Food As Medicine: How I Cook With the Intention of Good Health

I try to be intentional in what I eat and what I put into my body. I have chosen to be a pescatarian because I believe it is better for my health. Pescatarian just means I am a vegetarian who eats fish, dairy, and eggs.  I try and avoid processed sugar in my diet, whenever I can, because it causes me joint pain. I choose meals that are good for me and my family and the ingredients I use are chosen for their healthy properties, taste, and color. 

  • Eggs. They are good source of protein, contain vitamin B12 and selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant which may protect against heart disease and boost immunity. 
  • Tofu. Because I do not eat meat, tofu is a great source of protein. Additionally soy has cardiovascular benefits and is a natural estrogen replacement. 
  • Colorful veggies. The more different colored vegetables you put in your dishes the more different antioxidants you add to your meals. I chose veggies I use by the colors of other veggies in the dish. For example; If there is already a lot of green in the dish I usually pick a different colored bell pepper instead of green. They also make the dish look pretty,  and as my grandmother would say, how it looks is as important as how it tastes.
  • Mushrooms. They are cancer fighting powerhouses which have the added benefit of a healthy dose of Vitamin D, the ‘happiness’ vitamin.
  • Honey. Honey is antibacterial and adds sweetness, naturally. 
  • Spicy peppers. These stoke your metabolism. You can adjust how much you add according to taste. My husband does not like his food too spicy, so I add a little, just to increase the savoriness of the dish. 
  • Basil. This herb has healing properties. It also reduces stress and is an immune booster. 
  • Garlic. Helps prevent and fight illness. This powerful bulb has multiple healthy properties that also include reducing the chance of tooth decay and dementia (and keeps away the vampires, per my husband).
  • Love. Setting an intention of love and happiness while cooking infuses these energies into the dish. Good intentions always taste so good. 

These are example of the things I like to put into the food I cook for my family, friends, and myself.  Below is a delicious recipe using these items.  Always consider what you are putting into your cooking and body. Our food really does affect us. 

Thai Basil Stir Fry

with fried egg on top

2 tablespoons olive oil

egg for each serving

For Stir Fry

1 pack ‘firm’ tofu – drained and pressed

5 Thai chili peppers

Olive oil for frying and sautéing

1-2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 package of white mushrooms

1/2 red bell pepper cut in stripes

2 cups fresh green beans, snapped in half with ends removed. 

Sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons water 

Add in at the end

1.5 Cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves.

Base

Cooked jasmine rice to serve as a base for the stir fry.

Putting it all together

Heat the oil. (you just need enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan). Cut up the Thai chillies and sauté in the oil. Once they are fully sautéed, remove and dispose. These give flavor to the oil and add a hint of heat without taking over the dish. More chillies can be used to increase the heat.

After the tofu has been drained, wrap it in paper towels and place on a plate with another plate and something, somewhat heavy, on top. This will press the extra liquid out of the tofu. Cut the tofu into chunks. Place in the hot oil. Cook over medium heat. No need to rush it. Let it take its time.  Occasionally ‘gently flip’ the tofu. You don’t want to break it up but have it stay in chunks. As this is cooking, add the garlic and continue to sauté. Next cut the mushrooms into quarters and add to the pan once the tofu has a light golden brown crust on it. Allow this to cook slowly while you mix the ingredients for the sauce in a separate bowl. Add the red bell peppers to the pan and stir ‘gently’ again. Pour the sauce over everything.  Add the green beans and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beans are bright green and warm all the way through. Keep your thoughts positive through the process. Play some fun music if that helps. Keep loving thoughts in your mind for those you are cooking for. 

In a separate pan fry the eggs, soft cooked are delicious, but how hard you cook the yokes is up to your preference. 

Serve stir fry over rice with the egg on top. 

Enjoy! 

Thank you fro reading my blog today. May you find it easy to put healthy food into your body, as if by magic.

** Photo credit goes to my husband who enjoyed the food so much he snapped a picture of it.

 

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What Is Healthy Eating?

What is healthy changes from age to age and time to time. At times it seems more about what is popular culturally. Look at the poor egg. It is healthy; then it isn’t. Then it is again. People have been eating them since the beginning of time, but the information out there about them has been confusing. There are so many diet options available: Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan, Raw, Clean, etc. How can a person know if they are truly eating healthy?
I have a friend who is a Chef. She also happens to have celiac disease. She must eat gluten free for her health. She makes wonderful, nutritious, and flavorful meals. Someone asked once if she makes everything gluten free. She replied yes. That the people who ate her cooking are eating healthy even if they don’t know it. This got me thinking about the idea of eating healthy. Certainly for her and many other people eating gluten free is very healthy. Their bodies do not handle or are not able to process the gluten in the food. However, I have a similar food allergy to rice flour. Many gluten free products substitute the wheat flour with rice flour. My body reacts and I get very sick from even a small amount of rice flour. Eating gluten free (when rice flour is used) is not healthy for me.
My brother is Vegan. He chose to become vegan after reading a book called the China Study. It is a very interesting read and makes a great argument for the health benefits of not eating animal products. I have been pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats fish occasionally) for a number of years. I attempted to live the vegan lifestyle due to my brothers influence and after reading about the benefits in the China Study. It did not work for me as a part of my lifestyle. I travel for work and am on the road at least 4 days almost every week. Some of the places I visit do not have great options for plant based protein in restaurants. My blood sugar drops low if I do not have a significant amount of protein with my meals. Eating Vegan, while on the road, is not a healthy diet for me.
I know people who have tried to be vegetarian or vegan, but ended up going back to meat because they became weak and did not get the nourishment that their bodies required. Their vitality just seemed to be lacking. Once they added some meat back into their lives, their energy improved. I also have had friends that the stress of making a second meal for family members who eat a different diet made it to difficult. The toll, stress was taking in their life, made it worse for their health than eating the same diet as others in their life.
Certainly there are things we can agree that are not healthy to ingest in our bodies. Much of what we consider a healthy diet is really about personal choice and listening to our bodies. Get to know your body. What foods make you feel good and which ones do not. Healthy eating is as individualized as we are.
What kinds of food make you feel best? Have you tried a diet that others felt was healthy and wasn’t a good fit for you? What did you learn about yourself through that process?

Offer blessings or thanks prior to a meal?

Is there a purpose to offering blessing to our food? Anyone who has grown up in at least a moderately religious family has been told to offer blessings prior to a meal. Is there more to the idea of offering blessings?

Offering blessings to food have been a tradition in many different spiritual beliefs. There are prays of blessing in, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Wicca, Native American, and most other spiritual practices. Why is all of this blessing so important?

Gratitude – Of course we know an attitude of gratitude will help us manifest more things to be grateful for. The law of attraction tells us like attracts like. The more blessings we offer the more blessings the Universe will conspire to bring us.

Peace- In 1924 Cleve Backster hooked plants to polygraphs. He noted that plants could react with fear and anxiety. Others have carried on this research and it has been found that there is a peacefulness in the plants that have blessings offered over them prior to being eaten.

Energy- Everything is energy. By offering thanks for the food we are about to eat we align our vibration and the foods in order to most fully make use of the energy in the meal.

Gift- We acknowledge that it is a gift and that something or someone made a sacrifice in order for us to have the food that is about to fill our bellies.

Tradition- Many families have traditions about saying “Grace” or offering blessings. Traditions or a wonderful way to keep a connection to your ancestors.

Next time you eat a meal, offer a blessing to it, it may be more important than you think. It certainly will not hurt anything.

What are your family traditions around blessing food? Is offering blessings for your meal something you enjoy? How does it make you feel?