HEALTH AND WELLNESS: Healthy eating
A local group concerned about healthy eating habits is growing. The group, called GF Veg, began meeting earlier this spring to talk about food and its origins, said Lisa Howard, one of the women who organized GF Veg. She and Barbara Cooper-Scholl...
A local group concerned about healthy eating habits is growing.
The group, called GF Veg, began meeting earlier this spring to talk about food and its origins, said Lisa Howard, one of the women who organized GF Veg. She and Barbara Cooper-Scholler initially planned to meet for only six weeks, but interest in continuing the weekly meetings was high, so the two women decided to continue them and give the group a name.
Membership in GF Veg has since grown to about 75 people.
"It's been exciting for us," Howard said. The gatherings offer GF Veg members the opportunity to meet with other people who are familiar with the vegetarian lifestyle or want to learn more about it.
While many GF Veg members are vegans or vegetarians, GF Veg also welcomes meat-eaters, raw foodists and "flexitarians," which are people who still eat meat, but are interested in developing a more plant-based and whole grains diet.
"I think people are generally moving from eating meat to a plant-based diet," said Veronica Whitehead, a GF Veg member who is a third generation vegetarian. Her grandparents, who lived in Scotland, became vegetarians in the 1920s, she said.
"Now my children are fourth-generation," Whitehead said.
Group members who attend GF Veg meetings watch movies, exchange cookbooks and discuss food topics. Cookbooks on hand at a recent meeting included "The Vegetarian Cooking School Cookbook," "Fresh from the Vegetable Slowcooker" and "Power Drinks and Energy Tonics."
Being a vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean being fond of vegetables, said Cooper-Scholler. For example, the only vegetables she likes are brussel sprouts and corn. However, she's trying to tempt her palate with other vegetables by learning to cook with them.
"It's not just about eating carrots out of the garden, it's about making side dishes."
Besides exchanging recipes, GF Veg members also discuss what Howard describes as "conscious eating" or being aware of the origins of the food that is being consumed. To raise their awareness, the women exchange books and watch movies about commercial livestock food production.
"Our kids don't know where a chicken nugget comes from. It's about making a connection" between the animal and the food product, Howard said.
Meanwhile, GF Veg members also are interested in the origins of non-meat diets and many shop at markets and grocery stores that offer whole grains and organic foods. Some members also grow their own gardens or share in the fruits of neighbors who do.
At a meeting this past week, Jane Owen, arrived at the meeting carrying an armload of rhubarb she had picked. The garden's owner had used all the rhubarb Owen wanted, so she offered to find a home for the rest.
GF Veg meets Tuesdays at 6 p.m., at Porpoura Coffee House in downtown Grand Forks. The group also is on Facebook.
Reach Bailey at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .