Healthy Living in the North

Cast away my friend!

Fly rod and ties

For Reg, “Fly fishing is truly an art. It’s the art of reading the water and finding that elusive quarry. It’s the art of picking the right fly and casting it so smoothly that it barely ripples the water’s surface when it lands. However, it all begins with the art of convincing your wife that you need to go fishing.”

I have to admit, the last few weekends have been busy. Between laying flooring, hanging a door, and cutting/installing/painting trim and baseboard, there’s been little time for anything else. Well, not much other than multiple trips to the hardware store and re-hanging the door because the walls aren’t straight and I wasn’t happy the first time around!

But now that I’m finished renovating, I can turn my attention to more important things. It’s time to go fishing!

Now, I’m not talking about fishing from a boat or sitting in a lawn chair beside the Skeena River with your rod in a rod holder. I’m talking about putting on the neoprene waders and getting out fly-fishing.

Have you ever tried it?

Brook trout

A brook trout is one of several fish that you can find in our region’s rivers!

In addition to being fun, fly-fishing has some real health benefits.

  • Fly-fishing is a great way to get some exercise, as you need to move around to do it. As well, there’s the resistance provided by walking in water and weight from wearing a vest filled with gear. Fly-fishing is low impact and provides exercise for your upper body as well as your lower body. Try spending a day fly casting and wading through a stream. I guarantee you’ll feel it at the end of the day!
  • Fly-fishing is a great way to challenge yourself mentally. It takes skill and knowledge to read a stream and find those elusive fish. There’s also a bit of practice needed when it comes to casting a fly rod. But don’t be discouraged! The basics can be learned quickly and after a bit of instruction, you can be out there casting away. To be honest, fly-fishing can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it.
  • Many fly-fishermen also tie their own flies. My stepfather, who was a great fly-fisherman, tied his own flies and built custom fly rods. He even sold enough flies to buy a camper for his truck! If you enjoy being creative, fly-fishing provides many ways to express that creativity. But be warned, it takes a lot of flies to pay for a camper!
  • Fly-fishing is also a great way to reduce the stress in your life. It takes you back to nature and helps you focus on the moment. It can also provide a chance to socialize with other anglers. That said, if solitude is what you prefer, being alone on a beautiful stream is a great place to be.
  • I’m sure you’ve heard that eating fish can be part of a healthy diet, too, as fish are a good source of Omega-3 fats. Why can’t that source be a freshly caught trout or salmon?
Fish in a net

“The best fish stories begin with small fish and big imaginations.”

Now that you’re itching to go fishing, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Always check the regulations and make sure you have the appropriate licences.
  2. Make sure you’re prepared for the weather.
  3. Let someone know where you’re going.
  4. Take the appropriate precautions in bear country.

Northern British Columbia has some great opportunities to catch a variety of fish. Why not give fly-fishing a try? After all, what’s the worst that can happen, other than getting hooked?

Just don’t expect me to tell you where my sweet spots are!

Reg Wulff

About Reg Wulff

Reg is a licensing officer with Northern Health and has his BA in Health Science. Previously, he worked as a Recreation Therapist with Mental Health and Addictions Services in Terrace as well as a Regional Tobacco Reduction Coordinator. Originally from Revelstoke, Reg enjoys the outdoor activities that Terrace offers, like mountain biking and fishing. Reg also likes playing hockey, working out, and creative writing. He is married and has two sons and believes strongly in a work/life balance as family time is important to him.

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Foodie Friday: Salmon and a celebration of Indigenous heritage, cultures, and foods

Canned salmon

Salmon can be prepared and enjoyed in so many ways. It is delicious and nutritious!

Salmon, salmon, salmon … so delicious and nutritious! Canned, fried, baked, dried, smoked, candied, pickled … the possibilities are endless! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Salmon fishing season is approaching for many people across northern B.C. and my partner has been preparing for weeks. Last weekend he brought home our first spring salmon of the year from the Skeena River.

A fishing net along the Skeena River - where Victoria's partner recently caught his first spring salmon of the year!

A fishing net along the Skeena River – where Victoria’s partner recently caught his first spring salmon of the year!

