Some people find cooking to be therapeutic, while others despise it entirely. Despite your personal stance, if you care at all about your weight and health, then you better care about what you eat. It’s your everyday food choices and eating patterns that will ultimately make a tremendous impact on your waistline, cholesterols levels, blood pressure, and so much more. In today’s busy world, it can be a real challenge for many of us to find the time to prepare healthy and delicious meals. Learning to eat the right foods is one thing; developing our culinary skills is yet another. If you’ve been struggling in this arena, then today’s your lucky day. Starting right now, I’m going to be divulging secrets which are bound to help you eat healthier and improve your cooking skills. These secrets will be shared over a five course series so you can digest one delicious nugget at a time.
Secret number one: Choose good quality ingredients! This secret is the foundation for any healthy and delicious meal. Good quality foods are not only better for you, they taste better too! Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean you should brand health food into any one category, such as gluten-free, fat-free, low-carb, and so on. Don’t get neurotic or confused by hypocritical information. Of course some individuals must adhere to certain guidelines such as following a strict, gluten-free diet; but keep in mind that someone’s tolerance for gluten as with any other food sensitivity or issue, is still a personal matter. Yes we should learn to qualify our food choices based on our particular needs, but we must always consider the inherent quality of the food itself.
When trying to determine what constitutes good quality ingredients, we must pay close, and I mean very close, attention to the details. For example, some food items might be labelled in such a way that sound 100% healthy, but because of other additives, the quality of those goods instantly deflates. Unfortunately, countless people have been duped because the danger of such additives are not readily known. Some are falsely touted as healthy and yet these additives are frequently hidden within many packaged items. Though I don’t want to divert into this subject of so-called processed health foods, the same rule still applies. When choosing good quality foods or anything that comes in a package, we must pay very close attention to the details—a huge part of this first secret. To help you in making that determination, let’s use a comparison to illustrate.
The next time you go grocery shopping, consider the history of that chicken you’re about to purchase. Do you know whether the chicken fed on cheap grains—genetically modified food which also contained harmful pesticides? Was the chicken crammed in a cage with other chickens; forced to stay inside where their feces spread and built bacteria? Was the chicken induced with antibiotics and plumped up with growth hormones? Sorry to break the news, but unless you’re raising chickens yourself or choosing organic, the answers to these questions is an overwhelming yes.
On the other hand, if chickens are raised on an organic farm they enjoy a diet the way mother nature intended. This includes non-GMO grains, bugs, and different types of grasses without pesticides or harsh chemicals. Those chickens get plenty of exposure to sunlight, are allowed to roam free-range and often moved to lush new grasses for feeding. They aren’t crammed into cages with other chickens, forced to live in unsanitary conditions with their animal by-products. Nor are organic chickens induced with antibiotics and plumped up with growth hormones.
So if you are what you eat, then the better quality choice here becomes obvious. And when it comes to delicious cooking: Better Quality = Better Taste. As mentioned in my book, to eat healthy we must choose foods that are a product of nature versus a product of industry. Focus on ingredients that are natural, unrefined and unprocessed. To help facilitate this process, let me give you a few more examples.
- Choose Himalayan pink sea salt over processed, white table salt. Why? Himalayan salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements, whereas processed table salt has none, or at best one—iodine. White salt of any kind, even if it’s labeled as sea salt is not full-spectrum meaning it’s devoid of the essential minerals your body needs. Not only are those pink crystals better for you, they’re bursting with flavor. No comparison in taste to the white stuff.
- Replace canola oil with a variety of oils that includes extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. Why? Canola oil is highly processed and genetically modified—it’s anything but natural. There exists no canola plant. However, canola oil is contrived from rapeseed oil which is used as a lubricant and biodiesel fuel to power motor vehicles, aircrafts, steam engines and other naval vessels. In several countries, canola oil is illegal to give to infants. Enough said there.
- Use organic butter as opposed to margarine. Why? Again, margarine is not a product of nature. It’s created through a process called hydrogenation meaning the oil has been chemically altered and highly refined—the end result makes it a source of aluminum and nickel. A diet that contains aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, senility, osteoporosis and cancer. Some research suggests that margarine is nothing but plastic butter. As far as taste, well…I think real butter tastes better than melted Tupperware any day.
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