lifestyle

  • The Sum­mer of Love was a social phe­nom­e­non that occurred dur­ing the sum­mer of 1967. As many as 100,000 peo­ple, con­verged in San Francisco’s Haight-​Ashbury dis­trict.

    Tie-​dyed cloth­ing, love beads, men with long hair and a mantra of “free love” char­ac­ter­ized the coun­ter­cul­ture hip­pie groups that flocked to the city. A swirl of art, pol­i­tics, music and rev­o­lu­tion was in the air in 1967.

    Among other notable shifts in tra­di­tions, this was the period in time that influ­enced our cul­ture in the food move­ment and pol­i­tics toward nat­ural, organic and veg­e­tar­ian diets in Amer­ica.

    The pol­i­tics of food remain cen­tral to those con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen­ing in Cal­i­for­nia regard­ing organic farm­ing, sus­tain­abil­ity, improv­ing child­hood nutri­tion and the obe­sity epi­demic.

    Present day activism rises from the national trend toward local, sus­tain­able and con­scious eat­ing. Con­sumers want to know what they’re eat­ing, where it comes from and how it is pro­duced.

    Lucky for us then that locally grown actu­ally means we’re able to enjoy mel­ons, stone fruits, sweet corn, beans, pep­pers, toma­toes and pota­toes that are actu­ally grown and har­vested close by.
  • A new year brings a clean slate with high hopes, dreams and every great pos­si­bil­ity.

    Opti­mism abounds as we pack away orna­ments and reflect on the pass­ing hol­i­day sea­son.

    Res­o­lu­tions swirl around improved eat­ing habits, exer­cise and renewed pos­i­tive behav­iors.

    Key to com­mit­ment is mak­ing a rou­tine of the hatched plan. Cre­ative types might be famil­iar with the “One Hun­dred Day Chal­lenge”. This could breath life into most new year’s deci­sions look­ing to alter reg­u­lar daily reg­i­mens.

    Land on one small thing to do for the course of one hun­dred con­sec­u­tive days. For artists (and other “cre­atives”), it means choos­ing one exer­cise like writ­ing, sketch­ing, tak­ing pho­tos, draw­ing, etc. and then doing that task each day. Doc­u­ment­ing the daily task is part of the project.
  • One great aspect of sum­mer din­ing is the obvi­ous, more relaxed approach to meals. “No fuss” and “effort­less” are hall­marks of any indeli­ble al fresco lunch or sup­per in July.

    Whether a crunchy radish or car­rot is plucked from our own gar­den, pur­chased from a sea­sonal farm­ers mar­ket or for­aged from the pro­duce aisle of a local gro­cer, they get sliced the same.

    In sum­mer, straight­for­ward ingre­di­ents and sim­ple serv­ings lead to plates that are an invi­ta­tion to relax and chill out.

    Noth­ing for­mal is required. Take note of com­pat­i­ble part­ners or oppo­site attrac­tions. Bright col­ors, var­ied tex­tures, a dip or spread here, a bowl of olives or Mar­cona almonds there and “voilà”.

    The point of eat­ing, after all, is to nour­ish, restore and replen­ish. What we eat mat­ters more than how it is served. The plate itself is only a visual invite. If it looks good, we want to dive in.
  • Dads have that rep­u­ta­tion for being “super-​heroes”. That does not mean they have to eat like Super­man, right?

    Dads are just reg­u­lar peo­ple look­ing to stay fit and healthy for their fam­i­lies. They do like to eat, drink and be merry when the oppor­tu­nity strikes.

    Upcom­ing Father’s Day is a per­fect chance to share good food with the fathers in our lives. Like most hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions, the ways we make merry are diverse and unique.

    Every­day dad food does not trans­late into “cheese, bacon and burg­ers”. Tra­di­tional fare from days long past was largely meat and pota­toes basics for Dads. Maybe for most con­ven­tional men, that would still be typ­i­cal.

    New dude foods, pre­pared by using the fresh­est ingre­di­ents, strike a cord with those favorite fam­ily tra­di­tions and deliver full of fla­vor on the plate.

    By exam­ple, Pops might like a nice ravi­oli with red sauce, skil­let chi­laquiles or mar­i­nated skirt steak on Father’s Day. Cook­ing at home can be a group effort. “No fuss” should be the mantra of the day, but if a lit­tle extra effort is made, we’re good!
  • Cold and flu sea­son has arrived with some vengeance. It is shap­ing up to be an intense cou­ple of months.

