This is your source for healthy food news and events in the Cedar Rapids area during the coming week.
Linn Area Reads program will look at factory farming.
Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms by Nicolette Hahn Niman is the 2012 selection for the Linn Area Reads program.
Hahn Niman, an environmental activist, cattle rancher and former attorney, had a crash course in hog factory farms when she was assigned to investigate hog manure pollution for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s environmental group, Waterkeeper. She was horrified by the practices she uncovered and launched a national reform movement to remedy them. Her crusade led her to farms where animals are raised for meat in a humane and sustainable way and, along the way, she met and married a prominent cattle rancher, the founder of Niman Ranch. In telling her story, Hahn Niman shows why factory farm meat should be avoided and shares how consumers can obtain meat from traditionally farmed sources.
To kick off the 2012 Linn Area Reads program, each library in the Metro Library Network will host a collaborative book discussion party on March 1, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. A limited number of free copies of Righteous Porkchop will be available at each site. Book discussions will follow on each of the next four Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Cedar Rapids Barnes & Noble. There will be a panel discussion and vendor fair for local food producers in April, and the program will conclude in May with an address by the author. Check back with the Cedar Rapids Healthy Food Examiner for additional details, dates and times.
Linn Area Reads is a program of the Metro Library Network, which is made up of the Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha Public Libraries.
Blue Zones site visit set.
Cedar Rapids will host a site visit for the Blue Zones Project Team on March 1, 2012, from 8:00 to 10:15 a.m. at the Legion Arts Building, 1103 3rd Street SE, Cedar Rapids. To show your support, arrive outside the Legion Arts Building at 7:30 a.m. to greet the Blues Zones Project Team when they arrive. Wear blue and bring your friends.
The site visit is an opportunity for the Blue Zones Project Team to assess the city’s readiness to transform into a Blue Zones Community. In May, the team will announce the first three or four communities selected to serve as model communities for the Iowa Blue Zones Project. These communities will receive expert support in making environmental, policy and social changes to promote healthier behaviors among their residents. One of the selection criteria is resident support for the project, so show your support by attending the rally on Thursday morning.
Area farmers’ markets this week.
Springville Indoor Winter Farmers’ Market
Saturday, March 3, 2012, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Community Center, 265 Broadway Street, Springville
Grant Wood Market Place
Saturday, March 3, 2012, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Grant Wood Elementary School, 1930 Lakeside Drive, Iowa City
What’s in season now.
In early March, look for this seasonal produce from local growers: bunching greens, kohlrabi, lettuce mix, oriental greens, spinach.
Healthy eating tip of the week.
Acai is a trendy new “superfood” touted for its anti-aging and weight loss properties. But what exactly is acai and is it as good for you as it’s claimed to be?
Acai (pronounce ah-sigh-EE) is the fruit of a palm tree grown in the Amazon River flood plains in Brazil. It’s about the size of a blueberry and tastes like wild berry with a hint of dark chocolate. It’s a food staple of the Amazon river people, used in beverage form as a main component of the meal.
Most of the fruit is seed, which is discarded. Because its berry is highly perishable, acai is available outside of South America only in processed forms – as juice, frozen pulp, and ingredient in a bottled smoothie, or as a powder.
A four-ounce serving of acai contains 100 calories and 6 grams of fat, primarily the healthy omega 9 fatty acids. Acai is high in vitamin C and contains powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins and flavonoids, that defend the body’s immune system against stress. Antioxidants help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which may interfere with the aging process and reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
Some studies have shown that acai may have a higher antioxidant capacity than other fruits like cranberries and blueberries. One University of Florida study has found acai effective in treating leukemia. However, studies have not shown acai to be any more effective than other fruit in promoting weight loss.
To eat acai, add the juice or frozen pulp to smoothies and other beverages, spoon it over oatmeal, or stir it into yogurt.
Nutrition information for acai berry juice.
Have a happy and healthy week ahead.