Dine Out Vancouver Festival is about community, collaboration, and sharing Vancouver’s culinary story.
Along with the Wines of British Columbia, and a host of other Community Partners, Tourism Vancouver is proud to continue to showcase Vancouver’s culinary talent as well as the many different culinary and cultural experiences that only a city like ours can offer.
It all started with an idea. A group of food and wine enthusiasts got together with the team at Tourism Vancouver back in 2002 and pitched the idea of a fixed-price menu deal to get Vancouverites out and into restaurants during a normally slow time of the year. Fifty-seven restaurants jumped on board and from that stellar yet humble beginning, Dine Out Vancouver Festival has grown into Canada’s largest food and drink festival.
Today, the festival is a promotional umbrella that brings together hundreds of chefs, more than 300 restaurants, wineries, craft breweries, suppliers and more for a month of dining, food-forward virtual events and experiences designed to give culinary enthusiasts the opportunity to taste the best flavours of the city. Dine Out Vancouver Festival also includes special hotel offers to help make an overnight Dine Out experience both safe and relaxing.
For 2021, we wish our out-of-Province and International friends could join us, but unfortunately for now, non-essential travel into Canada is not permitted and not recommended into and within British Columbia. BC Residents, let’s do our part by continuing to follow current public health orders. Stay local and support local, with your immediate household or bubble in accordance with the latest guidelines.
Runs February 5 – March 7, 2021.
Check out the participating restaurants and hotels:
Given the never-ending 24/7 barrage of breaking news arriving on our mental doorsteps these days, coupled with our jam-packed lifestyles, it’s easy to watch a newscast or read an article and simply assume that whatever the anchor or writer is saying is accurate. After all, if it’s on TV or in a newspaper, it must be true, right?
But why are we so quick to make that assumption? In part, it’s because we trust that journalists have bothered to check on the validity of what they’re being told, and are in turn reporting.
Yet despite this default trust assumption, our intuition occasionally suspects this might not always be the case, especially in this era of ideologically-filtered journalism.
Enter the apparently lost art of critical thinking.
Ironically, I never gave critical thinking much thought until one day, many years ago, my late husband brought it to my attention.
The subject came up after I had just read something to him and was expecting an immediate response. But when none came, I was bothered by what I thought was his lack of interest, a bother which I openly expressed. In response, he said he needed time to mull it over and to think what I had read through. Then he explained that one of the most insightful courses he ever took in university was one on critical thinking. At its most basic, critical thinking is the awareness of not assuming everything you hear or read to be accurate, and to take the time to question it before making up your own mind.
This doesn’t mean one should automatically assume everyone is a liar or that they’re out to cheat you, or sway you. Yet, nor does it mean one should blindly accept everything on face value either, even when it’s information reported by mainstream news media or claimed in government announcements. Why? Because even these sources aren’t without their own agenda (e.g. a goal to attract bigger audiences or promote certain political figures and their views). In other words, critical thinking doesn’t just require we carefully scrutinize what we’re being told. It’s part of being a discerning consumer of information, which is key to being more socially intelligent.
Another form of critical thinking is the willingness to be self-critical— which is to say, a willingness to question one’s motives of buying into a particular perspective while at the same time ignoring other valid perspectives.
Advice that I’m offering and taking myself: What WE ALL NEED is more evidence; fewer claims.
So, here’s the question: Are both kinds of critical thinking in short supply these days?
Over and over again, I’m noticing how more and more people on social media are pushing their opinions in rather adamant unforgiving ways, while at the same time showing little tolerance for others’ viewpoints. So while everyone is entitled to their own views, these days, it seems that many are overly keen to push their views on you. Sure, people don’t have to see eye-to-eye on everything, and that should be okay. Yet for some curious reason, holding a divergence of perspectives no longer appears to be as “acceptable” as it used to be.
A court judge worth his/her salt will always weigh all sides of a legal argument. Why? Because it’s an essential ingredient in the principle of justice. In the same vein, a legal mediator always tries to be a neutral referee when trying to find a conciliatory middle ground in resolving disputes. Similarly, and by long-standing tradition, the Speakers in both Britain’s and Canada’s Parliamentary systems endeavor to remain impartial referees when mediating debates between opposing political parties, and when doing so, insist that parties remain within the limits of respectful parliamentary language.
Yet in today’s social media, grey areas no longer seem to matter. Instead, it’s only black or white, leaving us with 50 shades of polarity.
So, what does this imply? It implies we are losing the ability to think in more nuanced ways. It also implies we are rushing to conclusions without fully considering the merits of another person’s perspective on the situation, or fully appreciating their knowledge or experience.
