Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Back on Track with a Healthy Diet

Sometimes life gets in the way. I’ve been neglecting a lot these days, probably from an overdose of obligations that took me in unexpected directions or maybe from a lack of focus. I don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter to me why. What does matter is that I need to get back on track, take more control of my life, and particularly my health.

I find myself pulled in too many directions, not able to settle on specific tasks at hand; not a good thing when you’ve started a new job. So I need to buckle down and concentrate on the things that matter. So in addition to working again, I need to find the time to exercise and return to a healthier eating regimen. Not that I’ve been dining on pizza, burgers, and processed junk food, but I also have not been getting my allotted fruits and veggies (despite my healthy backyard garden). So in an attempt to rectify, I have borrowed Brilliant Daughter’s juicer and stocked up on a glorious bounty of fruits and vegetables.

I’m going to make my body happier and healthier with what I call a whole foods diet. That doesn’t mean that I only shop at Whole Foods, it just means that the food is unprocessed, fresh, lean, and healthy. You know, fruits and veggies, whole grains and legumes, lean proteins. Cut out the processed crap, sugar, and a fair amount of dairy. It takes a bit of thinking and preparation, not to mention cost, but if I can reconnect with all these good foods on a regular basis, then I can slowly introduce some whole grain breads, some cheese, and the occasional sweet treat and end up with a more balanced diet.

My first stop was Sigona’s, our local greengrocer. You can find just about any kind of fruit or veg here, and I loaded up the cart, walking out $100 lighter. In fact, I had a hard time finding room in the fridge or on the counter for all I bought. But it brings a smile to my face seeing all the good fresh fruit (and makes me want to go on another canning binge!).

The goal is to have freshly pressed juice every morning, occasionally made into a smoothie with some nonfat plain Greek yogurt. For lunch, another glass of juice and a whole foods salad of some kind. Dinner will be grilled, poached or roasted lean protein (fish/seafood, poultry, beef filet) or grain-legume combo (brown rice and beans), along with vegetables.  I’ve got some nice fresh fruit and raw almonds for snacks, and some home-brewed decaf and herbal iced tea to sip on. I’m not giving up my morning coffee and see no need to.

Today’s breakfast concoction consisted of a mixture of blueberries, kiwi, apples and pear. Blueberries have a very high antioxidant component, kiwi contains a high level of vitamin C and potassium, apples have high levels of polyphenols that contribute to their antioxidant capabilities, and pears bring a nice sweetness and mellowness to this breakfast cocktail. It was quite a tasty beverage, if I do say so myself.

I have also purchased a Tuscan melon, grapes, papaya, mango, pineapple, oranges, bananas, ginger and limes, and have strawberries from the garden. I can also add in coconut water, almond milk, or the yogurt for variation. I also bought celery, carrots, kale and avocado for more savory drinks, and can pull beets and chard from the garden. (Too bad I don’t like cucumbers, because I have an overabundance of lemon cucumbers in the garden that could easily be used in a veggie juice. )

Today for lunch I made what is labeled a Superfood Salad. The recipe is pretty easy to make and makes 4 one-cup servings. It has a base of quinoa, with onion, avocados, black beans, fresh corn, orange, cilantro and pomegranate arils (seeds) and is tossed with a lemon vinaigrette (from my own Meyer lemons). I whipped it up and divided the salad into four Tupperware containers for lunches. (Both Butcher Son’s girlfriend and Mr. B will be taste testers.) My daughter has eaten this with poached prawns, and I think you could also add grilled fish or chicken if you wanted the extra protein. And it’s something even kids should like, not to mention it is a pretty salad, full of color and flavor.

Superfood Salad

1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 orange, peeled and segments chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup pomegranate arils (about 1 pomegranate worth)
1 cup fresh corn kernals (can use thawed frozen as well)
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper

Lemon Vinaigrette:
¼ cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced
dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia or white sugar)
salt & pepper
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

Make lemon vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to combine.

Assemble remaining salad ingredients in a large bow. Add quinoa once cooled. Toss gently.
Reshake vinaigrette and pour over the salad. Stir to combine.

Refrigerate and eat within 48 hours.


P said...

Thanks for the lemon cucumbers, Mrs. B! Everyone at Mr. B's office really appreciates your bountiful garden :)

Mrs. B said...

You are so welcome. Who knew that one lemon cucumber plant would be more prolific that 4 zucchini? So glad there are takers out there for the abundance.