4.2018

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

real food

A Seasonal Spring Cooking Class

I’ll be co-teaching another of the seasonal cooking class series, with Wendy Van Wagner of In the Kitchen. Join us to have some fun around the chopping block table–to cook, eat, and learn about real food. You’ll go home with a big smile, satiated belly, and all kinds of delicious and easy-to-make recipes. See you there!

What is REAL food, really?

Eating real food simply means making choices from plant and animal foods that have been cultivated using methods that are minimally intrusive. Choosing vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes and beans, and animal proteins that have not been exposed to man-made chemicals, food coloring, or GMO techniques in the planting, growing, or post-harvest stages further defines REAL food.

All foods are available in this healthful, nourishing, and delicious REAL form. All foods are available in a less healthful, less nourishing, and perhaps less delicious PROCESSED form as well. I am not talking about organic so much as I am referring to foods that, once taken from the land and are being made ready for market, have been laden with salt and other sodium-based preservatives and flavorings, added food dyes, sugars (both real and artificial varieties), and fats–simply to “enhance” the shelf life, flavor, and marketability.

Sometimes REAL food may seem to be a bit more expensive at the grocery store than the more processed version; if this is your perspective, I urge you to consider the long-term expense of your health and well-being…investing your resources and forethought into bringing home health promoting foods as opposed to health depleting foods–now–will provide a benefit to you in the future.

Imagine this: a small plate that is filled 1/2 with fabulous veggies, 1/4 with a whole grain or other starch, and 1/4 with a sustainably raised animal protein. And then, for dessert: a baked pear, a 2-inch square of apple crisp, or a 1/3 cup serving of whole milk organic ice cream…Yum!

Making a conscious decision to avoid commercially processed meats (filled with colorings and high doses of sodium, not to mention growth hormones and antibiotics), veggies and fruits that have sweeteners, salt, or preservatives added, and factory-made desserts loaded with high fructose corn syrup and/or partially hydrogenated oils will get you on the road to eating REAL food. Travel wisely!

It’s Coming Together…

I was pleasantly intrigued to receive an email from the manager of a restaurant, at which I eat fairly often and enjoy very much, to review the menu with him and the chef, to support their intention of serving healthful, delicious meals that cater to a variety of food preferences. This was on my mind as I tuned in to NPR this morning and caught a wonderful story about Meatless Monday. Check out that link! On my mind too, was the recent headline that 1 MILLION pounds of beef has been recalled for E. Coli contamination.

It’s no surprise that factory raised beef had to be recalled–again–or that millions of Americans are understanding the benefits of Meatless Monday from an environmental and health perspective, or that restaurants across the country are enhancing their entrees with fresh veggies, either grilled or quick sauteed, and groovy grain side dishes. A heightened awareness is burgeoning all around us. It’s coming together…

How is real food showing up in your life?

Mindful Cooking

A friend, her husband, and I had a conversation the other day about mindfulness while cooking; how cooking could become a meditation — a calming, grounding, gratifying experience — if you allow it.

3 hours last night in the kitchen, and the many more hours to be spent there today in preparation for a family gathering on Thanksgiving, has provided me the opportunity to do just that: cultivate a mindfulness while enjoying the art of creating healthful, delicious, and hand-made dishes, infused with love and gratitude.  My senses are stimulated by the savory aromas, the gorgeous orange and yellow of the citrus and deep red of the cranberries, the sweet tang of the fresh squeezed juice; my mind is soothed by the rhythm of stirring, adding, tasting…

The love and gratitude I am blessed to feel will be shared amongst my family and our friends with each splendid morsel. This unhurried pace that is so nurturing to me will permeate our feast.

Not all meals are prepared with mindfulness. Life, at least my life, does not always provide these circumstances in which I can enjoy mindful cooking.

Does yours?

Women in the Workplace—is that the Office or Home???

For most of us, it’s both.

Women today do it all…contribute to the family finances, in some cases as the sole provider; nurture their children, partners, and extended family members; take care the house, which may include shopping, preparing meals, cleaning, laundry, or minor repairs; help with homework; talk with teachers; soothe hurt feelings and broken hearts; walk the dog; empty the cat litter box; write out the bills (all the while balancing the family budget); and mow the lawn in summer. While there may be a family effort exerted for these daily living tasks, much of the coordination, if not the effort itself, is left to the woman of the household.

Given all the energy women devote to household/family needs, how is it that we find time for success within our work life? Because we must. Whether we go to work full time or part time, at an executive or laborer level, love our work or just tolerate it, women give as much of themselves to their job as they do to their family and home.

That brings me to my point: What’s left over? Where is the energy or the time for our pleasures, our personal pursuits, or our self-nurturing? Yes, we derive pleasure from our family and work successes and challenges, but is that enough? NO, it is not!

We need balance in our lives. This is easier said than done, yes, but it can be done. Finding balance is a practiced skill, meaning that it must be practiced to become familiar. As working women, our path has been obscured by our sense of obligation to others, so that we can no longer see the way to care for ourselves. This is evident on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.

Balance incorporates three key components: relaxation or a quieting of the mind, eating foods that are health sustaining, and engaging in some type of physical activity. The quieting of the mind is the most important aspect of this balance. The relaxation achieved from this quieting can have a tremendous positive affect on your physical and emotional health. Give yourself permission to take just one, or three, or six minutes a day to sit and breathe is all I am suggesting. Read the rest of this entry »

"After thirty years of eating healthy foods and participating in regular, vigorous exercise, I was astounded to discover I have Coronary Artery Disease. In March of 2010, I had two stents placed in my Left Anterior Descending Artery- this was big. I consulted Robin Mallery, RN, knowing she is a local expert on Cardiac Rehabilitation. I especially respected her lifestyle of nutrition and physical fitness. Robin’s reassurance that I was doing many things correctly, and her instructions on how to fine-tune my program to deal with this life-threatening disease, was invaluable. Robin’s exquisite grasp of balancing traditional medicine with diet, exercise, relaxation and fun has helped me through this medical crisis". --Maiya Gralia, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and cross-country ski instructor and coach

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