And when we repeatedly act out of these kinds of default pre-judgments, or prejudices, we begin to reinforce a more narrow-minded style of “short-hand” thinking, one that takes pride and ego comfort in stereotyping and dehumanizing fellow human beings into easy-to-dispose-of categories. It’s the same thinking habit that the Nazis indulged when describing the Jews in their midst in the lead-up to the Second World War. And history has shown us where that can ultimately lead.
I’m no expert and I have made my own share of stupid mistakes and misjudgments in dealing with all sorts of matters and people. And like everyone else, I’ve learned my share of hard lessons through my mistakes.
Yet nowhere is critical thinking, including self-critical thinking more essential than today, especially when it comes to all we are being told about Covid-19. Our need to try to understand why someone might hold a view different from our own is part of both critical thinking and self-critical thinking (i.e. humility), because none of us should assume we know everything we need to know to navigate this, one of the greatest medical, social, economic and political challenges of our time.
Antivirals and nutritional supplements have been proposed as potentially useful against severe acute respiratory syndromes that cause Covid-19, yet you never hear any public health official mention anything about them. Not even Vitamin D. I wonder why?
It was brought to my attention that taking Lactoferrin capsules might be another great immune boosting factor and preventative to getting covid.
Like I said before, my general health is very good and I eat well. However since I first heard about Covid I’ve decided to add a few more proactive supplements to my vitamin regime. Only those that I cannot get sufficient amounts from food alone. Because a healthy immune system is the best defense for fighting a virus.
Once covid is under control in the general population and over time, I’ll go back to my vitamin basics. I’m fully aware that vitamins alone do not a healthy body make. However, after doing some research myself, it appears that these extras cannot hurt and at the very best can help improve immunity. So far, so good.
Lactoferrin’s Anti-Viral effects
Lactoferrin is considered an essential in providing an increased defense for our immune systems. Lactoferrin deprives unwanted bacteria in the body from the nutrients they need to continue spreading. Lactoferrin is able to boost your body with beneficial antioxidants, enhance oxygenation of the tissues and improve white blood cell health. It seems to protect against bacterial infection, possibly by preventing the growth of bacteria by depriving them of essential nutrients or by killing bacteria by destroying their cell walls.
There are many new products on the market promoting their inclusion of lactoferrin as a healthy ingredient, but what exactly is lactoferrin? Lactoferrin is a protein found naturally in cow and human milk, and it is especially abundant in colostrum. It is also found naturally in our tears and saliva, and possesses a wide variety of healthy benefits for our bodies.
As an iron-binding milk glycoprotein, it promotes the growth of selected probiotic strains. It acts as an antimicrobial agent largely by binding the iron needed for growth of the microorganisms.
Lactoferrin has been found to both directly and indirectly inhibit several viruses that cause disease in humans. It directly inhibits viruses by binding to viral receptor sites, thus preventing the virus from infecting healthy cells.
The importance of lactoferrin in viral infections warrants a great deal of further research and use by clinicians. There is little doubt that lactoferrin is a key molecule for the body and the immune system in the fight against viruses and other microbes, and could be an effective supplement for people with viral infections.
Maybe most promising and interesting, there is research that points to lactoferrin being able to improve the efficiency of antibiotic treatments in the fight against pathogenic microbes. Considering the out of control use of antibiotics and the rise in antibiotic resistant strains of “bad bugs,” this is very good news. Would the combination of lactoferrin and antibiotics be the knockout punch to certain bacteria that are not being killed by antibiotic treatments alone? More research is needed, but the evidence is very compelling.
There is little doubt that lactoferrin is a major find and a potential breakthrough as a natural nontoxic treatment in an array of human ailments. Though a handful of companies are able to produce lactoferrin at this time, there is only one company producing the apolactoferrin (iron depleted) form in large quantity. Studies suggest that the superior form to supplement with is apolactoferrin.
As with everything else, take time to do your own research as there can be pros and cons to taking too much or too little of any one supplement. The ones I’ve mentioned are supposed to help strengthen your immune system to oncoming viruses. Having said that, depending on your overall health and what medications you may already be taking, it’s always best to check with your health provider.
This is the last of a series of natural Covid Combatants. I’ll continue to post about other “healthy habits” in the upcoming weeks ahead.
In my quest to find optimum immune boosting combatants to fight Covid-19, I discovered that zinc is indeed crucial for the development and function of immune cells.
