Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eat Alberta 2012: Sourdough 101

This was another HUGE Eat Alberta win for me.

I have been making bread at home for a few years now but have never managed to be entirely consistent in this front. A few loaves and doughs became second nature, including the extra large batch of dough that we would make and portion into balls for pizza or bread. They would live happily in our freezer, until being thawed overnight and baked the next day. Still... I wanted more in my carb-filled world.

Sourdough was one bread that I always wanted to make but was never able to. I tried to make my own sourdough starter by following the directions in Peter Reinhardt's book, Artisan Breads Every Day, but somehow couldn't get it quite right. (If you care to give it a try, the NY Times printed it here. There are also companies that sell sourdough starters, such as Sourdoughs International.) I thought about trying to make a starter again, until I registered for the Sourdough 101 class at Eat Alberta this year.

Time for some real learning...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kale Chips

So, I went to donate blood a few weekends ago. This is not something that I particularly look forward to. I don't like needles. I typically want to sleep and be lazy afterwards to recover from the donation, so the rest of my day is done. Despite that, I like going in a different way... It is one small thing that I can do to help another person, a person who would clearly be in great need, if they require a transfusion. There was a day in my life where I required a transfusion. Where would I have been without that donation? I  just think it is something good to do. Don't feel guilty. But if you can donate, consider going to a Canadian Blood Services donation clinic sometime and giving. If wussy me can do it, so can you. :)

Thus ends the public service message portion of this post. 

Anyway, I said I went to donate blood. Unfortunately though, I was not able to donate this time. In order to donate, your blood is tested to ensure that you have adequate iron levels to be able to recover from the donation. Well....... ummmm.... my iron levels didn't measure up. *tear* Whether it was stress and life or poor eating or forgetting vitamins or whatever else, I wasn't donating that day.

As I waited to discuss this with the RN, I was trying to think about why my iron/hemoglobin levels weren't up to snuff (we're not talking far off here... I was 2 points off!! I needed 125 to donate and I registered a 123.). 

Normal hemoglobin levels are different in women and in men. In non-pregnant women, normal hemoglobin ranges from 120 g/L to 160 g/L (12.0 g/dL to 16.0 g/dL). In men, normal hemoglobin levels range from 140 g/L to 180 g/L (14.0 g/dL to 18.0 g/dL).
(Source: Canadian Blood Services website)

What I figure is... I sometimes let work and life and other things get in the way of being intentional about what I eat. Sometimes laziness will show me the way to a slice of pizza (albeit good pizza) from a local shop rather than to the leafy greens on the verge of going bad in my fridge. 

Iron comes in two forms:
1. Heme iron, which is easily absorbed by your body.
Foods with heme iron include beef, lamb, pork, liver, veal,
chicken, turkey (the dark meat has more iron), fish and seafood. 

2. Non-heme iron, which is absorbed less readily.
Foods with non-heme iron include breakfast cereals (fortified with iron),
breads and pasta (whole grain and enriched), lentils, dried peas and beans, tofu,
seeds and nuts (pumpkin, sesame or peanut), dried fruit (raisins or apricots),
dark green, leafy vegetables, and eggs.
(Source: Canadian Blood Services website)

At the end of the day, I decided this... I would really try to put my mind to eating a colourful and well-rounded diet that will give my body the nutrients and vitamins that it needs to do and be its best. If my iron stores weren't sufficient after that a concerted effort was made, then it may just be that I need to donate less frequently than the 56 days allowed. 

As such, I went grocery shopping and filled up that cart with all sorts of fantastic foods... then went home and whipped up a batch of kale chips to help me on my way.  If you haven't gotten on the kale chip bandwagon yet, now is the time.

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