Drink your food and chew your drink. What does this mean? An important part of digestion happens in your mouth where initial enzymes are released to break down carbohydrates. So, it is vitally important that with each bite and sip, we take time to chew and savour what is in our mouth before swallowing. If you are a devotee of this practice, then ideally, you should be chewing each bite 40 times. That bite of food becomes liquid at the end. You may think you don’t have time (well, who does?), but this is really the proper way to make your food count. On most occasions, I’m the last to finish my plate when dining out with friends. In this age of fast food and dining, I’m considered a super slow eater but I don’t mind as quality takes time!
How many different ways are there to make hummus? Apparently lots, as my friend Donna and I discovered on a trip to the Middle East a few years ago. Our trip lasted 12 days and took us from Jordan through to Egypt. We had hummus every day. It was served in both fancy and fast food restaurants and we loved every single variation of it.
Living in a youth obsessed culture makes it difficult not to be influenced by all the subliminal and some not so subliminal messages that bombard our surroundings. I have been told many times that I don’t look my age and my ego always swells a little when I hear this. I think next time someone says I look younger I will say, “Oh, I wish I looked older.” Then there will be awkward silence………..yes just like this. On second thought, my strict proper Asian upbringing won’t permit me to be ungracious, so I will just have to say, “Good genes”.
I would like to change how I view people who may be considered old. Even just typing the word “old” is not comfortable for me right now. We have come up with ways to avoid using that word, “more experienced”, “golden years”,”senior years, “women of a certain age” (or does this mean women in their middle years). Working in a retail health food store gives me lots of opportunity to have fantastic conversations with all sorts of people and I especially delight in my exchanges with the older customers. Hearing about their life experiences, sharing their knowledge, is so very enriching to me. “Old people know stuff!”
I probably had my first taste of Mexican food when I was a child and our family took a road trip to Mexico. Although we were barely past the Mexican border on that visit, it was still exotic. It was like going back in time to a land out of the dark ages, or so it seemed to me as a 9 year old. Dirt roads were the norm, mangy dogs roaming around aimlessly rooting for food. Old, rusty cars were sprinkled about like confetti. My Dad revelled in it! He tends to gravitate towards places that are more gritty and edgy. We must have stopped for lunch, although I have no recollection of what we would have eaten but it was probably some sort of taco. Any memory of what we ate was overshadowed by the colourful landscape and locals that we saw.
Tofu is the Meryl Streep of the food world. I love Meryl Streep so this is not an insult at all. Meryl’s brilliance is her ability to lose herself in any role. I remember watching her as Julia Child in the movie Julie & Julia and there were moments when my mind would shift back and forth – “It’s Meryl on the screen as Julia Child, no it’s really Julia Child, no it’s Meryl…” Tofu is just like Meryl in the way it can completely take on the flavours that are added to it. I have grilled tofu and served it with a satay sauce, put it in a broccoli cheese dip, added it to lasagna, and all to great success.
I haven’t had such a disheartening day in a long time. Lately I’ve been asked to audition more and acting is something that I’ve done in the past, but have taken a break from it to focus on other pursuits. I had prepared for this audition well and by the time it was my turn to go in I had been stewing in the waiting room with the other actors for well over an hour. It didn’t go the way I had hoped and I left feeling like a failure. Once I got home I put on some Harry Connick Jr. music, a mood lifter for sure, and then headed to the kitchen to make these baked treats.
These chocolate chip cookies are the perfect indulgence to soothe my soul without having to say “I shouldn’t have” afterwards. For our followers, you might recall that I recently confessed to breaking a five day liquid fast by eating half a bag of Chip Ahoy cookies, not my proudest moment. Since then, I have made thousands of cookies and have a few “go to” recipes. Lately, the avocado is having its moment in the spotlight. So much so that global demand for this once exotic fruit, (yes, it is a fruit) has skyrocketed. No longer is it just for California rolls and quacamole, but it is topping quinoa salads, sandwiches, as well as being grilled, made into fries, used for chocolate mousse and now baked into cookies!
Confess it, don’t you love getting free samples? Well, I most certainly do, especially when they are the latest and greatest in the health food industry. Last weekend, the Canadian Health Food Association Trade Show took place in Vancouver. I sampled all sorts of delights from chaga mushroom tea, brown rice kale chips to a salted caramel, cashew milk frozen dessert. Besides trying great food, there were talks given by doctors and health experts.
One of the speakers was Kathy Smart who is a registered nutritionist, holistic chef, named Canada’s health activist, and she was even a guest on Dr. Oz. Kathy had clients who wanted to slim down, so she tested a theory on them which she claims worked time and time again. Her theory is that a plant-based protein works better for apple-shaped women and meat based protein is best for pear-shaped women. Whether you’re wanting to trim down or not, here is a tip about how much protein to eat. Take your weight in pounds and divide it in half, then this is the number in grams that you should be eating a day. So let’s say you weigh 140 lbs., then you should be eating 70 grams of protein per day.
Kathy Smart also talked about her list of top healthy foods. Can you guess which vegetable she thinks should be crowned vegetable of 2015? BEETS! This superfood is a powerhouse of nutrients with some not readily found in other vegetables/fruits. As an example, beets have a high concentration of betalains (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying). They also contain vitamin C, magnesium, iron, folate, manganese, nitrate and potassium. This purple vegetable offers a huge range health benefits including: warding off cancer, supporting the digestive tract, boosting the immune system and energy, lowering blood pressure, helping arthritic pain, preventing cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia. In China when women are menstruating they eat a lot of beets to replenish their iron levels. Don’t throw out the beet greens (tops of the beets), as they have a good dose of lutein, an antioxidant that supports eye health. I cook them like I would spinach or swiss chard. So, if you didn’t believe in the benefits of beets before, then it’s time to embrace and feel the beet!
I once knew a couple who were very much in love. They dated for 5 years and didn’t have much money, so he proposed to her with a 1-carrot diamond ring! No, that is not a typo, he found the biggest carrot and carved it into a ring. To her, that ring was more meaningful than a real diamond ring and she proudly wore it until it wasn’t fresh anymore. As demonstrated, you can do more with carrots than just eat them.
Easter is upon us. For me, it is a reminder that we can all have a fresh start. After days and days of grey, gloomy wet weather, that stretch into weeks with nary a ray of sunshine, you think you can’t bear to put on your trench coat and rubber boots yet again. Then, all of a sudden, the days grow longer and the sun pokes its head out more; tulips, daffodils and fragrant hyacinths are in full bloom. And that is when I feel the stirrings in my heart of new possibilities.
I was a thief. The first time was remarkably easy, then came a second, third time, and then it became a pattern. The object of my desire was always the same, the coveted “Coffee Crisp” candy bar.