So I’ve added it to my current kill-Covid health regime. I don’t have Covid, but I feel extras like these are helping to reduce my risks of getting a severe or even life-endangering case of the virus. Hell, it might even help fight the flu…although we never hear about anyone getting the flu since Covid (what’s up with that?). While I may omit some of these extras and go back to my “basics” when the virus finally is under widespread control, my add-on extras right now will remain extra D3, Zinc, NAC and Lactoferrin – which I’ll talk about next week.
Zinc is an essential mineral that your body uses in countless ways but does not make on its own. It aids growth, DNA synthesis, immune function and more. Because your body doesn’t naturally produce zinc, you must obtain it through food or supplements.
Keep in mind that routine zinc supplementation is not recommended without the advice of a healthcare professional. You can definitely take too much. The recommended daily intake of zinc ranges between 3 mg and 16 mg. But have a look at the links provided below and/or ask your local pharmacy or health food store specialist for more information before making up your own mind. Yet as there’s an over-abundance of information I could talk about in great length, I’ll only touch on a few key elements.
An article in sciencedirect.com had this to say: Patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had significantly low zinc levels in comparison to healthy controls. Data in their study clearly showed that a significant number of COVID-19 patients were zinc deficient. These zinc deficient patients developed more complications, and the deficiency was associated with a prolonged hospital stay and increased mortality.
Amongst COVID-19 patients, 57.4% were found to be zinc deficient.
Given findings like these, supplementation with zinc is increasingly recommended in the management of COVID-19 patients.
Under physiological conditions, zinc is essential for cellular growth and the maturation of immune cells, particularly in the development and activation of **T-lymphocytes (**part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. They help protect the body from infection and may help fight cancer.) Studies have shown that around 10% of our body proteins utilize zinc and that zinc is a cofactor in at least 200 immuno-modulatory and antioxidant reactions. Prolonged deficiency is associated with immune system dysfunction, sterility in males, neurosensory disorders, and decreased body mass. Studies have also shown increased viral infection in patients with zinc deficiency.
Foods that contain Zinc: Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, but red meat and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet. Other good food sources include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.
Gives us all something to zinc about right? I always urge others to do their own research and use this only as a basic outline. Like I was saying…there’s way too much info out there. I try to narrow down as much as humanly possible so hope this little bit of info. helps.
*My Vitamin basics aside from trying to eat as healthily as possible: a high-potency 2-daily vitamin/mineral supplement, Super Omega-3, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C-1000, Magnesium Citrate, Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes, Leaf Source which is a humic-fulvic acid complex and Melatonin at night.
Important Sidenote: The WHO has said not totakeIbuprofen as it has been contra indicated for Covid. If you’ve got to take a headache or pain relief remedy use regular aspirin or tylenol instead. But do not take even these for fever reduction. It’s been shown that fever is a necessary response of the immune system if you get it. Of course you can google about this on your own.
MedRXiv – how low zinc levels at clinical admission associates with poor outcomes in COVID-19
Conjuring up images of Classic California comes to light at a new pop-up boutique in Palm Desert. CSide is a California laid back easy glamour concept. From cashmere to camisoles and faux fur to fedoras… showcasing fabulous local designers with the most innovative flair for fashion, art, wellness and design – in the desert. Here’s a sneak peek at some fierce fashion:
CSIDE Pop Up Shop – 73080 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA.
Private appointments and zoom appointments available . Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun-11-5 760 845-6813
This is one of my favorite Vegetarian dishes. It hits all the taste sensations; sweet, savory, sour and nutty.
One of the things I love best when ordering Thai food is Pad Thai. One of the things I like least when ordering Thai food is Pad Thai...when it is not up to par. I’ve been disappointed more than once. So I’ve been making my own.
Making Pad Thai is much easier than you think. You can tweak ingredients to your own liking and add chicken and/or shrimp to make it non vegetarian or omit the egg to make it vegan. Experimenting with flavors is best. For me personally, I love an excellent homemade vegetarian Pad Thai using rice noodles. Depending on my mood I might switch up the veggies or make more or less of the sauce. So this is kind of a non-recipe recipe.
Before we get started a few basics you should know:
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST PAD THAI
Prep your ingredients. Have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you begin. Cooking Pad Thai is a very fast process and by having your ingredients prepped and within hands reach, this will ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Continuously stir. I use a huge frying pan (you can also use a wok). You will need to continuously stir veggies throughout the cooking process to ensure even distribution of heat and even cooking.
Do not overcook the noodles. I always pre-cook noodles in a separate pot and add them last (they may appear a bit lumped together if you don’t use them right away, however they do separate once you add them to the pan). Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain. Cook veggies until the sauce dries. The noodles should still be firm and not mushy when you add them to the pan. Fully-cooked noodles will change color from transparent to white. If you are new to stir-frying noodles, I would recommend turning down the heat while cooking, as things move fast.
Serve hot. Pad Thai is best served immediately. Once the noodles turn cold, they will start to lose their texture and flavor.
Toppings are Everything. Serve Pad Thai topped with fresh bean sprouts, green onion (cut on the bias), cilantro, shaved carrot, chopped peanuts and lime wedges.
Ingredients (for two):
1 package Flat Rice Noodles (you can find ones specifically for Pad Thai)
1 Red Bell Pepper cut into strips
1 Onion thinly sliced
2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch chopped fresh Ginger
Extra FirmTofu cut up into cubes
1 Large Egg, slightly beaten (optional and added to hot pan before noodles)
Handful of Snap Peas
1 Carrot (cut into small chunks)
The above is my go-to but you can also add sliced mushrooms and/or broccoli
Right before serving add the following:
Handful of Peanuts finely chopped
Fresh Bean Sprouts
Chopped Green onion
Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain.
You can use a combination of some or all of the below ingredients for the sauce. My suggestion is to try what I recommend at first and then adjust according to your taste. Omit any that don’t sit well with you. For instance, I don’t always use fish sauce.
These are general guidelines as I don’t have a set recipe.
2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil, 2 Tbsp. Rice vinegar, 1-2 Tbsp. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp. chili-garlic sauce, 2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce (optional), 2 Tbsp. store bought peanut sauce, 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice, 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste (not difficult to find in the Asian section of almost every grocery store).
TO MAKE *SAUCE:
Pour about 2 Tbsps of toasted sesame oil in a large frypan or wok. When hot. add the garlic, ginger, onion + pepper. Stir until fragrant. Add any other veggies (snap peas, carrot, tofu, mushrooms, etc.) and then add your rice vinegar, soy, fish sauce, chili-garlic sauce, tamarind paste and lime juice. With wooden spoon, stir veggies and coat with sauce. When all veggies are just about done, add the slightly beaten egg, then the noodles to the pan or wok.
TOSS together then:
Add peanut sauce to the pan; to taste. Divide mixture among two plates and top with bean sprouts, green onion, cilantro, shredded carrot and chopped peanuts. Serve with lime wedges. If you like it spicier add a bit more chili sauce.
Let me know how you like it.
*you can buy store-bought pad thai sauce to try if you like, but some of the ingredients are things like ketchup, corn starch and sugar. Some people making homemade sauce add ketchup and a bit of peanut butter to the sauce. I omit ketchup all together (really not necessary) but I like adding some spicy peanut sauce. It’s all up to personal taste.
To someone reading this for the first time: this new addition to my overall site started as I decided to take stock of whatever vitamins/supplements would be the most beneficial to help strengthen our immune systems, especially during Covid. I refer to them as Covid Combatants… although taking vitamins alone is not enough of a prevention for getting the virus, and it’s meant for generally healthy people to begin with. I also believe that during this time we may all benefit from boosting our intake of superfoods/vitamins/minerals that we otherwise might not have needed so much of in our pre-pandemic world.
As I’m no authority on the subject (although my brother *Brad King is a leading health expert, and my science writer boyfriend is a supplement enthusiast), I urge you to do your own research and/or check with your health practitioner before starting a new regimen. There can be upsides and downsides to taking too much or too little of anything. So having said all that…here is a narrowed down version of a supplement I knew little about until recently.
It’s called NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) – and it helps support cardiovascular and respiratory health, as well as alleviate asthma-related symptoms. Whenever I begin to get run down I develop a low-grade asthma and have to use an inhaler. This usually happens once a year during cold/flu season. Since taking my extra supplements for almost a year now, I have luckily (and thus far) not experienced any asthmatic symptoms.
NAC is popular among athletes, and anyone who wants to improve their physical performance. It can help lengthen the time to fatigue, meaning that you don’t get tired as fast due to NAC’s ability to manage lactic-acid build-up. NAC seems to be most effective for medium-intensity exercises.
Because NAC has been used for decades as an aid to boost athletic performance, and to help improve lung health, it has become a popular supplement with an excellent safety record with a large body of research behind it. So, it’s easy to see why many better-informed health practitioners are recommending daily NAC supplementation to help safeguard folks from developing severe cases of Covid-19, which are known to cause serious respiratory distress issues.
