Local chef Seth Verzyden has got it growing on

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Every week, I will be profiling an extraordinary human being who lives in our community. If you know someone who is doing something interesting with their life, I want to hear about it. Send me an email at [email protected].

Again this week, I’ve switched up the theme for my weekly extraordinary person profiles. I have talked to Chef Seth Verzyden who knows a lot about health and wellness and how growing small things and tweaking your diet will leave you feeling great.

Seth Verzyden has got it growing on.

Getting my tongue around saying Chef Seth three times was certainly a challenge this week. (Go ahead, try it.) But he definitely opened my eyes to some very simple truths.

“I strive to be healthy,” he tells me. “I do have cheat days. I’ve cut most red meat out of my life but once in a while I’ll cook a steak. I’m not completely vegan. I still eat fish. Basically [a lifestyle change]was for the health reasons.”

Everything Seth does for a living revolves around health and wellness. For starters, he has been a chef for 20 years and he’s cooked up a storm at various local restaurants since his career started. For the last seven years, he’s been happily employed at Fairvern Nursing Home as the head chef serving delicious and nutritious meals to some 75 residents.

Seth grew this abundance of spicy lentil crunch sprouts in just a few days.

Seth grew this abundance of spicy lentil crunch sprouts in just a few days.

He’s also a certified weight-loss coach and he works closely with his clients to help them successfully reach their goals. He knows results don’t happen right away. When it comes to shedding those few extra pounds, setting realistic goals is crucial. In fact, when it comes to making any lifestyle changes, start small. And exercise. That’s hugely important, too.

He’s making a conscious effort instilling his knowledge in his kids. Seth says that most of the animal protein purchased from grocery stores is full of antibiotics and that the human body was designed for a vegetarian-style diet. There’s a lot of push to have our recommended daily intake of certain foods, however, most of our food choices are full of additives, he says. He son is allergic to eggs and his family doesn’t drink cow’s milk. Healthier alternatives are made.

Seth's two children Gabriella and Sabastien munch on some sprouts their dad grew. Seth held a mini workshop on growing microgreens and those who attended were blown away at the simplicity of it.

Seth’s two children Gabriella and Sebastien munch on some sprouts their dad grew. Seth held a mini workshop on growing microgreens and those who attended were blown away at the simplicity of it.

“It’s a sad design, and I believe it has been designed on purpose,” says Seth of both the Canadian and American food guides. “Why are more unhealthy [food choices] cheaper and healthier more expensive? They don’t want the population to be healthy. If they did they wouldn’t have it the opposite.”

This past December he added a new element into his lifestyle when he purchased a small seed business and started growing microgreens. Microgreens seem to be the latest craze in the culinary world. And for good reason. They pack some serious punch when it comes to their nutritional value and the amount of vitamin content in just a small handful. A little bit of catch, though, is not consuming too much. You can actually end up toxifying your system with their extremely high vitamin/mineral concentration.

“I’ve always loved growing plants,” says the 35-year-old father of two. “It’s something I’m interested in doing. I’m just as fascinated by microgreening. I had seen it working in restaurants and thought it was a very cool type of produce.”

Seth spoke about sprouting and growing microgreens to a small group at Soul Sistas this past Monday. I was eager to attend. This is another guy I’ve known since my high school days and connect with through Facebook. What caught my eye was all the photos he had been posting of lush and beautiful homegrown sprouts, like alfalfa and broccoli, in glass jars. It piqued my interest. I thought, ‘What has this guy got growing on in the dead of winter?’

At the mini workshop he told people about the many benefits of this style of indoor gardening. He talked about how easy it is to grow your own produce and the money you can save by doing it.

“What I love about microgreening, aside from the extreme health benefits, is that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg buying produce at the grocery store. The fact that we are doing the microgreening and sprouting at home gives my family an easy source right at our fingertips. It’s something anyone can do especially the sprouting. Three to four days and you have a bulk load of health.”

I know I’m not the only one who can’t afford the high price tag attached to buying organic fruits, free-range chickens and almond milk. But I don’t let my family feast on junk. Every summer we grow a garden full of delicious, organic vegetables. I’m thinking growing microgreens would be a small step in a healthier direction. Seth tells me how much his kids love to help him.

The truth is, I think we all want to live long and healthy lives. Even if some of us are content just making it into our 70s, you want to live those years feeling your best. And when you feel your best, it generally means you are healthy. Not to mention happy.

 

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