A week ago, I attended my first ever blogger/foodie conference, ShiftCon in New Orleans. I felt like my hometown, Portland Oregon, came to NOLA to visit me. Hoards of white women badgered the Creole wait staff about whether or not the potatoes and carrots served were organic or not, “I dunno, lady! Stop aksing me!?” Until eventually they just started to lie and say Yes, which made the white granola ladies even more panicky as they sensed they were being lied to. Hysterical cultural clash.
Big highlight for me was getting to meet Dr. Tierona Low Dog, who just published a book on vitamin supplementation, Fortify Your Life, that gives a simple but harrowing call to its readers to strongly consider taking a multivitamin daily, regardless of how well you think you are eating. She decries recent CDC survey data of the NHANES which suggests Americans are impressively deficient in Vitamin D, several B vitamins, and iodine (thanks, fancy, non-fortified salts). The other important point she made is that vegetables today are not what they once were in terms of mineral content. We have leeched our soil, she evidences her claims with data from the American Department of Agriculture which compares mineral content in cabbage, tomatoes and spinach from 1914 to the stuff we were growing in 1997, which have about 10 percent the magnesium, calcium and iron they once did—and one can imagine the other vitamins not assayed in this study might be similarly depleted.
I’ve been taking a MegaFoods vitamin daily ever since her talk, and probably will forever now. Also because I got a bunch free in my SWAG bag—seriously the best haul of goods I’ve ever collected at a conference.
I will be sharing some of my favorite products from my favorite booths over the coming months. But a HUGE thank you to ShiftCon for hosting me as a blogger—I hope to return again and again to be privy to the important conversation—how can our foods and daily products better serve our bodies and at the same time be safe for our environment?
Cannellini Beans With Spinach, to Celebrate #ShiftCon
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1½ cups dried cannellini (white kidney) beans, soaked overnight, drained
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise; plus 2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 sage leaves
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 bunches mature spinach, trimmed
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Bring beans, head of garlic, sage, 3 Tbsp. oil, and 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat, add several generous pinches of salt and simmer gently until beans are creamy all the way through but skins are still intact, 35–45 minutes. Let cool.
Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook crushed garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring, just until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Working in batches, add spinach, letting it wilt slightly before adding more, and cook, tossing often, until leaves are just wilted, about 5 minutes; season with salt.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to skillet with spinach and cook, tossing gently, until beans are warmed through. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and ¼ cup bean cooking liquid and toss, adding more cooking liquid if needed, until coated (mixture should be saucy but not submerged in liquid; don’t cook too long or beans will get mushy). Taste and season with salt. Serve drizzled with oil.
Thanks again to all of the sponsors for contributing to ShiftCon and for making the conference such a smashing success!