Tag Archives: healthy eating

A Surprisingly Delicious Winter Salad

SHREDDED_KALE_SALAD_01I really start to miss eating salads this time of year, but the usual summer salad greens are nearly always disappointing during the winter months with their bland taste and texture.

Here is a salad that will not disappoint!  It is made with raw kale, and no – it is not bitter at all. Some of you will not need any convincing to try this, but for those of you who are in the “raw kale is too bitter” camp, I urge you to give it a try. It is yummy!

Winter Kale Salad (serves one, or two if used as a side salad)

  • 100 grams Kale, chopped up
  • 50 grams grated Parmesan cheese
  • big handful of pumpkin seeds (I soak mine overnight in water with sea salt, then dehydrate them in a very low oven)

For the dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar (I’ve used White Wine Vinegar before; it was fine)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Mix the dressing ingredients together and whisk.  Pour over the chopped kale, blending well Add cheese and pumpkin seeds, and….ENJOY!

I have eaten this salad immediately after I make it and it is very good. But if you want to soften the kale leaves a little bit before you eat it, simply dress the salad an hour or two ahead of time and the acid in the vinegar and mustard will make the kale less chewy.

A very forgiving recipe….I have used more parmesan cheese and pumpkin seeds when I am using this salad as a meal and it made it very substantial and filling. You can also use more or less dressing of course.

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Diet and Nutrition – One of the Four Pillars of Health

healthy eating imageThe most important thing a person can do to upgrade their nutrition is to give up processed foods. There is little chance of being healthy if your diet has too many packaged, processed foods on the menu. If this is the case for you but you are willing to learn new ways of eating and are also willing to make some lifestyle changes, then improved health is within your grasp.

If you know little or nothing about how to eat healthy, start by eliminating all the processed foods then begin to increase your intake of vegetables, and you’ll be closer to better health almost immediately.  Once you eliminate the processed stuff, you can focus on adding in more of the healthy plant-based foods to your diet.  Set a challenge for yourself to prepare some healthy but delicious recipes, featuring plants or mostly plants.  Experiment and explore with new and different recipes. There are so many blogs and free sources to get new recipes that you could get started as soon as you make your next trip to the grocery store. (A good way to boost your veggie intake fast is to get organic green super food powder (this contains freeze-dried or dehydrated vegetables and super foods), mix it with a little water or apple juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and start drinking it most mornings. It is a relatively pain-free way to get more veggies in you!  Then continue your quest to find mouth-watering vegetable recipes.

Once you make a start in the healthier direction, make it a priority to educate yourself and allow this interest in being healthy and feeling wonderful to motivate you. There are some great teachers in this area out there, like Mark Hyman, M.D., Josh Axe, M.D., Sara Gottfried, M.D. (“Dr. Sara”), The Food Babe, and Kris Carr, to name just a few. Once you begin, you will be amazed at the help and good advice at your fingertips. The key is to begin….right now, right where you are.

Remember to put your focus on the plethora of foods you CAN eat, instead of the things you cannot. If you build your diet on what you must stay away from, your willpower WILL cave in time!  Ask yourself the question, “What great foods can I add to my diet?”  Stop thinking “no, no, no” when it comes to food, and instead make a list of healthy foods you like and have fun creating new meals. Remember that you want to get it right more often than not.  No browbeating yourself! Just start incorporating some healthy yummy food in your diet today.

Here are some of the food guidelines I live by. Maybe they will help you too.:

  • Protein at every meal, plant based most of the time. If you like meat too much to give it up, pay the extra for organic free range meat. There are too many antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals in mass-produced meat to eat this way any longer.
  • Lots of vegetables, some raw.
  • Fruit, but limit the high sugar-content fruit to every other day (bananas, pineapples, mangos).
  • Limit grains and starches, and sugar
  • Lots and lots of water

It is simple, and not at all boring once you get out of the box and explore the possibilities of lovely food you may not have previously considered. If this seems too much all at once, decide to start with one day a week that features healthy and meatless food, and let your creativity run wild.

There are some unwavering truths about healthy eating, then there are lots of opinions floating around out there. It can be confusing to read and hear so much conflicting information….Eat whole grains; avoid all grains – raw food is the way to go; raw food is not sustainable and rots your teeth – use lots of extra virgin olive oil; oh but it’s bad to cook with it (and maybe don’t eat fats very much any more!).  I think the “truths” are to make your diet more plant-based, don’t eat genetically modified foods, and stay away from white sugar and white flour. At least, these are the truths to which my research has led me. I’m sure there are others out there who would disagree. The important thing is for you to find what is the best diet for you. (No, it’s never going to be doritos and snickers bars, sorry).  But you have some wiggle room as to what is acceptable. I took a long time to realize that wheat and gluten was tearing my gut apart – mostly because I didn’t want to know this. Now I know, and as painful as it was to give up wheat, it is now part of my life and is relatively easy for me.

In summary: give yourself the tools you need to get started by doing a little research, collecting tasty recipes, and adding great food to your pantry and fridge. Don’t beat yourself up by placing your awareness on what you cannot eat; just begin to crowd the bad stuff out of your diet by adding in the good.  Enjoy the daily pleasure of healthy, living food.

A Quick Supper – Mushroom, Blue Cheese, and Spinach Salad

Warm_salad_of_spinach_fieldI found this recipe on an old receipt that I had obviously scribbled down in a mighty hurry.  I have no memory of the origin of this recipe, having found it in a handbag I hadn’t used in a while. But I have tried it a couple of times, tinkering with the recipe each time (as I often do) and I think it is good enough to share. This serves two good appetites, so simply halve it if you are on your own. Keeping in mind that you are cooking the mushrooms in oil and there is oil in the dressing, you may want to drain the cooked mushrooms a bit – though I didn’t find this necessary.

 

Mushroom – Blue Cheese – Spinach Salad 

For the dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard
  • 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 6 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

Mix crushed garlic clove and salt together; put this and all other dressing ingredients in a jar or small jug and mix together.

For the salad:

  • 200 grams mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 or 2 crushed cloves garlic(or to taste)
  • 200 grams blue cheese
  • 200 grams baby spinach

Saute mushrooms and garlic in olive oil until mushrooms are nicely cooked through. Remove pan from heat, and add the blue cheese to the mushrooms so flavours intermingle. Divide the washed spinach on two plates or bowls, and drizzle the dressing lightly over the leaves. You can add a little sea salt and black pepper at this stage if desired. Put the mushrooms/blue cheese atop the leaves, and voila! Quick lovely supper.

You can add your own little touches to this – I have used a mixed greens mix instead of spinach,and I love a bit of tomato (in season) on top. For you non-vegetarians, you can sprinkle some leftover bacon or ham in the mushroom/blue cheese mixture. This is a perfect vehicle for experimentation: Try adding strawberries or pears, black olives or avocados, substituting the blue cheese for feta cheese – the possibilities are endless. Experiment and enjoy!