So, as I mentioned, I have been reading Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being. Let me show you how I took some of the suggestions from this book that turned a pretty mediocre lunch (on the health spectrum) to something I felt really good about.
Can you tell what is in this photo? Let’s walk through it:
Hidden under the cilantro are two (frozen) tamales. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that tamales are not the paragon of healthy eating. In particular, these are the frozen mass-produced kind. But I love tamales and my boyfriend found a really good deal on these and bought them for me. In about 3 minutes each in the microwave, they go from frozen to a hot meal. I had just come in from a brisk walk with the pup and I was starving. I tossed them in the microwave and went to work bringing up the nutritional value.
Salsa – on the tamales is homemade salsa that my boyfriend’s mother canned. It is full of locally grown tomatoes and peppers, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties.
The previously mentioned cilantro is on top. Dark leafy greens are also anti-inflammatory. Cilantro offers dietary fiber and iron, magnesium, and manganese, in addition to being an antioxidant.
To the left of the tamales are sections of clementines. I love these little guys. They are delicious, help curb my sweet cravings and are full of natural fiber and vitamin c. (Important since I am still sick.) On top of all that, they are low in calories and clementines are also a good source of helpful bioactive components such as limonoids, flavones, and glycosylates.
Now, let’s move down the plate to the sliced mini bell peppers. Peppers are full of fiber and again, are anti-inflammatory. They are also high in vitamin C, vitamin A (which is a biggie for me, since I am genetically low in Vitamin A) and vitamin B6. Plus, they are just delicious!
Now, you will be forgiven if you have no idea what the hot pink things at the bottom of the plate are. It’s because I switched cuisines on you. Most of this plate has a “south of the border” feel, but these are distinctly Lebanese. They are pickled turnips. (Beet juice turns them pink.) I freaking love these things. I buy them by the jar at my favorite Mediterranian grocery, but you can also make them yourself. (Recipe for pickled turnips here.) Turnips are low in calories and also contain fiber. But I like these because they are fermented. Fermented foods are great for our microbiome and our gut health. In addition, the vinegary flavor is another way I curb sweet cravings.
Speaking of fermented foods, let’s take a look at that bottle there on the right. That is locally brewed kombucha. Again, I am looking out for the microbiome, here. Kombucha is a probiotic and an antioxidant.
Finally, speaking of bottles, there is a bottle of Tabasco hot sauce up there as well. Again, we have the anti-inflammatory qualities of peppers, and hot sauce can help you form more brown fat, which is a healthy fat that, when initiated, burns calories.
So there you have it. With a tiny bit of slicing and dicing, scooping a few things out of jars and a little peeling, I turned a mediocre lunch into something super healthy – all in the time it took me to heat up the tamales! You can’t beat that!