Elaine Javier

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Access Bars Practitioner, and Catholic Homeschooling Mom and Blogger

Creating a healthier and happier world using the very best food, herbs, and holistic modalities. Let’s start healing with ease and joy physically, emotionally, and spiritually!

Filtering by Tag: eat local

Spring, Sneezing, And Allergies

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I’ve always loved spring.  To me I’ve always associated it with hope, love, and beauty.  I love the new flowers that start to pop up and the green blades of grass. When I start to see dandelions I know that spring has arrived.

In my elementary school years I was pretty healthy.  I hardly ever got sick or missed school.  My brother on the other hand suffered from asthma and allergies.  My dad used to joke that he was allergic to everything except girls.  

When I worked in the corporate world I noticed that I was getting sick all the time so I scheduled doctor appointments frequently.  I remember going every week for about a month.  Each time I visited the doctor he’d give me some Claritin.  I eventually figured out that the Claritin did nothing for me and that it was the stress from work and my poor diet that was causing my allergies.  When I left the corporate world and fixed my diet my allergies went away.

When someone suffers from allergies it’s a gut issue or an autoimmune condition. I’ve seen it and studied it many times.  Whether it’s environmental or food allergies anyone can heal them.  I’ve been advocating the solution for some time now.  Eat organic, local, and seasonal.

Not everyone understands the concept of eating local and seasonal.  It’s pretty simple.  If something doesn’t grow in your area don’t eat it or don’t eat it all the time. People don’t understand this idea because we have access to foods from all over the world in grocery stores.  I live in New York but bananas don’t grow here.  I rarely eat bananas because they're not part of my environment and they won’t strengthen my microbiome.   

This is why I’m big into CSAs and I believe this is the reason why my immune system over the last three years has improved immensely.  Before I moved to New York my gut health was not its best.  I had just gone through a few traumatic years of health problems.  I was so weak and so vitamin deficient I thought that I was dying.  

People don’t have to suffer.  People don’t have to accept a sick body.  Get with a certified health coach or wellness practitioner.  Run past the fear and trust the process because this process that I and many others teach really does work.

I Too Believe In Syracuse

Something great is happening in Central New York.  Most recently a native who had moved back to the area started a new farm to table foodie place called The Stoop Kitchen in Armory Square.  I loved what he wrote in his blog page.  (If you get a chance you should read it as it is quite inspiring.)  Syracuse is being resurrected with already established farm to table restaurants and new up and coming ones.  Believe me.  The heat is on in Syracuse.

Syracuse is full of pleasant surprises.  Just a week and a half ago I meandered through East Syracuse with my friend and my son and discovered a wonderful gem of a place. 

Upon entering Kosta's Pizza House, I saw right away the heart and soul of Syracuse in this small 30 year old establishment.  There was nothing fancy here.   It wasn't pretentious or particularly attractive, but its appeal goes beyond its physical appearance.  What I saw was a good man making people happy by making delicious food and interacting with customers warmly and genuinely.  Everyone is treated like family.  

I love that Kosta is known as the Doctor of Hunger.  People are not only hungry physically but they are hungry emotionally and spiritually.  That's what makes Kosta's Pizza House so special.  Kosta feeds the Syracuse community physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  

That is what I felt when I met Kosta for the first time.  He not only fed me the best Greek pizza I have ever tasted in my life but I also experienced community and generosity.  I easily understood why people keep coming back here.    

As I introduced myself as Elaine and my son Constantine, he instantly connected with me.  He enthusiastically said with a smile, "Oh, St. Eleni and St. Konstantinos!  You must remember May 21.  It's a big feast day!"  He said he always celebrates on May 21.  So guess where I'll be this coming May 21!  Kosta's, of course!

A college friend asked me not too long ago, "Why Syracuse?!"  And I now say, "Why not?"  While we have lived in the Syracuse area for only a short time, we have met good people, made dear friends, and had so many positive experiences.  There is goodness, kindness and warmth in this community that we now call home.  Like the owner of The Stoop Kitchen who believes in the future of this city, the number and variety of good restaurants has exceeded my expectations.  If this is an indication of Syracuse's culinary future, then I too believe in Syracuse.

Upon entering Kosta’s Pizza house, I saw right away the heart and soul of Syracuse in this small 30 year old establishment.
A college friend asked me not too long ago, “Why Syracuse?!”  And I now say, “Why not?”

Local Spaghetti

Since becoming a New Yorker I've been embracing New York products and services because I believe in supporting our local economy.  I think it's natural to be proud of where one lives and what the area offers.  

