Summer glut of stone fruit and what to do with it.

Hello everyone, it’s been a while since I posted here but I really wanted to get back into the habit of regular posts – and not just because friends, who are a fan of this blog, have been nagging me to post more often! 😉

So, today I am going to talk about something near and dear to my heart – stone fruit. I love the stuff. But will only eat it when it is in season locally (as the Adelaide Hills grow some of the nicest stuff) and so miss it for the rest of the year.

The same can be said for all fruits that can be grown locally actually. We only buy and eat them when they are locally grown and in season.

So what do we do for the rest of the year?

Well, for one thing, not all these fruits are in season at the same time. Our Autumn/ winter months are all pears, apples and citrus and it’s our spring and summer months that are berries and stone fruit.

Do I go without fruit in the harsh times? Oh hell no! Why? Because I am part squirrel. No, not really. I was just seeing if you were paying attention.

What I do when berries and stone fruit are in season is I bulk buy the stuff not growing in my own backyard (which are cherries and nectarines) and I freeze them.

strawberries
I love buying local, spray free strawberries in season from Greenvalley Strawberries and then freezing them to have when out of season!

Yes it means I don’t always have fresh fruit the year round, but if you do it right you retain all the goodness of the fruit as well as the flavour. Frozen berries and stone fruits never come out as firm as before and are best used for smoothies, baking or – my favourite – a compote to have hot for breakfast on granola with dairy free yoghurt. But we will get to that sort of thing later in the post.

I know of people who make jams, chutneys, fruit purees and stews, dehydrate them or even make fruit leather. But I don’t… and for a few reasons. Firstly, I find fruit sweet enough on its own and so making into a jam, puree or stew – where you add sugars and pectin to thicken – you are making it far too sweet for me. I am not a fan of chutney thanks to my allium intolerances and, quite frankly, I am too lazy to even consider dehydrating and fruit leathers.

All I do is freeze the fruit. Bulk buy, clean/ rinse, prep and freeze. Ta da!

There are some who will say you need to blanch the fruit first and then make a syrup to preserve it in and then freeze it… but to me this is again just adding sugar that you don’t need. The fruit is perfect the way it is! If you don’t sweeten it until you use it later on, it can be used for a greater variety of things.

So how do I freeze fruit?

 Here is the quick list of what you will need:

  • Freezer space
  • Baking trays lined with baking paper
  • Sharp board, knife and possibly a stone pipper
  • Containers to store the frozen fruit in

Here is now the longer reasons you need these things:

Freezer Space.

This is probably the biggest hurdle you will face. As you need to firstly have the room to freeze the fruit – like a whole spare shelf – and then the room to store it frozen later on.

Now, as I am a devotee of freezing fresh food to make it last longer, I am the freezer Queen. I have my big side by side fridge freezer, I have my 150 litre chest freezer and, if needed, I have an even bigger freezer out in the shed that I put on when we’ve really gone to town on bulk buying local foods.

You won’t need that much freezer space initially… but you will need some. As said, when just starting out you will need enough space to allow you to fit a baking tray covered in fruit into your freezer to, well, freeze. You will then need space to keep the frozen fruit stored… in either plastic bags, old take away containers or even glass jars/ containers.

Baking trays lined with baking paper.

This is needed to freeze the fruit individually. Sometimes, with berries, cherries and small things I skip this step, but find it essential for the bigger stuff like plums, peaches, etc. Why? Because fruit is very juicy when cut up and when those juices freeze they often stick the fruit together in large clumps that make it harder to use later on.

Sharp board, knife and possibly a stone pipper.

Okay, these should be obvious, but hey. You need them to prep your food before you can freeze it on the trays I just mentioned.

Containers to store the frozen fruit in.

I will say now that I am not a fan of plastic and we are slowly trying to move away from using it in our house all together. So I try and avoid plastic bags in my freezer as much as possible. However, I freely admit to still using recycled take away containers. We have grown a rather large collection of them over the years and, rather than add them to landfill straight away, we try and use them throughout the house. I do sometimes also use recycled jam and passata glass jars… but these can be hit and miss as the smallest flaw in the glass can cause it to shatter when frozen and you’ve then lost a jar of fruit.

Important notedon’t eat food from a shatter glass container as you never know if there is a sliver of glass in it. Accept the loss, compost the food, put the glass in the recycle bin and move on.

more-steamed-apples
These are actually steamed apples in recycled takeaway containers, but same freezing princples.

What to do now you have all the equipment?

The short answer is:

  • Wash the fruit
  • Prep the fruit
  • Freeze the fruit
  • Store the frozen fruit
  • Enjoy at a later date

The long answer is this…

Wash the fruit.

This seems fairly simply, right? Well it is and it isn’t as wet fruit sticks together more and different fruits need different levels of washing.

Please note that this is simply how I do it and there are some who might not agree with me and want to do it another way. Let them, but my blog, my way of doing it.

When it comes to soft berries like blackberries, raspberries, logan berries, etc. I tend to just give them a quick rinse under my filtered tap water and gentle leave them to dry on an old terry square nappy (I have a few, they are clean and I find essential in my kitchen). Gently pat the berries dry if needed, but I usually just leave them ten minutes or so and they dry fairly well.

Firmer fruits like strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines, etc. I will actually soak/ rinse in a water and vinegar solution to help clean them. I don’t use herbicide or pesticide sprays in my garden, but we do have loads of birds and bugs and other things that mean the fruit will need washing. And, if it is bought fruit – even if organic – it can have “organic” sprays and residue on them, as well as anything left behind by someone who may have given them a fondle to test their ripeness.

This doesn’t tend to happen with the softer berries – all hidden in their little containers – which is why I don’t go to the same extent. Plus, being softer, they don’t cope with the more rigorous washing that well.

What is the water to vinegar ratio used? Again, others will have a different recipe, but I use one part white vinegar to three parts water.

Meaning, if I was to use cups of each, I would use one cup of white vinegar to every three cups of water. Why didn’t I list them in what I need to freeze fruit? Well, because this isn’t freezing fruit, this is me just washing fruit. Not all fruit I wash is then frozen. 😉

So, in a super clean kitchen sink or a nice big bowl, make your white vinegar and water solution and then clean add the fruit. Soak it for a minute or so, give each piece a gentle rub in the water and then out onto a nappy to be pat dried by you. We want the fruit as dry as possible, but be gentle.

Prep the fruit.

This is where your sharp knife, cutting board and possible stone pipper is needed.

What is a stone pipper? Well, it’s the thing you use to take cherry stones out of the cherry. Mine looks like this. I use it a lot in the summer as my cherry tree loves me and my son loves frozen cherries in his porridge during the winter.

cherry pipper.jpg
Cherry pipper.

 

So, using that rare commodity – your common sense – figure out what fruit actually needs prepping.

Again, your softer berries probably won’t. Just look them over, make sure they’re all ripe, not icky and there are no leaves, twigs or insect beasties still along for the ride – rinsing them should have fixed this problem. There, they are now prepped.

For strawberries, I will top them (slice off the green top bit) and then quarter them, maybe eighth them if really big. Check for “yucky bits” and cut out as desired.

For cherries, I use my pipper and take out the stones. I check for those yucky bits, done.

For plums, nectarines and similar, I will cut them in halve from the stalk hole at the top to the base and then remove the stone from whichever half it has stayed in. I will also, you guessed it, check for those yucky bits and remove.

There, fruit all prepped.

Freeze the fruit.

This is where you will need the baking trays. Again, it’s a personal choice if you do this step, but I tend to for the larger fruit as it makes it much easier to deal with later. All freezing the fruit on the tray does is ensure it’s all in separate, easy to use, pieces. Not one giant clump of icy fruit that is later on hard to pry apart and use. Freezing the fruit separately is more important for those who follow actual recipes and need accurate amounts of fruit. Unlike myself… who tends to work on what amount looks right and then just chuck it in.

With the soft berries, strawberries and cherries I do tend to skip this step as I do find they will keep themselves mostly separated once frozen. Strawberries can be a bit hit and miss though so it really does become a judgement call of personal choice.

However, for plums and bigger, I will take the halves and lay them, skin side down, on the tray and then pop the full tray in the freezer until they are frozen solid. This tends to take all day or all night. So just be prepared to have limited space in your freezer when you do it as those trays need to be kept flat to ensure the fruit stays separated.

Store the frozen fruit.

We are on the home stretch now, yay! I feel this step really does speak for itself. You take your preferred container, you put the frozen fruit in it, you store it in the freezer.

