Week 2 Part II in Halifax. Road trip!

Day 4, Friday

Random musings while walking to my trusty internet connection at Paper Chase for morning meetings:

I’ll spare you yet another picture of my view from my desk at PC, where I had multiple Skype meetings with nary an internet hiccup. Lunch: Friday is the International Market at the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market. Legit cool thing, or marketing ploy aimed at the cruise ship crowd? I’m on the case. And… it didn’t really seem any different from the last time I was there, which was not a Friday, except busier, due to the two cruise ships docked outside. Except for the enormous pumpkin, which will be carved [alas, I misread… just on display through] Sunday as part of the Pumpkin Crazy Pumpkin Festival. Pumpkin Crazy Pumpkin Festival

The sign says, “Please refrain from climbing the pumpkin.” Ha! Also amusing: tourists photographing the Samuel Cunard statue in front of the cruise ship. Samuel Cunard

It was incredibly gorgeous outside, so I strolled down the waterfront people watching and targeting Pete’s ToGoGo for a salad and maybe some soup. [I really wanted to stop at a waterfront cafe and have a glass of wine on the patio.] Halifax waterfront

Note to future self: Pete’s ToGoGo is open until 4, but at 3 they break down their salad and soup stations. My sunshine-slowed stroll made me too late for a salad. Plan C: the Nomad Gourmet truck parks on Argyle at lunch… but he was gone. [I really wanted to stop at an Argyle restaurant and have a glass of beer on the patio.] Plan D: leftovers at home. Woe is me. So how did I alleviate my sorrows? Oh yes: Steve-O-Reno's Eight Balls

As fabulous as last time I indulged. Dinner: Tried Brooklyn Warehouse, which won Best Restaurant in the Coast Best Of Halifax awards. Their motto: Eat Local. Shop Local. Visit a Farm. My kind of place! Brooklyn Warehouse

Loved the dark, chill ambiance (they also won Best Atmosphere), and all in my party agreed that the food was delicious, if a bit heavy. We were stuffed when we left, but not too full to stop for a drink on the way home at Jane’s on the Common. Sadly [sarcasm], Jane’s only lets you drink if you’re eating too, so we got desserts, which were fabulous (as were the fancy cocktails). So sad they’re closing at the end of the year.

Day 5, Saturday

All participants of last night’s dinner outing had baaad stomach problems overnight and into the next day. The only thing we all ate in common was the tuna tartare dish at Brooklyn Warehouse. We called to let them know there might be something wrong with the dish, and to see if anyone else had reported similar problems (the person who answered thought not), but, oddly, the manager did not deem our problems worthy of a return phone call. Harrumph. Unthwarted, we bundled our sour stomachs into our trusty weekend rental car and hit the road for Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site about an hour and a half from Halifax, as the crow flies. We took the less-direct Lighthouse Route along the coast, stopping a few times. Peggy’s Cove: Peggy's Cove

Chester Basin, where we had lunch at Seaside Shanty, enjoying local seafood, local Propeller sodas (good for stomach ailments, no?), and a bay view: Seaside Shanty

Mahone Bay, with the fantastic Jo-Ann’s Deli and Market with coffee and amazing cookies, which we partook of; and a deli, prepared foods case, and packaged local food products. Here we began the weekend’s cookie theme, and here is where the winning cookie was consumed: oatmeal coconut. Mahone Bay

And finally, Lunenburg. The weather was ideal and we spent hours wandering the quaint little fishing town and drinking and eating. Recommended Lunenburg establishments: Mariner King Inn, Laughing Whale Coffee–words of wisdom from their site:

Food that is produced locally, or at least processed locally (e.g., coffee) is fresher, arrives with a much lower carbon footprint (due to less fuel burned in transportation) and keeps more money in the local economy. Our current centralized industrial food system is organized to make cheap food and maximize corporate profits – often with little regard for the social, environmental and health consequences for workers, consumers, livestock or the land itself.

…the Knot Pub, and Fleur de Sel, a top-notch, award winning restaurant that focuses on local ingredients and seafood.

Day 6, Sunday

Most of the restaurants and shops we visited were wrapping up for the season, so we were lucky to get to the coast when we did. Reluctant to end our vacation, upon return to Halifax, we got coffee and cookies from Julien’s Patisserie in the Hydrostone Market, which was participating in City Harvest by giving discounts on mochas for checking in on social media sites. After enjoying our treats on a bench in the sunshine, we stopped into Lady Luck Boutique where  Mr. HP bought me two awesome, unique, locally-made necklaces for my birthday!

Hydrostone Market

Continuing on our let’s-not-end-vacation kick: a beer at the Henry House, a visit to the Seaport Farmer’s Market to see the Jack-o-lanterns (but we were a half hour early and nothing was lit up yet for the pumpkin walk), and dinner from Fid’s back-door takeout–part of City Harvest.

