By Susan Pettipas
The Importance of Good Nutrition
Currently the majority of us do not consume a properly balanced diet. If you look closer it is frightening to discover our food is toxic; GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), chemical agriculture, growth hormones, antibiotics, un-ripe vitamin and mineral deficient fruit and veggies, processed foods, and additives. It’s no wonder we are not our best selves.
Nutrition is so important to our health both physically and mentally, and we truly are what we eat. But it’s more than that, science tells us that certain illnesses are the result of deficiencies in our bodies, either vitamins and minerals directly or as building blocks for other components like immune cells, hormones, proteins and amino acids etc. If we want to improve our health and help prevent future imbalances one easy thing is to consume more quality fruit and veggies.
“It is frightening to discover our food is toxic”
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t need to involve a rigid diet, counting calories, no carb, low carb or whatever your friends tell you is the new trend, it’s about listening to your body and letting it tell you what nutrients are needed. What the body needs to be healthy varies constantly depending on factors like stress, age, climate and season. What is needed one day to be healthy may be different than what is needed the next. This means there is no perfect diet so listen to your body for signals to guide you in what it needs. These may include: engaging your sense of smell, taste, and texture; sensations in your body such as fullness or appetite; and observing the aftermath feelings like brain fog, upset, pain or irritation.
When shopping for food select fresh in season foods from the outside of the grocery store (produce, meat or dairy sections). That’s right avoid those isles, that’s where the heavily processed, sugar loaded and chemical ridden foods are placed. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of chemicals on the foods not in the middle isles but that’s a discussion for later; they are at least a real food and your body knows what to do with real foods. If the oranges smell good, buy them, if your eye catches those red grapes buy them or if the tomatoes smell funny leave them. These are signals guiding you on what your body wants.
As much as you can prepare your own food. It is cheaper, much tastier, you know exactly what is in the meal and you can create unique flavorful dishes. If you are not a talented cook do not to worry! You can find plenty of receipes online just by searching ingredients. How do you know the reciepe is any good? Pay attention to the number of stars and how many people have rated the reciepe. If you have 5 stars from 100 people chances are it is a good dish. When I started I asked people I knew were good cooks for reciepes and then discovered my favorite online sites. Yes occasionally I make a dud but more often it’s a good addition to my cook book and a change from the same old dishes I make as defaults. Oh and no they don’t all have you slaving away in the kitchen for hours. We all have busy lives so check the prep and cooking times to select one that fits for you.
Here is one of my favorites:
- 150 gms Paneer Cubes
- 2 cups fresh spinach (approximately 100 gms)
- 2 to 3 green chilies deseeded
- 3/4 cup onion chopped fine
- 1/2 cup tomatoes diced or puree
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 green cardamoms
- 2 cloves
- 10 cashews (soak in warm water for 15 mins and blend until smooth)
- Cut the paneer into 1″ cubes. Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and stir-fry the paneer till golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Keep aside. (optional)
- In the same pan, add green chillies, spinach and fry for just 2 to 3 mins on medium heat. Spinach must wilt. Do not over cook. Set aside to cool. Blend spinach and chilies to a smooth puree.
- Add 2 tbsps of oil to the same pan and add cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves and cumin, when they begin o sputter add onions and fry until transparent.
- Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry until the raw smell goes away. About 1 -2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and salt and fry until they turn mushy.
- Add gram masala, coriander, cumin. Saute until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
- Pour 1/2 cup of water and stir. Cook until mixture thickens
- Turn to a simmer and add the spinach, Mix well and cook until it begins to bubble for about 2 mins. If you prefer at this point, you can also blend this paste in the food processor to get a smoother consistency.
- Add paneer and cashews and mix. turn off heat.
- serve with Nan Bread (Indian flatbread). I prefer the garlic flavored to plain.