Farm to Fork with Special Diets

Sacramento sits in the midst of the perfect salad bowl, making a varied and healthy diet a snap for vegetarians and vegans. But does Farm to Fork play into the lives of others that have special diets due to the many food allergies that they suffer? The list of allergies seems to grow, or at least involve more people, every decade. Once it was mainly peanuts and lactose. Now the awareness of the many types of food allergies grows with more and more avoiding gluten, eggs, nuts, shellfish, etc. While some make people terribly ill, other allergies can kill, as was seen in the recent case of 13-year-old Natalie Giorgi, who died from unknowingly eating a dessert with peanut butter. “We cater to over 40 to 50 specialty diets,” said Melanie Weir, who owns the Gluten Free Specialty Market on J Street. “Ours was the first totally gluten free store in California. Now we also cater to many other specialty diets.” These diets include everything from gluten, lactose, casein, soy free to low sodium or glycemic. “Sacramento should be the Farm to Fork Capital,” said Weir. “For people with food sensitivities, making the shortest trip from the farm to the table is important.” Weir says that every step along the way can add more exposure to the bad bacteria, viruses, or stress elements that can […]

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Locally owned: Monica Hall Spa Collection

"Locally Owned” is a regular column highlighting local business owners — the backbone of our community and economy. The column explores the personal stories of the owners and the businesses they built. With feet rooted in contrasting cultures, Monica Hall’s life pattern has been to tread different paths and seek to find a balance between them. In her newest endeavor, the Monica Hall Spa Collection of organic skin care products, Monica has found the perfect synthesis. Born in Canada, and half-Native American Cree, Monica was uprooted from her family in the “scoop” of the 1950s and ‘60s, when Native American children were taken from their homes and placed with non-Native American families to ostensibly improve the children’s impoverished lives. The “Indian Adoption Project,” administered by the Child Welfare League, was eventually renounced because of a multitude of detrimental effects on the children, their families and tribal culture. Monica was adopted by a family in Alaska who later moved to California, where Monica embraced the California lifestyle. She became enamored with the beauty industry, worked as a makeup artist and skin care expert for Chanel and launched brands for luxury retailers Neiman Marcus and I. Magnin. She also taught in cosmetology schools, mentoring students about skin care and job search skills. Monica always had a yearning to connect to her biological family, and at age 22 […]

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Tea Expert Weighs in on Hot Tea and Raw Foods

Tea time again! I recently received this chock-full-of-info response to my article (Tea and Raw Food: Legal?) from Suzette Hammond, head of Training and Education for Rishi Tea–thank you, Suzette!! I thought I’d share it here (with the permission of the author, of course). Ms. Hammond’s  response follows in its entirety, cheerio! Hi there, I’m not a raw foods follower, but I did want to offer some helpful information on the topic of tea itself. I work for Rishi Tea, as the head of Training and Education. I’ve also taught extensively with the Specialty Tea Institute (a branch of the U.S. Tea Association), the World Tea Expo and regional tea festivals in the United States. So, I really love teaching tea and would be happy to answer some questions that are being posed here. I can’t personally advocate whether or not raw foods followers should or should not drink tea – that is up for you to decide. But tea is a complicated topic, so I do believe everyone should be well informed. Firstly, if I had to make the call, I would say by its nature, tea is NOT a raw food. Doesn’t mean it’s not friendly to the body, but all forms of tea have had heat applied to the leaves. Unless you travel to tea gardens, pluck leaves right from the bush […]

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Tea and Raw Food–Legal?

Recently I’ve come to love tea! Hot tea. Tea that is probably heated above 115/118 degrees, which means it’s not a raw food, technically…Oooohhhhh…. When I started drinking tea, at first it felt quite odd consuming something hot, but now I’m loving it! Although there are many health benefits associated with various teas, it’s more of a comfort thing for me, and just kind of, well, nice. I’m anticipating especially appreciating it when the weather chills towards fall. I don’t typically consume caffeine as it causes me to feel like I just did a line of coke (FYI: no idea what that feels like, actually). So my tea comes decaffeinated (while decaf tea still contains a very small amount of caffeine, it usually doesn’t negatively affect most people).  Tea seems to be something I don’t hear a lot about in the raw community, so I checked in on it. What are some respected folks saying about drinking hot tea and why? Let’s hear from a few: Victoria Boutenko (rawfamily.com) writes:  "I’d like to say that hot tea is okay because it doesn’t trigger your appetite for cooked foods or any food addictions, but you wouldn’t want to drink a lot of it because you only want to consume highly nutritious substances. We’ve been malnourished for generations and we don’t want to waste any energy on our […]

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What’s In My Juice??

"What do you juice?" I’m frequently asked this question, and here’s my very easy answer: generally, I juice whatever I find in my fridge! I like to keep it stress-free and simple. That being said, I do shop weekly for juicing items, so I’ve usually got good stuff on hand–although ingredients depend a lot on what’s in season, on sale, and what caught my eye while shopping. Really though, I’ll throw pretty much anything green into that juicer! Variety is good–nutritionally and taste-wise, and as often as possible, my juicing items are local and organic. I stick to "meatier" veggies, as my particular juicer has a tougher time with "frilly," soft-leafy items. Other than that, I’m not too picky about ingredients and am always raiding sale bins; I tend to think of any veggie as a good thing, although I’m careful to add some sweet, as just greens can be a bit **cough** brisk! I  do tend to stay away from too much beet juice as I experience a very impressive sugar high from these little guys! Boing, boinb, boing…Here’s my basic juice formula: Cucumber–half to whole Dark Greens–sometimes kale, sometimes chard or collards or whatever else catches my eye–this is the Main Event Carrots–3 Burdock Root/Ginger–smallish hunk–too much ginger is really bitter Celery-2 stalks Whatever Else I’ve Got Laying Around  This morning, for instance, I juiced the following:  […]

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Pesto on Toast?? YES! Try This Summery and Delicious Raw Vegan Snack!

One of my very favorite raw vegan snacks of all time? That’s right, pesto on toast!! You won’t believe how good this is, or how lightly crispy and "toasty" this is! Here’s what you’ll need (ingredient amounts are estimates–it’s not an exact science here): Equipment 1. Dehydrator (or oven on low setting) 2. Food Processor with "S" blade or Blender Aaand… here we go! Toast~ 1 eggplant 1/3 cup or so Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (can be found near the soy sauce in natural foods sections) 1/4 cup or more nutritional yeast (good source of B12 if fortified–I use Braggs as it’s gluten-free, but if that’s not your issue, buy in bulk at natural foods store–much cheaper)  a generous shake or two of various spices–I currently like poultry seasoning (but not on poultry!) and curry, but feel free to add whatever sounds good to you Pesto~ 3 cups or so fresh basil (yummmm…) 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/3 cup nutritional yeast–tastes very cheesy 3 cloves garlic 1/4-1/3 cup or so pine nuts (actually I almost always use something else as pine nuts are like $800 a pound–pecans or walnuts are yum, and on a limited budget, I use sunflower seeds–also good) pepper if you’d like (if you’ve got your own favorite pesto recipe, by all means use it–but this one is simple and raw and […]

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Raw Vegan: Too Difficult??

