A common challenge I hear from clients and health class students is: “How do I make my cooking easy, what do I use for spices, what can I do that is different….?
First Thought: Do what is easy and familiar, make your favorite foods! The key is to turn them into whole food recipes with fresh, local, and seasonal foods.
Check out this hidden page “How to Make Any Recipe a Whole Food Recipe” to get you into the ‘whole food’ recipe make-over swing of things.
Trying to get more vegetables into your life? People get too overwhelmed by ALL the vegetables that are available in the supermarket. Common questions I hear from clients are: WHAT do I do with all of these, what goes with what, how do I cook them…..?”
Second Thought: Learn to eat in season. If the veggies you are eating are only available at certain times of the year, it makes your choices narrower at that particular time of the year. Being overwhelmed by the plethora of choices is common in today’s culture of being able to eat broccoli, strawberries, asparagus, and every other fruit or vegetable 12 months out of the year. Create meals using vegetables that are available locally and in season. This makes the choosing easier, because there is not so much variety available all the time. It also allows you the opportunity to have a diet that is varied over the course of the calendar year.
Helpful hints around seasonal eating:
- I believe seasonal eating would help to cut down on food sensitivities as well. When your body is not being subjected to the same food, all the time, you are much less likely to develop food sensitivities and intolerances. Local, seasonal eating was nature's way of varying our diets.
- When you eat locally grown food you help cut down on the transporting of food all over the globe. This can have huge impacts on the environment when we are using less fossil fuels moving food around the earth.
Examples of seasonal foods for Northern NY State:
Spring: spinach, asparagus, green onion, early lettuce, rhubarb, wild leeks, spring sorrel, peas
Summer: leafy salad greens, summer squashes, seasonal berries from strawberries to late summer raspberries & blackberries, tomatoes, peas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, currants, juneberries, cherries, garlic, carrots, new potatoes, fresh herbs, corn, onions, melons…
Fall: root veggies, winter storage squash, cabbage, apples, pears, peaches, fall raspberries
Winter: stored root veggies, kale & collards still in the garden, canned tomatoes and veggies, frozen veggies and berries
Many websites offer their version of a “what produce is in season” charts for the geographical region you live in. www.gardenshare.org
When you eat seasonally, what you eat changes with each seasons. Your meal planning and preparing takes on a rhythm of simplicity. I cannot stress this enough: keep it simple. Do not over think things. Wing it in the kitchen. If the meal was a winning combination, do it again. If the meal is not the taste you were looking for, eat it with gratitude for the farmers who grew the food, the earth/water/sun, etc. that provided the growing environment, and the work you did in the kitchen. Make a mental note (or keep a cooking journal, if that is easier for you) and do not repeat that particular cooking concoction.
If you think about vegetable dishes, they are the same things just cooked a different way. One fall or winter night you might roast potatoes, carrots, onion, and parsnips and another night you might throw those same types of veggies into a beef or chicken stew. On another night you might stir fry them and add meat, fish, scrambled eggs, or beans. Another night you might gently steam them, mash them up with grass fed butter and unrefined sea salt, and serve with a side dish of chicken, beans, or fish. This is what I mean about simplicity and not over thinking.
To these above meals add a grated root veggie salad using different root veggies: rutabaga, celeriac and beets with some finely chopped cabbage. Toss with an herbed, homemade oil and vinegar dressing and voila, dinner!