Viewing entries tagged
healthy food

3 Strategies For Turning Pro at Making Healthy Food at Home 

Comment

3 Strategies For Turning Pro at Making Healthy Food at Home 

food-salad-healthy-vegetables.jpg

You are what you eat. Literally. Eating healthy affects every aspect of your health & wellbeing.

Eating healthy is a lot easier when you spend some time in the kitchen preparing most of the food you eat from healthy whole foods like vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices.

There’s simply a lot of people out there that either:

 A) Are not comfortable in the kitchen.

 B) Are comfortable in the kitchen cooking the way they always have, which isn’t very healthy, and have no idea where to start to improve on their skills.

 C) Cook a lot of their meals at home, but most is prepared from boxes, bags, cans, & jars of already processed foods, and the thought of preparing meals without those things makes them feel lost.

 D) Religiously follow recipes to feel comfortable cooking a meal, which takes a lot of planning and time.

 Are you one of the above? If so, this post is for you!

 I grew up preparing a lot of convenience meals from already processed foods.

 Before the enormous influx of processed foods on the shelf, and the introduction of the Betty Crocker Cookbook that found it’s way into most kitchens sometime in the 50’s, there was a lot more cooking being done with whole foods. The Betty Crocker cookbook taught us, it’s easy to prepare meals with a bunch of already processed ingredients, right? Marketing did a great job of convincing america to start cooking differently with the influx of processed & convenience food on the shelf and America's kitchens started looking a lot different.

 As a society we've forgotten how to cook from scratch ingredients, and with the introduction of so much convenience food, many people never took on cooking at all. Decades later, it seems we know how to cook from convenience and processed foods, and cooking from scratch with whole ingredients can feel intimidating!

 What has been forgotten is that whole food ingredients can be just as easy, taste a lot better, and from the influx of food related disease, I think we can safely say that it kept us a lot healthier too.

pexels-photo

 Here are my 3 top strategies for learning to cook and eat healthy from your own kitchen:

 #1. This is HUGE: Don’t fear failure in the kitchen! Just like anything else in life, if you want to get really good at something you have to practice, and especially when you are starting out, It’s likely that you’ll mess up. Be okay with that! Allowing yourself some room to mess up will allow you to feel more adventurous and try things that you maybe wouldn’t otherwise. As much time as I spend in the kitchen cooking, I still mess up sometimes. It just is what it is! Sometimes you don’t know that something doesn’t work together until it’s done, and you find out. We can learn the most from our mistakes in life, and that same rule applies in the kitchen. If you can learn to laugh off the disasters that happen, then you are more likely to keep being adventurous in the kitchen, and with time you'll become much more pro! Just stating that you can't cook will get you nowhere, except maybe on a run for take-out every night. 

 #2. Once a week, try one new whole food recipe. Follow the recipe, and as you enjoy your meal, think about how you could make it more to your liking. Think about different variations you could make, or how you could incorporate your personal favorite vegetables into the dish rather than the ones called for. Try to choose recipes that have a new grain, or bean, or vegetable to you. This way you are not only trying  a new recipe each week, but you are trying a new whole food to you as well. Even if you don’t like 1/2 of them all that much, after a few months, you would have 6 new meals and 6 new whole foods that you love in your repertoire. Learning to adjust recipes more to your liking by adding your favorite veggies or spices will allow you to create your favorites, which will not only encourage more home cooked food, but it will help you to develop more creativity in the kitchen as time goes on. 

 #3. Once you get more comfortable in the kitchen, begin to experiment more. Use ingredients that you love and combine them with ideas from recipes you've tried. Be creative with coming up with your own combinations of things, and take note of the ones you love. Soon you will begin to feel more confident in whipping things up without strictly following a recipe, and with ease, that you really enjoy!

 I like to think of it like art. Just like a painter knows how his favorite colors blend together and which brushes to use to get a desired effect, Once you have some experience, you will know how your favorite spices blend together, and which grains, or nut butters, or vegetables work well in whatever you are preparing. Experience not only leads you to being a better cook with ease, but allows you to confidently be more creative in the kitchen. Getting to a point of feeling creative in the kitchen is not only fun, but damn tasty!

 I share this writing with you because this is exactly how I began to learn how to navigate cooking most of my meals at home from whole food ingredients in a tasty way that I enjoy. It's taken time to acquire the creativity I've gained in the kitchen, but it was a fun journey that I still enjoy. I still mess up sometimes. I still try new recipes sometimes, but I mostly I now walk into my kitchen confident that I can grab whatever is available and create something tasty & healthy on a whim, and boy is that a good feeling!

Wishing you Wellness!

Shelly

Comment

Are You Eating Your Greens?

2 Comments

Are You Eating Your Greens?

5I7JG8W7H7.jpg

Green food. It’s definitely put up there on a pedestal as far as food goes. Getting dark leafy greens in your diet daily is so very good for you in so many ways! They are put on a pedestal for a reason. They play a crucial role in our health!

Are you eating enough greens? Are you eating some green food daily? If you are like most americans, your diet could be lacking in this area, so I’m here today to give you a pep talk about it!

Why eat dark leafy greens?

Dark leafy greens help to strengthen your immune system, they can improve circulation, lower your cholesterol, they clean your blood, they help your body detox through supporting improved liver, gall bladder, & kidney functions, they are known to promote healthy intestinal flora, and can even help prevent cancer.