Not only is salmon so delicious, it’s also very nutritious. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids that help protect against strokes and heart disease. When eating canned salmon, be sure to mash up the bones as they are a good source of calcium, making our bones and teeth strong. Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D, which is important in keeping our bones strong as well as protecting us from arthritis and cancer. Salmon meat, skin, head and eggs also provide protein and B vitamins.

Mother and daughter in a selfie

Fishing for salmon can be a family affair! Victoria and her daughter spend quality time together watching her partner fish! Photo by Hannah Litkw Stewart.

Salmon has been a staple food of coastal First Nations since time immemorial. Aboriginal Day is June 21 and is a great opportunity to celebrate Indigenous heritage, cultures, and foods. Some events even include salmon! For example, Saaynangaa Naay-Skidegate Health Centre is hosting Haida games, storytelling and a salmon meal! Gitlaxt’aamiks is hosting a soapberry ice cream contest and fish preparation contests. Check out an Aboriginal Day event in your area, including over 100 Day of Wellness events supported by the First Nations Health Authority! Find an event in your community and come out and celebrate Aboriginal Day!

Want to add salmon to your menu? Baked salmon is a great treat. Here is one of my favorite baked salmon recipes to try:

Dilled Salmon

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 (6 oz) salmon fillets

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine garlic, oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, dill, mustard and syrup.
  3. Place fillets in a medium glass baking dish and cover with the marinade.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes/inch or until cooked through and easily flaked with a fork. Do not overcook.

Enjoy!

Victoria Carter

About Victoria Carter

Victoria works in Northern Health's Aboriginal health program as the lead for engagement and integration. She is an adopted member of the Nisga’a nation and was given the name “Nox Aama Goot” which means “mother of good heart.” In her work she sees herself as an ally working together with Aboriginal people across the north to improve access to quality health care. She keeps herself well by honouring the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of her life through spending time with her friends and family, being in nature and working on her own personal growth.

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Foodie Friday: Something fast and fishy!

Fish tacos on a plate outside

Want to spend more time outside this spring? Dietitian Lindsay’s fish tacos are easy to make so you’ll be able to enjoy them quickly (outside, if you’d like!).

Oh, spring! Our transition from winter to summer!

Do you find your tastes for foods changing at this time of year? Perhaps that hearty stew doesn’t seem so appealing anymore and now you’re craving more salads. As the days get longer, I’m finding myself wanting to spend less time inside. This creates bit of a dilemma – as much as I enjoy being outdoors, I also love ending my day with a delicious dinner, often shared with others, whether it’s my partner, friends, or family. Really, unless I have someone build me an outdoor kitchen (any takers!?), my only option to appease both of my desires is to spend as little time as possible creating some sort of delicious dish. Or pull out the barbecue and cook everything on there!

Everyone has different reasons for choosing the foods they eat: taste, health, convenience, access. What are your reasons? For me, meals have to be three things: delicious, healthy, and take as little time as possible to prepare. Of course, there will be those weekend dinners that I’ll spend a bit more time on but day to day, they need to be quick.

So, I bring to you: Pescado Blanco Fish Tacos out of the Whitewater Cooks With Friends cookbook! These little tacos are packed with complete protein, heart-healthy fats from fish and avocados, and fibrous red cabbage. They can also be made in about 30-45 minutes – or even less time if you have leftover fish from earlier in the week.

Pescado Blanco Fish Tacos

Serves 6

Ingredients

Orange Avocado Salsa

  • 3 oranges, peeled, diced, and drained
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, diced finely
  • 2 medium avocados, diced into ½ inch cubes
  • ¾ tsp salt

Tacos

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs fish (halibut, red snapper, cod or salmon)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 cups red cabbage, very thinly sliced

Optional: Chipotle Crema

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 tsp half and half cream
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce (the sauce from canned chipotle peppers)

Instructions

  1. If using chipotle crema, whisk together sour cream, half and half cream and adobo sauce until well blended. Refrigerate.
  2. Combine oranges, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, red onion, avocado and salt. Mix gently with a spoon in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  4. Wrap tortillas in tin foil and place in oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle fish pieces with cumin, paprika and onion powder.
  6. Heat oil in two sauté pans until almost smoking.
  7. Divide fish into two batches and sear in individual hot pans until just done, about 3-4 minutes.
  8. Lay two warm tortillas on each person’s plate.
  9. Spread thin layer of red cabbage on each tortilla, followed by seared fish, then a spoonful of orange avocado salsa. Finish with a dollop of chipotle crema (if using).
  10. Enjoy!
Lindsay Kraitberg