    Hol­i­day travel and shop­ping crowds con­nected the dots on both coasts.

    Hard to know which is which? Usu­ally, colds are milder and include a runny or stuffy nose. A cough and sneez­ing go along with a cold.

    The flu is usu­ally more severe and typ­i­cally comes on sud­denly. The flu has a knack for wip­ing peo­ple out for a few days. Fever, body aches, and exhaus­tion com­monly accom­pany the flu.

    Pre­ven­tion is key. Hav­ing a flu shot will min­i­mize the affects of this year’s virus. Proper and fre­quent hand wash­ing will stave off con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing germs left on door knobs, phones, uten­sils and other surfaces.
  • A plant-​based diet can boost opti­mum health, decreas­ing the risk of heart dis­ease, Type 2 dia­betes, and cer­tain can­cers.

    The main advan­tages with a plant-​based diet seem to be related more to the foods con­sumed (eat­ing plenty of veg­eta­bles, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts) rather than those foods avoided (pri­mar­ily meats).

    Stay­ing at a healthy weight is eas­ier on a plant-​based diet and menu. A “less meat, more plants” style of eat­ing can improve qual­ity of life.

    Asso­ci­ated ben­e­fits include the reduc­tion of inflam­ma­tion and dis­eases attrib­uted to inflam­ma­tion. Lower cho­les­terol and blood pres­sure lev­els are oth­ers plus ups seen with plant-​based food choices.

    There are many dif­fer­ent types of plant-​based diets. The three most com­mon ones are: Vegan: No ani­mal prod­ucts such as meat, eggs, or dairy prod­ucts. Lacto-​vegetarian: No meat or eggs, but dairy prod­ucts are accept­able. Lacto-​Ovo-​vegetarian: No meat is con­sumed, but dairy prod­ucts and eggs are allowed.
  • Decem­ber hol­i­days beg for some décor that is fresh and nat­u­rally fra­grant to com­bat the assault of plas­tic, glit­ter all things arti­fi­cial.

    Yule­tide cheer has evolved from past tra­di­tions into mod­ern day dec­o­ra­tions using ever­greens, berries, fruits and lights.

    Gar­lands, wreaths and can­dles were once the only sure thing when it comes to door­ways and man­tels.

    The sig­nif­i­cance of a wreath, sym­bol­iz­ing ever­last­ing life, goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times.

    A renewed approach to fresh arrange­ments main­tains mean­ing to the com­po­nents. Con­tem­po­rary designs appeal to a much broader con­sumer base.
  • Nearly six years ago, meal kits com­pa­nies took the food scene by storm in the United States.

    They looked to be the major dis­rup­tors in how peo­ple choose to pro­cure, pre­pare and eat food.

    As Amer­i­can food cul­ture evolves, what we eat, when we eat and how we eat are all open to per­sonal inter­pre­ta­tion.

    The crowded space of meal kit com­pa­nies is fac­ing fierce com­pe­ti­tion as meal sub­scribers are select­ing from vast options for con­ve­nience, value and vari­ety.

    Gro­cery indus­try “brick and mor­tar” spend­ing rep­re­sents about $650 bil­lion, with a “B”, dol­lars in the U.S. The expe­ri­ence of daily pro­vi­sions can be frus­trat­ing at best with lots of energy devoted to meal plan­ning, gro­cery shop­ping and finally preparation.
  • Earth Day is just behind us. Mother’s Day is just ahead. The two cel­e­bra­tions bring aware­ness to the influ­ences of moth­er­hood.

    Mother Earth and Mother Nature cue their mes­sages from other like minded moth­ers. We are only on this lovely planet for a very short time. While we are here, we need to mind our man­ners and play by the rules.

    Things a mother might say–

    “Go out­side and play” was a mantra of all baby boomer moms. Get­ting on a bike or going for a hike meant ulti­mate free­dom.

    Being out in nature has a way is fast-​paced life of ours can eas­ily strip out any nat­ural rhythm that we humans long to be a part of. The cycle of each sea­son speaks to our pri­mal nature. Go outside.
  • Every year, lead­ers in the culi­nary world bring us new ways to think about food, plan our meals and choose how to eat.

    From small plate shar­ing to home meal kits, vari­ety and dis­cover keep the food indus­try evolv­ing.

