A weekend of eating

Wow, 10 days since my last post… Time sure flies! I’m in the middle of re-orienting my life right now and I’ve got a number of things on the go. I didn’t realize it had been so long though: my apologies.

It was cool Monday here in Montreal, with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees with large clouds providing a dramatic skyline and a healthy breeze. I had a decadent weekend of eating and celebrating with my mother and her beau who were in town for the weekend from Toronto. They had a delicious meal at Lawrence on Friday that I offered her for her birthday. They shared oysters, a pig’s cheek asparagus and mostarda appetizer(one of the best dishes ever…) and a poached duck leg with puy lentils, kale and radishes, as well as sea bream with zucchini flowers, chanterelles and mussels. For dessert they shared a strawberry tart, and a ginger rhubarb layered ice cream cake they make. I’ve tried and savored each one of those dishes and I can declare with confidence that it made for a great evening of eating.

Just found this impressionistic painting of Lawrence.
Check out the artist’s site at http://jermin.wordpress.com/

The duck was from a farm called Au goût d’autrefois on l’Île d’Orléans, an island near Québec city. The owner, Jacques Legros and his wife, work tirelessly to provide what must be one of the most ethically admirable animal products in all of North America. Not only are their ducks, geese and turkeys well treated and loved, but they taste fantastic, due to a healthy and varied diet of different high quality grains.

Jaques Legros feeding his animals

After eating what some refer to as neo-rustic english cuisine at Lawrence on Friday night, Carolina(my wife) and I joined my mom and her partner for an evening of fancy Turkish food at Su, a restaurant on Wellington in Verdun, Montreal, where Fisun Ercan, the chef and owner, plates aromatic and colorful dishes from the country that bridges Europe and Asia.

Chef and owner of Su, Fisun Ercan

It was a first time at the restaurant and we had a very good meal. I was very pleased to see them serving lamb from Kamouraska, a Québec lamb that I particularly enjoy. They live by the mouth of the St-Lawrence and the feed they graze is slightly salty due to the sea water mixing with the river and the sea winds bringing with them some of its flavor. The meat is fantastic, and SU did the lamb justice. Here’s what I ate:

Kuzu pirzola
Grilled fresh lamb chops marinated with mountain herbs, mint, sumac and pomegranate infused olive oil, bulgur and seasonal vegetables

I sucked on those chop bones in an attempt to get at every last bite of meat. Fantastic. Thank you Kamouraska, and thank you Fisun and Su!

I recommend the restaurant and urge people to explore what Verdun has to offer. I was very pleasantly surprised by how charming it is.

Following a night of lamb infused sleep, the four of us woke up for another round of food: this time, some Montreal bagels, smoked meat, cream cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and a rhubarb and almond loaf from the pastry shop Rhubarbe. All of this we enjoyed sitting on a picnic table in parc Laurier near one of Montreal’s cutest neighborhoods. Picnicking is something I don’t do enough!

Pastry Chef and owner Stephanie
Now THAT’s a bagel!
Parc Laurier

It was a great weekend. Eating brings us together.


Pictures of food

I’ve been a bad blogger lately. I can’t seem to get interesting posts written. So, to entertain you and rejuvenate Healthytastebuds until I find the time and motivation to develop it further, I’ve decided to post pictures of some of our recent dinners.


A braised/boiled beef dish in its making
dinner. This was a good one: healthy, tasty, comforting...
Roast porc with roasted root veggies, sauteed apples and gravy

Eating sustainably for cheaper food and the pleasures of creativity

I’ve got a wonderful article for you all to read. The writer, Tamar Adler, shares many of my thoughts about food and eating, and I would like for you to read it and think about what she has to say. So much of our consumption(this goes beyond food) is carelessly wasteful and needs to be rethought. There’s so much packaging now and a lot of what we use is unnecessarily disposable. There are days when I am exasperated by it all. Anyways, I think that Ms. Adler makes a number of great points. It’s a simple, straight-forward and good read that will leave you thinking about new ways to approach your week when it comes to groceries and eating. She mentions some great ideas(Crispy fish skin and sticky rice: Brilliant! so simple! I can already taste it!), and got me thinking about how I could reduce my food waste. This is a small step we can all take that can have major social and environmental impacts.

