Category Archives: For our health

No Meat Monday- pasta night

Happy Tuesday great foodie friends…

In the interest in eating healthier more days of the week and save the “fun” for the weekend, I decided to do a play on pasta puttanesca and keep “no meat Monday” in mind.
Forgive the overall meaning of puttanesca but is is more of a play on words in a sense to state “use what you have”
As long as its slightly spicy, tangy and a little salty, you can refer to it as puttanesca, at least in my books.

Common meaning of Spaghetti alla puttanesca:

A plate of spaghetti alla puttanesca
Alternative name(s) pasta alla puttanesca, pasta puttanesca
Place of origin Italy
Region or state Campania
Creator(s) Sandro Petti
Course Main
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredient(s) Spaghetti, tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, anchovies (in Lazio).
Variations spaghetti alla puttanesca with tuna
Spaghetti alla puttanesca (literally “whore’s style spaghetti” in Italian) is a tangy, somewhat salty Italian pasta dish invented in the mid-20th century. The ingredients are typical of Southern Italian cuisine: tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers, and garlic.

In my dish I used whole wheat twists and not Spaghetti, but that’s the beauty of pasta… You can change up the shape a little without changing the whole dish….
That said some pastas are perfectly paired for different sauces in how they “marry” or how the sauce nicely holds on to the pasta.


It was just my luck that my sweet wife’s sauce was just made the night before…
In a fry pan I added chopped anchovies, ancho chili, garlic and onion… I stirred all that flavor until it all nicely blended and flavor wow was in the air.
I transferred the anchovy mixture to the wonderful tomato sauce and warmed further while stirring for approx 10 mins to nicely marry all the flavors.
At this point if I was making a true Puttanesca, I would add in olives and capers… Tonight I chose not to.

After the pasta was boiled, I strained it and added it to the magical sauce ad stirred until it was completely coated.

and now to top it off with my favorite parmigiana….. And viola….
Homemade magical flavors in a bowl.


I have to say, between my wife’s sauce and my adders…. Wow flavors resulted!

A true puttanesca looks more similar to this:


But please let me reiterate, cooking as long as it comes from your heart and soul…make it your own… Put your flavor touch on the dish. As long as you feel comfortable you can have fun in creating a unique twist on a basic recipe. In wondering how much of anything do I use, use the Quanto basta theory…. When enough is enough…. Go by taste and you can’t go wrong… Well maybe you can a little but that’s how we learn.

Hope you enjoy…..

PS: if you so wish, have your pasta with a slice of your favorite bread or a nice glass of vino….. Or better yet, both!

You Gotta Try This!

10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo – brought us from Fox News and

Happy Saturday happy foodie friends… And Happy Cinco-De-Mayo

10 food swaps for a healthier Cinco de Mayo

Read more:


