Profile: Lina Bou from My Taste of Health

 Lina Bou of My Taste of Health  photo by Sati Faulks

Lina Bou of My Taste of Health photo by Sati Faulks

It was a chance encounter that brought me and Lina Bou of  My Taste of Health together. We were both on lady dates on a rainy day at Fragments Café when Kristen and I started talking to Melodie, a barista at Boot Café, and Lina who were sitting at the table next to us. 

When Lina told me she had a background in nutrition and alternative medicine I got really excited, because these are two subjects that interest me a lot and I know very few people involved in either in Paris

I asked Lina if she'd be willing to talk with me and share some thoughts on adopting a healthy lifestyle in Paris and she graciously accepted. I'm really happy to share our exchange here and I hope it will be inspiring to Paris Paysanne readers! 

First, I asked Lina about some of the challenges that face Parisians who want to stay healthy in the city. "Paris is a moving city," Lina explained, and the clichéd Parisian lifestlye of "coffee, cigarettes, and pastries" doesn't help, she told me saying that, in Paris, "sugar is in the air."

In order to establish healthy habits in a city of seduction and stumbling blocks to health, Lina suggests getting out and enjoying nature and some relaxation (some of her favorite natural settings near Paris include the Bois de Vincennes and Fontainebleau).

If you can't get away she recommends doing something this blog is definitely on board with, "go to the markets! Just going there makes you feel healthier." 

"Having your own routine is important" Lina told me and if your committed to eating better, cooking at home should be a part of this routine. "I cook a lot at home" says Lina, who focuses on simple, quick meals that anyone can prepare. "I cook a lot of quinoa [in advance] so you have it in the fridge, then add nuts and seeds for a protein rich salad." 

Salads are a great healthy, seasonal option, "there are so many greens right now" Lina explains. A quick trip to the market confirms that greens- dandelion, roquette, swiss chard, and  spinach, to name a few- are abundant at the city's markets- just waiting to be taken home and tossed into a salad. 

  photo courtesy of My Taste of Health

photo courtesy of My Taste of Health

Lina's philosophy on cooking involves a varied diet of whole foods and time and care taken in shopping for, and preparing, ingredients with an emphasis on "not eating on the run all the time."

If you do like to eat out and are looking for a healthy option, Lina has a list of favorite Paris restaurants and cafés. One of which is Pousse Pousse a restaurant and juice bar that she loves for their "organic and raw ingredients" all of which are "very colorful". 

 Lina's homemade, organic muesli  photo courtesy of My Taste of Health

Lina's homemade, organic muesli photo courtesy of My Taste of Health

Another favorite is The Broken Arm for it's "quality kitchen" and Café Marco Valdo on rue Charlot, one of the few non-vegan spots that Lina suggests because they "serve good cheese and meat and they love what they are doing."

Lina moved to Paris on a whim, without ever having visited before, in 2012 and since then she has brought healthy diet options and information to those around her.

As a barista at KB Café she became the go-to health food aficionado introducing homemade muesli and raw, vegan energy bars into the coffee shop's menu. She is also available for individualized health consultations which include a focus on diet, supplements when needed, and a fitness plan suited to your needs. 

 Lina's Energy Bites  photo courtesy of My Taste of Health

Lina's Energy Bites photo courtesy of My Taste of Health

With an exciting future ahead, involving the possibility of a brick and mortar juice shop and café as well as extensive collaborations within the Paris food community, Lina is a lady to watch! 

Thanks so much Lina for taking time to chat with me, and for sharing this great seasonal recipe with our readers! 

 

 Lina's Seasonal Spinach and Sunflower Seed Pesto  photo courtesy of My Taste of Health

Lina's Seasonal Spinach and Sunflower Seed Pesto photo courtesy of My Taste of Health

Easy, delicious and seasonal pesto!

Ingredients;

100 grams or 1/2 cup spinach (or other green or herb in season)
1 dl or 1 tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
1 dl or 1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, fresh squeezed juice
black pepper
herbal salt
Optional; roasted pumpkin seeds on top

Roast the seeds on a low temperature about 5 minutes in a dry frying pan. Put the ingredients in your blender and mix well. Use in salads, as a side dressing or as a dip.

 

Deck & Donohue: Something Brewing in Montreuil

Thomas Deck and Mike Donahue (photo courtesy of Deck and Donahue) The Ile-de-France craft beer wave is cresting and will crash the shores of the Seine this May, when the city hosts its first ever Paris Beer Week featuring tastings, events, and meetings with the region's favorite artisanal brewers.