When it comes to soft berries and strawberries, I just stick the washed and dried fruit straight into the containers and then into the freezer.

Depending on the type of container you use, you might want to label your fruit too as they can tend to start to look very similar once all frozen. Berries and the large stone fruit especially.

The jury is out on how long fruit can be frozen for and still retain its nutritional value. My personal belief is 6 to 8 months… but it rarely lasts that long unless I really try.

Enjoy at a later date.

That’s right; your fruit is ready to be used later. Remember it is now going to be very soft and mushy and so is best to be used in something rather than served on its own.

My top five uses for frozen fruit are:

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Homemade dairy free ice cream
  • Cake, muffins or slices
  • On top of porridge
  • Turned into berry compote with a bit of coconut nectar and water

And, yes, I will hopefully have recipes for all of these appear on my blog soon. Well, as soon as I learn to turn them into a recipe – rather than my ‘bung it all in’ approach – as right now nothing is written down.

Do you feel I missed a step? Have any questions? Just ask away in the comment section below.

By the way, this is a berry compote I made last year and served, still warm, on banana buckwheat pancakes with coconut yoghurt. The meal is wheat, grain, dairy and refined sugar free but still soooooo yummy!

buckwheat-panckes
Banana buckwheat pancakes with berry compote and coconut yoghurt.

What is coconut nectar?

This blog post coincides with a review I am currently doing here in regards to my favourite brand of coconut nectar.

As I didn’t want to clog up my review with an explanation as to what coconut nectar is, here is a foodie blog post that contains all the relevant information.

Enjoy!

Coconut nectar is a natural sweetener extracted from the blossom of the coconut palm. It is a nutrient dense, low GI (glycaemic index) and sustainable. The nectar is usually extracted from the older coconut palms that don’t tend to set to fruit due to their age, so no coconut ‘nut’ production is lost in this process. They are simply re-using trees that would otherwise be chopped down for no longer producing the required fruit.

I would like to also mention that Coconut palms have also been grown for a very long time and so no new deforestation takes place to plant them… unlike the palms used for palm oil and palm sugar products. I feel a need to mention this as so many ignorant people rant on about coconut palms being just as evil so ban coconut! People, do some research PLEASE! Coconut palms are not part of the deforestation of Asia and are one of the good guys.

Okay, back to coconut nectar. It is made using a similar process to that used to make maple syrup. Where you collect the nectar and need to refine it a little to extract the excess water and reduce it to the sweet syrup. Some would say ‘how can you call it an unrefined sugar if you’ve refined it?’ and that’s a fair point. However, coconut nectar – like maple syrup – has the water boiled off at lower temperatures to that usually used on your refined cane sugars. This lower heat means the nutrients also contained in the nectar are not lost. So it still is classified as an unrefined sugar… as it’s not had the bajeezus boiled out of it. 😉

Coconut nectar can be refined that tiny bit more and turned into a granulated sugar known as, surprise surprise, coconut sugar. I love this stuff too and use it in my peanut sauce as it adds the perfect level of flavour and sweetness. It too is nutrient dense and low GI. The wonderful thing about coconut sugar is it can be used gram for gram to replace ‘normal’ sugar. No different calculations needed. Though I will say I find it doesn’t dissolve as easily and so doesn’t work well in a cup of tea (or so I’m told by those who use sugar in their tea!)

I use coconut nectar in similar proportions to maple syrup as, like I’ve said before, it’s very similar. I do tend to use less coconut nectar that maple syrup though as I find it packs a bigger wallop. I’ve often referred to Big Tree Farms Amber Coconut Nectar as the bigger, smarter and prettier sister to maple syrup. I used to love maple syrup, but it really does pale in comparison to this coconut nectar.

My preferred coconut nectar is Big Tree Farms Amber Coconut Nectar. It is organic and Fairtrade. But I am sure there are other good options out there.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

My experiments with granola and finding the right recipe.

Last weekend I tasted granola for the first time when visiting my favourite gluten and dairy free stall holder at my local Adelaide Hills Farmer’s Market. Just to ensure she gets a well-deserved plug, her name is Nicky Henderson of Farmhouse Pantry.

So, anyway, despite being married to a half-Canadian for well over a decade now I had never eaten granola. I knew about it… but had not sampled it. I thought it was just like toasted muesli and, well, big deal… right? Oh boy was I wrong!

