Creative and Tasty Healthy Eating: Tips and Recipes
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Eating Right is Eating Healthy
If you’re trying to lose weight, get fit, improve your cholesterol levels or just plain feel better with more energy, eating whole foods and learning how to cook healthy meals is one of the most important things you can do – these recipes can help!
Even if you’re a pro at healthy cooking, new ideas are welcome. If you’re making a transition from heavier, processed foods to more wholesome meals, it can be a challenge to figure out what to make.
The obvious, yet not always followed, key to healthy eating is to use lots of veggies, some whole grains, and to eat fruits either on their own or with leafy greens. The more fresh greens you can get in your diet, the better, because they have such a healing effect on the body.
But you may be thinking “I do not want to eat salad all the time!” Don’t worry – you don’t have to, and there are also some great ways to dress up your salad so you look forward to it.
I say recipes are a great place to begin with healthy cooking because I fully believe in getting creative in the kitchen. It makes things more fun, and you can add variety that way as well.
For instance, the Vegetable Soup recipe below can be a great way to clean out your fridge – just root through and find the veggies that need eating, make sure they’ll play nice together taste-wise, and decide which need to cook for longer so you know what order to use when you put them in the pot.
Variations on recipes are a great way to discover your own talent for cooking, which you might not even know you had.
Healthy Recipe Books
Some of my favorite recipes come from this book, written by people in a sweet mountain town in the Canadian Rockies.
Make your own Dressings
One of the best ways to enjoy salads is to make your own dressings. They’re easy to make, and way healthier than the vast majority of store bought salad dressings.
Many dressings you pick up at the store have questionable ingredients and use low quality oils. If you’re going to eat salad, you may as well love the taste AND know that everything you put on it is nourishing your body.
If you have to buy salad dressing, look for one that uses olive oil, apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar, and where you understand the makeup entire ingredient list. If you can’t pronounce it, it doesn’t belong in your fridge. This is a good rule for most foods.
Quick and Easy Vinaigrette
- ½ cup oil (Olive, Flax*, or Hemp)
- ¼ - ½ cup vinegar (Apple Cider or Balsamic) (start with less and add more to taste)
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp Tahini
- 1 tsp Stone Ground Mustard
- Sea Salt & Pepper
- Dash of Cayenne
- 1 clove garlic, crushed (Optional)
Combine ingredients in a jar or blender and mix.
*If you use flax oil, add it after everything else has been mixed up, as flax oil doesn’t like to be handled roughly (like run through a blender or shaken vigorously – it adds too much oxidation)
This is just a basic recipe, so play with it and see what you find out. Get creative with spices, especially fresh ones like dill or basil. If you come up with a keeper, please post it here as a comment, or make your own hub and let me know!
Quinoa is an ancient grain that has a complete protein composition. It’s tasty, quick to make, and very nutritious. I find that cooking quinoa and then adding a green salad to it keeps me more satisfied with the salad, and helps it feel more comforting in the cold months where just salad alone isn’t as welcoming.
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- ½ head of lettuce (or more) – rotate spinach, baby greens, and different lettuces
- 1 cup chopped purple cabbage
- Alfalfa or other sprouts
- Healthy Dressing of your choice
- Nutritonal yeast and ground flax (optional)
Cook the quinoa, then add your salad on top and drizzle with dressing. Sprinkling nutritional yeast gives it a great flavor with extra B vitamins, and adding ground flax increases both fiber and Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids. (Makes 2 – 3 servings)
Get creative with this one by adding different veggies. Some ideas: chopped artichoke hearts, grated carrots and/or beets, avocado, sun dried tomatoes…
- Why Green Smoothies Are So Healing
Why are so many people drinking green smoothies and what makes them contribute to healing the body? And do they really taste good? Yes! Check it out.
Green Smoothie Tools
Green Smoothie Goodness
I start every day with a green smoothie. They’re delicious and one of the best possible things you can put in your body!
If you haven’t tried them, stop making that face and just give it a shot. I know the face – it’s the one most of us make when we see something and think ‘gross’ – but really, give it an honest try and you’ll be surprised.
When you start your day with a green smoothie you give your body a huge boost of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and that super healing chlorophyll. It helps your body balance anything you’ve been eating or drinking that isn’t of the highest integrity, and supports all the systems of your body (including your immune system).
TIP: Green smoothies are a lot more enjoyable and the nutrients more easily assimilated when you use a high quality blender like a Vita Mix to do the job well. You’ll get a smoother drink and will find that it does so much magic in the kitchen you’ll wonder how you ever did without it!
How To Make A Green Smoothie
Scrumptious Veggie Soup
Cooking time: 1 hour (or a bit less)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3-5 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small-med sized butternut squash cubed
- 1-2 sweet potatoes, yams, or regular potatoes cubed
- 3-4 carrots sliced
- 1 bunch Swiss chard or other greens
- 1 QT vegetable broth
- 1 QT pre boiled water (so it’s hot when you add it)
- Cumin, Cayenne, Basil, Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Vegetable bouillon cube
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Boil the extra water in a kettle or pot. Chop the onion, garlic and celery, then sauté them in olive oil in a big soup pot. Once the onions have started to turn transparent, add the water and veggie broth. When it’s at a simmer (don’t boil the soup) add the veggie bouillon.
