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Cooking Teacher

One Healthy Thing - Week 5

Waking Up and Smelling the Toast

As humans, we have taken ourselves so far from what is natural for us that we don’t know what natural is anymore. We think it’s normal to feel tired, lethargic, to have aches, pains, bumps, lumps, bulges, dots, spots and hair in places we didn’t think possible and no hair where we want it! We think it’s normal to walk with hunched shoulders, head low, ‘muffin tops’ spilling over our jeans, our hair as lifeless as our skin, which is as lifeless as we feel. When we look around, most of the people around us look like this, too, so it must be normal, right? Wrong.

But not anymore! As we glide into the final week of January, we have broken this grim pattern. We have said…loudly and clearly…Enough! We have taken the steps that have placed us on the path to health and wellness like never before. 

As a teacher/advocate of healthy cooking I agonize over the fact that people listen to what I say, even agree that it makes sense, but there is a huge ‘disconnect’ between hearing, understanding -- and doing. But we’re doing it together. One day at a time; one healthy thing at a time!

Despite what we may have heard, we now know that changing our thinking and living a compassionate and healthy life is not so weird…or expensive or challenging. To make the change needed to live a healthy life, free of the aches and pains we consider normal; to remain vital and fit; to age gloriously; to have beautiful skin, hair, nails and bodies we love…we need to change how we nourish ourselves and live our lives.

Disease occurs at much younger ages and is quickly reaching epidemic proportions, from obesity and diabetes; osteoporosis to cancer and heart disease. It’s time to own up to how truly important our food and lifestyle choices are to our day-to-day well-being. It’s time to stop the madness, get off the spiral of unhealthy food, followed by pharmaceuticals, followed by disability -- and a bad ending to our personal story.

And you, my lovelies are doing it. You’re breaking the spell that marketing has cast over us and blowing up the idea that all is lost; that we have no control over what happens to us.

And doesn’t it feel good? My recovery from cancer through a macrobiotic approach to eating opened a whole new world to me, a world of balance, great food and an understanding of nature that I did not imagine existed. My discoveries within the realm of Chinese medicine, natural food and my own studies of conventional nutrition came together to create a new respect for how our food choices affect our health.

And so here we stand, together. As we move into the last week of January, we feel and look better. We enjoy delicious food and love knowing that it is really nourishing us…and we don’t need to feel guilt at every bite. We are leaving a lighter footprint on the planet. We are living more naturally. Our little worlds are better than ever.

During this last week of #onehealthything we’ll buy plants for our homes; cook quinoa and tofu; enjoy chia and all its benefits and…indulge in chocolate. I’d say you’ve had a great start to 2015!

And the best is yet to come. Stay tuned.

Week 5 One Healthy Thing Tips

January 26: Buy Green Plants
Green plants emit oxygen (which we need) and suck up CO2 (which we exhale), freshening the air of our homes and allowing us to breathe easier. You don’t have to create a jungle; just a few plants strategically placed will bring beauty…and life to our homes. There's an art to living well

January 27: Cook Quinoa
This ancient grain is becoming the new darling of the food world and with good reason. A complete protein (like an egg) quinoa helps us feel strong and to stay satisfied longer. Low in carbohydrates and rich in minerals, it cooks in about 15 minutes making it ideal for our busy lives. It’s delicious and versatile, pairing well with most foods. It’s nature’s perfect food. Warming and hearty, this Quinoa and Bean Chili is no ordinary chili! 

January 28: Go Au Naturel
We have to reconnect with nature, even if that means sitting under a tree on our lunch break. Each day, we must disconnect with the things that keep us over-connected…and re-connect with the planet that gives us life. Get outside every day, regardless of the weather, even for a mere 10 minutes and reconnect with the planet that gives us life. The payoff? Serenity, peace of mind, focus, compassion and deep sense of feeling centered and grounded. Mother Nature…life changing.

January 29: Try Tofu
I know; I know; here comes the tofu. This underdog of the protein kingdom is low in fat, contains no cholesterol; is packed with protein and tastes like…well, whatever you flavor it to taste like. Easy to use and quick-cooking, tofu is a great source of plant-based protein. A yummy and richly flavored main course, this Fried Tofu With Vegetables will win over tofu skeptics! 

January 30: Choose Chia
These tiny seeds are nature’s perfect food. Loaded with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins B1, B2 and B3, chia seeds hold 10 times their weight in water (keeping us hydrated). And at only 137 calories in an ounce (2 tablespoons), a generous sprinkle of these seeds on whole grains, salads or desserts gives us some of the best sources of valuable nutrients, calorie for calorie. And, as a bonus, chia is featured prominately in this great, nourishing Chocolate Cake

January 31: Chew on Chocolate
Finally, there’s good news about a food we love…and had believed was bad for us. A great source of fiber, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese and selenium, dark chocolate contains antioxidants and flavonoids that benefit heart health, can aid in weight loss (yup…), helps manage insulin resistance, helps us manage stress, protects our skin from sun damage and increases our clarity of thought. Yummy news!  This Coffee Cake will satisfy the chocolate lover in all of us. 

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