Monthly Archives: March 2012

What’s FRESH & LOCAL in March? Jump Start Your Engines on the Bulk Trail

Loris Sofia Gregory, FRESH & LOCAL Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN
Valley Natural Foods, 13750 County Road 11, Burnsville, MN 55337

Challenged in getting your engine revved up in the morning and sustained throughout busy days? Sluggish and cranky from your roller coaster of energy highs and lows? Dreaming of steady sources of energy for a perpetual perky mind and body? If you are more than ready to jump start your engine each morning and stay productive, happy and energized all day long, consider these power-punched tips, breakfasts and snacks that you can find on our Bulk Trail.

Eat a satisfying breakfast. To break your overnight fast, your body needs fuel first thing in the morning. An adequate breakfast with enough protein will give you essential fuel plus a “full and satisfied” feeling for a productive morning. Here’s a few great fatigue-beating breakfasts you will find on our Bulk Trail. Supplement these cereals and grains with our fresh berries and fruits, low or no-fat “milks” (sourced from cows, almonds, hemp, rice, etc.), whole grain breads, low-sugar yogurts and fruit spreads. Satisfying anytime of the day!

•FRESH & LOCAL, sustainable, fair trade and organic, Birchwood Café of Minneapolis provides us with their signature granola, using grains from Whole Grain Milling Company in Welcome, Minnesota. MORE WHOLE GRAIN GRANOLAS include the tantalizing flavors of honey apple crisp, French vanilla almond, honey gone nuts, hemp plus, raspberries and cream, coconut almond, blueberry with flax, goji (berry) agave, and how can you resist “Naughty but Nice” from Pure Bliss?

•IF POPS or FLAKES strike your fancy, try quinoa flakes or air-puffed quinoa pops for complete protein; rolled rye, barley or wheat flakes from Whole Grain Milling; or “High Fiber Multigrain Cereal Flakes” from Breadshop.

LOVE HOT CEREALS to warm your tummy? Whole Grain Milling also brings us “8 Grain Hot Cereal,” wheat and rye berries and oats groats. Groats are the hulled whole grains that include the cereal germ and fiber-rich bran portion of the grain as well as the endosperm. Groats are nutritious but hard to chew, so they are usually soaked and cooked. They can be the basis of kasha, a porridge-like staple meal of Eastern Europe.

MORE WARMING ENERGY: Swany Flour Mills Cream of Wheat Farina from Freeport, Minnesota and New England Natural Baker’s Muesli. Originally created for German hospital patients in 1900, muesli is a mix of uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts. It can also be enjoyed as a light evening dish or desert.

•OLD FASHIONED OATS contain more soluble fiber than any other grain plus high protein, resulting in slower digestion and lasting satisfaction. Choose from steel cut, thick rolled, regular rolled or quick rolled. Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) cut into pieces. Nuttier in flavor and chewier, steel-cut oats take longer to cook than instant or rolled due to their minimal processing, typically 15–30 minutes, though much less if pre-soaked.

Refuel with the right power snack. A small healthy snack that is low in sugar, includes protein and/or fiber can help you deal more gracefully with hunger and make wiser choices at your next meal. Additional power foods found on our Bulk Trail include:

BARSEY’S ALMONDS come to us from Minneapolis. Produced in small batches, all-natural ingredients, with no added preservatives, “Smokies” have a deep hickory flavor that some call “vegan bacon” with a delightful outer crust of nutritional yeast. “Sweeties” are gluten free, slightly sweet and subtly seasoned with East-Indian spices. You can also find carob-covered almonds in bulk for a change of pace.
CHUNKS OF ENERGY: Portable “pop in your mouth” sustaining snacks. Choose among organic wild cranberry, chocolate almond chip, carob supergreens and raw cocoa with goji.
DRIED FRUIT: Experience flavorful, colorful energy among apricots, apples, banana chips, bing cherries, blueberries, Craisins, dates, figs, mangos, papaya spears, pineapple tidbits, raisins, prunes and goji berries, native to Asia and touted as a “fountain of youth.”
NUTS, raw and unsalted, are great “as is” for breakfast or on-the-go snacks. It will take you awhile to exhaust the possibilities in creating your own unique energy-sustaining morning bowls or “have a small handful” mixtures of nuts and healthy seeds, including chia, flax, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame.
NUT BUTTERS  peanut, almond and cashew in bulk  are eager to spread on whole grain toast, rolls and breads, crackers and fresh crisp apple slices.
•STICKS, CRACKERS & PEAS: Consider wild rice and sesame sticks, rice crackers or wasabi-coated peas for easy tasty snacks.
TRAIL MIXES: Take more hikes to energy test our trail mixes: campfire, chocolate almond, fruit and nut, high antioxidant and super snax.

When in doubt, have a piece of chocolate.  If you’re yearning for something sweet, it might as well be chocolate. We get an endorphin buzz and low-caffeine boost from chocolate, with more caffeine in dark than milk. Explore chocolate treats in cahoots with almonds, ginger, peanuts and raisins on our bulk trail.

FREE DEMO, Tuesday, March 13, 11 am -2 pm. Sample and gather powerful ideas for ready-to-eat breakfasts and on-the-go healthy snacks.

CLASS, Tuesday, March 20, 6:30-8:30 pm, $17/VNF members; $20/non-members. Register ahead here or call Customer Service at 952.891.1212, Ext. 221.

Based in Apple Valley, reach FRESH & LOCAL health coach Loris Sofia Gregory at 952.431.5586 or Loris would love to hear your ideas and questions about eating FRESH & LOCAL. Request her earth-friendly seasonal recipes and healthy eating tips if you miss her monthly demos and classes.