Since I’ve already admitted to my stubbornness in my last post (the post that started this “challenge” for myself to write daily… even when I forget about it and procrastinate and stay up past my bedtime… on the first day of the challenge… ), I’ll admit that one opinion on which I don’t think I’ll ever budge is that eating well is not too expensive, too much work, or not appealing/tasty.
As my interest and concern in my general physical health and wellbeing has increased over the past few years, I’ve put together some best practices:
1. Listen to your body. Obviously, at some point I have to tell my body who’s boss (for example, if I’m just being lazy or wanting to each cookies all day long), but typically, I think my body knows what I need pretty well. When I feel like I just need lots of fresh foods, I load up on salads and fresh veggies. If I feel low on protein, I’ll eat some meat. If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat as much; if I’m feeling extra hungry, I’ll eat more.
*And now is probably a good time to note the photos you are about to see aren’t the greatest quality–I apologize, but I don’t have time for editing tonight!
I take great pleasure in entirely homemade meals. Pictured here is a homemade whole wheat roll, cherry jam (made with local fruit from my neighbor), apple slices from CSA, homemade peanut butter. And of course–coffee. I guess you could call that semi-homemade?
I probably take too many pictures of veggies mid-cooking prep. But they are so beautiful.
How creative was God with all the vegetables?? This cabbage was too great to not snap a picture.
Kale is the darling of health foods. Rightfully so, in my opinion!
Just one more. Candy beets and red cabbage. !!
2. Balance. My typical diet consists of whole grains, fresh produce, and legumes. I try to keep refined, processed, or high sugar foods low; but when I’m craving something cold and creamy–there’s only a couple blocks and a small bit of change between me and my Culver’s mixer (mini, vanilla custard, peanut butter mixed in, choco. chip cookie dough on top, please). I don’t feel bad indulging when I know it’s not an everyday occurrence.
Example of an indulgence. But besides the herbs, oil, cream and bacon–it’s all local and natural! Oven baked parsnip and potato fries, with pork chops and a leek creamy delicious herb sauce.
Another example of an indulgence: Mini chocolate pecan pies in phyllo crusts.
3. Support your environment and your community. This has less to do with my personal health, and more to do with the general lifestyle that’s important to me. Buying local food is not only healthier for my body because I’m getting fresher produce in me (which equals higher levels of the nutrients I need), but it’s beneficial for the environment and my local economy. *Shameless plug: If you’ve never given CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) a try–I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s great to support a small business in your community and get lots of great farm-fresh produce each week. And an added bonus is that you’re likely to get new foods you haven’t had before and will have opportunity to experiment in the kitchen!
Again: beautiful, healthy, local, seasonal food. So good.
4. Enjoy the process. Personally, I love to cook. So a big part of eating well is enjoying the entire process–learning about what foods are beneficial, learning how different ingredients taste, learning about various ethnic cuisines. Food can be so enjoyable when you celebrate the diversity of produce and flavors and cooking traditions. AND, one thing that I really love, is preparing food for other people. Gatherings at the table are often overlooked in my generation of fast food and freezer meals (and I’ll admit eating on the go is sometimes the only way to get a meal in), but I do believe something special is shared when gathering with others over a meal.
For the times I do need to grab food and go, this is the ideal lunch. Purple and orange carrots, kale with lemon tahini dressing, best lentils ever, and brown rice.
I don’t qualify this as a meal on the go, but it’s a great breakfast or snack. And SO easy. Cucumber, apple (remove seeds and stem), and beet–into the blender or processor. So refreshing. This was with a candy beet so it turned out light pink. When you use a regular beet, the color is unbelievably beautiful.
So: go and fuel your bodies well!