My transition to healthy eating was not an overnight shift but a process. The more things I learnt, the more things I changed, replaced and discovered. Тhe more inspired I felt! As time passed by I tried new tastes, textures, flavors, aromas and loved most of them!
At the beginning (which is now several years ago) I cut off foods like soft drinks, packaged sweets, frozen dinners, etc. Then I swapped some foods that I wouldn’t give up for their healthier alternatives e.g. dairy milk for nut milk, white sugar for natural sweeteners like honey or agave, white flour for whole-grain flour, etc. And finally, I started to recreate certain favorite recipes by using healthier ingredients. And this is the most important message of this post: you don’t need to give up favourite foods and tastes in order to eat healthy – you actually discover more food and more tastes by eating true food that nourishes your body!
This month, one of my favourite webs Yahoo Shine Super Club called for sharing favourite recipes from our childhood. While reading the article, my mind pictured the image of a desert that my grandmother used to make, using tea biscuits, lots of butter, powdered sugar and cocoa: sweet salami. I loved it so much that it never lasted more than a couple of days.
This is the title of an article that I wrote for the May issue of The Woman Today magazine. I was asked to prepare a material on the popular topic of gluten, gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease for the May issue. I have studied about gluten in the CSNN but made additional research on the subject and summarized my findings in a reading that I hope you will find both interesting and useful.
Some of the conclusions that are explained in details in the article are that due to our unhealthy eating habits and choices more and more people get diagnosed with gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease. The only solution for these people is to go totally gluten-free and to choose carefully their food.
In the same time, the raising number of people affected by gluten opens a new market opportunity for producers who now try to present the gluten-free diet as a one-way ticket to the land of perfect health and super-stars body shape. They used to do the same thing with fat popularizing fat-free products. The fact though is that by removing a single food or food group from your diet, you hardly make the rest perfect!
It’s been awhile since I wanted to make a post with tips for healthy eating on a vacation. But somehow other topics and tasks distracted me from the idea. A couple of weeks ago a fellow blogger Cole Mill approached me with a request to feature his tips for a healthy vacation. I am happy to do so while preparing a post with my own rules and tricks for eating away from home.
Hello, My name is Cole Millen, an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Some people plan a trip to “get away,” while others realize benefit of adding something greater to their current repertoire of knowledge, thought and emotion. Through my writings, I hope to influence the earlier, and connect with the latter at Cole’s Mill personal blog.
Vacations are a great opportunity to get away from the stress and monotony of every day life. However, they are also a tempting opportunity to let your exercise routine and diet slip away. Here are some tips to help you prevent packing on the pounds on vacation that you have worked so hard to lose.
Before you head off to the airport, eat a healthy meal or snack at home. When you are hungry, you are more likely to make less than stellar choices. This is particularly bad in airports, which are full of fast food and other unhealthy options. If your flight is long, pack your own snacks rather than consuming what the airline provides. You can also find ways to sneak in some exercise at the airport, such as walking around instead of sitting while waiting for your flight.
Today I am getting 32 years old. And it is only natural that my birthday makes me think about aging and the passing of time.
We live in a culture where after a certain age birthdays are not associated with presents and a birthday cake but with yet another year in the liability of our youth. As a culture we seem to be at war with the transition of time, perceiving aging as a failure to stay young. In countless ways the youth-oriented Western culture projects on us the image of youth as the only age of happiness that we should go corners to preserve: by using cosmetics, drinking suspicious concoctions, doing plastic surgery, etc. Brainwashed by this culture we associate age with approaching the zone of suffering, sickness and isolation.
But we also live in times of raising self-awareness and transformation of the old paradigms. Ageism is a paradigm that certainly needs transformation. We need to realize that the wrinkle-less skin does not by itself make us happy, neither the growing number of candles on our birthday cake turns us into feeble, unproductive and unworthy old people.
It is the light we carry inside us that keep us young. It is our energy, our passions, the boldness of our dreams, the spread of our wings. We stay young as long as we remember how to love, how to learn, how to dream and go after our dreams. We stay young, no matter the years and the wrinkles.
Today, I am celebrating youth. The inside youth. And my only birthday wish is to have the courage and wisdom to meet each coming year with joy, fulfillment and insatiable enthusiasm.
I am a breakfast type of person. I rarely skip breakfast and always enjoy the morning ritual of preparing and serving breakfast.
My breakfast tastes though change with the seasons. In the cold days that make for almost 2/3 of the year down here I prefer energy-dense foods that keep me warm and give me extra energy for the day like wholegrain porridge, oatmeal, home-baked muffins, occasionally pancakes, etc.
When the hot weather hits and the temperatures start raising my appetite turns to light breakfasts that referesh me and keep me hydrated.
Enter fresh fruit smoothies. They are my most preferred summer breakfast. Not only are smoothies easy to prepare but the variety is so rich that you can never get tired of trying yet another smoothie.
Basically, a good smoothy has three main components:
- A base – this could be any fleshy fruit – a banana, a pear, a melon, etc
- A flavor – it is best achieved by berries – strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or a combinations; but you can also try with cherries, figs, pineapple, etc
- A booster – this might be a nutritional booster like a superfood e.g. bee pollen, maca, spirulina, cacao nibs, wheatgrass, etc; and/or a taste booster – a spoon of honey, a couple of dates, stevia or agave, a spoon of coconut butter or almond butter etc
All of the above components now need some liquid to be blended together. You may use either nut milk, freshly squeezed fruit juice or coconut water.
