Giving Thanks

Around the world, in most cultures, the harvest of principle crops is celebrated with some sort of feast, celebration or ceremony of thanksgiving.  As we approach our own cultural holiday of this nature, we would like to give thanks for all the wonderful farmers who supply us with fresh, local produce all year long! We also want to thank our customers who keep coming back and telling us how much they value healthy, organic, nutritious food choices. We are deeply grateful for our talented staff and for their patience as we struggle to grow as a business, both physically (Greenwood Location coming so soon!) and mentally (as we continue to ponder how to be the most sustainable business that we can be.)


Sometimes, the holidays can be challenging when family members and friends have different dietary needs. To help offer some solutions for delicious, vegan holiday recipes (including gluten free and raw options), we are launching our first (we hope of many) Cookbook Pamphlet. Look for it at both our locations. It will be filled with recipes for all the upcoming winter holidays, including Chaco favorites such as Tamales, Ginger Pear Cranberry Pie and Tomatillo Chili.


And from our family to yours – thank you for your support, friendship and good company!


Pre/Post Workout Food, Is It A Thing?

Have you ever thought about what you should eat before a workout or something strenuous like a hike? Or when? There is infinite knowledge around this subject, however, everyone acknowledges your body uses the food you eat as fuel and to repair itself. To get the most out of your activity, you should be eating the right nutrient-dense foods at the right time. Giving your body the nourishment it requires can be as easy or as refined as you want. Someone who is a national-caliber athlete may be more specific with their diet than someone who likes to get their primary exercise doing hikes or running errands around town on their bike. Or not. You’d be surprised how similar they are. Whether you want to get in shape or are training for competition, your mind and body will benefit from practicing the basics.

Food as Fuel

It’s always best to eat at least an hour before exercise, but you’ll be fine if you eat a little sooner. Your body needs some time to break down the food to convert the sugars for fuel. For workouts lasting 30-60mins, eat a light, carbohydrate-specific meal. – Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on sourdough, 
– Cup of yogurt and fresh fruit
– Chia pudding with nuts
– Small serving of oat meal with maple syrup or fresh fruitAll of these serve as a perfect pre-workout fuel. For workouts lasting 60 minutes or longer, focus on getting in more calories. A larger portion of the above mentioned foods, or my favorite, eating brown carbs instead of white will suffice. Your body takes longer to turn them into sugar so they can be stored for the fuel you need in 90+ minutes. – PB&J on whole grain wheat
– Steel-cut oats with peanut butter and molasses/maple syrup
– Banana-nut pancakes (I’ll touch more on the benefits of pancakes next time). 

It’s quite common to experience that dizzying, fatigued feeling during prolonged strenuous activity (60+ minutes). That’s your body telling you that it’s eaten all the sugar available, so you’re going need to replenish or pass out (then replenish when you come to). Fueling properly before and during activity can help you avoid this. Conveniently there are endless “energy” bars/gels out there that can deliver enough calories, quickly, to keep you focused and feeling fresh. In the end, they are all forms of easy-to-digest sugar. Personally, I like to eat bananas or trail mix. Be aware, everyone’s stomach tolerance is different so something fibrous like a Clif Bar might not agree with you as well as fresh fruit like a peach, apple or banana. Personally, I prefer trail mix and bananas. Though I have been known to have a small sweetened beverage.


