After all, when I decided to become a vegetarian (19 years ago), people scared the bakoodles out of me that I wasn't going to get the nutrients -- namely protein -- that I need. I was seriously freaked out by the backlash, so I took it upon myself to read, read, and read more.
Well, I've sure shown them! Luckily, vegetarianism is now an acceptable way to eat -- even in the South.
Please note: I love to eat. What I mean by that, is that I love to eat for pleasure. So everything on my list is healthy, and also tastes good!
Here's the bottom line: Foods either heal you (and keep you healthy) or they can literally kill you. The things that pass for foods these days is mind-boggling! (i.e. Aspartame, anything genetically-modified, even processed white sugar, the list goes on...)
Unfortunately, when it comes to "food" in modern times, the race for big money is winning out over the welfare over the people. Today's tampered-with foods are literally making people sick.
But there are other books and blogs on that...
I just want to share with you my personal favorites, the GOOD stuff -- health-affirming and happy. And as always, organic and local is best!
1. Coconut water -- this stuff is a miracle (although not at all local here in Alabama). Not the milk (although I'm a fan of that too), this is the water that lives inside of a YOUNG coconut. (The milk is the "meat" of a more mature coconut turned into liquid.) I think I drank two a day when I was pregnant, and I owe my daughter's brilliance and beauty to the stuff. :)
2. Kale -- raw and chopped, as a salad, or sauteed with some tomatoes over rice. I've gone through phases where I've had to have kale every day or I just feel incomplete.
3. Ginger -- medicine, pure and simple. Cut it up, put in in boiling water, add some honey, and you've got your tea for the day.
4. Avocado -- the good fat. Even better -- Guacamole: Avocado mashed with a fork with some Real Salt, chopped tomato, cilantro, and lime. Guac. Is. My. Favorite. Food. Hands. Down.
5. Hummus -- okay, this is not a food, it's a recipe -- Chick peas, tahini, lemon, olive oil, garlic, and a bit of cumin and water. Done. Protein, yummy, happy happy.
6. Lemons -- add to your water to keep it alkalized. Squeeze it over a salad for some dressing. Or put it in your hair at the beach for highlights.
7. Quinoa -- The Super-est of Grains. Use it cold in a salad. Or cook it up with some red lentils, ginger, and coconut milk. Good, easy, and probably your protein intake for the week! (Slight exaggeration.) There's a cool history on this stuff -- the Incans ate it (worshipped it?) and when the Spaniards invaded, they saw what a superfood this was and they BANNED it for the Incans to weaken them. Quinoa was almost lost to the Earth due to these jerks. Luckily, some foodies in the 1980s revived it, and here it is on grocery shelves everywhere.
8. Fruit -- mangos, raspberries, bananas, peaches, strawberries, cantaloupe, tangerines, kiwi, pineapple, papaya, shall I go on? I cannot sing the praises of fruit enough, especially in a smoothie or for breakfast. Cleansing, packed with nutrients, and super-sweet goodness. Nature's Candy for real.
9. Almond butter -- YUM. (Sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, and pretty much all the nut butters get a thumbs up here.)
10. Cashews -- The Salt n' Pepper ones I can't even buy any more because my daughter and I will eat the whole container in one day. They are probably better for you raw rather than roasted and salted and peppered, but I'm not getting that picky here.
11. Broccoli -- Sautee in coconut oil, sprinkle with lemon and Bragg's amino acids (tastes like soy sauce) and then cover with lid to steam for a bit -- my 3-year-old's favorite veggie!
12. Water. Good ol'-fashioned water. The best hydrator, cleanser, detox-er ever. Gatorade and Vita-water only WISH they could be water. But PLEASE just stop right now buying those pesky, Earth-killing individual plastic water bottles. Seriously. It is NOT convenient to have our Earth scattered with those things. And the plastic leaks into the very water you are drinking! And the water bottle industry is extremely questionable, so it's bad to support it! Get yourself a good Sigg bottle or a glass bottle to re-fill, and be good to yourself and our planet that gives us everything we need!
In short, my body loves these foods -- not in the Oreo-binging or ice-cream-sundae kind of way (those are just instant gratification things that make me feel sick thirty minutes later, although I wholly admit, I sometimes indulge!) -- but in the long term, good-energy-all-day-and-all-life kind of way.
The bottom line here is that I don't care how many calories something has, or how much fat it has -- that's not what eating is about -- all I know is that when I eat these things, I feel GOOD. Our bodies are amazing miraculous machines that are constantly giving us feedback on our lives -- they tell us what they want and need, and not just on the physical, but on the emotional and spiritual levels as well.
So start listening people! It could be the key to your health!
Put down the diet books, stop looking at the calorie content and, instead, look at the ingredient list (best foods have ingredients that aren't chemicals, you know?) -- and see how your body reacts. In my opinion, the best doctor out there, is inside.
Oh. And one more for fun. My indulgence and my splurge. Better than ice cream, maybe better than sex.