Vitalis Nutrition founder Stephanie Hodges first came across my radar last November, when I saw her speak at Vancouver’s own Pecha Kucha speaker series. On the evening’s program she was listed as a ‘Nutritionist and Adventure Foodie’. What appealed to me right away about Stephanie is how enthusiastic she is to share her passion for healthy and delicious eating, not just the consumption of it, but also the experience of getting out there and finding it….. not to mention what interesting people she is likely to meet along the way.
I spoke with Stephanie two weeks ago and she was kind enough to answer a few questions that I had about the evolution of her work. When I asked her what first drew her to this field as a profession, she said that it was a combination of things. As a child athlete, she noticed early on in life the benefits of a healthy diet, exercise and proper sleep. Early on, Hodges made it a devotion of her life be healthy and balanced. From there, her path became a natural evolution inspired by both mentors and personal experience.
As it says on her website “We believe individuals can achieve a physical, mental and emotional transformation through their relationship to food.” Most of Stephanie’s client base is one-on-one and family based. Currently, a good deal of her work is focused on her involvement with Pomegranate Community Midwives. Here she helps mothers and their families with the nutritional components of optimal health.
I would like to share some of Stephanie’s presentation from last November, as I found it to be chock full of inspiring ideas and fantastic resources:
1- Get Out of the Grocery Store! Stephanie encouraged us to connect directly with our food and also to become more involved with the growing of our own produce, either through private or community gardens.
3- A Raw Milk Dairy- Hodges is also a big fan of Chilliwack’s Home on the Range, where one can purchase ‘cow shares’. Purchasing shares in a bovine provides the present day legal loop hole needed so that consumers can acquire unpasteurized milk, a product that remains illegal to sell outright in Canada but one that many feel is a much healthier version than the legal and readily available pasteurized version. In addition to raw cow’s milk, Home on the Range also offers goat milk, cheese, butter, eggs and yogurt.
4- DIY Fermentation- Stephanie would like to see us incorporate more fermented foods into our diets. Urban Ashram’s Tomas Hicks teaches one day workshops on how to make sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented fruits. Forty dollars provides participants with hands on learning plus lots of healthy goodies to take home. Note that he also teaches cheese making workshops using raw dairy products from Home on the Range. As an aside, here is ‘Obsessive Pickles‘ , a great video on the subject of fermentation and pickles.
I asked Stephanie to share a recipe that she enjoys making. Below is a fantastic looking recipe for fancy grilled asparagus, an inspiring dish for spring, complete with asiago butter and lemon, for extra flavour………
Stephanie’s Grilled Asparagus with Asiago Butter
3/4 cup grated asiago cheese
6 tbsp of butter, room temperature
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp grated lemon rind
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
Stir cheese, butter and lemon juice in saucepan and warm briefly, stirring continuously. Once mixture melds together, transfer to a small bowl to chill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Asiago butter can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Prepare barbecue (high heat). Whisk oil, basil, lemon rind and garlic to blend in small bowl. Spread out asparagus in single layer in baking dish. Pour oil mixture over asparagus and turn to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer asparagus to barbecue. Grill until charred on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4-6 minutes. Transfer to plates. Top asparagus with some asiago butter and a dusting of lemon rind and serve!