Thanksgiving Thrift: The Holiday as a Model for Sustainable Cooking

thanksgiving meal

Eating for exercise(a recycled post…)

***This is one of the most useful posts I have ever written. I wrote it in 2008 and have decided that I should share it with others once again. I’m very busy but I will make sure to add new posts this weekend.***

a href=”https://healthytastebuds.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/the-3-amigos.jpg”>!

As some of you already know, there are a variety of ways the body “feeds” itself. Before exercising, during the exercise and afterwards for example, the body prepares itself differently. Additionaly, each person is different; because of the genetic composition, how physically healthy and active they are and also because of what they eat.

Looking at this, it is obvious that the simplest and fastest thing to change in your lifestyle if you want to become more physically active or energetic is changing the foods you consume. There are many aspects which can be taken into account when preparing food for specific types of exercises. I don’t know enough to go into great detail about it, however, these are a few basic things you should start to think about when you are eating before, during or after exercising.

First of all, eating differs for the different types of intensity levels at which you exercise and this is different for each person given their fitness level. Thus, the body burns more fat when performing a moderate exercise than a high intensity exercise.

For the sake of this article, let’s seperate the intensity levels into 3 groups; light daily activities, moderate energy dispensing activities, and high energy vigorous exercise.

Here are some examples of each:

  • light daily activities; walking, cycling(for pleasure), housework/yardwork, active dancing, friendly moderate activity sports such as shooting a basketball, playing catch, dancing and so on.
  • Moderate activities; jogging, light weight training, stretching and intensive yoga, swimming, cycling(for sport), etc.
  • vigorous exercise; Running, competitive high activity sports, heavy weight training,

There are three other things to think about;

  1. As mentioned befored, depending on your fitness level, your body’s relation to activity will differ
  2. And secondly, it also depends on the amount of time you spend participating in the activity. The body uses different energy sources for the different intensity level and depending on the amount of time your exercising for. When your carbohydrate levels are depleted after a high intensity workout which requires quick, easily processable energy for example, the body will tap into your fat reserves which requires a bit more time and energy. Ideally, you prepare your body with the appropriate levels of carbs, proteins and fats for optimum performance.
  3. Finally, your overall diet is also important in physical activity, not only the food you eat the day of the exercise or right before or after.

The fuel which is used for most low to moderate level workouts or activies is fat. The higher the intensity level the more the body switches to Glucose which is mostly derived from carbs. Glycogen, which is the stored form of glucose is also an important source of energy. Those who are very active should eat a high percentage of healthy carbohydrates in order to store glycogen which will help the person perform long, arduous arcitivies.

For quick energy for activities under an hour, eating a diet of healthy simple carbohydrates will be very useful. The best source for these are fruit. if you’re going to play tennis for an hour, load on simple carbohydrates which will last for an hour to an hour and a half before you’ll need to start repleneshing your body.

For sports that last longer, combine healthy complex carbohydrates which will be absorbed slower by the body.

Here are percentage levels of what you should eat for the basic 3 levels of activity.

low intensity; 10% protein, 70% fat, 20% carbs

moderate intensity; 5% protein, 35% fat, 60% carbs

high intensity; 3% protein, 7% fat, and 90% carbs

Watch out, these three energy sources give you different amounts of calories(energy)

protein; 4 calories per gram

carbs; 4 calories per gram

fats; 9 calories per gram

One last thing that i will mention is that you should take into account the energy used for digesting the food you’re eating for maximum efficiency. Meat protein will take longer to breakdown and stress your body more than eating a vegetable or nut protein for example. Also, heavy meals which are high in bad fats or healthy fiber can slow down your body’s intake of nutrients which is a factor you might want to consider.

Think about ways to go about helping your body help you. Puree ingredients, drink smoothies and soups that can accelerate the energy intake.

Preparing yourself for a healthy exercise regiment is complex but also rather interesting. Keep notes when exercising to observe patterns. When things go badly, you might be able to find the reasons behind your lethargy for example. And don’t only eat healthy when you know you will be exercising, try improving your overall diet to better prepare your body and have it run more efficiently when called upon.

Finally, good luck, remember to properly hydrate yourself, and don’t over do it.