    Con­sumers may not always agree with the changes, but they will at least take a look at what is on trend.

    In 2018, health­ier eat­ing choices con­tinue to drive prod­ucts to the front of the food equa­tion. Watch for more pro­tein options and super food ingre­di­ents.

    Plant based foods have been strong, cen­ter plate menu themes for quite some time now. From roasted cau­li­flower steaks to spicy gar­banzo bean cakes, lean­ing on global cuisines for plant based ingre­di­ents boosts their star power.
  • No sur­prise that the Fit­bit App was one of the top ten free apps down­loaded after the Christ­mas hol­i­day.

    No doubt, there are many other cool ways to track fit­ness on var­i­ous devices these days. Any­one with a smart­phone is capa­ble.

    Get­ting moti­vated and set­ting goals are what is required for a road to well­ness.

    Real­is­tic, approach­able tar­gets will be the ones that stick. A thirty minute a day min­i­mum approach to exer­cise is a good start for those more seden­tary folks. Walk­ing is an activ­ity that is acces­si­ble to most every­one. No mem­ber­ships required.

    The gen­eral rec­om­men­da­tion is to walk 10,000 steps per day. This is a good goal for some­one just get­ting started. Fit indi­vid­u­als can and should strive for more.
  • Sig­na­ture dishes are those that proudly rep­re­sent the best efforts of a restau­rant, chef or cook. They reflect a sense of place, ingre­di­ents that work well together or reflect a shared food mem­ory.

    We know that Aunt Alice’s potato salad will always be served at Sun­day sup­per or at the church pic­nic. No one can top banana cream pie from XYZ’s famous restau­rant.

    The dishes we fondly remem­ber may have cer­tain emo­tional attach­ments. A young per­son going fish­ing with a favorite grand­dad looks for­ward to the hand­made pocket sand­wiches that get packed along for lunch.

    Grandmother’s sig­na­ture falafel pita is wholly embraced partly because it tastes so ter­rific. The rest of the clamor is due to the cir­cum­stances in which it was enjoyed — who it was shared with, the expe­ri­ence in which it was eaten, the excite­ment of being out­doors, etc.

    Sig­na­ture dishes are con­sis­tent. They are largely fail proof due to rep­e­ti­tion. By mak­ing some­thing over and over again, a per­son gets to labor over a recipe and then own it. Exper­i­ment­ing with that one spe­cial com­po­nent might put a sig­na­ture stamp on it.
  • Hol­i­day cheer — as we gather around a beau­ti­fully set din­ner table– will have a dif­fer­ent mean­ing to every indi­vid­ual.

    This last week of the year serves as a vehi­cle to reflect, rejoice, rem­i­nisce and pon­der.

    Good health or a healthy recov­ery (from injury, ill­ness or dis­ease) is a bless­ing with tremen­dous value.

    Impor­tant to remem­ber are those friends and fam­ily mem­bers who have expe­ri­enced chal­lenges and set­backs over the past twelve months. Not every­one comes to the table with a clear mind, body and spirit.

    Invari­ably, real life changes in 2017 will prompt emo­tions, anx­i­ety, stress and expec­ta­tions when it’s time to cel­e­brate with others.
  • The Spring Fes­ti­val known as Lunar or Chi­nese New Year offi­cially begins on Feb­ru­ary 16th and cul­mi­nate on March sec­ond with the Lantern Fes­ti­val.

    Cel­e­brated in a vari­ety of cul­tures and coun­tries — includ­ing China, Japan, Korea, and Viet­nam — fam­i­lies will gather around a reunion table to honor mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions.

    Lucky foods are served dur­ing the 16-​day fes­ti­val sea­son, espe­cially New Year’s Eve. This most impor­tant meal is believed to bring good luck for the com­ing year. The sym­bol­ism of these foods is based on their pro­nun­ci­a­tions or appear­ance.

    Sym­bolic foods such as fish (pros­per­ity and sur­plus), dumplings and spring rolls (wealth) and cit­rus (health and full­ness) are read­ily shared along with other fine del­i­ca­cies.

    Not only do the dishes them­selves mat­ter, but so does the man­ner of the prepa­ra­tion, the ways of serv­ing and the eat­ing of them. Spring onion pan­cakes, noo­dle dishes and Jai (veg­e­tar­ian stew) are easy to get behind.