I had some of the Farmhouse Pantry’s simply scrummy stewed apple and rhubarb topped with granola and some lemon custard (all gluten and dairy free BTW). Wow! Now, I’m a huge fan of stewed apple and rhubarb. It is a sure fire dish to get me to buy from your stall. More a spring dish for me to make and freeze myself as my rhubarb is ready to harvest then.

apple and rhubarb with granola and lemon custard
Apple and rhubarb with granola and lemon custard (all gluten and dairy free!)

So, I loved the granola so much I wanted to buy some, but had used up our “market budget” already so had to go without more. But could I forget about it? Oh hell no! I kept looking up various recipes on it and couldn’t find a single one I was happy with. So once I had Middle Horde’s 8th birthday party done and dusted and all three kids back at school on the following Monday, I decided to experiment. I printed off a couple of recipe on granola from the interweb and set to work on making my own.

The end result – double wow! It’s amazing, hubby loved it and said it passed the granola test and it has become my new favourite breakfast…. With fresh bananas and dairy free yoghurt (my homemade nut milk yoghurt especially – but that’s another blog post).

Breakfast granola - my homemade granola with fresh apples, banana and strawberries and some of my homemade nut milk natural yoghurt.
Breakfast granola – my homemade granola with fresh apples, banana and strawberries and some of my homemade nut milk natural yoghurt.

This recipe is wheat free, but contains organic rolled oats so I can’t guarantee it is gluten free. It is, however, also refined sugar free and suitable for vegans. Yes, I’ve taken a leaf out of my fabulous sister in laws book and am starting to explore my inner vegan. Sadly, my love of bacon (and honey) means I will never truly be one though.

To the recipe! It is one I did in my Thermomix, sorry non TMXers! I’m sure, if you have a food processor, you can achieve it in that too. 🙂 And, remember, almost all ingredients are organic and/or local so I won’t specifically state which are, just get what you can. It’s also in Australian metric measurements as this is an Aussie granola!

Ingredients:

  • 100g rolled oats
  • 80g raw cashews
  • 80g raw almonds
  • 70g sunflower seeds
  • 70g pepitas
  • 35g sesame seeds (I used unhulled as it’s what I had)
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 125g coconut nectar (I bought this at my local organic market)
  • 55g coconut oil (not melted)
  • Pink of Himalayan rock salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (I was out of cinnamon)
  • 60g craisins
  • 60g sultanas

Method:

Pre-heat fan forced over to 180° C.

Add all ingredients (except for the craisins and sultanas) to your Thermomix bowl, pop on the lid and put on for 10 seconds, speed 6.

Add the craisins and sultanas, put on reverse for 10 seconds, speed 4.

Line a large baking tray and empty mixture onto it.

Wet your hands and press the mixture down to make as thin a layer as you can. We’re going to mix it so don’t be too neat and precise.

Raw granola on a tray ready for the oven.
Raw granola on a tray ready for the oven.

Put in the oven for 15 minutes.

Take from oven and mix well with a wooden spoon while still on the tray. Try not to spill any (like me).

Pop back in the oven for a further 7 minutes or until nice and toasty brown.

Remove tray and give mixture another stir, then leave it to cool on the tray.

Cooked granola - cooling.
Cooked granola – cooling.

Use right away or store in a large air tight container. I had an old 5kg honey bucket that fit it all in. Fed my family for a week!

Bucket of granola.
Bucket of granola.

Enjoy! 🙂

Any granola pros who want to give me feedback, to see if I have truly made a granola, let me know!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

Recipe: Grain and dairy free snack slice.

I’ve been experimenting with my home made nut flour as well as coconut flour recently to see how grain free I can go from scratch. The following is a recipe I’ve had great success with and my family loves it as a breakfast bar when on the go, or as a snack after school. Me too, goes great with a cuppa and some fresh fruit! 😉

The good news for some of you is – it’s a Thermomix free recipe too! Yes, I make it ‘old style’ by bunging it all in a bowl and mixing it. It’s such a simple recipe that I enjoy doing it with just a bowl and spoon. Well, there’s a saucepan involved too… but you get the idea.

And for those who need to use the Thermomix, I’m sure you’re savvy enough to figure out how to convert it. For the rest of us, let’s get our granny skills out and use a bit of elbow grease!

