The government has made an effort to let us know what we should be eating on a daily basis by creating the Food Pyramid. Rather ironic, wouldn’t you say? Here we are at the top of the food chain and we’re the only animals in need of eating instructions.
And in light of more and more evidence of poor decisions made by our elected officials, maybe we should educate ourselves and figure out what we should eat on our own.
Okay, having said that, I’m going to throw my two cent’s worth into the mix. More irony, you say? I suppose so, but at this point, there’s an overload of complex and confusing information from too many sources. It’s time to slow down and rethink things. We all have to eat, why is it so confusing to choose a healthy diet? Why are we so obsessed with food and yet so unhealthy as a culture? Part of the problem is too many choices in a world of food politics and an industry worth billions of dollars a year — in the United States alone. That can make eating complicated and even stressful.
It doesn’t have to be.
Here are a few tips for healthy eating and a simple recipe for snacking.
1. Eat whole, fresh food (preferably organic).
2. Make whole plant sources, especially vegetables, legumes, and fruit your foundation. You can even eat veggies for breakfast — it’s okay, trust me. Use gluten-free whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and teff.
3. For the most part, choose foods you can hold in your hands and wash. Can you wash a box of Kraft mac and cheese or a package of ding dongs? You can wash a tomato and you can rinse brown rice. See how easy that is?
4. Don’t eat food that never spoils. Remember my HFCS post? The pink snowballs and the chocolate hockey pucks? As I mentioned, I’ve had those on my closet shelf for over a year. If it doesn’t rot, it’s not food.
5. If animals, insects, and bacteria won’t eat it, maybe we shouldn’t. Food that has been sprayed with chemicals to repel critters is not a good choice for people either. Whoa, that doesn’t mean bugs are smarter than we are, does it? Yikes, maybe so.
6. You’ve all probably heard this one before — don’t eat foods from the middle of the grocery store. Stick to the periphery where the real food is located.
7. Make it yourself. Learn from your grandmother. Enjoy the cultural wisdom of food. My mother grew up in a very poor family in the south during the depression. I mean dirt-floor poor. They had few food choices, but somehow the family was fairly healthy. All they could afford was assorted beans, cornbread, dandelion greens, whatever fruit or nut tree was around, some oatmeal and an occasional pig, chicken, or fresh-caught game (birds, fish, rabbits). My grandmother also made them all take a dose of cod liver oil regularly. Hmmm? When you think about it, you’ve got some very healthy food choices there. They either grew or caught everything they ate. I know things are different now and you just don’t have time to go rabbit hunting on your lunch hour, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
8. To sum it up: eat less, eat slower, use smaller plates, choose fresh ingredients, eat more vegetables, skip the junk food, and savor your food. Part of eating healthy is enjoying what you eat, how you prepare it, the cultural variations, and sharing it with others.
Gluten-free, dairy-free yummy hummus to eat with all those veggies
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (15 ounce can — preferably organic)
3 cloves peeled garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup water (add slowly so you don’t end up with sloppy hummus, you may not need all of it)
1 teaspoon wheat-free tamari (I use the San-J brand as they routinely test for gluten) *
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or omit if you don’t want zingy hummus)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
This is another one of my “launching pad” recipes. You can customize this any way you want. Switch out the garbanzo beans for pinto or cannellini beans, add minced chile peppers, parsley — whatever your heart desires (or whatever ingredients you have on hand).
Mince peeled garlic in the food processor until finely pulverized. Add beans, tahini, lemon juice, water (a little bit at a time), tamari, salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper and blend until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate. Remove and let hummus reach room temperature before serving. Blend in cilantro and serve with fresh veggies. Carrots, celery, broccoli, jicama, gluten-free crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers original flax seed crackers are a favorite of mine), olives — whatever you can think of.
* San-J Wheat-Free Tamari is gluten-free, but contains soy and corn.
In good health,