“I was uncomfortable, overweight, unwell, tired, anemic — and I wanted to get some relief,” recalls award-winning culinary nutrition expert Jessica Mitton.
Mitton said she ate a traditional Newfoundland diet growing up, and as a busy adult working in finance she relied on convenience foods — but the food she ate soon caught up with her.
She had digestive problems and had surgery for a melon-sized uterine fibroid tumor, both of which led her to make a significant lifestyle change.
“I started seeing a naturopathic doctor and she put me on a good route, and I took some workshops in nutrition and absolutely loved it, and decided to take a nutrition program. That’s how I became a nutritional consultant, plus I’ve always had a passion for cooking, so the two of them fused together and ‘Some Good’ came about.”
“Some Good: Nutritious Newfoundland Dishes” takes traditional Newfoundland fare and provides a healthier version, such as Mitton’s favourite recipe in the cookbook — Battered Baked Cod. That recipe is a healthier version of deep-fried fish and chips — it uses brown rice flour and almond flour and involves baking rather than deep-frying the cod.
She said even her meat and potatoes-loving parents enjoyed the healthier version.
Mitton also uses local ingredients as inspiration for other recipes, such as another of her favourites — Partridgeberry Banana Pancakes.
“That’s one that we make almost every weekend at my house.”
She said too often people load up pancakes with refined flours and “nasty sweeteners” when swapping for plenty of berries and fruits can make the breakfast staple “delicious and nutritious.”
Love traditional N.L. foods
“When I first wrote the cook book, it was kind of because I love traditional Newfoundland dishes, but I couldn’t eat them because of the ingredients,” said Mitton. “I swapped out ingredients to make it much healthier, so I could enjoy them. And then I found other people were in the same situations.
“By swapping out some healthier ingredients, we can all enjoy our traditional Newfoundland dishes.”
She said changing her eating habits had a positive impact on her own personal health, and she aspires to help others make the same changes through her work and this cookbook.
Mitton points to the myriad of diet-related health problems faced by people in the province as one reason her healthier take on our traditional fare is a necessity.
“Hopefully people take the cookbook and learn from it, and incorporate some of those eating habits into their life.”
Mitton said no one’s called her revamped recipes blasphemy as of yet — “I’m actually surprised,” she said.
“I thought there would be some questions about it, but everyone’s been really positive. They’re asking questions more to learn, and that’s really great, and it’s really what I wanted.”
After clewing up her island-wide book signing tour Saturday afternoon with her last signing at Coleman’s on Newfoundland Drive, Mitton is already thinking about another cookbook.
She said she’ll be approaching the publisher about the possibility, and her plan is to focus the next cookbook solely on healthy baked goods and nutritious sweet treats.
Meantime, “Some Good: Nutritious Newfoundland Dishes” can be found in bookstores around the province.
It’s currently listed the third best-seller on Amazon.ca’s Canadian cooking list, and the website’s number one “Hot New Release” in Canadian cooking.
People can also check out Mitton’s other culinary nutrition services, such as healthy meal plans, and upcoming events on her website at www.jessicamitton.com.
Her next public event will be at The Natural Health Shop on Stavanger Drive on Sept. 7, where she will answer culinary nutrition questions.