Fid Resto Back-Door Takeout

Great weekend of eating and shopping local!

Dupont Circle Farmers Market

HP was on a field trip to Washington DC over the weekend, and unwittingly stumbled upon the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market. FRESHFARM Markets operate more than 10 farm-to-consumer markets in and around DC, with the goals of bringing area residents fresh, healthy food from the Chesapeake Bay region; educating consumers about the benefits of eating local food; and supporting local farmers who employ sustainable farming practices.

I sampled an apple from one stand, and it was the best apple I ever tasted. I was too mesmerized to take a picture.

DC residents are lucky to have several options for hitting the market (and Relay Foods too)!

Protein Powder Wars, Part II

In July, I wondered if, as essentially a non-meat eater, I needed extra protein. I just finished my first 18.6oz container of protein powder, and in the interest of Science, I am starting a comparison chart, below. Thanks to Eating Bird Food for an excellent post on her favorite protein powder, and a discussion of various protein powder uses; and Gabby’s Gluten-Free for educating me with a much more usable chart than the one below. As discussed in my July post, I’m only interested in plant-based, dairy/gluten/soy free, minimally processed, low/no sugar added powders.

Brand Price Protein Source Grams Protein Grams Sugar Comments
LifeTime Life’s Basics $17.43 for 18.6oz (Amazon) Pea, hemp, rice (with chia seeds) 22 2.67 (Vanilla) I ordered this little-discussed-online brand because it was a considerably cheaper intro to protein powder, and it had all three of the important plant protein sources. Also, I wanted something that would taste good when mixed with only water, and comments on Life’s Basics supported that. The flavor was fine–due to the large amount of stevia, no doubt. The consistency was thick from the chia seeds, but I didn’t mind. I think I felt stronger and less sore while recovering with this, but it’s hard to say for sure. I did like the new schedule of protein drink at 7:45, smaller-than-before breakfast at 10.
Sun Warrior $26.07 for 500g (Amazon) Brown rice 16 0 (Vanilla) Just purchased. This one is very popular on the internets.

Vacation egg fail

Last week Haute Pasture was on vacation in the Caribbean. We cooked half our meals, and had two grocery stores to choose from when doing our provisioning for the week. Neither store seemed to be on the local/organic/sustainable bandwagon. Despite the fact that chickens could be found wandering the streets in many places, our grocery store egg option was this:

Factory farmed eggs that travelled from far away. I visited the Hillandale Farms website hoping to at least read some marketing lip service regarding caring about the well-being of the chickens, but alas, there’s nothing.

So yes, I willingly ate factory farmed eggs that were shipped a long distance. What made it worse was I had just gotten to the chapter on the treatment of chickens and other poultry in Temple Grandin‘s book Animals Make Us Human.

The chickens chapter details the horrors she found when she first started working to improve the living conditions of factory farmed poultry. I recommend reading it, but not while you’re eating factory farmed eggs.

It’s a good read if you’re interested in animal behavior, including dogs, cats, and horses, as well as livestock. I’ll write a more formal review when I finish. And yes, the eggs I just made for breakfast are local and from pasture raised hens.

Thoughts on protein powders

I’m a pescatarian athlete. Being competitive, I want to be faster and stronger than my friends. Some of them swear by their post-workout protein drinks, and I was curious: do protein supplements improve athletic performance? As a pescatarian, do I need a protein supplement anyway, since I don’t eat many animal products? (I do eat a lot of eggs.) If I do need one, what are some options that are minimally processed, and based on protein from plants or humanely-treated animals?

First question: do protein supplements improve athletic performance?

Maybe: The idea is that ingesting protein within a half hour or so of a strenuous workout promotes muscle recovery. Protein drinks are a convenient way to get the protein quickly into your system. I usually eat a handful of almonds directly after a workout, followed by an egg-and-veggie breakfast a couple hours later. Livestrong.com suggests almonds are not the best choice for post-workout protein intake. Shoot.

Maybe not: Robb Wolf posits that unless you’re a competitive (I think meaning elite) athlete, you don’t need to worry about a post-workout meal at all. (See comments on this article; the permalink to the specific comment is broken.) Wolf’s site also says because liquid is absorbed faster than food, a protein drink could spike your insulin levels in a way that protein-rich food would not. Here are some real-food post-workout snack alternatives to liquids.

Answer: Unclear, leaning toward yes.

Second question: as a pescatarian, do I need a protein supplement?

Maybe: Precision Nutrition prescribes protein supplements and branched chain amino acids to vegetarian athletes.

Maybe not: According to this article, vegetarians who eat lots of dairy and soy probably get enough protein. I don’t eat much of either, but I do eat a lot of eggs. Precision Nutrition does not support heavy reliance on dairy for protein intake because lactose intolerance and milk protein allergies are so common.