Living in a four-seasons climate I have always been thrilled by the changes that every new season brings to nature. I watch in awe how the bare trees dress up in white floral lace for their wedding with spring, then slip on lavish green gowns to keep them cool in the broiling hot summer days, change colour in the autumn and discard their garments in winter to hug into fluffy snowy coats and hats.
Yet spring remains my most favourite season. Maybe because I was born in spring. Maybe because this is the season when everything starts afresh and somehow subconsciously I associate the awakening of nature with the chance for a new beginning that each of us needs now and then. Total reboot. Restart. Reprogramming.
No matter how much I enjoy spring and nature, in the last few years I have seen the seasonal changes mostly through the window with occasional weekend escapes to the mountain and lovely small villages. Living and working in the capital that was the only luxury I could afford.
But this year is different in many ways. After my daughter was born in January I had to rearrange my priorities and center my life around her needs. Many to-dos dropped down from my list and were replaced by breast-feeding, baby-sitting and baby-walking. Although sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the lack of enough sleep and the impossibility to plan my time and activities, I truly enjoy the coo-ing little bundle and I am thankful to her for giving me the chance to spend so much time in the open!
Thanks to my daughter this year I had the chance to see the first twigs budding, the new grass probing from the earth, the little bushes bursting into fresh citrus green, the trees blossoming, the forest unfurling, the birds coming back and filling their nests with happy chirping. Like every baby Dari loves to sleep in the open and now that she is 3 months old – she is watching with interest the green world around her.
We are celebrating the Orthodox Easter this week. It comes right after 1st of May which is the international labour day and controversially as it is – is a non-working day down here. And the last day of the Easter holidays coincides with another national holiday – St George’s Day. So lots of holidays, traveling, family gatherings, lunches, dinners, parties and many, many food temptations.
Food is always a major part of the holidays because in our culture the food-laden table is the center of most festive gatherings. The family gathers round the table, friends invite you to lunch or dinner, parties offer party buffet, supermarkets display a colourful range of tempting goodies especially packed for the holidays. Looks like it is all about food. But is it?
Obviously, society, culture and business interests has successfully managed to shift the true essence of the holidays towards the food cult. Holidays have turned into a convenient excuse to forget about moderate, never mind healthy eating, and to overeat.
But the true essence of holidays has nothing to do with food. The word “holidays” itself stemming from the word “holy” shows that there is something sacred in these days. They are set aside from the normal days giving us time and reason to break our normal activities and to celebrate. Celebration might include visiting family and relatives, seeing friends, reconnecting, taking time for yourself, indulging in some leisure activities, traveling, enjoying living, celebrating the mere fact that you are alive!
And food may play a part in all that (nothing wrong!) but should not be the center of the celebration.
Overindulging in sugary foods, feeling bloated, making promises never to overeat again – sounds familiar? That was my general holiday state before I turn to healthy eating. As they say, I’ve been there, ‘ve done that, got a T-shirt.
Once you learn about the power of enzymes, you will want to add more and more raw foods in your diet. The good news is that this does not mean eating salads all day long, because the world of raw food is so rich, diverse and colourful!
Start with the breakfast. A simple raw breakfast could be a piece of fresh fruit or a smoothie but if you want to enjoy a more satisfying raw morning meal, try this raw porridge! It is a lovely combination of raw buckwheat, raw walnuts and fresh strawberries – so delicious, packed with enzymes, fibres, vitamins and healthy fats!
And if you want to boost the nutritious value of the porridge even further, add some bee pollen on top. That will make it your super raw, super-food breakfast!
Now, what is bee pollen and why is it so healthy?
Bee pollen is the collected pollen that the bees take back the flowers and store in the hive for food. It is the reproductive material of the plants’ world because the bees made the golden granules from substances contained the stamen of flowers. Bee pollen is super high-energy, alkalizing whole food that supplies us with nearly every single nutrient the human body needs to survive. It is loaded with digestive enzymes (11 in total), rich in proteins (all 22 amino acids), packed with vitamins (all B-vitamins except B12, C, D and E), essential fatty acids, carbohydrates in the form of polysaccharides and simple sugars, minerals, traceminerals and phyto-nutrients. Simply said – bee pollen has everything that your body needs not just to survive but to thrive!
Long-waited, much-dreamed-of, it is already here! Green-smelling spring that softens the hills with new foliage, springs into clouds of dashing colours and swaps the winter foods for fresh and cool leafy greens. Oh, how I love this time of the year when everything wakes up and bursts into new forms of life!
My body also senses the change and sends signals to my inner cravings for more greens and raw foods. Because even if you have tried to eat healthy in the winter, spring is the perfect time to reboot your system and power it up with new green energy.
This refreshing green soup combines all spring leafy greens – spinach, parsley, dill, spring onion and celery. Creamed up with ripe avocado and young zucchini, seasoned with lemon and nutritionally boosted with raw nuts, this soup is the perfect spring meal – tasty, balanced and satisfying.
I hope that my two previous posts helped you realize how important it is to eat consciously and mindfully. But if you are not a mindful eater, it takes some determination and practice to cultivate the habit of focusing on your food.
To help you build such habit, I provided you with a checklist that you may use with every meal. And in this post I am offering you a recipe for a raw salad which is perfect for practicing mindful eating because it requires a good deal of chewing.
The three main components in the salad are fennel, celery and spinach – all in their raw and most nutritious form. But before I give you the recipe, let me share some thoughts on salads.
I grew up with a cuisine that only recognized 2 types of salads – a spring salad combining lettuce, cucumber, green onion and radishes and a summer-autumn salad combining tomatoes, peppers (either raw or roasted), onion and cheese. During the winter we only had pickles and sauerkraut. Salads were served as a starter and always followed by a main dish.