3/7/13

Do you eat with your hands?


I came across this fantastic article in Food and Nutrition Magazine and I suddenly became really excited to cook. Although I am not a trained cook, I really enjoy being in my kitchen as a way to fuel my lifestyle and workout routine. But this article was more than just stimulating to the eye but also motivating and inspiring. So many foods for flavor...and endless possibilities on how to use them.

I then started to think....it's too bad that children don't learn more about food science, culinary skills and farming in school...or by their parents at a very young age. Imagine yourself now if you had a few class in kindergarten where you grew your own produce. Then in middle school you had a food science class where you learned about how foods are created, how they react with other foods and how they can modified or changed in the processing process. And then, in high school you had culinary classes. Classes were you made your own dinner (in school) or learned how to properly prepare meats, use the right herbs and spices with meals and what utensils and cookware go best with certain recipes. How cool would that be?
Perhaps those ideas do not excite you as much as me but with all the preaching of "healthy living" it's troublesome that "we" are rarely educated as to how to live a healthy life. We are told repeatedly by social media and the news but rarely do we get the change to learn and to be the student in our own life-lesson. 


I work with athletes of all ages, from middle school athletes to the retired and everyone in between. What's so interesting is that everyone has a different passion or definition for healthy living but not always do we know "why" or "how" we developed that passion or definition. I feel if we took a little more time appreciating habits that will allow us to live a healthy life, we would be more at-ease with focusing on our own needs and goals. I think cooking is one of the best ways to start living a more healthful life yet for so many it is a chore, it is boring or it is too time-consuming. The funny thing is that for many, they were never taught that available food is a gift and we often take that for granted. Cooking is a skill that does not need to be perfect but rather appreciated. Lastly, many people eat for the wrong reasons at the wrong time. Calories, off-limit, stressed, good, bad food instead of eating for fuel, for health and for pleasure.

Ask yourself when was the last time you ate with your hands? Perhaps a meal that was wrapped in a package, a meal that was stuffed between two slices of bread or in a pita or wrap, or a meal that contained 1 item. How often do you eat with utensils?

Sometimes changing habits is not about giving up foods but rather re-thinking your meals and getting more creative in the kitchen.

My creation on Monday night included stuffed pitas. But instead of having the pita as a meal (eaten with your hands) I used the "stuffings" for my "salad" as the main part of the meal and the pita as the "side dish". An easy way to slow down eating, bulk up on more nutrient dense foods and still enjoy favorite foods without feeling restricted but rather satisfied. Enjoy!





Sauteed veggies - onions, mixed bell peppers, corn, garlic, ginger in olive oil (on medium heat for 10-12 minutes). Seasoned with turmeric, red pepper flakes, oregano, garlic.
Leafy green (spinach and kale) for salad
Protein of your choice - I grilled tofu on small skillet (firm tofu, cubed, tossed on skillet in a little olive oil, seasoned with a pinch of sea salt).
Leftover bean and lentil mix (prepared from raw mix, cooked for ~1 hour)
Peanut (or your nut of choice)
HALA whole wheat pita bread
Shredded cheese and greek yogurt for topping (optional salsa)