The magazine Whole Living reports that when women who are trying to lose weight eat meals they’ve made at home (especially lunch), they drop 5 pounds a year more than women who eat out. Those who eat regular meals every day lost 8 pounds more. (This is probably true for men as well given that restaurants in general tend to add a lot of fat, salt, and sugar to their food to make it taste better.)
Here’s an example of a quick, easy, and healthy meal that I made after the Thanksgiving holiday to carry to the beach. It’s a chilled soba noodle salad with tofu, veggies (like cilantro, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and wakame), with peanut sauce. This is as simple as boiling the noodles, chopping the vegetables, and mixing together the ingredients for the dressing!
The next time you cook, pay close attention to every single action that you perform in the kitchen. Don’t think about what you have to do later in the day or what you did that morning. Think about the rice you are washing, the carrot you are cutting in long, thin matchsticks, or the broccoli you’re steaming. Look at the color of the vegetable in your hand, examine its various features. Cut it open and appreciate its complexity and variety—the seeds or the pattern. Taste it, smell it, and feel its texture. Think about where it came from, how it grew in the sun, how it was washed with the rain. Contemplate its harvest, its journey from the field to the store or supermarket. Appreciate every item of food that you prepare. Be with the food, don’t be somewhere else. Cut it carefully. Cook it mindfully. Pay attention. http://www.snowlight.com/keys.html
If you’ve been to my cooking classes, you probably know how much I love parsley! Here are the reasons why:
Parsley’s volatile oils qualify it as a “chemoprotective” food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke). In addition to its volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley is an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are also important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene). Some studies indicate that vitamin C-rich foods, such as parsley, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.
Earlier this morning, I went to my favorite health food store to purchase all the necessary ingredients for my cooking class, Refreshing Summer Dishes. One of the items on my list was polenta, and so I browsed the bulk section in search of it. I go to the bulk section first because I can find better prices there as well as cutting down on environmentally unsound packaging. Upon looking, to my dismay, it wasn’t there. Since we live on an island, there are bound to be things that may not be in stock from time to time. Often, this store keeps them on the next aisle (or so I thought), but in pre-packaged bags.
When I got to the next aisle, there was still no polenta, but there was a woman who I assumed was a store clerk because, well, because she looked like someone who would work at this health food store, and she was also wearing a colorful name tag necklace (along with a Wonder Woman t-shirt). She appeared to be talking to another customer, and I thought since she was there, I’d ask her if she knew where to find it.
“Excuse me” I said, “There doesn’t appear to be any polenta in bulk or here on this aisle either. Do you know if there is any available?”
“Oh that’s strange” she said. It’s usually in bulk. The other customer said, “I’ll go look for you.”
“Hmmm… that’s strange,” I thought to myself…. why would another customer go look. Did she work in the store too?
We were wandering the aisle while the other person was looking back in the bulk section. She suggested we move over to the baking section where Bob’s Redmill products were carried. We searched high and low only to discover corn meal (for baking corn bread). I was just about to throw in the towel when we turned around and found it a bit higher up on one of the shelves. At this point, she said something like, “I don’t work here, but I really like the polenta too.”
My mouth dropped open. I was so embarrassed!! She really paid it forward for me today! Thanks Wonder Woman!
Thanks again to Ruth for sharing her photos from the afternoon cooking class! I had some help rolling everything up for everyone so that we could move on to the next recipe. Looking forward to next week’s class, Lunch: Gourmet Bento Box Items
In this photo, you see some items ready for my lunch on Friday. I pressure cooked some brown rice with azuki beans and a little bit of barley, and when it was done, mixed it with some shiso kombu furikake and sesame seeds. Here are the onigiri waiting to be wrapped up into some nori.
When you make your rice balls by hand, your right and left hands are joined in prayer formation over your heart, so your rice is blessed! I wonder if this is why many Japanese people feel so loved by having their mothers’ brown rice balls packed into their school lunches?