Now, down to The Recipe! Yes it has a few more ingredients than I usually use, but they are worth it as it’s such a scrummy slice! As the majority of the ingredients used in this recipe are organic and/or Australian grown, let’s all just go with the assumption you use such ingredients where you can, okay? 😉

Ingredients:

  • 115g  coconut oil
  • 20g    blackstrap molasses
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup nut flour (see how to make here)
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup Rapadura sugar
  • ½ cup craisins
  • 1 cup dried, sulphate free apples – cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (unhulled or hulled doesn’t matter)
  • ¼ cup pepitas
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of ‘pink’ salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water

Method:

Pre-heat fan-forced oven to 180° C.

In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil and blackstrap molasses over a low heat.

In a big mixing bowl mix together the flours, sugar, coconut, dried fruit, seeds and spices.

Mix the bicarbonate of soda into the boiling water until it dissolves, then add to the coconut oil and molasses mixture. Stir well and then add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir until combined.

Add the eggs and mix until well combined.

Pour mixture into a greased and lined lamington tray and bake in oven for 25 minutes or until cooked and a skewer comes out clean when poked into it.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tray and then turn onto a rack and cool completely before slicing and storing.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

New review blog – come and see!

Some of you may have noticed I’ve started reviewing books recently. As not all of the books I’m being asked to read and review are cooking related, I won’t share them all here… BUT!

Yes, I’ve created a new blog just for my reviews. Right now it’s just books, but it’s soon going to include reviews and interviews with local Foodie people and places as well as kitchen appliances. I’ve been lucky enough to score a chance to review the new Phillips All-in-one slow cooker/ pressure cooker! So these are reviews you might be interested in and so I thought I’d let you know about my new blog to ensure you are kept in the loop.

The blog is: Janis’ Journal – Eclectic reviews of a busy Mum.

Occasionally I will still put reviews up on this blog, but I’d much rather keep it more for my own musings and recipe sharing. If you’re interested, I’ve just reviewed a gorgeous cook book called Simply in Season. So head on over to my review blog here to check it out. 🙂

What other cookery things have I been up to? Well, I’ve been playing around with bananas a lot. No, not as weird as it sounds, honest. 😉

Firstly I’ve made a grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free banana bread that is so soft and fluffy it’s amazing. As usual, I’m just fine tuning the recipe before I share it here.

I’ve also been playing with quick and easy breakfast ideas for my hubby as he doesn’t always have time to make and eat a decent meal. So have I’ve made banana, oat, craisin and spice biscuits and also tried banana, oat and cherry breakfast scones. Both are wheat, refined sugar and dairy free and do not last long in my house! Hubby and the kids love them. Which is fine as they’re quick and easy to make, can be made with frozen or fresh bananas and all in all I’d much rather they disappeared quickly rather than sat in the cake tin uneaten.

I have some recipes to post soon that are tried, tested and ready to share. Plus a few others I’m still working on to get juuuuust right to ensure you can easily make them too. Biggest problem I have with recipes is I can ‘fix’ mistakes as I go and am often making it up as I go and have no idea of quantities, measurements, etc as I do it all by eye and instinct. Which is why it takes me a while to get it down as a quick and simple recipe to share as I know not everyone is an instinctive cook like me and need a recipe. And as I want to share my experiments in the hopes others enjoy them too… I need to get them just right. Yes, I’m a perfectionist, I make no apologies for it either. 😉

Okay, so that’s you all caught up on what I’m doing. Life is busy and so I don’t always get to update my blogs on a regular basis but I’m always baking, making and experimenting. I look forward to sharing more with you soon!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

Book Review – Sweet Paleo by Lea Hendry Valle.

Hi everyone,

Despite the piles of my own experimental recipes to tidy up and post, despite a couple of food related blog posts to finish… today I decided to stop neglecting my Foodie blog by sharing a book review. I’ve not been posting all the reviews I’ve done on cooking and food related books of late (go see Amazon or Goodreads for them), but I do feel this one needs a mention as it is such a breath of fresh air for someone with my food intolerances and principles. Although I won’t share her recipes here… I may end up blogging about trying some and sharing pics of the end results. Especially the birthday cakes my kids have been book marking! 😉

So enjoy!

My review:

5 out of 5 stars!

