No vitamin can make up for the nutrients found in real food and our bodies require all the nutrients found in nature to stay fueled and healthy. Processing strips foods of their nutritional values, despite what the packages may claim, therefore, people who eat mostly processed foods, will continue to be hungry – then eat more – feel hungry, etc…they are malnourished and overweight.
1. Eat foods for vitamins and nutrients – think of it as your fuel and your medicine.
2. Eat every variety of produce you can muster – quince, collard greens, strawberries, cabbage, etc.
3. Don’t deprive yourself of indulgences, but do so after you’ve eaten the fuel.
4. It takes more planning than work to eat fresh. Here are some tips:
Chop Therapy A nutritionist once shocked me with the simple truth about losing weight, “there is no magic pill, you’re just gonna have to eat less.”
So in the spirit of that nutritionist, the simple truth about eating more real food and fewer packaged and fast food meals, “there is no magic pill, you’re gonna have to chop some produce.”
We could look at chopping as cooking drudgery, the cleaning of toilets if you will, but our approach is that chopping is more like therapy. A moment in the week where we get to wield lethal tools with vim and vigor while rocking out to some cheesy band that’s sure to repel kids. All part of the plan.
Chopping works best in episodes, we find. We clean, chop, and store produce usually once heading into the weekend and then again on Sundays for the week. This prep time should take no longer than 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your family. We think of it as a small investment of time to give ourselves and our families some quick healthy food choices.
Food Madonna The Material Girl would never call herself a leftover, and neither should we refer to our food that way. Reinvention is more like it. For every major effort we make in the kitchen, our food should thrive, in some incarnation, for at least for another meal or two.
- Prepare more than you need for one meal.
- Present it with new surroundings: plates, foods, sauces, and big cone bras.
- Turn main courses into ingredients within pastas, salads, sandwiches, and soups.
- Put it next to something new to make it look fresh – like Miley Cyrus.
- Freeze it when you can’t look at it anymore – it’s like Botox for your freezer box.
Seasonings The goal is to eat more real food and preferably, close to its just picked state which means less cooked. But that can get boring, so we employ a few flavor enhancers to boost up the taste of real food. Here are a few suggestions for stocking up on some sure-fire flavor savors:
Essentials: lemons, garlic, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, dried herbs (oregano, dill, rosemary, thyme), soy sauce, sugar, maple syrup, honey
Desirables: shallots, ginger, agave syrup, kalamata olives, fresh herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, chives), balsamic and red wine vinegar
Delectables: strong cheeses (feta, blue and parmesan) which means a little goes a long way, toasted nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, sliced almonds), homemade dressings, miso paste, high quality balsamic vinegar (pours like syrup), sugar-free rice vinegar
Food For Later We still tell stories about Grandma Leona who once froze a half an apple. We thought this orderly, reserved woman who rarely smiled was a spend-thrift freak. Now we get it – Grandma was preserving her work (and her sense of humor) as much as preserving her food… perhaps that’s even more important.
After we have shopped for, cleaned off, chopped up, and prepared real food, why let any of it go to waste.
- Save and refrigerate every bit of food.
- Reinvent your saved food into new dishes (see Food Madonna above)
- When your saved food on the brink of turning or you’re sick of looking at it preserve it:
- freeze whole – Chop produce, lay flat on cookie sheet and freeze, place frozen produce in freezer bag.
- freeze within – Make a soup with vegetables and smoothies for fruit.
- freeze meals – Save complete meals into freezer storage containers, but freeze the food to look presentable when you reheat it.
- pickle – quick pickling takes 15 minutes.
- preserve – fruits and vegetables can be made into chutneys, jams, jellies, marmalades, glazes and more.