We bought into the notion that “you are what you eat” a long time ago, hook, line, and sinker. While restaurant food often tastes amazing, we prefer what we cook at home for many reasons: less fat/quality fat, less salt, more vegetables without a fuss, better quality ingredients overall.
Recipes abound everywhere: this post is for those who have crossed our path in our role as practitioners, who, when asked about their diet, tell us they don’t cook because they don’t know where to begin.
This is the template for a basic recipe balancing protein, carbohydrates, and fats. It works for our body types (general), but you might find, or we may recommend as part of your treatment plan, a different proportion if that works better for you.
Meals of endless variety are made based on these three. We usually start with the protein and build the grains or starches and vegetables around that. The protein can be animal or plant- another topic for another day. To bring it all together we “flavorize” it to blend it all together- you always have to remember this step because it will be bland if you don’t.
Prep-Step 1: Measure out the grain and put it on the stove, or fire up the oven to bake the potato (sweet or white), or heat the water for the pasta.
Prep-Step 2: When you chop vegetables, start with the denser vegetables and work your way up to the leafy greens. One method that’s efficient is to start the cooking after most of the prep work is done. You’ll be sick of cutting by then and can clean and chop the leafy greens once everything else is under way.
Prep-Step 3: Prep the protein with a marinade. For simplicity’s sake, let’s make it chicken, chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces, about 1/4 pound per person as advised by the Mediterranean diet. For the marinade add olive oil, half that amount of vinegar, culinary herbs, and salt and pepper.
Now cook: Heat the skillet at medium and add 1 tablespoon of oil- when it slips and slides easily around the pan it’s time to toss in the vegetables, in order of their density. For example, start with onions and let them cook a few minutes until they soften and have a golden color, stirring occasionally. Here you can add your culinary herbs or spices, stirring for 1 minute.
Now that the skillet is nicely (medium) hot, add the chicken, turning to cook on all sides- about 5 minutes.
Next add the garlic and cook briefly before adding red peppers, same directions as the onions. After that, add chopped tomatoes, let them release some of their juice, then add the zucchini with a splash of water and cover the pan with the lid to allow the vegetables to steam for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped greens at the end of cooking, briefly for spinach, a bit longer for chard, and even longer for kale or collards.
These are some of the recommended ingredients:
For fats, choose cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
For carbohydrates, choose vegetables: onion & garlic, root vegetables (carrots, turnip, beets, etc.), juicy vegetables (summer squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.), leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards, etc.)
For starch, choose potatoes (white, sweet), grains (rice, millet, quinoa), pastas (couscous, orzo, hard)
For protein, choose plant or animal:
-soy: tofu, tempeh, miso
-beans/legumes: black beans, kidney beans, white beans, red lentils, green lentils
-animal: grass-fed or well-sourced beef, lamb, pork, chicken (organic)
-fish: trout, Pacific or Copper River salmon, sardines, anchovies are your best bets
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