Not too long ago I was messaging my cousin recommending my favorite gluten free pasta brands on Thrive Market.  As she was browsing the site she excitedly informed me that Thrive Market carries Rao's marinara sauce.  Rao's is one of the best Italian restaurants in New York and has been bottling their special sauce for years because it's that popular. 

So I decided to order some bottles of Rao's marinara sauce and give it a try in making spaghetti sauce.  I think the results were spectacular so every time I make spaghetti sauce I use Rao's.  I love the product and I love that it's from New York! Now I just need to make it into New York City and reserve a seat at one of Rao's restaurants.  

I like meat in my spaghetti sauce so I use either local, pasture raised sweet Italian sausage or local, grass fed ground beef from my CSA Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia.  They sell quality meats and it really makes a difference in taste.

I also add anchovies.  Anchovies are one of those important foods that is so overlooked.  People immediately think, "Yuck, I will never eat anchovies.  It's smelly and gross."  They have it all wrong -- anchovies are true brain food.  And if your children don't like anchovies, just don't tell them that you put it in their spaghetti sauce.  They will never know!

I recommend using as much local, organic produce as possible.  I am fortunate because my CSA carries a lot of the ingredients I use for my spaghetti sauce.  I also don't mind traveling to other local, organic farms for my vegetables.  

This spaghetti sauce is so flavorful and delicious, and like most sauces, its taste improves if aged a day or two.  If I can get the pickiest eaters that I know to eat it I think it's a winner!


Special Spaghetti Sauce

 

Ingredients

1 bottle of Rao's marinara sauce 

2 to 3 garlic cloves minced

1/4 to 1/2 onion chopped well

3 to 4 anchovies

1 tbsp of freshly chopped  rosemary, sage, thyme

1/3 pound of sweat Italian sausage or ground beef (my meat is grass fed or pasture raised and local from Greyrock Farm), optional

1 to 2 cups filtered water

Himalayan pink sea salt

Flat parsley as garnish

 

Directions

In a large stainless steel pot, brown the sausage.  Add the onion and a dash or two of Himalayan pink sea salt to break up the cellulose fiber and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic. Saute for a minute.  Mash in the anchovies and mix in with the other ingredients.  Add the marinara sauce, the herbs, and the water.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Try this with a good organic pasta preferably made in Italy.  If you want to try gluten free pasta, try Jovial or Ancient Harvest brands.  

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Since becoming a New Yorker I’ve been embracing New York products and services because I believe in supporting our local economy.

Local Pizza

I've been meaning to continue my thoughts on local food in Central New York but I just haven't been able to pen anything due to my little boy's very busy schedule.  Summer flew by just as it always does and my son is growing up way too fast!  Can I just get a little breather?!

In Syracuse there are a ton of Italian establishments but I like to look for restaurants that use wholesome, local, and organic ingredients.  Food not only should taste delicious but it really should be sourced locally from organic farmers in your area.  This just makes sense environmentally and economically.  

Take for instance kale that was grown in Half Moon Bay, California versus kale that was grown in Skaneateles, New York.  Since I live in Central New York doesn't it make sense to choose the one from Skaneateles?  But every day consumers are thinking of convenience first instead of how much gasoline was used to ship those greens from California, the innumerable benefits of local organic farming to the local community, and the vitamins and nutrients that have already been depleted from those greens grown in California because of travel time.

One of my favorite local restaurants in Syracuse takes these simple ideas to heart and incorporates them into their outstanding menu and business plan.  That's why I love patronizing Apizza Regionale located right across the famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.  They source their flour, meats, cheeses, and vegetables from purveyors of organic and local goods.

I've tried their pizzas, salads and pastas at Apizza Regionale.  What I appreciate about the organic flour is that it is fermented for 72 hours to create a very light and delicious tasting crust.  It doesn't make me feel bloated or overly full after eating a couple of slices.  You know that feeling of "oh my gosh I ate too much!"  Beforehand I usually have the Cavoletti which is comprised of some nice Brussels sprouts and pancetta and the Cavolo Nero which is a nice kale salad.  I just adore the Salsiccia pizza because it has a wonderful bite to it and because I always love sausage (theirs is homemade) on my pizza.  The Ruccolo is another delightful gourmet pizza topped with arugula and smoked prosciutto.  

One rule that I have to follow when going to Apizza Regionale is to never miss out on dessert.  They unfortunately do not make larger sizes of their Olive Oil Cake.  I wish they did because I would seriously buy a large size and serve it for special parties and get togethers.  They also offer the Chocolate Hazelnut Budino which is on the sweet side but if you're a chocolate and hazelnut lover, why not, indulge a little!  

My family and I prefer going for lunch and sitting outside on nice days.  It's more quiet and less crowded.  It is a very popular place after all.  Also, the staff is very accommodating.  When I asked for the Cavolleti with Brussels sprouts they kindly informed me that the appetizer is normally served during dinner but they served it for me and my family when we went for lunch one afternoon.  

Apizza Regionale offers the best pizza in the Syracuse area.  Central New York friends, you are missing out if you haven't been.  No one in town can beat their fresh, organic, local ingredients and their fabulous crust.  Pizza never tasted so good!

Food not only should taste delicious but it really should be sourced locally from organic farmers in your area. This just makes sense environmentally and economically.

Local, Local, Local

When I was still in a fast-paced corporate life, I often heard the mantra location, location, location.  Fast forward ten years later and the world as I know it has changed.  Now my favorite phrase is local, local, local.

I have gladly changed gears and careers.  I got out of the corporate rat race and competing with the Joneses mentality for a kinder, slower paced and relaxed lifestyle much better suited to who and where I am today.   I'm so glad I did because at the rate I was going I was headed towards a heart attack.  Plus I like myself a hundred times better now.

So why have I adopted local, local, local?  Why do I live by it as much as possible and I promote it to everyone I know and meet?  It's simple.  Follow a seasonal, local diet and you will notice a difference in your physical and emotional state and your health will improve greatly.

I used to think that as long as I ate organic I would be getting the very best in nutrition.  Well, that's not necessarily true.  Many people do not consider that grocery stores source food from all over.  You will find produce from different regions of the US and even other countries.  By the time that produce hits the stores there's practically nothing left in nutrients and vitamins.  

And this was one of the reasons that got me sick in the first place.  Even though I was eating organic at the time, I was severely nutrient deficient because my body was unable to absorb nutrients. 

While I'm a proponent of eating organic I am very much in support of patronizing local produce and local farmers who grow without unnecessary chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.  God bless them because who knows how hard they are working to produce good, honest, organic local food!   

Fresh local, organic food is medicine.  I'm willing to spend on high quality, freshly picked, local and organic produce in order to avoid antibiotics and maintenance meds now and in the future.  I am thankful every day that my family and I have been able to steer clear of antibiotics, pharmaceutical drugs, and prescription medicine.  I believe that eating clean, local, and organic food has boosted our immunity.  My four year old son has never been on antibiotics and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible.

You might be wondering how to find locally grown organic produce.  One solution would be to have your own organic garden.  Research biodynamic farming and learn how to do organic gardening the right way.  Imagine the convenience of walking out into your backyard to harvest your favorite vegetables and herbs!

If growing your own produce isn't your thing, farmers markets is an alternative.  They are an outstanding place to find local produce and products.  There's a large one in Syracuse called the CNY Regional Market (which is on my list of places to visit).  Cazenovia and Skaneateles have farmers markets as well.     

Finally, consider joining a CSA (community supported agriculture).  Start with  www.localharvest.org to find a local CSA.  CSAs are the solution to the concern that organic is too pricey.  CSAs are great value for what you are getting.  There just is no better deal in town.  Not sure which CSA to join?  Talk to local farmers (especially farmers who grow organic) near you and visit their farms.  They are more than happy to answer questions and many times they will give you a tour of their farm.

Know your farmer.  Eat local and seasonally.  Listen to your body.  To your health and happiness!

Favorites in Central New York

Visit www.localharvest.org to learn about local CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture).

Go see my friend Emily at Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia.  She gives the best customer service and the best ideas for how to prepare the delicious organic food the farm offers.  Greyrock sells grass-fed meats and bones, raw grass-fed milk and many other local dry goods.

Black Brook Organic Farm in Skaneateles has been a certified organic farm for 20 years.  Kendra and Paul grow the best looking organic produce I've ever seen.  Every time we buy the food is super fresh and delectable.  They are also the owners of our favorite farm to food truck in CNY called Potatoes & Molasses.  

Looking to grow your very own herb garden?  Go to Lee's Feed Store in Syracuse.  They sell organic potting soil called Vermont Ag Moo Grow and Moo Doo (cow manure).  Kendra at Black Brook Organic has been using these for years.

The Yard in Manlius is a fun, unique outdoor market open on Sundays.  You can find Black Brook Organic Farm there as well as other local talented vendors.  They have live music, local beer, Ironwood pizza, and more!  

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Know your farmer. Eat local and seasonally. Listen to your body.