I bought myself this book for my birthday (well, hubby was told he bought it for me but hey) as I have a wheat protein intolerance (meaning I’m mostly gluten and grain free), don’t do refined sugar and avoid dairy due to chronic sinusitis… and I LOVE this book!

What can I say, despite enjoying translating older recipes into new as well as creating my own recipes to suit my food needs, this is the first fully sweet treats book I’ve found where I can just follow the recipe. No mental calculations as to substitute this for that, no pondering if my experimental changes will ruin the recipe… just some basic heat conversions from Fahrenheit to Celsius and I’m on my way. Thank you!

And, I have to say, I LOVED the author’s comments in the “Paleo as a code word” section as it really helped me make more sense of Paleo. I’m not into a paleo diet from the ancient eating point of view (despite being a whole foods, local foods, home made from scratch eater) but I AM paleo from her view of it. Being able to eat foods that don’t make me sick. Yes!

I rarely click with modern cook books and like to stick to my century old ones for inspiration so have found this book such a refreshing change. Something I can just use and not have to doubt I can pull it off.

My kids have already started picking out what they want me to make first, my hubby is torn between the candied ginger scones and the dessert pizza and I just want to get in there and get cooking. Though I will add I’ll be experimenting with my own homemade cashew almond nut flour rather than the almond. Yes it will be a darker creation, but making nut milk and nut flour are some of my weekly highlights so more of an excuse to bake!

Though I will end by saying I totally agree with the author – just because I can now bake loads of sweet goodies, it doesn’t mean they are an everyday food. Sugar is sugar and not something we eat a lot of… despite now having all these recipes to try. I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, before the recipes, where she explains things so well and so simply. I almost forgot there were recipes to come I enjoyed it so much.

I really do hope Ms Valle does more cook books as I’d definitely give them a look too.

Highly recommend this book!

The dangers of Foodie Labels.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t yet another blog post where I, the blogger, preach to the general public about how we really need to look at the labels our pre-made foods come with and be aware what it all means. As, personally, I feel there are enough such blogs out there and if people aren’t paying attention to those I really don’t feel one more blog is going to help.

No, this is a Foodie labels warning. You know, those terms used to describe people of certain food choices. Not just your vegetarians, but your paleo, raw, vegan and – my biggest pet peeve – the misuse of Orthorexia. By God I hate it when people wave that flag about.

Now with anything, there is no black and white answer and we all must accept the shades of grey in between. And as much as I dislike generalised statements, I’m good at them and am about to make one: There are two ways these “foodie labels” are used.

The first way is by people who want to stand out from the crowd as special and different and say “Look at me I only eat sun blessed orange foods on the third Tuesday of the month as I care so much about food and my body.” Yes, I’m being overly sarcastic, you get used to it the more of my stuff that you read. If you’ve read my section of this blog on my own food principles you’ll understand I fit into that category. 😉

Actually, I mean people who let others know their food choices like vegan, vegetarian and paleo to let them know exactly why they’re not going to eat what you’ve spent days making and just served them. Yes you might feel frustrated as you only catered for people with actual food issues like allergies and illnesses. The diabetics, coeliacs, peanut allergies, etc. How dare they come in here and only want organic?

This leads to the second type of person. Those who use the “Foodie labels” as derogative and demeaning terms. Let’s all pick on the paleo’s as we know for sure cavemen really ate coconut and lemon cupcakes with a macadamia cream cheese topping. Ha ha, how strange the vegans are that they won’t even have honey in their tea. This is offensive, even to those of us who aren’t targeted by those labels. This is a level of discrimination being made against people who, for personal choice and principles, have decided to eat in specific ways.

“Oh, but it’s not as if it’s even done for religious reasons.” Is one catch cry I hear… usually by someone who demands everyone eat fish on Good Friday while fully supporting boycott Halal due to some stupid knee jerk reaction due to misinformation. Go on, tell a Jew they’re not allowed Kosher deli’s anymore… Oh wait, that religion isn’t the in fashion “bad guys” right now… I forgot!

Food principles to some are as important as religion. It can be their faith more than some passing fad. And we really shouldn’t judge them on it or make too many jokes. I do say “too many” as we seriously need to joke and laugh at ourselves from time to time to keep ourselves grounded. But that doesn’t mean people should become the butt of every joke simply because they will only eat organic.

