Thursday, January 7, 2016

Take the Pulse Pledge for (IYP) International Year of Pulses

I went to a fantastic event last night called Pulse Feast that was held at the Design Exchange in Toronto. It was presented because 2016 was formally declared by the Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to be  the International Year of Pulses (IYP).

Chef Michael Smith
It was a room filled with growers from all over Canada and Chefs, Dieticians, Nutritionists, Food writers, bloggers and a whole lot of people interested in the Pulses Industry.

It was hosted by PEI Chef, Author, Business owner and Media personality Chef Michael Smith.

It was one of those events that you feel good about going to for so many reasons.

1.  Because it was just so much fun.
2.  Because it launched a great Pulses Program the Pulse Pledge
3.  Because it promoted a healthy product that is good for the world

But then there was also so much great food made with Pulses (beans, lentils, peas) that we sampled all evening.  There was so much that I missed trying a few things that I was told were really good but I just didn't have any more room to eat more.

Quiche, crabcakes, Chorizo and rapini with beans, lentil slider, donut, croquettes
A couple of my favourite dishes were surprises on how good they were and the fact that you couldn't tell what was in them.

1. Sweet Polenta and beans
2.  Brownies with Passion fruit glaze
3. Cheddar Biscuits made with yellow peas.

I need these recipes.  I had 2 pieces of the brownies because they were just too good to resist. Rich chocolate flavour but a perfect balance of richness.
The polenta was sweet and flavourful.  The biscuits were flaky but held together and were still moist and again full of great flavour.
All of the food was prepared by Ivana Raca from Raca Cafe.  I need to get over there one of these days.  Ivana honed her skills working for Chef Mark McEwen and working to set up his first grocery store and countless catering events.  It seemed like the food was effortless since it was so good but I am sure a lot of busy bees contributed to making it all so great.
Ok so besides the food we were there for a reason.  Chef Michael Smith has been named the IYP Ambassador for  Canada.  It's kind of a big deal especially for Canada because there are over 22,000 pulse farmers in Canada.  It is exported to 150 countries and Canada exports most of the pulses in the World.   It contributes over $3 billion to Canada's economy.

Canadian Pulse growers
Share your love of pulses  #lovepulses #IYP2016 #pulsepledge and Follow @lovepulses

— Start your new year with a resolution that’s healthy for you and the planet:
Take the Pulse Pledge to eat pulses at least once a week for 10 weeks: (starting January 1) Tweet #pulsepledge

10 Great things about Pulses: Delicious, Nutritious, Sustainable
1. Pulses are a fantastic source of protein and fibre
2. Pulses have a low fat content and contain zero cholesterol. They are also gluten-free.
3. Pulses are rich in minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc) and B-vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and folate)
4. Pulses have a low carbon footprint and use just one-tenth to half of the water of other proteins.
5. Pulses are affordable, drought tolerant and contribute to food security at all levels
6. Pulses are a versatile, easy to-prepare ingredient that can be used in entrees, salads, breads and desserts.
7. Pulses taste great: They can be prepared savoury or sweet and are like little flavour sponges. 
8. Eating Canadian pulses supports our farmers and the economy: Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of dry peas and lentils and a major supplier of pulses to over 150 countries around the world.
9. Pulses have been shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol and help control blood sugar levels, which help in the fight against heart disease and diabetes.
10. Pulses enrich the soil where they grow reducing the need for chemical fertilizers

Chef Michael Smith has a great recipe for Pulse Tacos if you would like to swap your meat for a healthier Taco that still tastes great.  Click here:  Pulse Taco recipe
This is a Global Initiative so do something good for the Globe and sign the #PulsePledge and start making some great recipes with food that's is a Good thing for both you and the World.
All you have to do is consume 1/2 cup of any pulse at least once a week for 10 weeks.  I have already had hummus today which counts since hummus is made from chickpeas which are a pulse in case you didn't know that.   See it's easy but look for new and interesting ways to include more in your diet.  I am going to try and for sure I am going to make some Pulse Brownies very soon.

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