Happy New Year! I hope you had a fun holiday season and a glorious start to 2018.
I personally don’t “start” the New Year until January SECOND. I’ve finally learned not to begin my new resolutions the day after I’ve stayed up past midnight the night before AND plan to indulge in a few first-day festivities. That’s a sure recipe for disappointment.
I love the chance to begin again, though, don’t you? When I was a teacher, I loved those first days of class. A fresh start! Anything and everything was possible. I feel that way every year as we approach January: a chance to start over, try new things, and change my paradigm.
That’s the big word I bring to you today: PARADIGM. A paradigm is the way we “see” the world, how we understand and interpret it. It’s as simple as how we think each day will turn out, how the world will treat us. Our paradigms are the source of our attitudes AND behaviors. By year end, I was so emboldened by the actions taken by all the women coming forth to accuse their sexual harassers, the Alabama democratic win, the fact that 96% of voters in Lake Hendricks, SD, opposed the building of a 4,000 cow “mega-dairy,” that even Gucci (starting with its Spring/Summer line) will be banning all fur, that I said to myself, we are OK, the world is good and still changing for the better. I vowed to keep doing my part.
In this new world of mine, Im going to cook a little more and hope you will, too.
It’s so easy to go to the store and pick up … (name what you eat all the time). For me, it’s often hummus and “eggless tofu” (it looks and tastes like egg salad). Then I can come home and lather it on a slice of whole wheat bread, adding maybe a “smear” of avocado and a slice of tomato. But if I made it myself, I would know exactly what was in it, appreciate it more and hopefully slow down eating it.
For me, it comes down to choices. I call this my:
GOOD CHOICE, BETTER CHOICE guide.
For example, peanut butter is a good source of protein and natural fat but eating peanuts is better. If you’re feeling crazed, a shot of bourbon might be what you want but it’s not a GOOD choice. A soothing cup of tea would be better. Making your lunch before you head off to work and get all stressed is a good choice. Feel like a burger? Obviously a veggie burger is a better choice. You get the picture. Go for making “good” choices. Strive for “better” when you can.
Here’s my tip tip for the New Year: accept where you are. That could mean stuck in traffic, weighing in over 200 pounds, not yet ready to make a job change, whatever. ACCEPT where you are and when ready, do something about it. Making yourself crazy is what produces the stress. Really. It’s so simple but I just learned it! That’s part of my new paradigm shift.
OK, back to food, my favorite subject. One of the things I learned in 2017 was to pay attention to what I put into my body, not what I was missing. I tried to make each meal as healthful as possible. I was inspired by Dr. Greger’s (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/) Daily Dozen. He has a calendar (doesn’t everyone?) inspired by his book HOW NOT TO DIE and each month features a dish that is scrumptious looking and packed with all the essential foods that will keep our bodies healthy. I tried January’s Morning Grain Bowl and it was fabulous. Check it out. Better, try it! It is packed with six out of the twelve things we should be eating every day. I’ll talk about those in later blogs. But for now, just know it was easy to make (if you have left-over grain and the other ingredients on hand) and I was actually giggling while eating it. It was that good! I wouldn’t give it to you if it weren’t. The combination is amazing. This recipe is for FOUR (4). I cut it down, of course, to make it for myself.
MORNING GRAIN BOWLS
3 cups cooked whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats)
3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans, mashed (I only had pinto beans and they worded fine – plus I didn’t mash them)
2 cups Almond Milk
3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 1-inch piece fresh turmeric, grated (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional, but it was a good addition)
1 cup fresh or thawed mixed berries (I only had blueberries and didn’t thaw them)
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced (I only had frozen bananas and it worked great)
4 tablespoons Date Syrup (optional) (I added some date “crystals” I had in a can)
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the cooked grains, beans, Almond Milk, flaxseeds, turmeric, and ginger (if using). Mix well. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, or until warm but not too hot. Divide the grain mixture (it will look creamy) among four bowls. Top each serving with 1/4 of the berries and one-quarter of the slice banana. Drizzle each serving with one tablespoon of Date Syrup (or cut up dates?), if desired.
Nice suggestions to start the year on a positive note, and the grain bowl looks amazing. BTW, tumeric not only tastes wonderful but also MAY help fight Alzheimer’s. As our grandmother would have observed, “Couldn’t hurt.”
Ah, thanks, my most trusted brother and reader. You set a good standard for keeping healthy.