The English language isn’t helping this situation at all as so many of these food words have several meanings and, depending on the meaning you’re using, can dictate how you interpret what that foodism is all about. For instance: Paleo, short of Palaeolithic… an era in time when man was at the cardboard cut-out “cave man” stage of evolution. Paleo in the Foodism world – returning to the most natural level of food we can. Whether it be hunted and gathered, or the support of local farmers and whole foods while turning your back on pre-made and packaged items. As I said, there is no black and white and Paleo in the world of Foodism can cover a whole myriad of food choices.

Another one is Raw food. Raw as in uncooked, right? Well, in the Foodism world raw can simply mean less refined. See raw sugar for example.

How about organic? Surely that means foods grown, harvested and sold chemical and pesticide free, right? Well, in the true dictionary sense of the term, organic simply means grown from nature. So all plants are, technically, organic and so people will often poo poo those who go nuts for the bug blemished fruits from a local farmer rather than the pristine and polished ones from a supermarket. In the true sense of the word, they’re both organic. That one scares me as I belong to the chemical and pesticide free organic belief. Seriously, know what you’re eating and look at your health due to it before going all pedantic over the true meaning of a word. 😉

So, you see? Foodie labels given to people who follow certain food principles can be harmful. They’re giving people the green light to judge you, criticise you and make themselves feel better for not being as silly (in their eyes). Some use it to justify why it’s okay to keep on eating the pre-package junk food and laughing at those paying five times as much on whole food ingredients and then spending all that time making the same sort of foods from scratch. This is where the danger really starts…

Recently there has been great hue and cry about Orthorexia. The Foodies who love their organic buckwheat pancakes and know how to not only pronounce quinoa properly, but cook it without it being bitter. They’re up in arms after reading several blogs condemning the “Big Pharma companies” for labelling healthy eating as a medical issue just to fill us all with more drugs and keep us unhealthy.

Then there are the not that Foodie sorts out there who can’t understand why you would want to spend so much on food at a Farmer’s market when you can buy it cheaper at the supermarket. So they label the die-hard Foodies as suffering from Orthorexia simply because they won’t allow their kid’s Fruitloops for breakfast.

Sadly, both sides of this fence are being offensive and rather idiotic with their labelling as they’re both wrong. The blogs in question bandying about this “new disease of the food kind” have taken one line from a medical journal and misread it, knee jerked and then filled the interweb with the miscommunication. Then Chinese whispers then started and – ta da! A full blown disease simply because you are grain free…. For medical reasons or otherwise.

For the record, Orthorexia is a mental illness similar to anorexia and bulimia. Sufferers of Orthorexia aren’t just into clean living and an organic diet while keeping their kids away from sugar and fast food. They are people whose entire life revolves around the nutritional benefits of the foods they eat, and what comes out the other end. Their entire day needs to be mapped down to the finest detail about food intake, exercise and output. Yes, I’m talking analysing their own waste to ensure their body got enough nutrients. It is not a food choice, it’s not a foodism or religious belief – it is an uncontrollable mental illness that is debilitating, harmful and scary.

So next time you want to judge or label someone to make them fit into your own view of life… just think a little, okay? Foodie labels can be harmful. Not only can they force people to fit into a box they don’t belong in, the misinformation they produce can harm those who really do suffer from an illness or disease that means they must avoid certain foods or can’t control their way of eating.

Personally I don’t like judging or labelling anyone for any reason and always try and look at both sides of it all. Then seek a positive from both sides.

Yes I do feel a bit like some religious zealot as I squeeze the “milk” out of my nut sack (stop snickering) to make my dairy free nut milk. But hey, I do it as nutmilk oat porridge is the most amazing way to make porridge I, personally, have found. I also find going dairy free greatly improves my standard of living thanks to chronic sinusitis debilitating me with crushing headaches whenever I eat cheese. I would never demand everyone do it – even those without a nut allergy – and I don’t judge you for drinking dairy. We each need to find our own paths in life and be proud of them. So what if we’re doing it differently from each other? That’s part of human nature. It would be such a horrifically boring world if we all did, said, believed and ate the same things. Be proud of being different, openly accept – without judgement or labels – those who are different and don’t force your opinions and beliefs on others.

And please, please, please don’t label people or boycott their food due to some knee jerk misinformed blog post. You are a clever person, look out into the interweb and seek both sides of everything rather than basing your life on one person’s opinion… especially if that one opinion isn’t even your own!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO