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Health & Wellness – When people talk…

Health & Wellness – When people talk…

Jo Knows Nutrition

Spring Pea Risotto

Fresh, local spring peas are a delight at this time of year. Delish as a snack, side dish or as the main event, freshly picked peas are meant to be celebrated. This creamy pea risotto is an elegant meatless meal that is sure to become a family favourite.


INGREDIENTS (4 Servings)

  • 1 1/4 cup (313 ml) Peas (shelled fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 cup (313 ml) arborio rice (short-grain                           Italian rice)
  • 4 cups (1 litre) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) butter or vegan margarine
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1-2 oz (30-60 ml) freshly grated parmesan or                        nutritional yeast to taste (vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt or to taste
  • Optional – Shaved Parmesan or nutritional yeast       (vegan option), for topping
  • Optional – Handful fresh herbs (i.e., chives,                           parsley, mint or basil) for garnish
  • Optional – Extra lemon zest for garnish
  • Optional – Freshly ground black pepper to taste



  1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat the water on high until it begins steaming. Keep hot on low heat.
  2. Heat a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until soft and golden. Add in the garlic, stirring continuously to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add rice and lemon zest to the onion mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes or until the rice becomes translucent with an opaque white center.
  4. Add the hot water 1/2 cup (125 ml) at a time, stirring continuously, until the water is almost completely absorbed and the rice is creamy and translucent (i.e., the center is no longer white). A practise in patience is needed here as it will take about 25-30 minutes to slowly incorporate the water into the rice mixture.
  5. Stir in the parmesan or nutritional yeast, butter or margarine, lemon juice, and peas. Let the peas cook until just warmed through, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Optional – Garnish with extra lemon zest, fresh herbs, shaved parmesan or nutritional yeast.


Did You Know?

Eating high-fibre foods like peas has been linked to improved digestive health. Peas also serve as a source of protein, vitamins A, C, K, potassium, iron and magnesium. Although the taste of fresh peas beats frozen, the nutritional quality of both fresh and frozen peas is excellent.

Submitted by: Joanne Nijhuis MSc, RD, a consulting and culinary dietitian in Simcoe Grey Bruce.


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Empowered People Take Time to Determine What They Want

We often hear of terms like ‘personal power’ or ’empowerment’. What does this really mean? Some think that being empowered requires money, position or intelligence. While these might help in some situations, they are not necessary requirements.

We have all known two-year-olds who have an incredible amount of personal power. They know how to take a stand. What can we learn from them? Well, the first criterion they demonstrate is a clear knowing of what they want, and what they don’t want. If we are not sure what we really want, it’s hard to be assertive.

Next, they have a belief that they can have things their way. They are not always correct about this, but holding this belief sets the stage for putting some effort into the matter. They have a willingness to speak up for what they believe in or what they want. If they feel they are not being heard, they are not embarrassed to speak a little louder, or to make a bit of a fuss. They are persistent. They will not back off the first time their wishes are not honored. They are not afraid that others will be annoyed if they express them-selves. And if they are being hurt, they will scream at the top of their lungs.

This is not to suggest that empowerment means acting like an infant. Throwing tantrums is not a demonstration of personal power. The empowered individual takes the time to determine what he or she truly wants. This means separating your own wants and needs from externally imposed ‘shoulds’.

You must believe in your heart that you have value, and that you have a right to work to-wards meeting your needs. You must also develop the courage to speak up for yourself, and/or the self-control to express yourself calmly. You don’t give up all attempts because it didn’t work out the first time you tried. You may have to come back again and again, from different angles.

You may need the assistance of an objective, professional third party. This might be your minister, doctor, teacher, or therapist. If the feedback you get is that your wishes are rea-sonable, then that individual may assist you in getting your point across.

Some people believe that they best way to live is to be always co-operative and accom-modating. These are positive living skills to be sure, but if they are utilized continually, in a process of denying your true self, they will turn you into a chameleon. If you please everyone but yourself, they will all be happy, and you will be sad and unfulfilled. This is not the way to live life.

Your life is your gift, to be lived according to your inner spirit. Listen to your inner two-year-old, whenever, from deep inside your own being, you hear that definitive “NO!” You can translate that impulse and emotion so that you come across as a composed adult, but you do not have to live ‘yes’ when your heart says ‘no.’

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for in-spiration. 


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