Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Longing for your past diet...

I think I have heard it from every person I've worked with nutritionally, at some point or another: "I really miss eating [fill in the blank here.]"  It is hard to give up old habits, especially when they have to do with food.  There are so many ways to get around this, though.

  1. Remember that your new, healthier way of eating really does make you feel better, and will have an immense long-term health benefit, too.  It is worth it.
  2. Learn to substitute healthier choices in your favorite dishes (see recipe below!)  Don't just eat things you don't love all day--figure out how to LOVE healthy food!
  3. Give yourself, as a reward for all your good choices, a treat every now and a blue moon (this is depending on your state of health, of course.)  Try not to make it an artificially flavored and colored popsicle made out of chemicals, though.  Choose organic ice cream cone from your local hand-made ice cream shop, for example.  If it gives you joy, joy has health benefits, too!
  4. Know that your taste buds do change.  Just yesterday, my husband had a bit of one of those aforementioned popsicles and could barely swallow it.  It tasted...NOT like food, which it wasn't.  You will stop liking these things, believe me!

When I went through the raw foods immersion program, my taste buds did change. Sugar, which I'd already reduced substantially in my diet, tasted really strong to me.  And green juice tasted TRULY delicious.

Here is a great recipe to have when you are craving your "old" diet.  Instead of a greasy beef taco with a teensy bit of veggies on top, and loaded down with cheese and sour cream, enjoy this:

Red Lentil Tacos

(serves 4)

1 cup dried red lentils
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 inch of ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. salt
2 cups vegetable broth

corn tortillas (8)
2 avocados
1 lime
1 can black olives
handful of arugula (or other green of choice)
salsa (optional! It's great without!)

  • As soon as you measure out the lentils, soak them in water. Even if they just soak for 10 min, that's great, but a few hours would be even better.
  • Sautee in a large pan with olive oil: 1 chopped onion and the minced ginger. Once they are soft (after about 10 min.), add in the garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt.  Saute for about a minute more. 
  • Drain the lentils, then add them to the onion mixture in the saute pan.  Stir around to let the flavors meld, then add in 2 cups of vegetable broth.  (I like having Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cubes around. They are the best vegetable broth on the market, and so easy: in this case, boil 2 cups of water and add in 1 cube!)
  • Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, checking for "doneness" and stirring occasionally. 
  • Warm your corn tortillas in a large pan, and then assemble tacos.
  • For each taco: a corn tortilla, a scoop of lentil deliciousness, slices of avocado, black olives, arugula, and a squeeze of lime on top.  You will find you don't even long for the cheese or sour cream!

Serve alongside spiced brown rice, a big green salad, or a tomato salad.

Health benefits of lentils: an excellent source of fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium.  They lower cholesterol, are great for diabetes because they don't cause blood sugars to rise, and are protective against cancer.  In fact, the Nurses' Health Study (II), which followed the diets of over 90,000 women for decades, found that women who ate lentils twice a week had a 24% reduced risk of breast cancer.

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