Local culinary nutrition expert and holistic nutritional consultant Jessica Mitton gets creative with NL eats in Some Good: Nutritious Newfoundland Dishes
Have you ever found yourself dying for a plate for jiggs? Some toutons or maybe some of nans seafood chowder? Have you ever worried of the guilt of racking up those calories and all the stuff dietitians warn you about? Well, now you can have your cake, or fish cake, and eat it too!
Culinary nutrition expert and award winning certified holistic nutritional consultant Jessica Mitton used a real-life health crisis as a means to trim the fat – and not the flavour – on some of the more delectable island eats that you and I love. Some Good: Nutritious Newfoundland Dishes, was the end result.
Desperate for a Change
“I had a lot of health issues, so that was kind of the starting point for me,” Mitton shared with The Herald. “I started to look to food because I wasn’t getting any relief from any other health care methods.”
Desperate for a change, Mitton began to look to food for the answers that were so failing her with other approaches and remedies. Surely if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then cutting out the crap in a diet can do the same.
“There were a lot of foods that I couldn’t eat anymore. I still wanted to enjoy our local and traditional foods. The way they were prepared or certain ingredients that were used I just couldn’t tolerate. I decided to start swapping out some ingredients. I created another and another and had a bunch of recipes and thought why don’t I share this with the world?,” she says. “When I looked at food I started to feel a whole lot better, a lot of my digestive and hormonal issues disappeared.”
Seeing the benefits of clean living first hand and through a rewarding career as a culinary nutritionist and holistic nutritional consultant, Mitton sought to apply her newfound knowledge of good food without the guilt to our standard Newfoundland staples.
“Being a Newfoundlander I love the Newfoundland cuisine. I’m in love with fish and chips and chowders and all of that good stuff, so I decided to swap out some ingredients while still keeping the local fare that we have – the fish and the root vegetables and all that good stuff while taking out the refined products like wheat flowers and dairy. That really gave it that nutritional boost while still looking at local seasonal foods and taking out the highly refined ingredients.”
Don’t think soy by-product mixed with bland tofu cakes with a side of wheat grass blend. Some Good presents delectable recipes done right like partridge-berry banana pancakes, pan seared scallops with cashew cream roasted garlic sauce, battered baked cod and blueberry cottage pudding. You’re lying to yourself if reading that doesn’t make you hungry!
“We have an abundance of nutritious food across the province, and it’s just about how we prepare it,” Mitton says. “If we swap out a few different ingredients it can make a whole lot of difference. We can still have our favourite traditional dishes but not have those nasty health symptoms with that.”
Asking Mitton some helpful tips and tricks on eating well while preserving quality and flavour, she shares that one should look no further than your friendly neighbourhood farmer.
“Really try to fill your plate with vegetables, leafy greens. Focus on eating local and seasonally. There’s an abundance of root vegetables here, some local farms and we have that accessibility to those local farmers. With the new St. John’s Farmers Market we’re seeing more and more farmers come out and showcase their products. Get to know your farmer and pick up their local produce so you know you’re getting fresh produce. It’s nutrient dense, right from Newfoundland, so you’re supporting local and it’s a great way to get that nutrition pack.”
That made-right-here, organic initiative has translated from the greenhouse to the restaurant table, as well.
“There’s a lot of great restaurants opening up right now that are really paying attention to dietary needs,” she adds. “Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, even just using local and seasonal produce … We’re starting to see a focus in our culinary adventures in the province, a lot of change. It’s great to see that a lot of restaurants are being really accommodating. It gives people options so that they’re not scared to go out and try something new and taste what the province has to offer.”
Healthy, Happy Lifestyle
If nothing else, Mitton hopes to share with local kitchen enthusiasts and those interested in making a change in their own lives that steps towards a healthy, happy lifestyle need not result in sacrifices to quality, and above all, flavour.
“With the high rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in the province, this is a really good way to help people on a health journey and provide them with really good, nutrient dense foods that wont have those negative effects,” she says. “It’s my own health journey but also I want to support others. Being a nutritionist I want to help anyone as much as I can. I think the cookbook is a great way to help people start in the kitchen.”
Some Good: Nutritious Newfoundland Dishes is available now where local books are sold. For more visit jessicamitton.com