Pickle Party!

Come on down to Lunenburg’s Fisherman’s Picnic General Store at 10 Pelham St. on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 2-4 PM, to see Kowalski’s Pickles’ newest product: Habañero Hotties! They are HOT. All ages are welcome. Free admission! Have a glass of lemonade and a snack on us, and check out the wonderful products this beautiful little store has on offer. Hope to see you there!

Here’s a link to the Facebook Event.

Haba˜ero Hotties

Cranberry company fights for national market share

Here’s a piece about Nova Scotia’s own Terra Beata Farms, a cranberry juice producer that handles five MILLION pounds of cranberries per year… and hopes to quintuple that amount in the coming years!


It’s Leafy Greens Time!

Shannon Sponagle
Shannon casts her expert eye over the produce at Lunenburg Farmer’s Market. Photo courtesy of ShannonSponagle.com
As the days get longer and warmer, we start looking forward to all of the fresh fruits and veggies that will soon be available locally. But you don’t have to wait until the height of summer to start enjoying local produce. Leafy greens, along with other treats like rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries, are available right now.

Green leafy vegetables, like lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale, chard and beet greens, are especially wonderful, in terms of nutrition. Low in calories, they offer a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. They’re also a great source of fibre, which helps to regulate the digestive system, aids in bowel health and helps with weight management. Because of their high content of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables may also be one of the best cancer-preventing foods around. Studies have shown that eating 2 to 3 servings of green leafy vegetables per week may lower the risk of certain cancers.

Beet greens
Beet Greens. You need’ em! Photo courtesy of ShannonSponagle.com

There is such a wide variety of leafy greens available that can be enjoyed as salad or added to wraps, sandwiches, soups, stir fries, smoothies or omelettes. If you want to venture beyond your usual lettuce or spinach, the most nutrient dense greens are, in order: Watercress, Chinese cabbage, Chard, Beet greens, Spinach, Chicory, Leaf lettuce, Parsley, Romaine lettuce, Collard greens, Turnip greens, Mustard greens, Endive, Chive, Kale, Dandelion greens, Arugula.

For tips on preparing and storing greens safely, please visit my blog!

Shannon Sponagle
Shannon Sponagle. Photo courtesy of ShannonSponagle.com

Six Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” It’s also a good time for a little talk about holiday weight gain. I don’t think anyone would deny that sharing delicious food and festive drinks with friends and family is part of the fun of the season. And no one can deny that many of us gain a few pounds over the holidays. The good news is that the average holiday weight-gain (which people generally believe to be around 5 lbs) is exaggerated. Most people actually gain between 1 to 2 pounds over the holiday season. The bad news is that that weight is usually never lost again. Ever. So, while a pound or two might not feel like a big deal right now, year after year, that weight adds up! Studies now suggest that “holiday weight gain” may be an important contributor to the rising obesity epidemic.

I would never suggest that anyone deprive themselves completely of their favourite holiday treats, but I am suggesting that you don’t have to abandon all your healthy eating habits from now until January 1st.

So, what can you do to avoid falling into the Holiday Weight Gain Trap? Here are a few tips:

1. Drink plenty of water. Many people reach for food because they think they’re hungry, when actually they’re just thirsty. Try it and see if it helps.

2. Moderate alcohol intake. If you’re drinking alcohol, have a glass of regular or sparkling water between each drink. This will slow down your alcohol consumption, and you’ll thank me the next morning when you are not completely dehydrated.

3. Move your body. Try to get out for a walk, run, bike or swim most days or do whatever type of exercise you enjoy. Get your family active over the holidays by suggesting a group walk, hike or skate or have a tobogganing party.

4. Watch portion sizes. I know that seems obvious, but really start paying attention to how much you put on your plate. Try taking a little less than you normally would and then see if you’re still hungry. I bet you’re not.

5. Don’t arrive hungry. It might sound odd, but eating something healthy before heading out to a party or a meal will help you maintain control when you are presented with temptation.

6. Eat more vegetables. Look for ways of adding veggies to your day, for example instead of offering chips and dip to guests, offer them veggies and dip (try including raw turnip and mushrooms along with the usual carrots, broccoli and cauliflower).

Enjoy your holiday and take good care of yourselves. I wish you all a very happy holiday and a healthy New Year!

Shannon Sponagle is a Nutritional Consultant practising on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and online at www.shannonsponagle.com. She is also Ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and a huge fan of her local farmer’s market.

Shannon Sponagle selecting produce