Some faces (and bottles) at the events may be familiar to you by now, with Paris-based Brasserie de la Goutte d'Or enjoying widespread appreciation throughout the capital and craft beer bars finding their place in Paris nightlife.

Trouble #6, Mission Pale Ale, Monk Brown Ale, and Indigo IPA

Thomas Deck and Mike Donohue are the newest additions to Paris' craft beer scene, with their range of beers inspired by their Alsatian and American roots, respectively. From their well-balanced and super drinkable pale ale and blonde to their smooth and aromatic brown ale (which Thomas would quickly tell you has a "velvety mouthfeel"), Deck and Donohue are bringing craft beers to the market for both beer lovers and the beer-curious. Even the IPA, a tricky brew to introduce to the Stella-accustomed Parisian, is approachable and keeps bitterness at bay just enough to be a perfect gateway beer to the wondrous world of IPAs.

labels

Open since March, the Deck and Donohue headquarters are in Montreuil, just east of Paris, where they do everything from brewing to bottling to labeling and packing the beers. The pair have already found a place among Paris brewers, which Mike says are "ready to stick together and help each other out". Banding together, small craft breweries such as Outland, My Beer Company, Deck and Donohue, and La Brasserie de la Goutte d'Or are carving out a space in the local beer scene, which threatens to be inundated by imports.

"It's a bit ironic to see the Brooklyn is the widest available craft beer in Paris right now," Thomas explained "but I think it's also very encouraging and shows a lot remains to be done to show that beer can be a tasty and flavorful product, and not a generic thirst-quencher, or a one-time souvenir from the countryside."

Deck and Donahue's Montreuil brewery

Deck and Donohue's ales and IPAs are making their way to market and can be found at what are likely already your favorite Paris bars and restaurants- including Holybelly and Les Trois 8- with many more to come.

 

 

 

Profile d'un Producteur: Alice from Confitures Re-Belles

A homemade batch of  Confitures Re-Belles' jams On a recent grey morning in Paris I waited to meet Alice Blaise at the cosy 18th arrondissement restaurant Soul Kitchen. Alice is one of the founders of Disco Soup, an association that aims to educate people about the prevalence of food waste through hands-on community outreach and organizing.

A typical Disco Soup event consists of claiming a public space, filling a table with recuperated vegetables that, for reasons either aesthetic or pertaining to overzealous eat-by dates, were otherwise destined for the trash bin, and asking passersby to participate in collective vegetable peeling and prep work. The end result is a massive batch of soup that is then shared with all present.

Since its creation in 2012, the association has seen over 50 cities host their own Disco Soup events and has been contacted by people all over the world who are interested in bringing the concept to their country.

But the reason I asked Alice to meet me wasn't to talk about Disco Soup, but rather her most recent venture, Confitures Re-Belles. Not one to take a disco nap, Alice launched her new project after hearing about the British chutney makers Rubies in the Rubble. The concept is simple but brilliant, would-be wasted fruits and vegetables are collected and re-sourced to make interesting and ever changing flavors of jams and conserves, taking the "your trash is my treasure" approach to the extreme.

Pot

Along with her roommate Colette, Alice has tackled the logistics of sourcing and preparing massive quantities of jams in a tiny Parisian apartment, all without having ever made home preserves in her life.

The challenges of living in a 6th floor walk up apartment with minimal kitchen space have slowed production, but the project is still picking up steam. The team is putting together a business plan and looking for sources to fund the materials and working space needed to prepare their creative concoctions with flavors including Grape and Star Anise, Tomato Vanilla, Strawberry Mint, and Mandarine Raspberry.

Alice and Colette at a Disco Soup event

The ever-changing produce that is sourced from area supermarkets, markets, and food banks provides for constant inspiration for new flavors and products. The pair are also constantly on the lookout for new recipes and savoir faire when it comes to the age old art of home canning. Alice's white whale is a banana confiture- which she has heard of but never seen in real life.

But besides bunches of bananas, what the girls really need is a space to call their kitchen. Co-cooking spaces such as Les Camionneuses sponsored shared kitchen are great resources to nomadic chefs, but pricing can be restrictive considering the fact that Alice and Colette have spent entire weekends transforming recuperated produce into pots de confiture. Crowd funding and other fundraising methods are being considered, as well as the possibility of seeking financial assistance from city-based programs.

Pots Confitures Re-Belles

You can show your support for Confitures Re-Belles by liking their facebook page and watching this space for updates on a possible Kiss Kiss Bank Bank campaign.

Until then, you can peel vegetables with Alice and co. at the next Disco Soup Paris event, Thursday February 6 at Dauphine Durable's "Green Week" event.