Coastal Alabama Farmers & Fishermens Market


Located in Foley, Alabama

18/21 Rule and Other Advice I’ve Read That Actually Makes Sense

18/21 Rule and Other Advice I’ve Read That Actually Makes Sense


Health advice is abundant.  While it reflects a worthwhile trend to having access to more information about health, some articles I’ve read are not very helpful.  Ubiquitously, advice in articles frequently say for better health, “Lose weight” and it is given as casually as “Floss Teeth.”  To get ready for bed you should brush and floss your teeth and lose twenty pounds.  Hmm, I’m exaggerating, of course, but such casual advice is not helpful and unnecessary.  In the same type of advice, articles frequently relate how many calories in a meal and how many grams of protein and how many grams of carbohydrates.  I don’t know about you, but my life cannot be centered around perfection and following healthy advice all the time


However, there are some suggestions that I’ve found are helpful and actually make sense for our less than perfectly ordered lives:


18/21 Rule

To explain this rule, here is a personal example.  My granddaughter is a cheerleader for her high school that’s located in Mobile.  During the fall months, my wife and I make Friday afternoon trips to Mobile to sit through the first half of a game before coming home.  I’m sure you immediately envisioned what the Bayway and other sections of the Interstate Highway are like at that time of day on Fridays that we are traveling so we have to allow plenty of time.  Sitting down to a perfectly constructed meal with nothing but fresh, healthy ingredients is not possible.  Somewhere I read about, what the author called, the 18/21 rule and it made sense to me.  Seven days a week, three meals per day, that’s twenty-one meals per week.  The advice was to eat eighteen healthy meals.  Twenty-one meals per week.  Can I eat at least 18 healthy meals?  Yeah, I can do that and that gives me three cheat meals.  So, on Friday nights during the fall months, we stop at Five Guys, order a Little Hamburger with the veggies only – lettuce, tomato, and pickle – with mustard (no sugar-laden condiments like ketchup and no fat-laden mayonnaise or cheese) and a bottle of water.  It’s one of my cheat meals, not bad, but not good either.  Of course, I don’t go crazy with my three cheat meals, though I would like to.  What does this have to do with the Market?  Very little.  But, read on.


Eat more Seafood

We can live by this advice, easily.  At Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermens Market we have two options of vendors from whom we can buy seafood, most of which is packaged in a manner that can be eaten that night or put in the freezer to eat later.  Shrimp, fish, crab cakes, shrimp cakes, good healthy eating.  Recently, we were going to be out of town visiting relatives and returning late Sunday night.  I bought a pound of shelled, deveined shrimp and stuck in the freezer.  When we returned late Sunday night, I took the shrimp out of the freezer and put it in a large bowl.  Sprinkled seafood seasoning on it and added a beer and some water.  I then unloaded the car, unpacked, started a load of clothes in the washing machine, poured a glass of wine, and checked email and the news online for the day.  Made a green salad using Craine Creek Farms lettuce as well as vegetables from the Market and then steamed the shrimp.  Poured another glass of wine and I’m eating more seafood.  Using the stock phrase of one of my wife’s favorite television chefs, “How easy is that?”


Eat Fresh Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

This one is so easy for frequent shoppers at the Market that it’s superfluous to mention or expound upon. 


Limit sweets and only indulge with sweets that have a redeeming value

This piece of health advice that I read took me by surprise, but it makes sense.  We’ve seen the “limit sweets” advice a lot, but the author of this article took the advice a step further.  I’ve never been one to enjoy sweet tastes, so I never felt I was sacrificing, but when I read this admonition, it made a lot of sense to me.  Redeeming value to sweets means such things as a fresh fruit pie, pecan pie, dark chocolate, as I said, it makes sense.  In addition to a year-round supply of fruit, another advantage we have visiting a farmers’ market regularly is the vendors who bring their homemade goods to the Market to sell:  salsas, jelly, jam, bread, brownies, and pies.  Fortunately, we have vendors who sell these delights at the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermens Market.  With fresh fruit, I feel I can justify the indulgence as having a redeeming value and possessing some nutrition, but that’s only rationalizing as I know I’m not getting a lot healthy benefits but the pies are so good … and the pies have a redeeming value of being made with fresh fruit.  Even this non-sweet lover can appreciate that.


Those are four healthy pieces of advice that I know I can follow, with the help of the gentle people of Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermens Market and the advice actually make sense to me.


Recipe of the Week:  Marinara Sauce


If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, you probably have picked up on the idea that I like Italian food.  Guilty.  In reference to the theme of today’s blog about health advice that makes sense, one health advice that makes no sense but became popular in recent years was to eschew pasta.  In what universe is pasta bad for you?  I’m eating pasta and wishing every time I go to the Market that a vendor would be there selling freshly made pasta.




Italian sausage, defrosted (George Family Farms)

Shiitake mushrooms, when available (Terry Underwood)

1 cup sweet yellow onion, diced (available from several vendors)

1 cup bell pepper, diced (available from several vendors)

1 cup celery, diced (Forland Family Market)

1 cup of carrots, diced (Forland Family Market)

1 clove of garlic, minced (Forland Family Market)

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (Note:  I prefer Muir Glen)

Oregano (from a plant purchased at the Market)

Basil (from a plant purchased at the Market)

White wine

     Sea salt

     Olive Oil

     Pasta of choice (My personal choice for this recipe is fettucine, but any will do.)

     Cheese of choice




  1. Break up the sausage into small pieces and brown in a large pot. (see note below)
  2. After the meat is browned remove it from the pot leaving juices.
  3. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots.  Sprinkle lightly with Sea Salt.  Stirring often cook vegetables until wilted.  (Note: Sausage from George Family Farms tends to be lean.  You may have to add a little olive oil.)
  4. Add mushrooms and bell pepper.  Cook until wilted.
  5. Add tomatoes and herbs as well as a splash of white wine.
  6. Adjust heat to medium low and cook for two hours.  Do not let the sauce boil.
  7. Cover and let sit for 1 hour.
  8. Cook pasta to directions.
  9. While pasta is cooking, warm the sauce slowly.
  10. Serve the sauce over the pasta.  Add some fresh basil to the top as well as shredded cheese.  I like Farmer’s Cheese from Forland Family Market.


[Note regarding meat in marina sauce:  In graduate school I got to know a guy who is first generation American whose parents immigrated to the United States from Italy and became naturalized citizens.  I asked him about marinara sauce and he said that to truly understand marinara sauce, you have to think peasant food.  It’s using what’s available and stretching it to feed a large extended family.  He said that a true marinara sauce will have several meats, but a little of each – a little piece sausage, a little piece chicken, or a beef bone the neighborhood butcher gave you that has a few pieces of meat still clinging and can be cooked off.  That’s the lagniappe for this week.]


Serve with a fresh salad made with Craine Creek Farm lettuce and a glass of red wine.


Enjoy!  See you at the Market

Bob Zeanah

Author of No Anchor

Available online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Books a Million

Author of Work to Do

Available online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Books a Million

14410 Oak Street

Magnolia Springs AL  36555

251-752-5174 mobile device 


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