Saturday, February 9, 2013

Doing the Math

My last post,, about my daily health and wellness to-do list, earned me some rolled eyes and groans of disbelief. I've thought about this and done the math.  When I do everything on my list, the activities take about 2 - 1/4 hours a day, not counting meal planning and preparation (another 45-60 minutes).  

In terms of my health, that amount of time doesn't seem at all excessive, especially when done in lieu of other, less healthy, and likely more toxic, activities, like watching TV or using Facebook (both of which I also do...TV occasionally, Facebook more often.)  When I consider clients whose diabetes, cancer, or heart diseases require numerous medical visits and medication management, and which may have also cost them their jobs and participation in recreational pursuits, I'm more convinced than ever that the investment of time we make in health promotion and health maintenance is worthwhile.  

I know that guarantees are few and that many diseases or injuries are random (at least, at this time, and as far as we know), so I am not passing judgement on others.  I am simply suggesting that most of us have some degree of choice about how we spend our time. Personally, I am making up for years of lost time, time when I was younger and stronger and "coulda, woulda, shoulda" spent more time on maintaining those things (and feeling better in the process).  Now I am grateful for the vast amount of scientifically validated information about what constitutes healthy diet and lifestyle, and am more than happy, most days, to pursue health.

Regarding meal preparation, quick and easy and healthy can be created with some ready-made ingredients. As I said in other posts, fresh is usually preferable, but sometimes not always possible.   Some people choose to eat or drink raw fruits and veggies, and juicing or making smoothies are certainly options. But for many of my morning starts, I want something warm, so here is is an example of the healthy and quick breakfast I made this morning.  

The first thing you will notice is that it is soup, not a typical breakfast entree.  I've struggled with trying to fit my food needs (that celiac disease again) and my understanding of a healthy diet, into the standard breakfast foods menu, and decided a few years ago that foods we think of as lunch or dinner foods are fine for my morning meal. This thinking opened up endless options for a balanced start to my day.  

Kale & Cannellini Bean Soup
No need to saute anything ahead of time. All ingredients were store-bought and pre-chopped and/or canned. Total prep time: 5 minutes; total cook time, 20 minutes.

2 c. organic baby kale
2 c. organic chicken or vegetable broth (low-sodium if that is your preference/need)
½ c. shredded carrots (organic preferred but mine weren't)
½ c. organic cooked cannellini beans (or any bean you have on hand)
¼ c. chopped tomatoes 

Put it all in a pot and bring to boil, then simmer until desired degree of doneness.

You can substitute swiss chard, spinach, or any other green, and adjust cooking time accordingly.  Optional additions include yogurt, rice (white or brown), turmeric*, garlic, onions, ginger, curry powder, tamari or soy sauce, and just about anything else that appeals to you!

*And speaking of turmeric, this article has some great suggestions on how to add this health powerhouse into your diet:

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