You are what you eat! This idea has never felt as true as it does today, now that I am on a mission to (almost) completely naturalize my diet. What I mean by ‘naturalize’ is eat primarily foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. In essence, no processed foods, unnatural additives, or other junk. Call it the paleo diet, raw food diet, or what have you, but that is the basic premise of my new food regimen. Check out more Natural and Healthy Eating posts here, and click here for more food photography!
The reason is partially for weight loss, but mainly for overall health improvement, making sure my body is only intaking nutrients that will help it not only in the short-term, but the long-term as well. This post is the first of many in my “Natural and Healthy Eating” series that will highlight in photos, words, and facts how I am keeping my diet clean and simple, and using positive mantras to aid with digestion. This last idea will eventually merit a whole post to itself, but in summary, think of it this way: if positive mental attitudes as a whole can affect your overall well-being, think about how it could affect absorption of food as you are consuming it. More on that later, but hopefully that got you thinking.
The goal is to inspire you to consider adding more natural, healthy food into your life by showing you how simple it is, and also to motivate me to stick to it on a regular basis.
Without further ado, here is the first Natural and Healthy Eating post!
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”
George Bernard Shaw
My first home-cooked healthy meal went pretty all out. As a regular shopper at the local farmer’s markets in Seattle, I’ve over the years developed a huge taste for the Patty Pan stand at the Broadway Farmer’s Market. Their quesadillas have blown me away from the first time I ever tried them, and I’m one of many addicted to the heap of grilled vegetables that are smushed between a thin tortilla and topped with cheese and salsa. Delicious, healthy, pretty affordable, and only available once a week. That last bit was a major dilemma. My somewhat half-assed effort to replicate the famous Patty Pan quesadilla is what prompted my first home cooking experiment.
The Patty Pan Grilled Veggie Quesadilla — $6/whole, $4/half: A mix of seasonal veggies, many local and organic, folded into a tomato tortilla with melted cheese.
We begin with beets. I absolutely love beets, and admittedly had no idea how to cook them. I went to the store and gathered a bag of loose beets of various sizes, and Googled the best way to cook them. For me, this method was boiling on the stove for at least an hour, which is when I discovered that choosing beets of the same size is a wiser idea. Oops, but still, a good chunk of edible, boiled beets ensued.
Next was a lamb roast, stuffed with cloves of garlic, surrounded by heads of raw cauliflower, all covered with spoonfuls of coconut oil, and roasted in the oven for approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees. The lamb was sizzling and smelling absolutely delicious by that time. Drool.
To complete the meal, I needed some greens to add, so I learned the quickest and (in my opinion) most tasty way to cook greens: steam them. I chopped up an entire bunch of kale and rainbow chard and steamed them on the stove with a handful of spinach and spoonful of coconut oil. In less than 10 minutes, I had a heaping pile of greens, roughly half the size I’d started with after the water disappeared. Still, tasty nonetheless.
To plate the meal, I made a bed of steamed greens (kale, chard, and spinach), placed my prized lamb roast in the center, and placed the cauliflower heads and slices of beats in a circular fashion around the plate. A few golden cherry tomatoes were added for color and flavor.
Time: A lot