If you’re trying to eat healthy or watching your weight, you don’t have to ditch your Cinco de Mayo festivities. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can make to stick to your diet without sacrificing your favorite Mexican fare.
These 10 simple swaps incorporate fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-rich beans, lowering the fat and sodium content of your favorite Mexican meals.
Shredded cabbage
Use it instead of: Shredded iceberg lettuce
Why it’s healthier: Cabbage is a more nutritious taco topping than lettuce. A low-calorie vegetable (just 22 calories per cup), cabbage is filled with antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing roughly one-third of your recommended daily intake in just one cup. A cup of iceberg lettuce, by contrast, provides only about 3 percent of your daily dose.
As an added bonus, cabbage packs a crunchy bite and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from bright purple to green, that look great on your plate. 8 Recipes for a Healthy Taco Night
Use it instead of: Ground beef
Why it’s healthier: Fish is a leaner protein option that’s full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is lower in calories than ground beef. Swapping beef for fish also cuts down on dietary cholesterol.
Using lean fish—such as tilapia or mahi-mahi—in taco recipes keeps the calorie count low, without skimping on flavor or forgoing a “meaty” texture.
Low-fat Monterey Jack
Use it instead of: Regular Monterey Jack cheese
Why it’s healthier: Shredded cheese—and especially Monterey Jack—is a must-have when it comes to Tex-Mex fare. Luckily, cheese is actually quite nutritious, fueling your body with protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and phosphorus. But you need to choose reduced-fat varieties to avoid unwanted calories and saturated fat.
Tillamook’s Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, for example, contains 30 fewer calories, 3 fewer grams of fat, and 10 fewer milligrams of cholesterol per serving than the brand’s regular Monterey Jack. 25 Low-Fat Mexican Food Recipes
Raw jalapeno peppers
Use them instead of: Pickled jalapenos
Why they’re healthier: Mass-produced pickled vegetables are soaked in preservatives (such as sodium benzoate) and often contain added sugars and sodium. Raw jalapenos, on the other hand, are sodium-free and have just 4 calories per pepper—not to mention a fresher, spicier flavor.
Plus, research has shown that raw peppers have a higher concentration of antioxidants, including capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and makes your body temperature rise, helping you burn fat and calories faster.
Homemade guacamole
Use it instead of: Store-bought guacamole
Why it’s healthier: Yes, making guacamole in your own kitchen takes time, but store-bought varieties are often loaded with preservatives and firming agents, like sodium benzoate and calcium chloride.
Some mass-produced guacamoles also are surprisingly high in sodium. For example, Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole contains no fewer than 280 milligrams (or 12 percent of your daily limit) per two-tablespoon serving. 25 Surprisingly Salty Processed Foods
Whole-wheat tortillas
Use them instead of: White-flour tortillas
Why they’re healthier: Whether stuffed as a burrito, folded as a taco, or rolled as an enchilada, tortillas are key ingredients in most Mexican dishes. They can also be a good source of fiber if you choose the right kinds. Opt for whole-wheat tortillas to add filling fiber and protein.
Using Mission brand 96 percent Fat Free Whole Wheat Tortillas instead of the enriched-flour version of the same tortillas provides 2 more grams of fiber, 1 more gram of protein, and 2 fewer grams of carbs per tortilla, for instance.
Lime juice
Use it instead of: Margarita mix
Why it’s healthier: Sipping a margarita is pretty much a must on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you choose a frozen, on-the-rocks, or flavored variety, be aware of the calories that go into the drink mix. Some margarita mixes are packed with sugar. Jose Cuervo’s Original Margarita Mix, for instance, contains an estimated 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving.
Using freshly squeezed lime juice will lighten up your tangy cocktail. Four ounces of lime juice contain roughly 30 calories and 2 grams of sugar. 9 Margaritas for Less Than 300 Calories
Whole beans
Use them instead of: Refried beans
Why they’re healthier: Beans are loaded with filling fiber, but they can add sodium and fat when refried and packaged in can. Choose whole bean, non-refried, or low-fat canned varieties when you are looking for convenience, or buy dry beans if you have time to make them from scratch.
A can of S&W brand whole black beans has nearly 140 fewer milligrams of sodium, 3 more grams of fiber, and 1.5 fewer grams of fat than Rosarita traditional refried beans, for instance.
Homemade pico de gallo
Use it instead of: Store-bought salsa
Why it’s healthier: Mass-produced salsas typically contain processed ingredients (such as tomato paste and dehydrated onions), but the real health downer is the sodium. Just two tablespoons of Tostitos Chunky Salsa, for instance, contains 250 milligrams of sodium, about 10% of your daily limit. And who stops at just two tablespoons?
Pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), an easy-to-make mixture of minced vegetables and chiles, offers a similar kick of flavor and spice, but with roughly one-fifth the sodium.
Light beer
Drink it instead of: Regular beer
Why it’s healthier: Throwing back a cold Mexican beer with your plate of tacos is a fun tradition and delicious combination. It’s also one that can add calories and carbs to your meal.
Enjoy a Corona Light with a lime wedge for 49 fewer calories and 8 fewer grams of carbs than a regular Corona. If you’re not a big drinker, opt for Coronitas, a 7-ounce bottle that has only 58 calories and 3 grams of carbs.
This article originally appeared on

Thanks to Fox News and for the enlightening options for our health that still allow us to have fun!
You Gotta Try This!