Recovery Foods
To start the recovery process so your body can meet the demands of your goals, there are a couple of steps that must happen.1) Eat immediately (within the hour, the sooner the better).
2) Hydrate
3) Relax
Was your 30-60 minute workout intense?
– No? You burned mostly fat. Have a recovery smoothie, soup or salad with fruit/veggies. You didn’t burn enough calories to require extra protein so don’t fret that. All of these will hydrate and give your body maximum nutrients with maximum fiber. Winning combination for a healthy body. 
– Yes? You burned mostly carbohydrate and some fat. CONGRATULATIONS! YOUR EARNED A COOKIE OR CUPCAKE! Also, have a recovery smoothie, soup with brown carbohydrate like rice or quinoa, or salad with anti-inflammatory foods like yams or kale/collards and Vitamin-C. You still didn’t burn enough calories to go into a protein deficit so you’ll absorb what you need out of those foods.  
Was your 75-90+ minute workout intense?
– No? You burned mostly fat, some carbohydrates and some protein. Have a recovery smoothie with some added protein, soup with brown carbohydrates, a sandwich, pasta with a small serving of your favorite protein, or a salad with some fruit, a little added protein and anti-inflammatory foods like yams or kale/collards and Vitamin-C. 
– Yes? You burned a little fat, a lot of carbohydrate and some protein. CONGRATULATIONS! YOU UNLOCKED A COOKIE OR CUPCAKE AND A SWEET BEVERAGE! Have a recovery smoothie with added protein, soup and sandwich, large salad with a protein, some pizza, a burrito (yes, the big one) with anti-inflammatory foods like yams or kale/collards and Vitamin-C. 
No matter your fitness level, the body will inevitably begin to use protein as a last resort fuel source after 75-90+ minutes of continuous activity. It’s very important to replenish this protein for muscle repair. Don’t forget: There’s protein in all foods, a little here and there adds up. Carbohydrates give your blood the fuel it needs to repair muscle tissue, so if you’re getting enough carbs, you’re likely getting enough protein.
My name is Eric Cockrell. I’m a category-2 road racer for Herriott Sports Performance based in Seattle, Wa. My training regiment varies greatly between short weekly gym sessions, 6 hour endurance bike rides (25+ hrs/week), 1 hour all-out effort rides, 100 mile road races and/or kicking my feet up with a pizza in one hand and a beer in the other. I’m vegan (10 years in 2015!) and currently ranked 8th overall in the Washington State and Northern Idaho Best All-around Road Racer (BARR) Competition. The information provided works wonders for me and friends I’ve shared with. I am NOT a certified coach or nutritionist. I am more than happy to answer any questions or cover new topics in future posts. Check back for a post on how pancakes have made me one of the fastest nerds in town on a bike and how they can help you achieve your fitness goals!

November Specials and Farms

The chilly month of November marks the beginning of the holiday season and we have started celebrating early. Look for festive classics like Butternut Tamales, Chai Bars and Gingerbread Scones. We’re also bringing back our hearty Caesar salad, made with seasonal braising greens and topped with our addictive dehydrated onion rings.


We’re keeping some of the favorites which have seen you through the storms and changing leaves of October: our daal bowl is too popular to keep for only one month and the chocolate-pumpkin and ginger-orange tarts will stick around as well. 


We’re sourcing from a couple of local farms for all these goodies: Tonnemaker’s is providing us with Butternut and other Winter Squash. They grow than 400 varieties of certified organic fruit and vegetables on a 126-acre orchard located Royal City, Washington. They seek to provide fresh, tasty fruit and produce grown in a sustainable way and sold at affordable prices.  


The braising greens for our salad are coming from Mother Nature’s Farm, which is a small, independent, local woman owned and run farm in Snohomish County.  They believe in growing food that helps rather than harm at every stage of the life-cycle and is beneficial for both people and the planet.  Though they are not certified organic, they guarantee not to use chemicals, GMOs. They were founded on the principle belief that together we can create a new, more sustainable future. One of their primary means of distribution is a thriving CSA program.


The delicious fresh produce from these farms and others, prove that even as the weather turns cold, local, sustainable fruits and veggies can make our celebrations even more special. Come and honor the harvest, the community and the bounty of our lands with us and raise a Coconut Nog Latte to the last months of 2014.

Cooking Beans!

As the weather gets colder hearty soups, stews and curries are appealing to drive off the cold. A wonderful way to add vegetarian protein to these is to use dried beans and peas. While there are plenty of pre-cooked beans available, why not trying to cook your own: dry beans are inexpensive and you don’t need more than a pot and some time to prepare them.


A good way to cook many types of beans is to soak them first. This reduces the cooking time and some folks say it reduces the chemicals that cause gas when you eat them. There is a ton of information out there about whether to soak beans or not and we have done it both ways. Soaking does reduce the cooking time, it helps them hold their shape and then some of the time spent to prepare them can be taken care of overnight or while you’re off doing other things.


Some Beans and how to cook them:


Black Beans – the most commonly used bean in our café to top our grain bowls. Soak them over night, drain and bring to a boil covered in fresh water (3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans). Cook for about 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Use for chilies, soups, grain bowls, tacos or try with cilantro, red onion, tomato, and pepper in a lime vinaigrette for a south-west inspired salad.


Chickpeas – used in the café to make hummus, curry and stews. Soak them over night, drain and bring to a boil covered in fresh water (3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans). Simmer for 90 to 120 minutes (1.5 to 2 hours). Add to curries, vegetable stews, marinate in salad dressing to top green salads.


Kidney Beans – try in minestrone, baked beans, chili or marinated for salads. Soak them over night, drain and bring to a boil covered in fresh water (3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans). Simmer for 90 to 120 minutes (1.5 to 2 hours).


Quick Cookers: If you want beans in a hurry try lentils or split peas which we don’t soak and cook much faster. Split peas make delicious soup or curry, while lentils can be used for everything from daal to soup to Shepherd’s Pie.