Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Contemplations Amidst Hunger Pangs

I sit here snacking on multi-grain crackers and garlic hummus ~ knowing I was just SO close to buying a chocolate bar! Chocolate was a match for my mood this evening ~ unsettled.. thinking of too many things. If I had a sack of chips in the cupboard, they'd have been quickly opened ~ and way too many eaten!

Which is precisely why I don't keep chips in the cupboard!

We can kid ourselves and say we are the master of our choices, but a lot depends on whether it's 1 o'clock or 5 o'clock ~ and how good we feel about ourselves at the time. (I look back to the days of raising kids with compassion for those doing it now. Five to six o'clock is probably the worst hour of the day!)

But now that I have something nutritious in my stomach, I can go about preparing something equally nutritious for dinner. Tonight, I'm pulling some left-over pasta tossed in sauteed garlic and olive oil out of the refrigerator for a side to the main entrees ~ another mess of greens!

I love this option because it's pretty much the same routine ~ but you can vary the ingredients.
So to the sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil, I'll toss in some washed spinach leaves, some chopped red peppers and sun dried tomatoes. Very fast! The last ingredient will be some balsalmic vinegar ~ or may just cider vinegar.

A few slices of oranges and an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (Kashi brand) will be dessert.

Why am I so passionate? I'm nearly sixty-four, and I view this practice as my retirement investment. As long as I feel good and can buy the foods that make that possible, I'll have lifestyle I want!

You'll also hear this often here: Healthy eating is affordable health care!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Work on Depression by Getting Balanced

According to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, published results on how well antidepressants work are skewed. It's been an incredibly profitable investment for those who own stock in the pharmaceutical companies that make them, so why am I not surprised.

Aside from that, I was reading in "Clean, Green and Lean" (I forget the author) at the bookstore last night about all the symptoms created by food allergies alone. Depression is one of them.
Add in all the toxic elements used to process all the packaged stuff we think is food and it's no wonder we're literally sick and tired ~ and depressed.

Anything that creates inflammation in the body is going to manifest itself as a health complaint or chronic condition. That's most of what we Americans eat ~ and that influence is changing health profiles world wide.

The books and articles supporting this are sprouting everywhere ~ thankfully. So purge your cabinets and refrigerator, do some research, and invest in the foods that are good for you.
If you drink pop, that's the very first thing to eliminate!

It's empowering, because we can change how we feel ~ mentally and physically ~ by what we eat. It's affordable health care ~ and it's available to you now!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Water ~ Pure & Simple!

In the course of a busy day, I need something to remind me to stay on course.

For me, it's water.

I bought a stainless steel, 25 oz water bottle that I fill with filtered water every day before I leave home. Sipping on that during the day helps remind me that the best nutrition is pure and simple.

I've backed away from latte's in the mornings and save them for the weekend. I'm saving money there, and more than than when I'm not buying bottled water.

I remember the savor this water because it truly is a precious, diminishing resource. It reminds me to be grateful for all the good foods that are available to us, if we choose.

Water. It's the elixir of life. Drink it with appreciation and gratitude!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

There's Nothing Like a "Mess of Greens"

I was famished as I stood in my kitchen at 5:30 p.m. ~ happy, at least, that my cabinets contained no chips, cookies, or candy to munch on. The night before, I had left over pasta with sun dried tomatoes, but tonight I was craving greens.

Even if you don't think you can cook ~ this, you can do!

Just gather ingredients from four categories I'll share here, and then stir fry them together! It can be a main dish, or you can add a side of rice and a small slice of, say, pan-seared salmon ~ and you're set!

You'll choose your greens first ~ either beet greens, chard, spinach, collard greens , turnip greens, mustard greens or kale. (Make sure they're washed and cut!) Drop them into a wok or skillet where you've sauteed a handful of chopped onion and a few minced garlic cloves into a tablespoon of olive oil.

You can vary the dish by choosing different items I've listed above ~ or try your own creation.

It's an easy, affordable dose of nutrients you can offer your family several times a week!