Keep cutting your veggies. Add them as you go and simmer the soup. Add spices a few times during cooking, going easy on the cayenne.
Feel free to put in any additional veggies that you think will work. Brocolli, turnip greens, spinach, kale, or other greens are some of my favorites. I also like to add a handful of dried wakame (a seaweed) right at the end. You can also thicken it and add protein by tossing in a cup or two of red lentils, which will need about 30 minutes to cook. (Makes a big pot of soup! Cut in half or freeze a portion of it if you’re not feeding a family.)
On The Run Salad Wrap
This one’s super easy, yet satisfying, nutritious and tasty!
Cooking time: 5-10 minutes
- Tortillas/wraps (preferably sprouted grain or whole wheat)
- Lettuce, spinach, or other salad greens
- Salad dressing or just plain olive, hemp or flax oil
- Sea salt, fresh ground pepper, nutritional yeast and ground flax to taste
Lay out your tortilla, pile on the goodies, drizzle with dressing or oil, wrap and eat!
It is nice to warm the tortilla or wrap up first, but not necessary.
Caution: These can get a little messy, but I’ve also made and eaten them in the car on road trips, just don’t put as much dressing on as it will drip out the bottom. They’re fully worth it!
Why Are All These Recipes Vegetarian?
You may have noticed there isn’t any meat involved in these recipes. Well, there are a few good reasons for that. If you choose to eat meat, that’s fine. It’s easy enough to add to the meals included here. But I’ll give you a brief run down of why I choose not to eat meat and how I stay healthy.
First of all, my body doesn’t like it. I was vegetarian for a while, then went back to eating meat. After a few years I noticed that every time I ate meat, I didn’t feel all that great. When I cut it out of my diet, I felt a whole lot better.
Second, there is quite a lot of research (if you can get away from the studies funded by the meat and dairy industry) that says eating meat and dairy isn’t actually all that good for you. Check out The China Study if you really want to see some excellent independent science.
Third, the meat and dairy industry is one of the most ethically and environmentally backwards industries around. Do a search on factory farms or meat and the environment. It’ll make you think twice about the real cost of the millions of burgers sold everyday.
Being vegetarian isn’t all that difficult – you eat a variety of foods and receive the nutrients you need. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are found in many foods, not just meat. Legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains are good sources, but many vegetables are great sources of amino acids.
Sprouts are phenomenal little power packed foods to add to any diet. Because they’re newly sprouted plants from the seed they hold an incredible amount of nutrients in a small package. Growing your own is the best way to go. It’s inexpensive and easy.
Taking a quality supplement (even if you aren’t vegetarian) is also a good idea in today’s world of pollution and soil depletion. Sure, as a vegetarian you have to be aware that you get enough iron and B vitamins, but if you’re eating a well balanced diet and taking high quality supplements, it’s really not difficult at all.
What's Wrong With What We Eat?
Drink Water, Not Soda
One of the most important things your body needs, other than air to breathe, is clean water. Most people don’t get enough of it. Ensure that you do.
If you drink pop, seriously consider cutting it out of your routine. It’s not helpful for your body in so many ways, adds to weight gain and makes weight loss more challenging than it needs to be. The sugar and processing of these beverages make them a seriously bad choice for a healthy diet.
Drinking sufficient water helps flush toxins out and support all functions in your body. There is a lot out there on why you need to drink water and how much to drink, so if you’re unsure about this topic the resources are endless.
Drink water throughout the day, rather than trying to chug back 4 glasses at a time. The best time to drink a large amount of water is right when you wake up, as this dehydrates you and helps your body clean out anything that is no longer needed. I drink at least a litre first thing in the morning.
Sticking To It
If you’ve vowed to eat healthy but find yourself falling off the proverbial band wagon now and then, don’t worry. Just start off with a green smoothie the next morning and start eating healthy meals again.
Don’t be so strict with yourself that you feel like you’ve been deprived of the things you love. Find the healthiest treats possible and enjoy them from time to time. Just don’t eat them every day.
Remember, the best thing about eating as often as we do as human beings is that every meal is a fresh start. If you aren’t happy with the choices you’ve made, it won’t be long till the next meal and you can make a different, healthy and delicious choice then!
Yoga Resources For Your Health
- Yoga and Fitness in Kamloops BC (or anywhere else, for that matter)
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- Yoga Core Strength Exercises
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- Demystifying Meditation
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- Why You Need to Stretch After Working Out
If you're dedicated to your health and fitness but aren't stretching after your workout you're cheating yourself. Learn why, and get some stretching ideas from the videos.
- Yoga Fitness Boot Camp for Women in Kamloops
Get in shape and stay healthy with all the benefits of yoga and fun fitness in this Kamloops based boot camp for women. Exercise and be empowered!