They are rich in chlorophyll which alkalinizes the blood. A lot of disease and health issues are related to inflammation in the body, so this is a really important aspect of their benefits.

They are rich sources of Vitamins A, C, E, & K. They are an abundance source of phytochemicals, and provide you with great fiber as well. Fiber = a happy colon :)

Examples of dark leafy green vegetables to consider are kale, bok choy, collard greens, mustard greens, arugula, spinach, romaine, dandelion greens, broccoli, broccoli rabe, watercress, endive, cabbage, brussel sprouts, turnip greens, and swiss chard.

salad-restaurant-tomatoes-kitchen

How to eat dark leafy greens?

I think that like most things in life we tend to get into habits or routines, and the food we eat is not exception. I encourage you to try new things & mix it up a bit! If you try 1 new green, or one new way of eating greens per week, in a few months, you’ll have 12 news ways to eat greens in your repertoire! Sure, you maybe won’t like some as much, but hang onto the ones that you love and keep experimenting.

If you are not used to eating a lot of greens, adding them into your diet daily can make significant changes for you. Because they are nutritional powerhouses, you get a lot of energy from eating them. You may notice more sustained energy if you have a hearty smoothy in the morning loaded with greens vs the morning muffin that will send your energy crashing soon after you eat it.

You may have improved digestion and elimination from the added fiber in your diet. Some people even experience weight loss simply from adding greens in daily.  If you are adding a serving or two of greens per day, you are most likely crowding something less nutritious out of your diet!

So here is my challenge to you: If you think you could stand to add more greens into your diet, pick one new dark leafy green to you, or one new way of preparing greens per week. Keep this up for a few months, and I guarantee you will end up in the habit of eating more, and you’ll have more ways that you enjoy them. Enjoying them is really the ticket in. Find the ways you like to eat them, and know that the more you eat, the better they will taste to you! Before you know it, you’ll be eating greens every day! Even craving them! 

How I eat my greens changes over time as I like to experiment a lot in the kitchen, but I’d like to share with you my current top 5 favorite ways to eat greens. I make sure that they are in my diet in some way daily! If you scroll to the bottom, you'll find my current favorites. 

I hope this inspires you to get your greens in! Remember that good habits take time to form. Baby steps towards eating healthier is far more sustainable than trying to change it all overnight. Be gentle with yourself, and celebrate the small changes that you make!

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite ways to get dark leafy greens in your diet. Please feel free to share in the comments!

Wishing you wellness,

Shelly

 SO2NJE9YD7

 My top 5 favorite ways to eat my greens:

#1 - Greens & eggs! Sauté onions, garlic, & greens in olive oil on medium heat.  When they are ready, push them to one side of the pan then add beaten eggs to the pan, scramble with some pink salt & pepper. when the eggs are about done, I mix it all together. Delish! And not just good for breakfast. I’ll eat this for lunch or dinner too :)

*Any greens work, although I’m not fond of cabbage with eggs.

*I LOVE using my cast iron skillet for this. 

* If using broccoli or brussel sprouts start them with the onions & garlic. If you are using heartier green like kale add it in when the onions & garlic are cooked about 1/2 way. For softer greens like spinach, I cook the onion & garlic first and I give the spinach no more than a minute in the skillet before pushing aside and pouring the eggs. 

*To take this to the next level, I’ll top the scramble with avocado chunks, fresh basil, & crumbled goat cheese (my current fav) or salsa & avocado.

 

#2 Steamed Chard with toasted sesame oil, raw cashews, and pink salt.

Remove the stems & chop or tear chard into large pieces. Steam for about 3-4 minutes. Remove with tongs to a large bowl. Drizzle toasted sesame oil (to taste) a bit at a time and toss. Pinch in pink salt (to taste). When sesame oil and salt are to taste, plate up and top with chopped raw cashews. 

*This is SUCH a favorite of mine. I sometimes crave this and will eat a really large pile for dinner with a good piece of sprouted grain toast.

*Sesame oil is a source of good fats, similar to olive oil.

*Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and toasted almond slivers also work great to top them!

*Gomasio is a great addition to this as well, and would replace the pink salt. 

 

#3 Smoothies. My smoothies are almost always different, but they almost always have greens of some kind in. There is a plethora of recipes out there. I always suggest experimenting with things you love. And always add some greens 😃 I also add extra greens into my smoothies via spirulina powder, and various other green powders. My basic smoothie often contains 1/2 banana, apple, berries, almond or hemp milk & greens. 

 

#4 Stirfrys, Curries, and Soups. Whenever you are making any variations of these dishes, be sure to add some greens in! ANY Stir fry, curry, or soup can only benefit from adding some dark leafy green, not just in nutrition & health benefits, but taste as well! Try not to get hung up on how you’ve always cooked something. Add kale to a simple thai curry, or a big handful of spinach into some soup the last minute it’s on the stove, right before it’s served so that it just gently wilts and tastes so fresh & delicious! 

 

#5 Salads! Of course, but I had to mention it. The possibilities are endless. If you feel bored with salad, I recommend looking up some new recipes! Make something totally out of your ordinary to mix it up a bit! The combinations and flavors are literally endless. 

 

2 Comments