Just so you know, I’ve been really into eating cleaner in the past few months, so some of my blog posts will reflect that interest. Of course, I’ll absolutely continue to share the classic Middle Eastern flavors, and also healthier and lightened up versions of some food and drink whenever appropriate. Sacrificing flavor is NOT part of the plan, so please don’t spend even one second worrying about that! Luckily, the cuisines of the Middle East are generally pretty healthy to begin with, so I’m working with excellent source material here 😉
Being a Yoga teacher, I am quite intrigued by the mind-body connection. Some would say the mind-body union–that the separation is an illusion.
Over the past few years, I’ve really begun to tune into the connection between what I eat and drink, and how I feel, not just physically, but also mentally and on more personal, emotional level. In 2009 in particular, I got really serious about making adjustments to my diet, doing some ongoing cleansing, and am happy to report that I feel better than ever–on all levels. I did this all in stages and gradually, so it wasn’t a drastic or jarring overhaul. Nor was it a temporary fix. And I had (and still have) excellent guidance every step of the way. Seeing and feeling the changes inwardly and outwardly keeps me motivated and excited on this journey.
My basic approach is to eat a diet that is rich in vegetables, greens in particular. I eat raw or lightly cooked veggies whenever possible, plenty of fresh fruit, and high quality cooked food as well. My choices are organic whenever possible, and I frequent the farmers’ market to keep fresh, local produce on hand.
If I happen to eat meat, I source it very carefully–from the farmers market, or trustworthy retail sources that are serious about stocking meat that is humanely treated and raised with a clean diet and in a free-range atmosphere. I keep meat portions small. I avoid highly processed “frankenfoods,” especially those with unpronounceable ingredients.
With carbs, I’m selective as well. Moderation is the key word here. Fewer white carbs means more energy for me. Less fatigue. That’s a simple fact I can no longer deny. I didn’t quite believe it until I noticed the very real changes in my energy levels and moods in recent months. Soy is pretty much out of my diet, and dairy has gone from something I once consumed daily to something that I have occasionally.
Luckily, Persian food in general and Middle Eastern cuisine overall are pretty healthy. The cuisines generally de-emphasize meat and are heavy on fresh, in-season vegetables and fruits. Portions are often moderate, yet satisfying. The oils used are full of mono-unsaturated fats. Processed foods don’t take center stage. Eating is a community experience–a key element that we often miss in our go, Go, GO! society.
Yes, there is a lot of white rice and bread in some of the menus, but I say some bread and rice in moderation are fine. Personally, in life, I pick my battles, and at my table, I pick my white carbs. My white carb of choice is basmati rice, so I have it in reasonable portions, and not nearly as often as I would in a perfect world. (You know, that perfect world . . the one where chocolate is slimming and calories don’t count 😉 ).
So enough about the peculiarities of my diet. Let’s hear where you’re at in your food journey. If you’ve never thought about your approach to food, or haven’t thought about it in awhile, then maybe now would be a good time to think it over and consider making some adjustments. And if you want to share where you’re at in your approach to food with me, or talk about any changes you might be looking to make, feel free to leave a comment.
I’m looking forward to sharing many more fun, flexible, and delicious recipes with you this year.