Vincent Black

Foods for thought…

milenio stadium - food thought


My personal taste buds have changed over the years and my pallet has become much more finicky when it comes to the type of foods that l eat. The best comment that l heard most recently from a very dear friend concerning food and its consumption is that 80% of what you consume is the bottom of the barrel. In other words, 80% of what you put in your mouth and the type of food is very important. In saying all this, it has come to my attention that regions where food comes from is very important and consuming a Mediterranean diet is one that works for me and can for you.

Dr. Weil, who is a renowned doctor, who specializes in what you put in your mouth, has recommended that we all consume a Mediterranean type diet.

The Mediterranean diet is a composite of the traditional cuisines of Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, and part of the Middle East. High-quality fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil plus the key part of this diet is fresh fish. The diet only includes rare monthly servings of meat and infrequent servings of poultry, eggs and occasional sweets. Dr. Weil also stresses that fresh cold-water salmon is one of the best fish that one can consume.

I have just finished reading Dr. Weil’s book called “Healthy Aging” which is a lifelong guide to your well-being, an eight-week program to optimum health. It’s a number one best seller and if you get a chance l would recommend you pick it up and keep it close to your space, especially as we age on in life. The twelve-point program for healthy aging that Dr. Weil recommends is imperative and should be used by all. I don’t want to give everything away about the book, but l will highlight a couple of points that resonated with me. Separating mind and body and what you put into your mouth and the thoughts that may consume your mind is imperative.
When it comes to what you put into your mouth, selecting a Mediterranean cuisine and experimenting with it can be fun and healthy, and my choice over the past several years has been Portuguese cuisines and all that comes with it. Fish and how it is combined in its variety of food attracted me to this cuisine and its flavors. So, l wanted to do my personal take on Portuguese cuisines, the type of delicacies and where in this town you can get them, of course, this is my unofficial bests in the Portuguese community.

I was an occasional fish eater growing up with my family eating it only on Friday’s because my father insisted on it and as he said, “eating fish makes you smarter” and ever since l have been eating fish hoping to make me a bit smarter…. still working on that. That was my first start at eating fish which consisted mainly of smelts and cod, until l discovered Portuguese cuisine that an old neighbor of ours who was a close friend with my mother opened up my world to Portuguese cuisine and its assortment of food.

My favorite fish dish these days is bacalhau a braz, which is shredded cod mixed with potatoes and diced onions. This version varies from region to region with different make ups, but the restaurant that makes a great Bacalhau a braz is Via Norte restaurant, located at 689 College Street. The uniqueness of this dish by chef Jose Alves is a specialty of the house.

Flor de Sal Restaurant at 501 Davenport Road, owned by Cristina Da Costa is one of my go to favorite spots for branzino and octopus. The entire menu has a Mediterranean flare with impeccable service and the ambience is second to none. If you have not been, it’s a must on anyone’s food bucket list.

There is actually some experimental evidence to support a link between fish consumption and brain health. Infants born to mothers who consumed more fish during pregnancy have been shown to have improved verbal intelligence, better fine motor skills and pro-social behavior. Recent studies have also correlated fish intake during pregnancy with a higher IQ and kids that have a quicker knack of learning.

This is a nice Segway of bringing up my top three spots to pick up fresh fish for your home or cottage. My go to spot is a place called De La Mer Seafood that is located at 728 St. Clair Avenue West in the Wychwood neighborhood. The other choice is hooked an old school fish store located at 206 Baldwin Street in Kensington Market area which has the best freshwater salmon in Toronto…check it out. San Antonio Seafood Market in Vaughan located at 8383 Weston Road is a great spot north of the city. It not only sells fresh fish daily and the selection is very good.

Coming back full circle to what Dr. Weil recommends, and l totally agree with him, after many years of my own research…” yes eating a lot” he recommends a simple approach and that is this….” Eat Less & Exercise More” which is very affective. When you combine the Mediterranean diet along with a great variety of fish products, hopefully you can have a longer, healthier life.

My simple recommendations, along with my unofficial opinions may not be right but changing to some of these simple methods for living has improved my lifestyle and hopeful it can yours.
Eat Less & Exercise More!

Vincent Black/MS

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