Healthy eating demystified: Clean out your ‘fat closets’
There’s a small bell on the inside of Farm Fare Market’s turquoise front door, and it lets out a tiny “ding” whenever anyone enters the shop. Step inside, onto the wide pine floors – a little warped by time – and you’ll notice shelves stocked with dry beans, grains and spices, all kept in quaint glass jars of all sizes.
You’ll hear the steady hum of the large freezer and fridge stocked full of local poultry, eggs and fresh pressed juices.
There’s definitely a Cape Cod feel to this place.
And that’s no coincidence. For years, owner Nicole Cormier has been involved in the locally sourced food movement spreading across the sandy peninsula, and she’s a major player. Farm Fare Market – located on Tupper Road in Sandwich – offers fruits and vegetables from area farms, sea salt sourced off Wellfleet harbor, homemade sauces and honey from local beekeepers.
Cormier knows her stuff; after all, she’s a registered dietitian and licensed dietetic nutritionist. Her store’s products reflect her own philosophy of food and diet: Build a kitchen pantry with simple, natural and healthful foods, and your dinner table will offer the same.
“Creating your grocery list to include proteins, fibers and grains will set the stage for you to create healthful meals that are accessible and easy to prepare,” she said.
In a side room off Farm Fare Market’s main shopping space, Cormier offers individual and group nutritional counseling sessions as part of her other business, Delicious Living Nutrition.
She started the business as a way to help Cape Codders understand their relationships with food and create better connections to food sources.
Cormier teaches her clients to think about food and nutrition in terms of a “practice,” and to simplify this practice through daily routine. When people better understand the purpose of food and food groups, they will be better and food shoppers, making informed choices about the meals they prepare for themselves and their families.
“It’s easier for people to try a new food if they have some knowledge about it,” she said. “I help my clients understand where their food comes from, the history of the food and its nutritional value.”
Cleaning your closets
The food we eat directly affects the ability of our body’s blood sugar to deliver the energy we need.
Healthy, simple and natural foods help maintain a level blood sugar, keeping our bodies working at optimal level, Cormier said. And that helps balance our mood and what we might perceive as food cravings.
Think of your body’s fat cells as “closets,” she said. They store all the food ingredients we process that our cells don’t recognize. So our “closets” get fuller and fuller—unless we clean them out.
That begins with the foods we choose to eat. For example, Cormier recommends pairing a fiber and a protein to allow the body’s cells to function most efficiently.
Here’s how: Instead of an animal protein, such as a chicken breast or steak, a plant protein is a delicious alternative, she says. Jacob’s Cattle beans – bright red with white speckles – are easy to prepare and pair great with fresh veggies.
Similarly, a farm fresh egg garnished with some locally grown pea greens is a simple, natural option to help balance blood sugar and keep the body’s closets clean.
One recipe Nicole likes to share with her clients is the Superfood Bar:
1/3 cup flax seeds
1/3 cup hemp seeds
¼ cup cacao nibs
¼ cup coconut flakes
¾ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup raisins
1 cup dates & 1 cup walnuts
Put the dry ingredients (leaving a bit of each ingredient to mix in after) in your food processor, then add the dates and raisins and process until everything begins to stick together. If too dry, add more dates. Put the remaining dry ingredients left out before and mix with your hands. Press into a lined pan and set in the fridge for at least an hour. Cut into bars and enjoy them for up to one week!
“It’s about simplifying your nutrition practice so that it’s accessible on a daily basis,” Nicole shared.” It’s not pulling out a calculator to determine the number of calories or carbohydrates you’re consuming.”