People ask me all the time: "How do you eat raw vegan? It seems way too hard!" But you know what I think is really hard? NOT eating raw vegan! Today alone, I 1) listened to NPR’s story on palm oil, and how that’s causing environmental destruction, 2) signed a petition against the use of BPAs in Progresso’s soup cans, and 3) yapped with a friend about GMOs. And that’s only the tip of the (rapidly melting) iceberg! What about all the uproar around high fructose corn syrup, "bad fats," antibiotic use in farm animals, leaching of toxic chemicals into foods and beverages, diseases of the fork (diabetes, heart disease etc.), fish-farming nightmares (I call them "fissues"–badaboom) and factory farming horrors, just to name a few? We didn’t ask for all this, but these problems are just part of our lives now–everywhere we turn it seems there is yet another food danger! How can anyone keep up!? Impossible. Makes you want to give up and open another bag of Double Stuffs, right? But what if you could easily avoid it all and spend ZERO TIME reading food labels or attempting to keep up on the latest toxic substance? Wouldn’t you like to quit frying your brain trying to remember which additives are in what foods, and, for the truly obsessed, stop memorizing lists of technical terms for substances that […]

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Never Felt Better Vegan Shop to close

Never Felt Better Vegan shop will shut its doors Thursday, ending a nearly seven-month run at its 19th and P streets location. “We’re going to go ahead and close down,” co-owner Jen Fosnight said Wednesday. “To be honest, we’ve been struggling to pay – it’s a great deal, and it’s not too much rent – but business has just been slow.” The shop focused on vegan retail items such as clothing, non-leather wallets, art produced by vegans and soaps, and also carried some food. “We’ve tried a bunch of things, but it was either lose this or lose the house,” Fosnight said. She added that the products will still be available online at the Never Felt Better Vegan Shop website. Vegan options at numerous restaurants in the area are growing, Fosnight said, adding that if the business had just sold vegan food, it probably would have succeeded. In the future, she added, the business might relocate in the East Bay. The business will be open from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Thursday for its final day of business. For more information on the business concept, read a previous piece by The Sacramento Press. Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Sacramento’s Gone to the Veggies

On Saturday, the third annual Sacramento VegFest was held at the Artisan Building on Del Paso Boulevard. Hundreds of visitors came to explore the world of vegetarian and vegan lifestyle alternatives, to check out new products and ideas, and to attend presentations by some top chefs in the healthy food movement. It was a happy crowd wending their way through the booths and displays on a sunny afternoon. Both guests and vendors were eager to share their enthusiasm for all things vegetarian. The Sacramento Vegan Society had an information booth. So did the Sacramento Vegetarian Society, and representatives from both groups were careful to emphasize their particular focus, cautioning us not to confuse one with the other. They are not rivals, or competitors; they are certainly friendly, recognizing that both groups are promoting a more healthful way of eating. But there are philosophical and practical differences between vegans and vegetarians, and the distinctions are important to both groups. Vegans are ultra-vegetarians. They do not eat any animal products at all, including eggs, honey, or milk. Many vegans also eschew any other use of animal products, including leather, animal fat used in soaps or cleaning agents, or shampoos which include egg solids. Vegetarians may be vegans, but in general they do not consume flesh or fowl—no fish, burgers, or chicken. But many vegetarians are likely to […]

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Man on the street: holiday traditions

It’s that time of the year again and the question remains the same, “What are you doing for the holidays?” While some people maintain the same traditions they were raised with, some have welcomed new traditions and some just plain don’t celebrate at all. The Sacramento Press asked locals what their holiday plans were for this year.Alley Katz cook, Felipe Olivares, 39, said he was born in California but his parents moved here from Mexico and while he has become accustomed to the new lifestyle, he has maintained the Spanish holiday tradition throughout the years. “When I grew up, I went to a school that was literally named ‘White School,’ I was one of two Mexicans in the school,” Olivares said. For Olivares, the children stay awake until midnight every year and they open their gifts before they go to bed, not on Christmas morning. “It’s usually a lot of tamales and a bunch of family over. We open our gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve.”Twenty-six year old Peter Barnes, works for the State Water Board and his father married into the Columbian Catholic Holiday tradition, so Barnes said he has welcomed that as a new holiday tradition. “For the holidays, I usually go home and hang out with my parents in Petaluma. My stepmom’s Columbian and we’re Catholic, so the Columbian Catholics, they do […]

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