“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Uncomplicated, Healthy Eating

One of the biggest challenges that people face when they want to begin eating healthier is finding the time. There all kinds of systems in place that conveniently enable us to eat unhealthy: fast food restaurants, convenience stores, vending machines, etc., but in order to ramp up our diets and increase the nutrient density it takes planning, shopping, and preparing/cooking. Preparing our own food is one of the best ways to ensure that we’re eating the right foods without all the additives and preservatives that are frequently found in processed and prepackaged foods. I understand this more than anyone and I prepare most of my own food, and yes, it takes time. Yet I believe that we make the time for our priorities and eating a healthy diet is top on my list, along with exercise. That being said, food shopping and preparation don’t have to be complicated. In fact, the shopping part actually gets much easier when we decide to adopt healthy eating habits. With a few exceptions, we can virtually avoid the inner isles of the grocery stores where all the processed foods are displayed and focus on the produce, meat, egg/dairy, and frozen food sections. And if you also keep a few “superfoods” on hand, they can very nicely enhance the overall quality of your diet. In addition, food preparation that includes more raw foods and foods that are minimally cooked to preserve their nutrient value often take less time to prepare than foods that simmer on the stove or are in the oven for long periods of time.

One example of a very quick, healthy, and satisfying dish consists of three ingredients: dulse, avocado, and fresh lettuce leaves. This is something that can be prepared in minutes and is loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and good fats. Dulse goes by many names including sea lettuce, and is a red seaweed that grows along many coastlines including the Northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Iceland, Europe, Japan, Korea and the Arctic shores of Russia and Canada. It is a good source potassium, zinc, manganese, calcium and iodine as well as many essential amino acids. Dulse can be found at some fish markets and natural food stores and is sold as the leaves or ground into flakes, which is how I buy it. It can be added to soups, stews, sauces, salads–just about anywhere you'd like.

To prepare, the above dish, mash an avocado, add a tablespoon of ground dulse (you can also soak it briefly in water first if you’d like) and mix well. Then simply stuff it into clean (preferably organic) lettuce leaves and enjoy! It’s easy-creamy-savory-crunchy, and healthy. The dulse avocado mixture can also be spread on toast or even eaten by itself­–it’s that good! I've had it with an egg in the morning for a very satisfying breakfast or had it with a salad or even stuffed additional shredded veggies into the lettuce leaves. It's as versatile as your imagination. I hope you give it a try! : )

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