Different eating programs and diets over the last few years have gradually moved towards a lifestyle based on organic, wholesome, and nutritious food groups. By taking a look at your own meals and tastes, organic food can become a natural choice for longevity, nutrition, wellness, and diet needs. Choosing organic fruits and vegetables doesn’t have to be costly; when food is cooked simply and appropriately, there are a variety of dishes and meals that can be made with as few as three or four ingredients! A few recipes can be found below.
“Organic” food is simply food that has not been processed with additives, preservatives, chemicals, or other substances during the course of its growth or maintenance. This can be true for fruits, vegetables, grains, and other food groups made up of these (such as breads or other cooked food). The organic lifestyle is more prominent today as Americans are realizing the impact of food and nutrition to their health. It is well-known that eating for your health makes a significant impact on longevity, general functioning, and well-being! Balancing a healthy eating lifestyle with regular exercise increases the chances of reducing toxins in the body, and encourages optimal health. A fresh body also enables a fresh mind; you will notice your energy and well-being soar after just a few weeks of consistent change.
There are many ways to incorporate new foods into your daily regiment. The following is just a sampling of the benefits of various foods and their positive effects on the body. Combining these natural antioxidants into the current meals you make will bring you one step forward towards healthy living:
Alfalfa, Kale, Spinach, and other leafy green vegetables hold extraordinary amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential for balancing nutrients in the body, and also help in preventing aging, diseases, and infections. Eating a variety of these fibrous vegetables also helps detoxify the body naturally, keeping you regular and the bowels healthy.
Fresh, ripe tomatoes are rich in lycopene, and the benefits can also be experienced from canned and pureed versions. Lycopene is one of nature’s cancer-fighting agent, and also helps those with diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Tofu is available in a variety of forms, and can be cooked in a multitude of ways. It is a natural soy protein that can be baked, fried, grilled, or used as a valuable alternative to meat. Organic versions are available in soft, firm, and extra firm and maintain well for long periods of time. Tofu provides essential proteins for bone, joint, and muscle growth.
Green lentils, kidney beans, and mung beans are ideal sources of protein to maximize energy without taxing your system. By soaking the beans overnight, they become a very easily digestible food that can be cooked and served in a variety of ways. Add spices and your favorite seasonings to create hearty soups and other dishes that satisfy both the mind and body. Protein from beans also encourages healthy muscle and bone growth.
Brown rice is a highly nutritive carbohydrate that provides long-lasting energy and essential minerals not found in white rice. Choose jasmine or wild rice for alternatives, which are both also available in brown versions. Steamed, used in stir-fries, or boiled, brown rice is rich in nutrition and easy on the body on a daily basis.
Green Tea is also full of powerful antioxidants, and when sipped regularly, it naturally flushes the digestive system. It is a safe form of caffeine, and can help in moving bad coffee habits out of your routine! Today, it is available in a variety of flavors; try it with some honey, stevia (a natural form of sugar), or a squeeze of lemon. This is a great tea when iced, for those hot summer nights on the porch!
All water-based fruits hold antioxidant properties that help detoxify and nourish your system. Choose the fruits of the season, and you’ll be amazed at how joyful the taste of ripe fruit can be! Oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, and blueberries are high on the list of detox fruits. Avoid melon when you are beginning to incorporate fruit as it may be difficult to digest.
Wheat & Breads
There is much research on the effects of wheat gluten, especially for people with allergies and some cancers. As an alternative to pure wheat, oat flour, potato flour, and quinoa are strong grains that can be rich sources of nutrition. Try breads made from these wheat alternatives, and you will notice how differently your body begins to process them.
Try these two easy-to-make recipes as you transition to a healthier lifestyle. All ingredients should be purchased as fresh as possible, and salt, pepper, and seasoning may be added for taste.
Recipe #1: Flatbread Wrap
These wraps make for a great lunch or picnic, and are easy to travel with. They also make a great appetizer if sliced into 2″ wheels.
1 package Flat-Out Wheat Flatbread
1 ripe tomato, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 package extra firm tofu, sliced into 10-12 pieces
8 oz. fresh spinach leaves
3 tbsp. fresh mustard
8 oz. organic cream cheese, softened
3-4 leaves fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix cream cheese, fresh basil, salt, and pepper in small bowl until smooth enough to spread. Set aside.
Lay out one piece of flatbread. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly in center of flatbread, up to 3 inches from the corner of each piece. Layer tomato, cucumber, 3-4 pieces of tofu, and finish with spinach leaves. Add a drizzle of mustard, and roll flatbread from end to end. Wrap tightly in saran wrap, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Slice into serving pieces as needed.
Recipe #2: Rice and Tomato Pilaf
1 cup brown rice
2.5 cups water
8 oz. diced canned tomatoes
2 tbsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
Rinse rice, and set into medium-sized pan. Add 2.5 cups of cold water, and set to boil. Boil until water begins to “rise”, and then reduce heat to let simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Set aside.
In medium-sized sautÃ?Â© pan, heat olive oil on high heat. Add onions and green pepper and sautÃ?Â© until onions are clear. Lower heat to medium, and add can of tomatoes, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until water from tomatoes is reduced to half; add to pot of rice, and stir well. Leave to set without heat for approximately 10 minutes. Serve with salad, and any protein dish for a well-balanced dinner.