great option not only to support our Canadian farmers but because it’s low saturated fat content helps keep your heart healthy.
L– Lower your food waste.
It may be hard to believe but Canadians waste on average 873 pounds of food per year, per person1. My all-time best tip for cutting back on food waste is to check out what’s in your fridge/cupboards before grocery shopping. We often forget what we have stashed away and by the time it’s discovered, it’s gone bad and needs to be thrown out. In other words, use up what you have before buying more and use what you have as inspiration for your weekly meals. Bonus – you’ll save money and keep your fridge and pantry looking and feeling clean and organized.
A– Aim to “Shop once, cook once, eat twice”.
This smart advice was shared by Chef Ned Bell. It’s advice I often offer my clients as well and certainly practice on a regular basis. By doing so, you use fewer resources, save time, lower your food waste, and best of all, get to enjoy a delicious meal more than once.
Chef Ned Bell
The ultimate time and food-waste saver: "Shop once, Cook once, Eat twice".
WHAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE?
And that, my friends, is the C-A-N-O-L-A philosophy to choosing healthy (and crave-worthy!), sustainably-sourced food. I hope you enjoyed learning how to unlock the potential of home-grown canola oil as much as I have! Canola oil supports heart, blood vessel, and brain health and can be easily incorporated into any dish, like this beautiful one. Be sure to ‘Like’ our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter page to be the first to see when new recipes are posted.
Please note: This blog post is sponsored by CanolaEatWell. All opinions are my own.