THE NUMBER ONE GOAL OF THE YEAR, seemingly, is a healthy life. Whether the desire is weight loss, nutrition, positive attitude, or exercise, the goal is health.
Remembering when I became aware of the health connection with food I put in my body is a blur, until my first baby. This is etched in my mind because in the 80’s every diet and health guru specifically stated CUT FATS! This landed my 10 month old in the pediatrician office diagnosed with dietary disorder due to not enough fats. We were sent home with a diet consisting of butter. Butter on everything! Soon his digestive system was once again functioning properly. 32 years later, there remains indecisiveness in food choice in a society of information overload. Here is my “GoTo” Rule of Thumb Basics I revisit when food lines get blurred, providing a simplistic approach to food choice.
BASIC GoTo LIST
- Organic – Dirty dozen/ clean 15* / NO GMO
- Healthy Fats – Coconut Oil, Olive Oil
- Whole Foods – Did I help harvest it from my Grandparent’s garden or help process the meats on my Uncle’s farm?
- Grass fed, Free range poultry, meats, dairy, eggs
- Wild caught, cold water, fish
With a simple, basic guideline for food choice, I delve into the world of information overload knowing my basic GoTo guidelines are at the core of each decision.
Ever so often, I run across a blog which falls neatly into my GoTo List.
Using herbs creatively is at the top of both professional and amateur Chef’s list, as it enables preparation of savory foods sure to please every palate. Project domestication uses a wide variety of foods and herbs with impressive results.
Buying foods such as kale, turnips, beets, parsnips, and eggplant is usually accompanied with delusions of grandeur to incorporate into everyday meals providing health benefits beyond compare, yet, admittedly, don’t often make it to the table because I don’t know what to do with them. Recipes by Becky have now established at least one, and mostly more, GoTo dishes to use these nutritious, savory foods. The compound butters, balsamic reduction, and multiple uses of fresh herbs add the gourmet touch to everyday meals. If you take away only one recommendation from projectdomestication, the compound butter recipes are the added feature meal enhancement. Explore the site with multiple recipes sure to impress. The recipes are simple and straight forward, while easily allowing you to follow the GoTo guide list ensuring 2014 remains a healthy year.
Here are a couple of recipes straight from projectdomestication.com
These recipes are easily adaptable to the GoTo guidelines list of food choice.
Red Onion, Parsley, Thyme & Sea Salt Compound Butter
I’ll let you in on a little secret: compound butter is where it’s at. One of my favorite ways to dress up meats, vegetables and other sides is by adding compound butter. If you’re not familiar with compound butters: it’s basically a fancy way of saying flavored butter. My most recent favorite is this Red Onion, Parsley, Thyme and Sea Salt version. It is UNREAL on grilled steak. It’s great on a baguette (like above) next to a spaghetti and meatball dinner (which I had tonight) and yummy over roasted vegetables. I like to go heavy on the herbs and add-ins because it adds so much flavor and freshness. Plus I’ve got a pleathora of herbs on hand right now and it makes me feel less guilty about using bread as a vehicle for butter. Red Onion, Thyme and Parsley & Sea Salt Compound Butter by Becky of Project Domestication
4 TB. unsalted butter, room temperature
2-3 TB. red onions, minced
3 TB. parsley
1 TB. thyme
½ tsp. Redmond Real Salt (or your sea salt of preference)
Combine all ingredients with a fork or small spatula. Mix well until combined and evenly distributed. Place in serving bowl, scoop in balls, pipe into small serving dishes or roll into a log using plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator and pull out and bring to room temp before serving if you’d like it to easily spread.
Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Turnips with Thyme by Becky of Project Domestication Ingredients 1 lb. carrots, peeled 1 lb. parsnips, peeled 1 lb. turnips, peeled 3 T. extra virgin olive oil 1 T. kosher salt 1 t. freshly ground black pepper 3-5 sprigs fresh thyme Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut carrots, parsnips and turnips in equal-sized pieces, around 1-inch. My preference is rounds for parsnips and carrots and small wedges for turnips. Place vegetables in 9×13 pan or on sheet pan. Pour on olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and thyme and toss well. Roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Vegetables are done when tender.
DIRTY DOZEN/CLEAN 15 LIST!
Dr. Weil, the ultimate source on food and health, provides The Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 list on his website.
Dirty Dozen/ Clean 15 ***
Nearly all of the data used took into account how people typically wash and prepare produce – for example, apples were washed and bananas peeled before testing. Of the fruit and vegetable categories tested, the following “Clean 15” foods had the lowest pesticide load, and consequently are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume from the standpoint of pesticide contamination:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet potatoes
The following “Dirty Dozen Plus
” had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions – or to grow them organically yourself:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
Plus these which may contain organophosphate insecticides, which EWG characterizes as “highly toxic” and of special concern:
- Kale/collard greens
- Summer squash
Sharon Nicholson Gudger