Next pick a vegetable or two ~ sliced carrots, mushrooms or bell peppers, maybe ~ add that and cook for a minute or two. Some add-ins make it interesting. Choose from raisins, lemon zest, sun dried tomatoes, or even some minced jalapenos or Canadian bacon.

Another few minutes after that sautes, top it off with a sprinkle of your choice of vinegar ~ or just lemon juice!

There Is No ''Cruise Control"

It's not uncommon for those who've managed to lose the weight they always hoped ~ to find months later they're inching back to where they were before.

Sure, having a target weight as a goal can get you there, but once you arrive, you may wonder what's next? It's how we're geared culturally. We're always looking for what's next.

We've staged the food arena as a battle ground where we gear up daily to face the enemy. After all, food makes us fat! It can appear that way when you're assaulted with so many unhealthy food choices in fast-food joints and in most of the supermarket aisles. So, of course, it takes Spartan measures to keep saying "no."

But the paradigm shifts when you find good foods to say "yes" to. And there are plenty of them!
Here's the best news: "The more you eat of them, the better you feel!" The pounds will still drop, and you don't have to run marathons to make it happen.

That's because our bodies run more efficiently when we're eating the foods we were meant to eat. We burn more calories because our metabolism changes.

For 10 days, stay off the bathroom scales and reach for an apple or an orange the next time you crave a bag of salty chips. Have a bag of almonds handy ~ just a few of those can stave off cravings. Eat as many vegetables as you want and reduce your meat portions. (Americans generally eat twice as much protein as they need every day!) Add a little exercise ~ even a 20 minute walk each day will make a difference ~ then see where you are next time you weigh in.

You'll find good eating doesn't have to be a life-long battle. It's easier than you think!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Slice a Tomato for Litmus on Food Quality

I never buy tomatoes in the winter.

They're out of season at Colorado's latitude, and so the imported tomates you buy that time of year are hard as golf balls. I'd just as soon skip the garnish of anemic tomato flesh, languidly hanging out on the side of my plate at a restaurant. If you chew them, you don't taste anything ~ because there's little nutritional value there.

Arthur Allen explores the topic in his newly published book, "Ripe: The Search for the Perfect Tomato." That is, if you're buying it at a supermarket. If you're growing it (in season, of course), or you purchase it at a farmer's market or from a distributor who buys locally, a slice offers no comparison. The pulp is bright red, rather than the yellow-tinged flesh of it's cousin that traveled many miles to get here.

Years ago, most families had a vegetable garden, but convenience won out. After all, it takes a lot of time to grow food. But books like Allen's are drawing attention and increasing awareness that it's apparent we lost an awful lot in the process ~ and the time we devote to developing our own backyard and community gardens may be the important investment we can ultimately make!

Easy Tomato Dish

Ripe tomatoes, sliced
Mozzarella cheese
Basil Leaves
Olive Ohio

You can decide the quantity of ingredients ~ Just arrange sliced tomatoes on a plate, top with strips of cheese and snips of basil leaves, sprinkle salt and pepper, and drissel some olive oil over them. Don't waste the effort if the tomatoes aren't ripe ~ and locally grown!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Less Really Is More!

My husband and I just got back from an expedition down to Tuscon ~ a culinary capital ~ to discover some new and different approaches to cooking. We've both recently moved away from eating red meat and poultry, and except for an occasional dish with cheese, we've pretty much given up dairy products, too.

In some ways it was challenging, because in most restaurants, most entrees are built around meat. Breakfast options are pretty much egg and meat-based, and lunch menus are mainly variations of meat and cheese sandwiches.

Some restaurants featured a few meatless dishes, and so we would select from those. Otherwise, we'd pick and choose among soups, salads and appetizers.

But while our restaurant menu options may have narrowed, by talking with vegetarian foodies down there, we've discovered there's a whole new world of great eating available when we sample new vegetables ~ for example, rutabagas, parsnips, fennel and chard. Get to know a few spices like basil, cumin, tarragon and red pepper flakes and there's no end to the great dishes you can create!

I can accept that from now on, our restaurant menu options may be fewer and we may no longer have meat in the freezer, because we have many more still undiscovered vegetable-based dishes to try ~ and more money to spend by cutting out that pricey meat!