A first for Vikram Vij

Happy Wednesday happy foodie friends….
Look at this fantastic new show and opportunity for Vancouver’s own Chef Vikram Vij.
Chef Vikram has such a warm and inviting way about him as he sincerely connects with his food, culture and people all around him.
Chef Vikram truly cares about how we connect with our inner souls as only we can do when we sit around a table with our family and friends and connect with the age old tradition of good talk and good food made from the heart and the soul….

Take a look at the press release and be sure to watch and learn from one of the best!
click her for the press release


10 Best foods for a healthy heart


Happy Friday healthy and happy foodie friends.
Though good foods are wonderful to enjoy, we must always remember to take care of our health as a rule and enjoy the flavorful rich foods as a “treat”

I wanted to pass this article from the Vancouver Province – Food section.

10 Best foods for a healthy heart

Province article- 10 Best foods for a healthy heart
No surprise on what hits the list:
1. Fish
2. Nuts
3. Colorful Vegetables
4. Colorful Fruits
5. Beans and legumes
6. Flaxseeds
7. Grapes
8. Blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates
9. Whole-grain products
10. Oils

Have a healthy weekend and be sure to enjoy but take care of yourself.



Gluten-free Lifestyle grows amid controversy- from The Georgia Straigt

Good afternoon fellow foodies,

I have been learning more and more about “gluten free” diets and came across this article compliments of The Georgia Straight news in Vancouver.
The article was written by Gail Johnson and speaks to all sides of the idea of gluten free.

Enjoy….. Click on the link below to read.
Gluten-free Lifestyle grows amid controversy- The Georgia Straight

You Gotta Read This!

Foods That Soothe You to Sleep – brought to us from Psyschology Today

Hi fellow foodie friends,


In my ever wondering search for a healthier way to eat I happened upon a great article from Psychology Today – link (click here)

The old adage

You are what you eat

may be closer to truth than we know.
Common senses can truly help us make good choices but busy lives and convenience foods tempt us.

I am sure it is no surprise that if we cut back sugars, processed foods and fats that we all may feel better and sleep better.

just an excerpt from the article:

What the Research Shows

In a 2012 article in Nutrition Research, scientists from the University of Helsinki concluded that a sleep-promoting diet should be balanced, varied, and rich in:

Fresh fruits
Whole grains
Lean proteins
This type of diet provides plenty of B vitamins and the amino acid tryptophan—two things the body needs to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. To make the best use of tryptophan, the body also needs ample carbohydrates.

What It Means for You

So what does that mean for everyday food choices and eating habits? Recently, I chatted about this with Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Below are her tips on how to choose foods that boost serotonin levels and get your brain and body ready for a restful night’s sleep.

Click on the link above and read it for your health and a Gold night’s sleep
It doesn’t mean that we can’t indulge every once and a while but balance it out with daily good choices……
Good health, good sleep and good happiness to you all!

Happy Holidays…

Can we eat brain boosting foods that can also help curb the possibility of Alzheimer’s ?

Good morning great foodie friends….
A good read for the possibility of a healthier life style.

In these trying times of busy hustle and bustle the least we can do is focus on our health.

Some of us may spend more time figuring out what the best fuel and oil is for our car, but do we take care of our bodies as well?

click here for Dash

Thanks to Dr Sabbagh’s & Chef Beau MacMillian work in creating a cookbook that serves up delicious, easy recipes for brain health.
features the new book.
Strong medical evidence suggests that simple changes and additions to your diet can reduce the risk or delay of the onset of Alheimers and other forms of dementia and memory loss.

Thanks for the great recipes and great read.

Enjoy and let’s all work together for a healthier future.


How sugar may be making you fat… and stupid – an article from Vancouver Metro news

This is an article is courtesy of Vancouver Metro News and reported for your information.


Bad news sugar lovers: a diet high in fructose won’t just make you fat, it may also make you stupid, according to research out of California.

A steady high-fructose diet disrupts the brain’s cognitive abilities, leading to poor learning and memory retention, says a study by Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a neurosurgery professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Rahul Agrawal, a visiting UCLA postdoctoral fellow from India.

“This type of diet. . . (affects) the transmission of information across cells. . . learning and memory and practically any type of brain function depends very much on how transmission is transported across cells,” Gomez-Pinilla said in an interview with the Star.

Almost a third of Canadian kids overweight or obese: StatsCan
Video: Tackling childhood obesity
Fructose not a “a metabolic evil,” scientists say
Health concerns

Their study, published in the May 15 edition of the Journal of Physiology, looked at high sugar consumption, focusing less on naturally occurring fructose in fruits and more on the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup.

Research has already proven a high-fructose diet leads to a slew of health concerns, including obesity, diabetes and fatty liver.

The U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of sweeteners.

High-fructose corn syrup, which acts as a preservative and sweetener, is found in a variety of processed foods, from soft drinks and baby food to salad dressings and condiments.

The average American consumes approximately 21 kilograms of cane sugar and 16 kilograms of high-fructose corn syrup annually, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Role of fatty acids

Gomez-Pinilla and Agrawal studied two groups of rats, both of which drank a fructose solution in their drinking water for six weeks. One of the groups also consumed omega-3 fatty acids, from flaxseed oil and a DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) capsule. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to guard against heat disease, high cholesterol and mental conditions such as bipolar disorder and depression, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Both rat groups were trained on a maze for five days before starting their new diet. After six weeks, Gomez-Pinilla and Agrawal retested the rats on the maze to monitor brain function and memory retention, noting the rats that consumed the fructose solution without the omega-3 fatty acids had problems with how they were able to think and recall routes in the maze.

Those rats also showed a resistance to insulin, a hormone that regulates sugar levels in the body.

“Rats fed on a (omega-3 fatty acids) deficient diet showed memory deficits in a Barnes maze, which were further exacerbated by fructose take,” the authors write.

They found that a rich diet of omega-3 fatty acids counteracted the negative affects of fructose.

Implications for humans

In terms of humans, Gomez-Pinilla predicts such changes in the brain to happen within six months to a year.

“The implication(s) here (are) the high consumption and the chronic consumption for man,” Gomez-Pinilla said, adding research needs to be done on the specific affects on humans.

“We don’t know yet how long (the damage) can last.”

The war on unhealthy food choices is a growing. In September, New York City announced it would ban sugar-filled drinks larger than 16-ounces from concession and fast-food stands, restaurants and movie theatres.

In Canada, a push on healthy eating is on the rise as the country grapples with the fact that 31.5 per cent of Canadian children aged 5 to 17 are either overweight or obese, according to a Statistics Canada report released in September.

“Diabetes is very prevalent in western society. It’s known already there is an (epidemic) of diabetes, which is highly related to a consumption of foods high in sugar,” Gomez-Pinilla said.

Gomez-Pinilla advocates a nutrient-rich dietthat includes omega-3 fatty acids and a proper mix of healthy choices to offset the dangers of fructose.

Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed oil, some types of fish, such as salmon, and nuts.

News Worth Sharing:
By Staff
Torstar News Service

Metro Vancouver – click here for the article

Sunterra Market – an experience you must try!

    Sunterra Market – Keynote


From the very moment you walk through the door you will know that you are about to experience something different, something unique and comforting at the same time.

If you just stood and closed your eyes and just let your senses take over you may think you are walking through a European market…..
The atmosphere in Sunterra is similar to a sprawling “market” with a European flair.
I have never seem such a well oiled machine of offerings from groceries, fresh meats, pork, baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables….. And much more!


Downstairs you can follow a long wall of fresh offerings starting at the “deli” style case and then over to the cut meats, pork of all types and poultry. Continue on to the bakery and see the busy pasty chefs fashioning delectable treats all day!

As you wander through the different sections of the store you will be amazed and impressed at the buzz and the peace that you feel at the same time.

Some might be coming in to grab an absolutely delicious meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner or snack) to eat in or to take out, or head to the 3rd floor to the sprawling restaurant with different flavor stations with the days specials all made from accredited chefs or culinary trained cooks….. Don’t be fooled or scared about the line of people as this highly experienced crew will get your extremely delicious meal in your hands or to your table quicker than you would think.

Later in the afternoon (after 4 I believe the eating area around the corner of the restaurant turns into a lounge for you to enjoy even more great culinary treats and possibly pair it with one of the nice wines off what looks to be a very nice wine selection.


Today, Pickled Chipotle beef brisket with rice or potatoes and fresh vegetables mmmm…. So many flavors came through!


On my way back down to the main level I was immediately drawn to a test kitchen that I learned performs cooking classes and demonstrations among other fun events…. What a great idea for inspiring amateur cooks or aspiring foodies……


This unique and wonderful concept is brought to us by the Price family who’s vision seems to have no end. I am told that the managing family members continually look to enhance the experience in a completely professional and traditional manner. The family has built a reputation in the farming business through humane and responsible practices that they have brought that same approach directly into all practices in their retail stores and restaurants.

Sunterra farms provide all of the beef, and pork products in their stores. They work tirelessly to provide exceptional value (you WON’T believe the prices I promise, the value is exceptional) exciting and fresh products, time saving services and competitive prices.

the bacon was out of this world good


Due to the fact that they supply much of their farm products to the store along with their best practices you can be sure there is near no waste in their stores.
Take a look at their website for so many wonderful things from cooking classes, recipes, locations, and many more things:
Did I mention that they cater?
click here for Sunterra website
And do yourself a favor if you live in or are visiting Calgary or Edmonton and visit one of their great locations.

Be sure to save enough time to eat some great food and shop for something special to take home.
On my way out I was tempted to pick up a fresh daily packed bag of all o the fixings for a burger dinner for 4- the bag included fresh burgers, tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions and fresh buns (I might have missed something) all for only $11.00!
I also learned about what wonderful community spirit that the Sunterra family has and how during different times of the year they reach out with unique offerings and support to the greater Alberta community.
I am fairly certain that I heard that on Thanksgiving that countless pieces of pumpkin pie was handed out on Sunterra’s dime.


You Gotta Try This!

<a href=””><img alt=”Sunterra Market – Keynote on Urbanspoon” src=”” style=”border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px” /></a>



The Juice Truck – still juicin the taste buds

    The Juice Truck

Good evening great foodie friends….

Some days you just don’t know exactly what you feel like to eat or drink and then if you are lucky you may happen upon a great truck serving up the flavors of health and goodness!

You will be automatically greeted by two smiling faces- Zach and Ryan and some friendly assistants….
There is a reason that these guys were recognized by and featured on the Food Network show Eat Street……

When you work the magic of the juicer and create such a tasty wonderment in a cup, you deserve the “following” that Zach and Ryan have earned….

Today I was feeling a little blah so started off with a “wellness shot“!

Wheatgrass or ginger lemon cayenne… -$2.50. This shot is best to be thrown back in one go…. You will definitely feel the goodness within

The wellness shot is a good pre-curser to the Strawberry Coconut – strawberries blended with coconut meat, coconut milk, banana, raw cacao nibs, vanilla and agave.

Ahhhhh…. So fresh and such a perfect blend of natural flavors.
Next time, I think it will be time for a wellness shot and a “Raw Chai Brownie”
Dates with raw cacao powder, hazelnut, coconut oil, ground flax seed, maple syrup, vanilla & chai spices

I suggest that you take a look at Zach and Ryan’s new product – The Juice Cleanse
Now available on their website and only available through online ordering.
The Juice Truck- The Juice Cleanse
I haven’t tried it yet myself but plan on ordering some this week as I have heard some good things about it from some Juice Truck patrons.


Where are they located and when are they open?
They’re in a big pink (technically, it’s watermelon) truck on the corner of Abbott and Water Street in Gastown. Sometimes, on weekends only, you’ll find them in Kitsilano.

Weekdays: 11:30am – 5:00pm.

You Gotta Try This!

<a href=””><img alt=”The Juice Truck on Urbanspoon” src=”” style=”border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px” /></a>