Thursday, February 18, 2016

Changing for Better Health

Whether your dietary change is for weight loss, to improve your health or to simply feel better and increase your energy level, we will look at a few simple ways to get started toward meeting your goals..

Take a look at your pantry shelves.  Look for food items that are high in carbohydrates and sugar.  Many of these foods also contain white flour.  Even those foods claiming to be whole wheat are not always 100% whole wheat.  Remember, the more a food is processed, the less nutrients it contains, even if the label says nutrients have been added, it is simply not the same as nutrients form whole foods.  The goal here is to decrease the amount of processed foods you eat and increase the fresh whole  foods you eat.  Start removing processed foods from yours shelves and look for whole food replacements, to include a variety of fruits to fill the void left by eliminating sugary snacks.  Even though fruits have sugar, they also contain nutrients and micro nutrients which are not found in proceeded snacks.  Eliminate items such as chips, crackers, cookies, snack cakes and other seemingly health snack foods.  These foods can be hidden sources of fats, sugar, carbohydrates and additives you are not aware you are eating.  Again, always read the labels and educate yourself on the additives and ingredients.  I cannot stress this enough. The internet is a very good place to start.

Since our life style is busy with work, family and activities, it leaves us with less time for meal preparation.  Lets face it, we live in a speed driven society.  Everyone is in a hurry, from traffic to work productivity to getting everything we think we must do packed into a twenty four hour day.  It leaves us with less time to attend to ourselves.  Food preparation takes time, that is evident in the amount of eatery's we have and it also encourages us to eat out more than we should.  Remember, even though eating out relieves  the stress of figuring out what to have for dinner, it is not the healthiest choice if we eat out routinely.  Simply start where you are, look at your goals and your relationship with food, then you will begin to find ways to make the changes you want  to make.

This month's recipe:  Black Bean Soup
A warming soup for a cold winter's day.

2 cups dried black beans (or 3 cans cooked black beans)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1/2 jalapeño pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp shoyu soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme

Soak beans overnight ( or at least 8 hours)  Alternately, cover with almost boiling water, soak for 2 hours.  Rinse beans and cover with fresh water, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2-3 hours.

If desired, puree half the beans in a food processor and return to the pot.  I prefer leaving all of the beans whole.  Sauté onions in olive oil until they are transparent, then add minced garlic.  Add chopped celery, jalapeños, carrots, soy sauce, bay leaf and thyme to the beans and about a pint of water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender.  Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Garnish with a dollop of four cream and salsa.  Serve with crackers or hot homemade cornbread and a simple garden salad.  A healthy dinner with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs for energy and vitality.

**adapted from a recipe by Paul, an employee of Sevananda Natural Food Co-0p in Atlanta, GA**

Until next time, eat well, stay warm and feeling great!!!

The Nuts at Black Walnut T's

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