Hey guys!

How are you today? Thanks for your comments on yesterday’s survey post. It was great getting to know you! I just got home from teaching my Wednesday spin class and it was awesome!  For all my ladies that participated, it was a pleasure sweating with you this morning! Let’s get on to the topic of today, shall we? Here’s a run-down of my new things this week:

1. Recipe of the Week: Ratatouille. Remember when I bought that enormous Sicilian eggplant 2 weeks ago? Well, I had a whole lot of it leftover and needed a quick and easy way to use it up. Since the weather has been a cooling off a bit lately, I’m beginning to notice that my cravings for warmer food are coming back. This veggie-laden recipe makes a great weeknight dinner when paired with a protein source like mild fish, and if you want to make a larger batch (say, if you have an eggplant the size of your head), it also makes a good leftover lunch.

Someone in this house might have even eaten it for breakfast…. 😉

2. Cavena Nuda, or “Rice of the Prairies”. While perusing the bins at Bulk Barn this weekend, I came across a new-to-me grain. Cavena Nuda (pronounced  ka- vee-na new-da, is a product that originated as the result of two Manitoba men, farmer Scott Sigvaldason and plant breeder Vern Burrows, combining their expertise. It is now produced by Wedge Farms. The product’s name comes from the latin avena nuda (naked oats) combined wtih a ‘C’ to make them Canadian.

Back in 2009, Sigvaldason tried to bring Cavena Nuda to market but didn’t have much luck. He then presented his product on Dragons’ Den, where he found a willing investor, the owner of Boston Pizza, Jim Treliving. How willing? The $250, 000 kind of willing! Now, naked oats are available across the country in health food stores, and as I discovered on Saturday, at Bulk Barn!

So what’s the difference between ‘naked oats’ and regular oats?

From Wedge Farms’ website…

With regular oats, the hull remains on until they are processed to remove the hull often hundreds of miles away, then the hulls must be disposed of as a by-product of oat milling. This involves moving the oats with the hulls on and then the hulls themselves, burning a lot of fuel in the process. The oats must then be heated to stop them from becoming rancid as the hull is no longer there to protect the kernel, using more fuel.

Cavena is unique as the oat itself is naturally both hulless and hairless. There is no difference in the look or growth of the plant until harvest. When cavena is threshed the hull is removed and returned to the soil immediately where it breaks down improving the health of the field. Cavena is then much more dense needing far less storage space and hauling, reducing the carbon footprint substantially. While regular oats need heat treating once the hull is removed, Cavena has natural defences against spoiling.

In short, 100% of the oat bran is maintained on the kernel, offering better health and nutrition. It looks, cooks and tastes just like rice. Cavena Nuda’s protein content is 2 1/2 times that of rice, it has a low GI score, and has been certified as suitable for those with gluten intolerances and Celiac disease.

If you’re a numbers person, here’s a little comparison:

(Click for larger image)

To cook 1 cup of the grain, it simply needs to be placed in about 2 1/2 cups of water. The instructions on the Wedge Farms website said to cook them for about 35-40 minutes, then strain to remove extra water. It also said that it’s not possible to overcook the grain as long as you keep enough liquid in the pot, which is excellent for people like me that tend to either overcook or undercook rice!

While there are several recipes on Wedge Farms’ website, I decided to create a salad (which serves 2) with the following ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup raw Cavena Nuda, boiled in water for about 35 minutes
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled cucumber
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup organic dried cranberries, infused with apple juice (a find in my local health food store)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, very finely chopped
  • black pepper
For the dressing, I whisked together 1 tbsp each extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, and fig-infused vinegar. I left it in the fridge overnight in order to give the flavours some time to meld, and packed a serving in my lunch yesterday.
The Cavena Nuda reminded me a lot of spelt berries or kamut berries. They seemed like a much more sturdy grain than rice, and like kamut and spelt berries, had a slightly nutty taste. Although the veggies were fairly light, the chickpeas and Cavena Nuda certainly gave this salad staying power. I only purchased about 1 cup of the grain this weekend, but I’ll be going back for more soon!
3. A new form of cardio: Technogym’s Cardio Wave! This machine is one that I’ve never seen before – until I started going to another gym in my area a couple of weeks ago:


That would be the Cardio Wave machine, which is a bit like an elliptical – but different.  According to Technogym:

The unique movement of this machine helps you to achieve full muscle toning, high calorie consumption and strengthening of the muscles that stabilize the knee joint.

I’ll let this 80’s-inspired video from the Technogym website do the talking:

As a side note, is it just me, or does the woman in the white pants look like Kristen Davis??
Even though the video seems a little old, this is actually a really good workout! The Cardio Wave can be used as a stand-alone piece of cardio equipment for solo workouts, or in a group setting as shown in the video. My first Wave experience was in a class format, and thankfully it was nowhere near as 80’s-esque as this video would make it appear. Phew… I didn’t have my white exercise pants with me anyway. 😉
The experience felt a bit like rollerblading, only I didn’t have to worry about trying to stop and crashing into things. The instructor stood on one of the wave machines facing the group, then shouted out different positions as music played. There are a bunch of different ways you can work out on this machine – facing forwards, hands off the handles, pulling back on the handles so all your weight is in your butt, leaning to one side, and backwards. As you increase the level of difficulty, the resistance on the pedals (not sure that’s what they’re called, but the plates that you put your feet on) decreases, so you have to move your legs faster in order to prevent the pedals from bottoming out. (If you’ve ever been on a stepper and not stepped quickly enough, you’ll probably know what I mean by this.)


The class was only 20 minutes long, but my lower body got a pretty good workout. I wasn’t dripping in sweat or anything, but I’d definitely do the longer version of this class in the future.

So tell me…
  • Have you tried the Cardio Wave before?
  • Did you try anything new yesterday?
  • Any Recipe of the Week requests for next week?