Answer: Unclear, leaning toward no.

Third question: what are some protein supplement options that are minimally processed, and based on protein from plants or humanely-treated animals?

Many protein powders have some weird stuff in them—additives and fillers to make them palatable. Powders are, by definition, processed foods, so if you try to avoid processed foods, well, there you go. If you’re gluten-free, read the fine print as some protein powders contain glutamine peptides as a cheaper filler protein.

Protein powders generally come in two types: plant-based protein powders, and whey protein powder.

The most common plant-based proteins used in supplements are:

  • Hemp protein
  • Brown rice protein
  • Yellow pea protein

This article gives an overview of the three types above. In it, the author, who is a vegan, gives advice to an active reader curious about protein powders. She seems to rank them hemp, brown rice, yellow pea, from favorite to least, saying hemp protein powder has more fiber than the others, and brown rice protein is hypoallergenic.

Recommended (by people on the internets, not me) plant-based protein powders:

Whey is a byproduct of cheesemaking. If purchasing whey protein supplements, ensure the whey is from grass-fed cows. I read a comment on one site that said Mark Sisson’s Primal Fuel is grass-fed whey, but I could not find evidence of that anywhere on the Primal Fuel site, so I’m guessing it’s not true. A Google search came back with a bunch of grass-fed whey options.

Recommended (by people on the internets, not me) whey protein powder:

So I don’t have a solid answer: do I need a protein supplement or not? This calls for Science! I just ordered a powder and will report back.

HP in NYC: New Amsterdam Market

What better to do on a Sunday morning than go to a local artisan market? We visited the New Amsterdam Market at South Street Seaport to sample local foods and buy a variety of treats for lunch: gourmet grilled cheeses, a lobster roll, and an Indian combo platter.

Each vendor’s sign listed their home location, and while some where coming from a few hours away (I think Pittsfield, MA was the farthest I saw), most were from close by, or within the city.

The food was excellent, and we had a pretty nice view to lunch by:

The New Amsterdam Market is open from 11am-4pm Sundays. Vendor information can be found on their website.

Another day…

…another scary article about foods that are poisoning you. Prevention Magazine asked seven food safety experts to name a food they avoid, and while most answers were nothing shocking, a couple made me think, namely the potatoes and apples.

I try to buy local and organic whenever I can, but if I see a display of local potatoes or apples next to organic, non-local versions, I’ll generally choose from the local pile, even without the organic label. I guess I shouldn’t assume that local produce is organic, and that local always trumps non-local/organic. As if I needed my produce shopping to be more complicated.

I liked the article’s closing, a great refute to the “organic is too expensive” argument:

If you can’t afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them. But Kastel personally refuses to compromise. “I would rather see the trade-off being that I don’t buy that expensive electronic gadget,” he says. “Just a few of these decisions will accommodate an organic diet for a family.”

The list of foods to avoid:

  1. Canned tomatoes
  2. Corn-fed beef (yay Joel Salatin!)
  3. Microwave popcorn
  4. Non-organic potatoes
  5. Farmed salmon
  6. Milk produced with artificial hormones
  7. Conventional apples

Kate’s Real Food Bars

In need of an afternoon snack, I walked over to pick up a CCNO Bar from my local grocery, but the proprietress was concerned about the age of the bars and pulled the box off the shelf (after giving me two for free!). She hasn’t been able to get in touch with the makers of the bars and thinks the company may be kaput.

So I need a new afternoon snack option. I can buy Larabars at another local grocery, but just learned they are now owned by General Mills, and would rather patronize a smaller company. While at the register chatting about the potential staleness of my CCNO Bars, I noticed Kate’s Real Food bars. This could be my answer.

They’re made with real food, with no added soy, and the Caz Bar is gluten free. According to the web site, it’s a small company made of hardworking people who are serious about eating healthy food to fuel their various, and pretty hardcore, athletic exploits.

They’re carried by several stores in Charlottesville. Look up your own location here. I didn’t try one today since I had my freebie ancient CCNO Bar in hand, but can’t wait for the next afternoon snack urge to strike!

Local snack: CCNO Bars

I am embarrassed by, and sorry for the poor quality of this picture:

I walked around my office trying to find some decent lighting for my old iPhone’s camera, to no avail. Fortunately, this blog has a lovely photo of a CCNO Bar.

I needed an afternoon snack, and my favorite workday food shop doesn’t carry my usual quickie bite, Lara Bars. I like Lara Bars because they’re just fruit and nuts smashed together, without chemicals and additives and preservatives like Clif, etc. So I was very happy to find the box of CCNO Bars by the register. They’re along the same lines as Lara Bars, but made locally, and with an extra kick of flavor from cononut oil. They’re vegan, gluten free, and all-natural. And LOCAL. And REAL FOOD. Give them a try, if you can find them!