About Lindsay Kraitberg

Lindsay is a registered dietitian working regionally with the CBORD (a food and nutrition database used in food services) team as well as in complex care. Originally from Vancouver Island, she grew up in the small town of Duncan then lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia for four years before relocating to the north. Lindsay thoroughly enjoys her position with Northern Health as she works with many different health care teams and learns something new every day. When Lindsay isn't at work, you can find her snowboarding in the winter and hiking, biking or camping in the warmer weather.

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Foodie Friday: The Mediterranean diet featuring tilapia bowls with avocado crema!

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we eat at least two servings of fish each week but I know from speaking with clients that a lot of us struggle to do this. Fish is a great lean protein and includes many nutrients such as selenium, vitamin D, magnesium and iron, not to mention heart-healthy omega-3 fats!

Fish is also an important part of the Mediterranean diet, which may help to prevent heart disease and type-2 diabetes. The Mediterranean-style diet emphasizes eating foods like fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fibre breads/whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. As February is Heart Month, it’s a great time to reflect on how we can incorporate more of a Mediterranean diet into our day-to-day meal making.

Tilapia bowl with avocado crema

Fish is an important part of the Mediterranean diet, which may help to prevent heart disease and type-2 diabetes. How can you incorporate the Mediterranean diet into your meal-making?

Need a new take on fish? I really like this recipe because it’s quick to assemble, super tasty, and makes for great lunch leftovers! This is definitely not your typical fish recipe (which let’s be honest, can sometimes get a bit boring!). The blackening spices add a whole new depth of flavour and the star of the show here is definitely the avocado crema. You’ll definitely want more!!

So what’s stopping you from trying out the Mediterranean diet?

Tilapia Bowls with Avocado Crema

Ingredients

Tilapia seasoning

  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Avocado crema

  • 2 avocado
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Other ingredients

  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 3 cups cooked rice or quinoa
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. For avocado crema: combine avocados, Greek yogurt, garlic cloves and juice of 2 limes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Prepare toppings so they are ready to assemble once your fish is cooked: 3 cups cooked rice or quinoa; dice 2 tomatoes; drain & rinse 1 can black beans; reheat corn kernels (I use frozen); prepare cilantro & lime to garnish (optional).
  3. Combine spices for tilapia seasoning on a large plate.
  4. Pat tilapia fillets so they are dry (if they are too wet, the fish will not “blacken”). Coat in seasoning mix. Cook in a non-stick pan over medium heat for ~3 minutes per side until fish is cooked and easily “flakes” apart.
  5. Assemble fish bowls: fill bowls with rice/quinoa. Then top with toppings of your choice and fillet of blackened tilapia. You can dollop the avocado crema on top or fill a Ziploc bag with the crema, cut corner edge and drizzle on top.

Enjoy!

Destyni Atchison

About Destyni Atchison

Destyni is a Clinical Dietitian at Fort St. John Hospital and Peace Villa. She has been working with Northern Health for the past two years and also runs her own nutrition consulting business. In her spare time, she enjoys snowshoeing, hiking and developing new recipes for herself and her clients.

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Foodie Friday: Easy fish on the campfire

A campfire on a beach can be the perfect place to make a quick, delicious summer meal.

A campfire is a great way to make a quick, delicious summer meal.

During the summer, meal prep time is often lost to outdoor activities and enjoying the sunshine. I like to call this season a time for “casual dining.” I aim for simple meals with minimal prep/cook time so I can get out of the kitchen and make good use of the warm weather. It’s even better when I can incorporate the meal making into my summer activities!

As many people do, I enjoy spending time at the lake on the weekends. Preparing supper without having to leave the beach is ideal for me. This recipe is quick, easy and delicious- and can be cooked right at the campfire, maximizing your fun in the sun!

Foil Packet Fish and Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 4 white fish filets
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1-2 tsp seasoning (I use Mrs. Dash; however, any blend will work – get creative!)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Note: Remember you’ll also need aluminum foil!

