Before I open this blog, I want to send out my thanks to my dear friend Lauren, who named my new blog. Thank you, Lauren! A new name was needed, and she provided. And thanks to the rest of you who followed me here to this new name.
Now onto variety...
I cannot emphasize enough the notion of variety having a positive effect on your health. Sometimes when I visit the Farmer's Market on Sunday, I want to buy a little of everything offered, knowing that each color, variety, texture, and type of vegetable has something beneficial for my body. I have to remind myself that the market will be there next week, and I can buy something different then. You can't eat everything good for you in one day, so think of each week as a blank canvas for building your optimum health!
If you like white rice, try brown. If couscous floats your boat, try millet. Crave pasta? Try rice sticks. Consider carrots your staple? Try parsnips. Potatoes, try yams. Reaching for something different at the farmer's market or supermarket means that your body will benefit from new (possibly deprived) nutrients and vitamins. This is good for everyone, but especially if you are fighting disease. A wide variety of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals will strengthen your body and make you better equipped to fight disease.
In order to not let things go to waste by buying a large amount of a large variety, buy small amounts. Grab two loose leeks instead of the bundle. Use the bulk food bins to buy small amounts of interesting grains. Store your grains, nuts, dried fruits and seeds in jars to keep them fresh.
When I find myself with too many veggies that are on the edge of not being so fresh anymore, I make a gigantic salad for dinner. Last night: mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, black olives, an avocado, a handful of broccoli, pumpkin seeds, red pepper, a delicious balsamic vinaigrette, and sesame seeds and seaweed flakes (Gomasio) on top.
A staple in our house over the years is what we call "Japanese Soba Noodle Soup." My friend Rebecca introduced me to some derivation of it probably 16 years ago. It is very simple to make, delicious, and oh-so healthy, too!
Joining us for lunch, my cousin Lily told me today that this soup reminded her exactly like chicken noodle soup, only more interesting (and healthy!) That is exactly the point of variety and diversity in your diet: mixing it up with something different.
Japanese Soba Noodle Soup
1 package soba noodles
1 strip kombu
6 cups water
3 cups vegetable broth
splashes of tamari (or soy sauce)
1 package extra firm tofu
2 green onions
-In a medium sized pot, bring water to a boil and cook one package of soba noodles, according to package. When finished, drain, and divide into 4 separate bowls.
-In a large pot, boil 4 cups of water. Add one strip of kombu and boil for an additional 5 minutes; remove kombu. Add the vegetable broth and simmer.
-Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cut up the tofu in 3/4 inch squares, drain well, and pour tamari over it, tossing occasionally to soak in the flavor.
-Wash, peel and chop carrots at an angle. Cut up green onions into 1 inch pieces. Add to the large pot of boiling broth, along with the tofu and tamari. Cook vegetables in the broth for only about 3 minutes.
-Add additional tamari to broth to taste.
-Divide broth, veggies, and tofu evenly among the 4 bowls, and serve, along with chopsticks and soup spoons.