New Courses Offered at Langara College this Spring
This Spring I am developing and teaching two new courses at Langara College.
Food, Health, and Sustainability is a 7-week course in the classroom looking at various connections between our health and the health of the planet.
Tuesdays 6:30-9pm May 13th-June 24th
The second course is a 2-day Sustainable Cooking Course, which includes 8 hrs of hands-on 'cooking' featuring seasonal plant-based ingredients.
Saturday June 14th & June 21st 11:30-3:30pm
There are huge links between the health of our environment and the health of our bodies. It is evident that both are in need of our support and attention when we look at rising cancer and obesity rates, climate change, and the disappearance of polinators such as bees, just to name a few.
How we grow and package our food, and what we choose to ingest has far reaching consequences. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of conflicting information and it can be hard to determine what is accurate. In the courses, Food, Health and Sustainability, and Sustainable Cooking, come and explore the real and intricate connections between the food you eat, where it comes from, and its effect on your health and the health of the planet. Learn to make food that is not only delicious, but that is good for you and the environment.
To learn more about these exciting courses or to register please visit Langara College.
Crohn's Disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affecting more and more young adults every year.
Conventional medicine treats Crohn's with steroids to reduce inflammation and immuno-supressing drugs to prevent the immune system from attacking the cells of the intestinal lining. Both types of medications have side effects, and immnuo-suppressing drugs leave you vulnerable to infections.
Luckily, Crohn's can be also be managed by addressing diet and lifestyle factors.
Due to the severity of this disease, the serious complications that can arise, and the pain associated with the inflammation, it is recommended to work very closely with a nutritionist or naturopath who specialize in this area.
The outcome of implementing diet and/or supplement changes cannot be predicted, therefore, a very gentle and slow approach is recommended.
Here are some general tips for addressing Crohn's:
Foods to include:
The body has a hard time absorbing nutrients when Crohn's is present so depending on how long you have had it, your diet, and how advanced it is, everyone will have different levels of nutrient deficiencies. A blood test can be taken to assess the exact levels of nutrients and then more specific supplement recommendations can be made.
Spring is just around the corner and I would like to avoid over-the-counter medications for my seasonal allergies this year. Are there any natural remedies you can recommend?
Yes there are many natural remedies for dealing with seasonal allergies. Many are natural anti-histamines or support the immune system.
It is thought that allergies develop due to an overactive immune system and/or a 'confused' immune system. When our bodies become overburdened with toxins and poor digestion, our immune system can start attacking substances that should not normally elicit an immune response. Therefore, addressing digestive function is beneficial for all types of allergies.
For dealing with seasonal allergies you can try one or a combination of the following remedies:
Tips for improving digestion:
Additional options for addressing allergies include:
Blueberry Aloe Elixir
The Ultimate Digestive Tonic - with soothing aloe, ginger, triphala, and chia seeds.
1 cup water
2 Tbsp fresh aloe*
1 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 dates, pitted
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp triphala powder**
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with 1/8 tsp cinnamon and enjoy!
*Fresh aloe leaves can be purchased from Whole Foods and also ordered by the case from South China Seas. Just cut away the green peel and use the inner clear jelly in your smoothies. Please note: only the culinary aloe is edible, most aloe house plants should not be consumed.
A true superfood, the benefits of fresh aloe vera are numerous and include: anti-inflammatory, alkalizing, soothes and lubricates intestinal lining, blood sugar balance, cancer prevention, reduces high blood pressure and cholesterol, promotes healthy glowing skin, and anti-candida. Read more about the amazing benefits of aloe...
**Triphala powder is an Ayurvedic tonic used to support digestion. A blend of three dried fruits, it is a great source of Vitamin C and linoleic acid, has blood and liver cleansing properties as well as promoting bile flow and peristalsis.
I recently went to an informative and engaging talk by Dag Falck at Choices Market. Falck is recognized as an organics expert due to his long term involvement in organic farming regulation. One thing that really stuck with me after this presentation is the fact that the genetic 'pollution' caused by the growing of GMO crops is almost impossible to control.
Once a GMO seed blows in the wind or is carried by a bird into the environment and then cross-pollinates with a non-GMO seed — that will result in a GMO plant. When that plant then pollinates with another non-GMO plant, either in the wilderness or on a non-GMO farm, that will produce another GMO plant.
This means once a GMO seed is released in the environment it will start a chain reaction, spreading its genetic pollution far and wide. If we do not stand up to the growing of GMO crops, pretty soon it will be impossible to find a plant that is not contaminated with genetically altered DNA.
One way we can help prevent this is by increasing awareness by talking to your friends and family, contacting your local politicians, talking to your local grocery stores about labelling products and teaching people how to avoid GMOs when they are buying groceries. I am available every Monday and Wednesday at Choices Market in Yaletown to show people how they can shop GMO-free.
A really effective way to spread awareness about this problem is by showing one of the many documentaries on GMOs. Genetic Roulette dives deep into the science of GMOs and issues regarding GMO safety, as well as social and environmental issues (see trailer below).
Here is a list of products that contain GMOs. It is safe to say at least 80% of the products on the store shelves contain GMOs. A good way to avoid GMOs is to cook from scratch using organic ingredients, and if you do buy a packaged product, look for ones with the Non-GMO Verified Product Label.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist, college instructor, and raw food educator.