Along with exercise, social connection, genetics and environment, the food we eat is a fundamental component in our health and well being. And we are all bio-diverse, which means that what works for one person, does not necessarily work for another.
Many of us have a rather complicated relationship with food. When we are tired, stressed or bored, the food choices we make may be very different from the ones we make when we are in a more whole- hearted place. And there is tons of pressure coming at us from the media ranging from advertisements, to results promised by the latest new trendy diet. It can be stressful just navigating all that information and hype. It is difficult to know who or what to believe.
We tend to eat what we see!!
Consider what is around you and easily available. When you open your cupboards do you find chips and high sugar snack or do you keep fruit on your kitchen counter? When you peer into your fridge do you see lots of veggies and nut butters at eye level, or last nights left over pizza??
Here is a list of the top 10 basic items that I always have “in stock” and visible in my kitchen!
Lemons – Lemons are alkalizing and cleansing for the body’s digestive system. I will write more about this in future newsletters. A great way to begin the day is a cup of warm water with a fresh lemon squeeze to wake up your digestive system. Fresh lemon juice is delicious on salads and steamed or sautéed greens, You can add lemon to water through out the day as a substitute for sweet drinks – so that you stay hydrated naturally. And lemons are packed with vitamin C, potassium, calcium, phosphate and magnesium – all needed by the body for healthy metabolism.
Apples – High in fiber, antioxidants and flavonoids which support digestion and metabolism. They are sweet, but still low on the glycemic index so they won’t spike your blood sugar. One of my favorite snacks is sliced apple with almond butter – delicious, filling and nourishing.
Almond Butter – And that brings us to almond butter – a staple in my fridge. Loaded with fiber, magnesium and vitamin E, almond butter is high in monounsaturated fats. It will help reduce LDL – bad cholesterol, and raise HDL – good cholesterol. It is super way to curb that mid afternoon energy slump and carb craving.
Quinoa – Quinoa is a high protein seed that we prepare and eat like a grain. It is super easy to cook – just add 2 cups water and a pinch of salt to 1 cup of rinsed quinoa and simmer uncovered for approximately 10 – 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and it is fluffy and light in appearance. It can be served warm as a side to veggies, chicken or fish, or cold on salads. Quinoa contains all 9 of the “essential’ amino acids needed in our diet, is high in fiber, B vitamins, manganese, phosphorous, iron and other other nutrients. I always have quinoa on hand in my cupboard and some cooked in my fridge to toss onto salads.
Organic Spinach – I usually always have spinach on hand in the fridge to add to smoothies, scrambled eggs or tofu, soups, stir fries, pasta sauce, or just on it’s own as a salad. Nutrient dense, low calorie. Get your vitamins C, K, folic acid, iron and calcium. I recommend varying eating it raw and cooked as different benefits will be enhanced. And make sure that you buy organic here – spinach was listed by EWG as one of the “dirty dozen” by conventional growers.
Frozen Berries!!!!!! Berries are a ‘super’ super food – high in fiber and loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. I keep frozen strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in the freezer so that I can pop them into a smoothie, toss them onto warm oatmeal or smear on some Ezekiel toast. Greta for those of us with a bit of a sweet tooth! Again – when shopping for berries, always buy organic.
Bananas – A snack in its own packaging! Bananas are that easy to reach for snack when on the go. Packed with fiber and super high in potassium, they are a great way to thicken your smoothies, and add a bit sweetness to toast (and almond butter!) They are pre-biotics – which means they help support and feed the good bacteria (probiotics) needed for a healthy gut. And they help to lower blood pressure!
Avocado – Our bodies need fat and avocados are the perfect source of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats. It is a nutrient dense, no sugar antioxidant fruit, that will help your body absorb other vitamins like A, D, K and E. Avocados can be tossed into smoothies to give them more body, added to salads or spread on toast with fresh lemon, Himalayan sea salt and cayenne. I like to just add a bit of lemon and scoop them straight out of the shell with a spoon!
Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar – You may have heard of the benefits of small amounts of vinegar in your diet and Apple Cider is one of the healthiest. It is fermented with the protein and enzymes of a mother bacteria similar to kombucha, which is what gives Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar the somewhat cloudy appearance. These digestive enzymes help break down foods, the acetic acid helps balance the pH of your digestive system, lowers blood sugar levels, and helps eliminate bad bacteria in the gut from spreading to your system. Studies suggest apple cider vinegar can also lower bad cholesterol. I toss it onto my veggies and salads with a bit of pure olive oil or avocado oil, and it really brings out the flavor of sautéed vegetables or chicken.
Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Bread – A loaf is always in my freezer ready for a slice to be popped into the toaster. This gluten free, high fiber bread is a blend of 6 organic sprouted grains and legumes, has a low glycemic index carb, is a complete protein containing 18 amino acids, and is high in minerals and vitamins. Also – it is delicious! Spread with some almond butter and sliced apple, or humous and cucumber, and you have an easy meal or snack.
Nourish, Flourish and Namaste!