Directions:

  1. Slice vegetables thinly.
  2. Thaw and rinse fish filets.
  3. Tear off two pieces of aluminum foil twice as long as the filets and lay on top of each other.
  4. Grease the inside of the aluminum foil with butter where the fish will be placed.
  5. Place one fish filet in the middle of your aluminum foil and sprinkle with seasoning.
  6. Pile ¼ of the vegetables of top of the fish.
  7. Bring the ends of the foil together and seal shut.
  8. Do this for the rest of the fish filets.
  9. Cook on hot coals for 12 minutes each side.
Rilla Reardon

About Rilla Reardon

Rilla is a Registered Dietitian working for Northern Health since 2013. Rilla moved to northern BC from the east coast to continue developing her skills as a dietitian in a clinical setting while enjoying all that the north has to offer. Outside of work, she can be found experimenting in the kitchen or navigating the trails around Prince George with her dog, Henry. Rilla channels her passion for nutrition into practice, inspiring others to nourish their bodies, minds and souls with delicious and healthy food!

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Challenge #4 winner!

Week 4 winner

Congrats to Neil Walton, who submitted this photo of his wife Regeena in the Week 4 September Healthy Living Challenge! Regeena caught this fish, her first freshwater fish, at Tacheeda Lake.

With the arrival of October, we’re sad to see our September Healthy Living Challenge come to an end. But we’ve had a ton of fantastic posts go live (and you can find them all here under the ‘healthy living challenge’ tag), and we’ve seen such a variety of great challenge entries come to us, from folks from all across the region who really care about their health. Thanks to everyone who followed the posts all month and took on the challenges – we hope you’ve gotten some good ideas on how to work towards living a healthier life!

Now, what you’ve been waiting for… the random winner for our fourth and final challenge (and the grand prize of a mini freezer) is Neil Walton, from Prince George, BC! In answer to the question of “how do you source your local food,” Neil said that he and his wife hunt, fish, visit the farmers’ market and shop at local stores. They have certainly caught a nice looking fish in the photo! Congratulations Neil!

We received so many great entries this week that I had a really hard time choosing a variety of honourable mentions, so here’s more than usual for you to enjoy:

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care. (NH Blog Admin)

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Let’s get cooking: Man Cave Chowder and challenge #1

All of us involved in the September Healthy Living Challenge are very excited to share a cooking demonstration with you! Loraina Stephen, population health dietitian, and Fraser Bell, vice president of planning and quality, cook up a healthy batch of Man Cave Chowder in the video below. Cooking food with lots of healthy ingredients, including a wide variety of colourful vegetables and local fish, is not only delicious, but a great way to encourage good health at all stages of life.

Our challenge to you for the first week of the September Healthy Living Challenge is for YOU to try out your cooking skills by making a Man Cave Chowder! Take a photo of you making the chowder or of the final product (or both!) and visit our contest page for details on how to enter. We might post your picture on the blog and you’ll have a chance to win a great prize.

Watch the video below as Loraina and Fraser demonstrate how to cook this recipe and see the bottom of this post for the full Man Cave Chowder recipe.

As always, we encourage everyone to go to visit NH’s position statement site for guidelines for healthy living.

Good luck and have fun cooking!

Man Cave Chowder (serves 6)
(Adapted from Cook Great Food by Dietitians of Canada (Fish and Vegetable Chowder pg. 104))

What you need:

Man Cave Chowder

Man Cave Chowder

  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1 chopped potato (medium)
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 2½ tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (398 ml) 2% evaporated milk
  • 3 cups (500 g) fish, cut into chunks (Pollock, Sole, Trout, Ling Cod, Salmon, Cod, Shrimp etc.)
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

What you do:

  • Wash, peel and chop the onion, celery, red bell pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, potatoes and garlic.
  • Spread vegetables (except broccoli) onto 13×9 roasting pan or shallow baking dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp canola oil and toss to mix. Roast in preheated oven at 350°F (160°C) for 30-40 minutes, or until fork-tender, stirring occasionally.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, heat ½ tbsp canola oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add brown rice and sauté for about five minutes or until lightly toasted. Add chicken broth and let soup simmer on low for about 40 minutes.
  • When the roasted vegetables are soft, add them to the simmering rice and broth. When the rice is soft, add the fish, chopped tomato, seasoning, broccoli and evaporated milk; cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Enjoy!
Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling. (Brandon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)

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