March celebrates National Nutrition Month, so we can get back into fine form as we shed layers of clothing, along with bad habits and pounds. Here’s a handful of creative and sensible suggestions to maintain a healthy gustatory lifestyle — no ifs, ands or butts!
at breakfast like a king (or queen), lunch like a lord (or lady) and dinner like a pauper. Food gurus (and smart moms) realize that breakfast is the most important meal of the day to fuel the furnace and shift the brain into high gear. Dr. Andrew Weil suggests starting the day with a slow burning or complex carb like a seasonal fresh fruit or a whole grain bagel dressed with organic cream cheese or omega-3 rich almond butter. Steel-cut oatmeal topped with immune-boosting blueberries and a splash of coconut milk is a scrumptious energy-boosting option.
Plenty of Fish in the Sea
Trade in red meat for red snapper or other heart- and brain- healthy omega-3 fatty acid powerhouses, especially wild caught, deep sea, cold-water ones like salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, scallops and squid. When preparing canned salmon or sardines, don’t toss the soft bones, rather mash them with the fish for an added dose of calcium.
For die-hard carnivores choose trendy bison or buffalo, a higher protein with fewer calories and less fat than beef. A mother load of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, bison is rife with stress-busting B vitamins and iron to pump up red blood cells. Whip up bison burgers, a hearty three-bean bison chili, bison Bolognese or meatloaf with a tangy tomato glaze. Standing advice--buy grass-fed and organic where possible. Or walk on the wild side with a grass-fed elk burger.
Refrain from drinking water (or other beverages) until after your meal as the liquid will dilute the precious digestive enzymes.
Skinny on Fats
Butter is not always better, unless you’re Julia Child. Use heart-healthy friendly fats like olive, almond, walnut, sesame, flaxseed or avocado oils, and look for dark glass bottles that protect the integrity of the oil.
Take it with a Small Grain of Salt
ut back on your sodium intake by dialing up herbs and spices like crushed rosemary, thyme, cayenne, turmeric and garlic. A splash of lemon creates a salty taste in food without the added sodium that can trigger hypertension. Sea salt has a stronger flavor so less is more.
Don’t Get Fried
Poach chicken or fish in a white wine or miso broth, or bake, roast, sauté or stew rather than deep fry. When breading replace breadcrumbs for rolled oats or heart-healthy, gluten-free ground nuts like almonds, walnuts or the rooto-rooter for the arteries — pecans.
Two Evil Sisters
Avoid refined white sugar and flour. These high-glycemic monsters will cause sugar highs and lows with a side order of foggy brain. Substitute high-fiber whole wheat or coconut flours for white flour, and natural, lower cal sweeteners including honey, agave syrup, stevia, unrefined whole cane sucanat or organic pureed fruits for white sugar.
For those lactose insensitive bellies, try switching out cow’s milk for the more forgiving goat or buffalo. Other options are mock milks and cheeses made from soy, rice, almond, coconut and hemp.
The Grapes of Wrath
While the red versus white wine health debate rages on, the latter wins flavor of the month. Even though the grape skin — especially the red, purple and black varieties — is a rich source of resveratrol, an antioxidant powerhouse which may protect against cardiovascular disease, the white-skinned Grenache grape has been found to contain even higher resveratrol levels. White wine generally has fewer calories and histamines than red, so is less likely to trigger nausea and migraines, and does not have the typical medication interactions either. Cheers!
Bison on a Bun
2 pounds ground bison
1 red onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Sauté onion in oil until translucent. In a large mixing bowl combine onion and remaining ingredients. Form into 1/3 pound patties. Grill or pan fry on medium heat with olive oil to desired liking (about 6 minutes per side). Serve on your favorite bun with tangy mustard, grilled red onion and heirloom tomatoes.
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