June 15, 2010

Market Day

Posted in Food, Friendships, Health, Money, Recipes tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:06 am by Liliana

Market Day

Market Day

Grocery shopping in modern supermarkets is not one of my favorite chores. In fact, I don’t like doing it much at all.

But I love, LOVE, shopping at our local farmer’s market.

Maybe it reminds me of my childhood. My mother, sister and I went shopping several times a week at the nearby farmer’s market in Belgrade. Mother carried a large wicker basket and my sister and I carried little wicker baskets. We bought food that smelled tantalizing and tasted delightful, was in season, ripe and delicious. We had our favorite farmers. They let us try samples. They told us what was best. They gave us ideas on how to prepare new dishes.

I am lucky to live in a town, here in Michigan, that has a lively farmers market. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, from early March until the end of December, it is the center of our downtown area. For me, going there is a gratifying adventure.

I usually try to be at the market by 8 am, not only so I can find a parking spot easily, but also because the selection of the seasonal bounty is not picked over yet. I quickly walk through the aisles, look over the offerings, compare the prices, and greet the farmers I have gotten to know.

Frequently, I meet my friend Ann at a nearby café, for coffee and some much needed girlfriend conversation. Ann is not just one of my dearest friends, she is my market buddy. We drink hot coffee, share a delectable pastry, and talk about anything that comes to mind that particular morning. Then, we go to the market together.

I haven’t found a wicker basket I like, but I always carry several canvas bags so I can store all my purchases. I always bring cash, mostly in small bills. Farmers don’t take credit cards or personal checks. I don’t’ haggle with farmers over the prices. My grandparents were farmers and I know how hard these people work for a living. I talk to farmers, just like my mother did. I ask them what they recommend. When I don’t recognize a particular vegetable or fruit, I ask about it. Sometimes, I get new recipes.

Our market has a lot more to offer than fruits and vegetables. I frequently buy fresh eggs (from a lady everyone calls grandma,) artisan cheeses, meat (from an Amish family,) flowers (from a friendly lady who makes beautiful wreaths,) herbs, coffee. I bought a large leather bag from a woman who designs and makes them from the softest leather. At Christmas time, we come here to buy fresh trees.

I miss the market terribly during those dark, cold winter months when it is closed. But when spring arrives Ann and I are ready.

June 2, 2010

Tips for Eating Well

Posted in Food, Health tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:42 am by Liliana

healthy plate

The ½ plate rule helps with balance and portion control

Like everyone else in this world, I have been trying to watch my weight. I am taking a fitness and nutrition class this spring and learning lots of good and useful information.

None of this is new to me and is mostly common sense for anyone who is mindful. But every once in a while it helps to review it.

Here are a few tips I learned in my class:

  • Eat 3 meals a day – plus 1-3 healthy snacks. Do not go without food for long periods and try to eat every 4-5 hours.
  • Choose a variety of foods to eat, from all the food groups (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein and healthy fats.)
  • Read a nutrition label to help you determine if a food is a healthy choice. Choose low-fat, high-fiber foods.
  • Use portion control. The ½ plate rule helps with balance and portion control. Fill ½ of your plate with fruits and vegetables, ¼ with grains or starchy food and ¼ with lean protein.
  • Keep tempting foods out of the house. Relaying on willpower is risky.
  • Keep healthy foods around and ready-to-go. Always have fresh fruits and vegetables in your kitchen.
  • To avoid impulse purchases, plan meals ahead of time and use your menu to help guide you when grocery shopping.
  • Pay attention to your hunger levels. Start eating when you are hungry (don’t wait to be starving) and stop eating when you are satisfied (but not full.)
  • Keep a food record. Research has proven that people who keep a food record eat a more balanced diet and lose more weight.

And don’t feel guilty to delight in a delicious ice cream cone on occasion. French silk flavor in a waffle cone is my favorite summer treat.