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Three Steps to Becoming a Better Cook

Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.
~Chef Marcel Boulestin

mid section view of a woman cutting vegetables

Have you started making healthy food choices, but are confused about how to cook these new foods? Are you wondering how to pull it all together? If you’ve started along a life-enhancing path, you may have some questions about how to cook wholesome, delicious meals for your family. In this article, we’ll explore ways to overcome your concerns about cooking.

Now that you’ve embarked on a healthy regime, you may have some “challenges” around preparing meals. To help you become a better cook, follow these three simple steps:

1. Whenever possible, use fresh organic, locally grown ingredients

A dish will go only as far as the ingredients used. Your taste buds and sense of smell will help you discern whether you are using the best ingredients. Fresh vegetables that are organic and locally grown not only taste and smell good, they also look vibrant and alive. Taking shortcuts, like using processed and imitation ingredients, make your dish look and taste artificial and lifeless. The natural approach applies to whole healing as well. Unlike processed foods, fresh ingredients have more nutrients and life force energy that help support organ function.

2. Set aside 30 minutes each day to prepare food

By setting aside half an hour each day for food preparation, you create an intention to respect the food in a more loving way. The chef’s mental and emotional states affect the outcome of the cooking process. The stress of rushing through food preparation imparts agitating energy not only to your family but also to the dish you are cooking. Cooking is a sacred activity and must be treated with loving energy. Preparing food with love sets the tone for the meal, which brings peace to whoever eats it.

 3. Make it fun

No one said you had to suffer to eat well. Here are three things you can do to make cooking fun:

  • Cook foods that you like. We all enjoy eating foods that we like, and cooking these foods makes sticking to a healthy meal plan more enjoyable.
  • Trust yourself to experiment with seasonings and herbs. When you try out new flavors, your curiosity and sense of wonder are stimulated. Like children, we can “play” with our food and come up with new flavors that enhance the dish.
  • Share your food with others. Taking pride in what you accomplish is the fuel for future endeavors. When you share your joy of cooking, you’ll feel good and will want to continue to spread the love. Also, friends who taste your dishes will ask you about the ingredients, encouraging you to develop your knowledge about the food and the cooking process.

Cooking is more than just combining ingredients together on a plate. A healthy meal is symbolic of the loving energy the chef contributes to the food. By understanding this, you can transform your meals from ho-hum to Hallelujah!

(Dave Cunningham contributed to this article.)

Ready to jump start a healthy New Year?

A systemic cleansing and detox is definitely the way to go after each holiday. It is the key to fighting high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and other health-related illnesses.
~Lee Haney

Want to rev up your health after all the holiday partying and overindulgence? You may want start the new year off right by adding a few changes to your daily routine. A big lifestyle change can seem overwhelming at first. However, really simple changes to your menu plan are not hard at all and help you feel so much better about yourself and what you are doing.

If you want to revive your energy and get started on the right foot, there are a few things you can do right now. Here are three simple things you can do to rest assured you are doing a good job:

1. Rebalance with whole grains

One important benefit of eating whole grains is the high fiber content which helps your intestines stay healthy. One whole grain you can incorporate into your daily routine if you are on a time crunch is 1/2 – 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal every morning. Starting your day with oatmeal, like steel-cut oats, is ideal for a 24 hour bowel cycle. This will help establish a regular rhythm and rebalance your intestinal function.

2. Cleanse with vegetables

Colorful vegetables not only provide important nutrients, they also help cleanse your body of toxins. Be sure to include these three vegetable categories:

  • Dark greens, like kale chips, are important in your diet for necessary minerals. They also have upward, rising energy which cleanses the liver, helping you feel vibrant and refreshed.
  • Sweet vegetables, like carrots, onion, and parsnip, provide natural sweetness to help curb sugar cravings. These vegetables stabilize blood sugar levels and support spleen and pancreas function.
  • Seasonal vegetables, like winter squash, have the perfect energy you need to harmonize with nature. Eating foods cooked according to the seasons helps you adjust to your environment for a stronger immune system to resist diseases like cancer.

Including one cup of vegetables from each category to your daily regime can help stimulate digestion and cleanse your system.

3. Ground yourself with beans

Low fat, high fiber beans are ideal for maintaining body weight while strengthening intestinal function. Switching from animal protein to vegetable protein in beans helps the body cleanse fatty deposits and prevent heart disease. Beans also have grounding, stabilizing energy which counterbalances destabilizing foods like alcohol. Because long term consumption of animal protein weakens the kidneys and depletes your energy, eating one cup of beans every other day in place of animal protein can help generate more vitality.

A fresh New Year begins with a fresh new you and that means overhauling your health from the inside out. So, no matter what you have planned for your menu, include whole grains, vegetables, and beans and know that you are doing a good thing for you and your family.

Want to successfully juggle healthy eating with a busy lifestyle?

I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.
~Nadia Comaneci

Are you changing to a healthier diet, but struggling to include the right foods in your new meal plan? Are you wondering how to get it all done? Beginning a new meal plan requires adjustments to your daily routine. In this article, I’ll share with you the secrets of how to balance healthy eating with a busy lifestyle.

Now that you have made the decision to become healthier, you may face some “challenges” around changing dietary habits. Here are some questions you may have about how to juggle healthy eating with a busy lifestyle:

1. Does it take longer to heal?

The natural approach to healing is not a “quick” fix; healing takes time. Unlike drugs or surgery where improvements or changes occur fairly quickly, using food takes longer. By trusting in the process, you can allow the natural pace of healing to occur. You’ll experience deeper, longer lasting effects, when the body heals at its own pace rather than forcing the body to change. Mindfulness meditation while enjoying a meal is particularly helpful in calming and focusing the mind. Breathing and chewing slowly enhances digestion, relaxes the body, and promotes healing. (Refer to my blog for mindfulness meditation techniques while eating.)

2. Does cooking take longer in the kitchen?

Cooking is like any other routine that you fit into your life–you have to make room for it by setting aside the time. It will be helpful to schedule cooking in your daily plan on your calendar. When you plan your day, make some appointments in your calendar for cooking. Prepare long-cooked meals, like grains, beans, and soups, on the weekend so they are ready to heat up when you are in a rush. When you set the intention to make healthy eating a priority, your new lifestyle becomes the norm.

 3. Is eating healthy more expensive?

Over the long term, eating healthy foods is easy on your budget. Eating locally grown, seasonal whole foods saves you money not only in packaging costs but also in freshness. You will get a higher quality product and that shows up in flavor as well as in the state of your health. By paying for fresh organic food now, you are preventing disease later and that not only saves you in hospital costs, but also ensures a better quality of life in your later years.

Make sure you are getting the right foods into your meal plan. One of the easiest things you can do right now to fit healthy eating into your life is to throw away all your processed foods, including white bread, white rice, boxed cereals, and white flour products like pasta.

Now is the time to start fresh. You are on the right track and the best is yet to come!

Want an energized, exciting holiday season?

This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!
~D.M. Dellinger

Are you having an energized, exciting holiday season? Or do you feel sluggish and exhausted, barely making it through the entire day? If you feel tired and run down, you may be eating traditional holiday food and this kind of food depletes your energy.

If you want to feel stress-free and more energized, here are some things you can do to kick the holiday food habit and have an energized, vibrant, exciting holiday season:

1. Eat in moderation

The key is moderation, because when you overindulge, you become more susceptible to disease. Instead of filling your plate, choose a few items from the healthier dishes on the table and eat a smaller amount.

2. Eat energizing, exciting foods

During the holidays, you can tend to eat lots of rich, heavy, high fat holiday foods over a short period of time, which can shut down your digestion. When your digestion becomes compromised, your body becomes exhausted, and you feel tired and sluggish. If you want more energy without overdosing on caffeine, eat energizing, exciting macrobiotic foods. For example, use healthy substitutes for heavy, high fat ingredients, such as using almond milk instead cream.

3. Eat according to the season

During the holidays, the weather becomes colder. So, you adjust by wearing warmer clothes and putting on the heat. Remember to include warming seasonal foods in your routine, as well. When you eat seasonal foods, you’re less susceptible to colds. By eating foods that are warming, like soups, stews, and root vegetables, rather than cooling raw salads, you increase internal warmth and strengthen your immune system to fight colds and flu.

When you have a nutrition plan in place, you will not only make better food choices, you will also have more energy and stamina to get through the holidays. Wishing you a healthy, happy, holiday season!

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