Being Bruce -: Healthy Eating - Our New Dietary Staples and Changes We've Made

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Healthy Eating - Our New Dietary Staples and Changes We've Made

Since we've made the commit to eat healthier, Marge and I have added new items to our list of staple foods we keep stocked in our kitchen and pantry. We've also dropped a few less healthy items, but I'd rather focus on the new good stuff.

This morning I lightly toasted some pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and slivered almonds in extra virgin olive oil. We now keep toasted seeds and nuts in a plastic container on the kitchen to easily add to salads. I never before knew how good pumpkin seeds taste, even raw, but adding them toasted with other seeds and nuts is a healthy treat - the essential fats and protein in the nuts are a wonderful addition.

We also now keep a few days ahead most of the time with cooked quinoa, brown rice, and a mixture of pinto beans and black beans - I'll cook up a cup or two of each (they at least double in size after cooking) so for the two of us, that generally means a meal or two of each. Cooking quinoa is quick, from start to finish only takes about 20 minutes. Brown rice takes a bit longer, about 50 minutes in all. Starting with dry beans requires 6 to 8 hours presoaking and then they take 60 to 90 minutes of to cook - I like to mix pinto beans and black beans because I like the looks of the variety and since they require the same cooking times it's just as easy to prepare them together.

Standard vegetables we keep on hand include tomatoes, red peppers, scallions and shallotts, red and yellow onions, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, clover or alfalfa sprouts, garlic, jicama (pronounced "hick-ama"), brocoli, kale, carrots, and beets. We also use loads of sweet potatoes. Red and green apples, lemons, avocados, and grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries round out our most common fruit shopping list. One big bonus is that our kitchen counter and refrigerator have never before been so colorful!

With the foods above we can eat quite happily, adding other ingredients as called for in specific recipes. We're not strictly vegan or vegetarian, but we've cut way back on meat, fish, chicken, dairy, and wheat products. We now drink distilled water rather than tap or regular bottled water and we also have cut way back on our caffeine consumption, especially coffee.

As we've learned more about healthy food and healthy cooking, the changes we've made have already had significant positive effects on our health, our sleeping, and our weight.