Cooking Up Health at UBC

Posted by: | July 15, 2010

One of my favourite perks of working at UBC is the fact that I can take a few classes at UBC, generally for free (check your UBC Benefits to see what your benefits package is, because it can vary!).  Since I started working here over a year and a bit ago, I have been eyeing up the classes at Continuing Studies.  First I took the level one and two Freelance Writing classes.  They were awesome and I’m happy to say that I got an article published in the Georgia Straight due to taking those classes. (I’ve always wanted to be published in the Straight, so it was a great accomplishment for me).

This summer I was very excited to take a culinary arts class. I have really started to become a bit of a foodie over the last few years.  I can’t say that I’m a great cook, but I manage to do some solidly good meals.  I would absolutely love to make something really fabulous sometime though.  So it worked out nicely that I could take  the Healthy Cuisine from the Gardens of BC class this week, as it combines too of my loves: food and health!

I have to say if you haven’t met Chef Eric, you really should. He’s such a great character.  He’s a great teacher too: he hasn’t even yelled at anyone yet, as one would expect from a great chef!  The other night I got to make a grapefruit dressing shrimp salad, and in the process, learned about coring tomatoes and how to best slice avocados and grapefruit.  All the food is local, and Chef Eric teaches us about how to identify the best foods, where he shops and how to prepare these foods the best way possible.  I also got exposed to new foods, like celeriac (which looks ugly but tastes great!).  The class is filled with lots of staff and faculty from UBC too, so it’s been nice to cook with some new colleagues on campus.

Unfortunately for me, I hadn’t realized that the class was French cooking. So for this (disappointed) person who has a food sensitivity to dairy, the class hasn’t been the best for my own health. (All the recipes seem to include butter and milk and cheese- which makes them very amazing to eat, but not great for me!).  But you have to respect a person’s culture and French cooking includes a ton of dairy, for certain.  I’m going to figure out ways to adapt the recipes to fit my own health needs- it shouldn’t be too hard- but I’ve decided to opt out the last half of the class, since I can’t bear to go and not eat the delicious food that we cook.  I could manage to eat the food a couple nights, but I’m starting to feel sluggish from it.  Sometimes we have to find a compromise between the different dimensions of health; for me, this was a wrestle between wanting to learn something new (intellectual health) and wanting to eat food that was bad for me (physically health).

I want to say kudos to Chef Eric and the folks at Continuing Studies for promoting health through the culinary arts here at UBC.  I really love it when you can find a way to insert health into other learning opportunities, and Chef Eric’s done a great job teaching me about local foods etc.

So what’s on the table for dinner tonight for you and your family?  Or what are you eating for lunch?  How much of it is grown locally? Are you investing in your health with that food that you’re throwing into your system?

I’m off to lunch at the Pendulum Pub for my favourite campus comfort food: they make an excellent curry chicken [dairy-free and sometimes featuring UBC Farm carrots!].

Filed under: Suzanne Jolly | Tags: , , ,

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Oranges Every month, the Healthy UBC Blog highlights a locally available food, and gives you a recipe or two to try out.  This month, read all about mandarin oranges, rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and folate.

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