wastEDwisconsin

By Amy Huo, executive chef, The Informalist    /   Photo by Kyle Lehman

According to a July 2016 article in The Guardian, Americans discard roughly half of all produce because of a “cult of perfection.” That is, because an apple has some spots or lettuce leaves have fallen prey to a wayward cabbage worm, those products are unsellable and promptly discarded. It must be noted that this produce is unharmed in all other ways, usually perfectly ripe but unfortunately looks imperfect. While I would like to say that my parents and grandparents—the generation oppressed by the Great Depression—would be horrified to see food wasted in such a manner, the truth is quite the opposite. Years of marketing by Big Agriculture in the food industry has changed perception of how our produce must appear in order to be edible. That is, imperfection in appearance signifies imperfections more serious than surface-deep.

 

Where did this begin? All signs point to the discovery, processing, and development of sugar in Europe—some even argue that sugar was a means of supporting American independence (British forces were apparently too busy defending their sugar plantations in the Caribbean to adequately defend against American colonial independence). Furthermore, heavily processed wheat and white bread products were seen historically as more pure than brown bread made with wheat that includes the germ and bran. Essentially, many eighteenth-century Europeans believed eating white foods made one more pure.

 

While I cannot connect via concrete evidence that any of the historical significance of eighteenth-century European tastes led to our demand for culture of perfection in food of the modern age, it does seem that there is a persisting connection between perfect appearance and taste. We live in an age of hothouse flavorless tomatoes and the “Red Delicious” apple (really not delicious at all, in fact, mostly mealy and devoid of flavor altogether).

 

It’s no secret, at this point, that my experience in New York with Chef Dan Barber has impacted my life and my approach to food in the restaurant. Chef Barber started the wastED campaign in New York by serving a dinner completely made of food waste. Most recently, he and the team from Stone Barns served dinner on the rooftop of the Selfridges department store in London to draw attention to the egregious amount of food wasted around the world in developed countries on the daily. His dishes were inventive and flavorful, served on broken plateware and other usually discarded items.

 

Because my background in the culinary industry is heavily influenced by this kind of throw-nothing-away philosophy, I’ve begun to focus on the food waste issue here at The Informalist. wastEDwi is my campaign to draw attention to the many ways we utilize usually wasted ingredients in our kitchen to create dishes that are inventive, beautiful, and delicious. Preserving ingredients to use year-round demands innovation but begets unforeseen experiences for our guests. For example, this year, to preserve the flavor of sugary spring parsnips, we used the meaty parsnips for our various dishes requiring root vegetables but then dehydrated the peels and ground them into dust. The perfumed quality of the fresh parsnips and the pure sugary sweetness are both preserved in the dust and give us an extra layer of flavor to play with in our dishes. In some recipes, I’ve gone as far as replacing the sugar content with this parsnip sugar or dehydrated sweet corn in the same manner. Beets juiced for sauces leave behind pulp that can also be dehydrated, ground, and used to color pasta. Carrot and fennel tops usually discarded can be used the same way or mixed with salt or sugar to garnish a dish.

 

Kitchens have long had to use normally wasted items to improve their food cost, but this approach is more important than just saving money. It’s about respecting the time and effort farmers and producers spend to create the ingredients we serve in our kitchen. Using every part of a product—essentially nose-to-tail for vegetables—means that spiritually speaking, nothing is disrespected. I believe, on a personal note, a guest can feel this kind of approach on a plate. If we can understand that every single element on a dish belies a deeper significance about preparation, care, and environment, then the dish can speak for itself about the philosophy of a culture. In the cult-of-perfection world we live in, imperfection requires innovation. Here at The Informalist, we seek out those experiences so that we may bring the guest a unique, surprising, and exceptionally innovative plate every single day.

 

Sources:
www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/13/us-food-waste-ugly-fruit-vegetables-perfect

www.livescience.com/4949-sugar-changed-world.html

www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/03/04/147819980/american-history-baked-into-the-loaves-of-white-bread

www.sucrose.com/lhist.html

www.selfridges.com/GB/en/content/article/wasted-london

Lose Weight with Highland Fitness’s Weight Loss Challenge

Highland Fitness, with three locations in the Chippewa Valley, has been involved with community weight loss programs and challenges for the past seven years. As we all know, January is the time for New Year’s resolutions, and many companies sponsor challenges to inspire folks to achieve their habit-changing resolutions. Since one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight (especially after the holidays), their weight loss challenges have proven popular.

This year, 2018, their second annual Eau Claire Weight Loss Challenge will take place. The challenge is open to the public, and all weigh-ins will be at the Eastridge Center location starting January 2 through January 5. All participants will receive a gift bag that includes a T-shirt, water bottle, and vendor coupons worth hundreds of dollars. The Early Bird Registration is open now through November for $20.

Participants will weigh in monthly.

During the challenge, Highland Fitness will host guest speakers, offer healthy recipes, and provide trainer tips. On February 10 their Healthy Heart Medley event will feature food, classes, training sessions, and massages—all of which will be open to the public!

Highland Fitness promotes weight loss, health, and fitness and supports the community by providing over $25,000 worth of prizes and auction items to benefit various area programs. At the Eastridge Center location there is a donation box to support the health and fitness programs of the local Boys and Girls Club.

“Get Fit & Lean in 2018”

1st Place Wins $1000

$20 Earlybird Special • Register Today!

eauclaireweightlosschallenge.com

Tips for Staying Healthy this Holiday Season

by Corbin Burkard, head trainer, Burn Boot Camp

Here you are again, wonderful holiday season. That magical time of year when you loosen up a notch on your belt and prepare yourself for the scale to move anywhere from 10–20 pounds, depending on the year. However, this time around you are ready for lasting change. You are ready to fulfill the commitment you set out on last New Year’s. Here is your survival pack for this holiday season!

  • When going out to any sort of holiday party, offer to bring a dish. It is a good way for you to protect yourself from being stuck with a lame veggie tray, or without any healthy options whatsoever!
  • Don’t forget about moderation. Track those calories and stay within your allotted budget. Allow yourself some “cheats,” but keep it all within moderation…which brings me to alcohol. Stick to water as much as you can, and when you do choose to have a drink, keep it at just one or two.
  • Stay with your regular exercise routine. It is super easy, especially as you get busier and busier around the holiday season, to get away from your normal workout routine. Stay consistent, because the more consistent you are with your exercise, the more you will stick to stronger nutrition.
  • Maintain a strong support system. Whether that is enlisting the support of your significant other, or as a family you have decided to make better decisions this year. Either way, this is always something that is really challenging to do. Do it together!

Cheers to staying with your goals this holiday season!

Eat Your Way to a Healthier You

By Victoria Vande Zande, MD, Prevea Health Internal Medicine

 

There are many benefits of a healthy diet including increased energy, improvement in overall health, mood stabilization and overall feeling better. Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of foods you love. There are many simple things that you can do to start eating better.

  • Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption to five servings per day. This helps to increase your fiber and vitamin intake, as well as increase complex carbohydrates.
  • Decrease your calorie intake by replacing liquid calories with water.
  • Eat real food. Replace fast food, food from convenience stores and processed snacks with food that you prepare. This takes some extra planning but will definitely make you feel better.
  • If portion size is an issue, try using a smaller plate or a plate which shows how much of each thing you should have.
  • People who count calories have the most success with weight loss if that is what you are striving for.

 

Not matter what you do, it is important to get the proper balance of foods including lean protein, fat and carbohydrates. Evidence shows that higher protein diets decrease hunger, increase weight loss and increase percentage of fat loss. Fats are important as an energy source and for cell function. Trans fats, found in processed and deep fried foods, should be avoided. Carbohydrates are the most abundant molecules on earth and are an important source of fuel for your body. They are necessary for a healthy diet, but it is important to choose correctly. Choose fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates and avoid simple carbohydrates (sugar, processed foods).

 

Now, the holidays are right around the corner and it can be difficult to eat healthy during this time of year; Americans gain approximately one to two pounds throughout the holidays. This can add up over the years. In preparation for a holiday feast, remember:

  • Don’t skip meals. Hunger will cause you to overeat.
  • Eat breakfast. Research shows that people who eat breakfast consume less during the day.
  • Use a smaller plate. This encourages proper portion sizes.
  • Start by eating salad and vegetables first. You’ll be filled up and eat less.
  • Drink a large glass of water prior to eating. Again, you’ll be filled up and eat less.
  • Don’t devour your meal. Eat slowly and savor each bite, and wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds.

 

Controlling cravings over the holidays can also be problematic. Too much processed carbohydrates, sugar and sugar substitute can increase cravings for sweet foods. It has been proven that the more you restrict yourself, the more you are going to get cravings for those foods. Allowing yourself a small amount of the things you crave will not leave you feeling deprived. When you are allowed these foods you are less likely to binge or feel guilty for eating them. One tip – put a barrier between you and the food you crave. Put the food farther away. The less convenient a food is to obtain, the less likely you are to succumb to the craving.

A Weight  Loss Program That Works

For some, a more strict diet is necessary. For these people, Prevea Health offers Ideal Weigh. Ideal Weigh is a medically-supervised weight loss program that uses Ideal Protein foods along with vegetables, protein and supplements to achieve weight loss. With Ideal Weigh, carbohydrates are limited to push your body into ketosis. During ketosis your body burns fat first. Since you are eating more protein your body doesn’t burn muscle. In fact, patients on Ideal Weigh have improved body composition (decreased fat and increased muscle) and lose inches. Additional benefits? Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure are often able to decrease the medications they are on, or discontinue them altogether. Patients who have difficulty with fertility due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can have improved fertility. Patients with muscle and joint pain will often have improvement due to decreased inflammation when they decrease their simple carbohydrate intake. To learn more visit prevea.com/weightloss.

Winter: One Great Time to Get a Massage!

By Candace Lokken, licensed massage therapist, Sans Souci Massage

Winter is hard on our bodies. Everything from dry skin, which body treatments are good for, to physical aspects and stressors such as shoveling, different exercises compared to summer exercise, and yes even shivering, contributes to winter stressors. There are also holiday stresses that weigh heavily on many of us, from family visits to spending the holidays without a loved one. Holiday stress can affect us in so many ways—physically as the body tenses, emotionally sometimes as depression and exhaustion, and even in a dietary way as our eating habits are different.

This is the time of year that most of our clients like heat and warmth. We use different ways of warming our clients: our tables are heated, we use rice bags, and we use hot stones and different types of heated towels. As always, we do an integrative massage for each client that is detailed to meet their current needs. We definitely do more hot stone massages in winter. This type of massage is very warming, detoxifying, and can be relaxing or can be more of a deep tissue massage with heat to help the muscle tissue relax.

Essential oils are used throughout the year, but there are oils that can address dry skin and that can be warming. Make sure you or your massage therapist choose the right essential oils. Stay away from synthetic oils and look for therapeutic-grade essential oils. The top 5 essential oils you could have on hand for this time of year would be: frankincense, lavender, lemon, peppermint, and tea tree. If you are looking for specific oils for dry skin, geranium, lavender, neroli, rose, rosemary, myrrh, frankincense, and sandalwood are great. If you are looking for specific oils to help with warming of the body, try rosemary, myrrh, ginger, black pepper, and clove bud. Adding your essential oils to a carrier oil such as unrefined, cold-pressed, organic coconut oil is a good way you can apply them to your skin without any type of breakout. Some essential oils can be very harsh for your skin if applied directly. You can add the oils to a hot bath, diffuse them into the air, or apply them directly to the skin with a carrier oil.

Each Sans Souci massage therapist has at least fourteen years of experience and customizes each massage to the client’s needs and preferences. We do all different types of massage from individual therapists doing specific types of massage such as craniosacral, lomi lomi, ashiatsu, and thai yoga therapy. But also we always do a thorough health intake with our clients before the massage so that we know specifically what each client’s problem areas are, and then we work specifically on those areas.

Winter is a good time to get a massage, but it is good to receive massage throughout the year! Even a 30-minute massage gives us enough time to work on a specific problem area. It is not enough time for a full body massage though, but it can be helpful.

For the holidays, gift certificates for massage are always a great gift. We sell them in our office or they can be bought online and printed through our website.

For more information or to make an appointment, visit www.sanssoucimassage.com.