Your body uses NAC as a precursor in making Glutathione, one of the more potent antioxidant nutrients that help quench free radicals thereby preventing oxidative stress in cells.
Glutathione is also thought to have neuro-protective properties and operate like a neurotransmitter, thus potentially contributing to the promotion of mood and overall mental health.
While the components that give rise to L-Glutathione can be found in various foods, especially particular meat and dairy products, taking NAC will help your body produce it in larger amounts. NAC is especially recommended for anyone following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
NAC is known to help protect the liver from the effects of certain toxins. NAC is so effective in protecting the liver from damage that it is sometimes given to patients in acetaminophen (paracetamol) overdose cases. NAC may also be useful in preventing damage to the kidneys, and it’s often used in conjunction with medications that may harm the internal organs.
If you happen to be searching for NAC to help you improve immunity or respiratory health, remember it is a safe amino-acid that can be taken in combination with other nutraceuticals.**
NAC is available on prescription for specific conditions, but you can also buy it over-the-counter as a food supplement.
*Brad King – is an award winning nutritional formulator and was honored with the Best in Canada Award for Health Motivator/Educator and Public Speaker in 2010, was inducted into the Canadian Sports Nutrition Hall of Fame in 2003 and sits on the board of Directors for CHI the premiere sports nutrition education center.
Brad is the author of 10 books including the international best seller, Fat Wars 45 Days to Transform Your Body and the award winning Beer Belly Blues: What Every Aging Man and the Women in His Life Need to Know . He’s been interviewed on numerous TV shows some of which include “The Today Show”, “Canada AM” and “Balance TV” and featured in many magazines articles.
**Caveat: Some recent research has raised questions about NAC’s ultimate safety, so some cautions are warranted. For more on these reservations, see: “N-Acetyl Cysteine: A Warning Shot”, Derek Lowe 4 October, 2019. Science Magazine.
An umbrella of brands focused on advanced functional beauty.
Recently I’ve been introduced to an abnormal beauty company through a beautiful friend of mine. Someone who’s advice I trust and who, like myself, has tried a lot of different skincare + makeup products. She lives in LA and orders her products online because the company resides in Canada Whaaat??
The company is called Deciem (inspired by the Latin word decima, which means “tenth”) – a Canadian company originating from Toronto. Deciem’s tagline is “The Abnormal Beauty Company.” The brand of products she’s referring to are called “the ordinary.”But the best thing about the ordinary is not ordinary at all, especially in the overpriced, over marketed beauty industry of today: the line is marketed with effective products at very reasonable prices. You had me at effective and reasonable.
Since I do not like to waste what I have not yet finished, I only bought three of their products for now – a surface hydration formula called “Natural Moisturizing Factors+HA,Hyaluronic Acid 2%+B5 and Retinol in Squalene (starts at 2% plus). The hyaluronic acid & retinol are in dropper bottles.
Allure Magazine has this to say: the company is shaping up to be a serious player in the beauty biz. Deciem’s portfolio of products includes affordable skincare, makeup, supplements, and haircare items designed to appeal to a wide audience, including millennial skin-care geeks, people who dabble in injectables, and beauty editors like me alike.
Referring to the track suit as casual weekend wear. Remember them? Like many things, they’re coming back.
After all, they’ve had a successful track record (pun intended) in the past. They were a wardrobe staple for so long that we took them for granted. Then they seemingly disappeared, until the need for covid coziness combined with fashion brought this classic option back.
I loved the ubiquitous lazy comfy fit. Not talking sloppy; more like the “Juicy Couture” loosely fitted style that was so popular in the 90’s. There were of course many knock-offs, but the Juicy label looked the best. You could consider them the Lululemon of the track suit world.
When Juicy Couture took over the trend landscape in the late 1990s, original founders Gela-Nash Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy knew from the get-go they were poking fun at high fashion. But many women and tons of celebrities wore them as an essential, comparable to the skinny jean or leggings.
Britney Spears (in)famously had a custom set made for all her bridesmaids ahead of her marriage to Kevin Federline. Unfortunately for her, the tracksuit outlasted their marriage.
You could say that Velour Tracksuits are also making a comeback! I’m happy about that because I just bought a pair of flared track pants (with added front seams) from a company in Los Angeles called Garbe Luxe. They come in velour or soft bamboo cotton fleece which I first saw in Palm Springs and really wanted, but they were sold out. I was lucky to get a pair recently sent to me. I must admit I wasn’t sure about wearing velour at first but I guess what goes around comes around. And they make my butt look good.
Garbe Luxe – Casual flared track pants with added front seams make the Giselle Track Pant extra special.