New Year’s Food Resolutions
It seems uncool in the media this year to make a list of New Year’s Resolutions, but we think it is important to think about the year that has passed, what we have learned from it and what we can do better now that a New Year has begun. It is important to set new goals for happiness and fulfillment and even if we are unable to achieve what we hope for, it is really the hope that will make good things happen. We share our thoughts on New Food resolutions for 2012 and hopefully, they won’t seem like revolutions to you.
- If you are a meat or dairy eater, eat less or choose very responsibly. Yes, dairy too. What exactly is responsible when we talk meat or dairy- be extra careful with that. Grass fed can still mean animals never get out of the barn and are just brought bails of hay to eat. Better than corn fed, yes, but how about buying products from a farm where the animals actually pasture, get their feet to touch the earth instead of just concrete? It might take a bit of research and questions, but once you find a few good sources, you might also make new friends with a farmer doing honorable work. A starting point is http://www.heritagefoodsusa.com.
- Fish is the last real wild food, so choose not to eat farm raised, even if it is organic. Get educated with the right fish choices, http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx, and try not to eat the same fish all the time. Experiment. If you don’t like oily fish, the best way to eat them is easy, just mix a handful of fresh chopped parsley, chopped garlic, olive oil and a cup of breadcrumbs together and then top the fish and bake in the oven. Fish cakes are yummy too because chopped herbs like dill, chives, thyme have antioxidant power and add great flavor.
- Everyone keeps saying it, but seasonal fruits and vegetables really are better for you. The food distribution system is fairly new and before that, people had no choice but to eat seasonal and local. That can be tough in the colder months, but now we have the option of doing a bit of both. When vegetables are picked unripe and travel so many miles under refrigeration, what are we really getting for our money in the end? Get to know what is in season in your State, you might be surprised that there are still some Farmer’s Markets in the winter in colder places. http://www.fieldtoplate.com/guide.php If you cannot buy local, don’t stress about it, just be educated and mindful when you make choices at the store. Europeans shop differently, they don’t go shopping with a rigid list of ingredients because they have planned recipes, they make up the recipe after coming home with what looked good at the market that day. Be flexible and creative.
- Don’t ever say or feel afraid of carbohydrates because they are going to make you gain weight. The trick to not gaining weight is to keep everything in balance and vary your diet as much as possible. If you eat two big portions of spaghetti with tomato sauce and no protein, yes, that is not a good choice. However, if you go heavy on protein and light on carbs, you are missing out on fiber and getting a lot of unhealthy fats that might cause other problems. If you are battling weight issues yourself and have tried different diets, make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian instead. Stop counting calories, just make each calorie count. We really like Ashley Koff’s nutrition plan, take a look. http://www.ashleykoffapproved.com
- Give beans a chance, but not the canned ones. Dry beans are the one food that we has practically eliminated from our diets and that is a true shame. Dry beans are economical and easy to soak before you go to bed or before you leave for work and are ready to be cooked when you are. In farming, beans are used for rotation and add nitrogen back to the soil. Beans are one of the best foods out there, high in fiber, low in fat and full of protein. There are some great heirloom beans available too. http://www.zursunbeans.com If you think beans upset your stomach, it might just be because you eat canned, but adding spices like cumin, turmeric and coriander or choosing light color beans like canellini can help.
- When you get hungry in between meals, reach for fruit first and then eat more if you still feel hungry. Eating fruit first keeps your sweet tooth in check. Decorating a plate makes snacking fun. Arrange sliced bananas, apples, oranges on a plate, try a persimmon topped with lemon juice, add dry fruit or nuts or a cookie or two. A sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar on top will satisfy that craving for sweets. If you have children, they will be overjoyed when presented with an artfully arranged plate of fruit for snack and they can even help creating a decorated plate for you too.
- Eat less, eat better and waste not. Obesity now outweighs hunger worldwide. Until you travel outside of the U.S., you do not realize how much abundance there really is here. We are a fortunate country, but that does not mean it is ok to waste food, even if you can afford to. Spending money on higher priced foods in exchange for a guarantee of good farming practices, quality processing or even a simple list of organic ingredients is important.
Feel jovial about your food and may the hope for something wonderful this year make something great come true for all!