NEW CASTLE —
If you are making even one change that is improving your health, you become a positive example for others.
In addition, you inspire yourself to find your way to better health and well-being.
I met a gentleman the other day who was wearing last year’s Run For Your Heart race T-shirt He shared with me that he has lost more than 30 pounds, and has goals set to continue losing weight based on the lifestyle changes he has been implementing.
He joked and clarified that he is “a walker” and not “a runner.” We started discussing how important it is to find new recipes. He said he is willing to learn to cook differently in order to make the lifestyle changes a permanent way of living. We agreed this can be difficult at first.
My walker friend also mentioned the challenge in trying new recipes when there are ingredients in them that you’ve never heard of, especially because some recipes use a combination of spices and herbs. The whole experience of trying something new can feel overwhelming.
However, if a new recipe is something that you are willing to test, you can make a more basic version, perhaps only using one new spice or herb. This is cost effective and also gives you an opportunity to really taste the ingredient you’re experimenting with. It can be tricky working your way toward a collection of recipes that meet your new goals. It takes time and patience. Stay with it!
Many of the ingredients in healthy recipes are used because they replace some of the salt for adding flavor. They also deliver healing agents to your diet. Spices such as capers, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, saffron and herbs such as basil, dill, chives, garlic, mint, onion, sage, thyme, and tarragon deliver phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins essential for optimum health. Many also provide anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, or anti-inflammatory properties, and pain relief.
Once you find an interesting dish, you can always experiment with adding more flavors. Keep your new favorite recipes handy to use often so you make good use of the new spices you are learning to incorporate. Over time you will feel comfortable enough about how a spice or herb enhances a dish. Then you’ll really gain the confidence to include them in old favorites as well as new ones.
One suggestion for “the curious” among you includes seeking out books that can outline the health benefits of herbs and spices, based on your individual needs. Also, utilized magazines that will give you cooking tips and recipes that can teach you the tricks of healthy cooking and eating. Some titles to search for include “Eat Well Magazine,” “Nutrition,” “Clean Living,” “Vegetarian Times,” “Diabetic Living,” “Diabetic Gourmet Magazine,” “Healthy Living Magazine,” “Cooking Light Magazine.”
You can find many of these on magazine racks throughout the area. If you find one your really like, you can always subscribe. Be willing to learn. The goodness will impact your tastebuds and your health.
If you have a curiosity for finding and embracing the new, you are more likely to succeed in making lifestyle changes. If you are stuck in the mindset that only life as you know it is comforting, or limit your willingness to change, you are less likely to make a significant impact on your health.
Your quality of life and your health are in the indicators of your habits. Be aware of what you are exampling because, either way, it’s what you are living.
Southwestern Pasta Salad
This recipe will add different textures and flavors to the more traditional pasta salad. The health benefits from the lime, cumin, garlic and cilantro will complement the vitimins and nutrients from the whole wheat pasta, vegetables and beans.
- 1/2 (16 ounce) package whole wheat rotini pasta
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 cup chopped roma (plum) tomatoes
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
In a large bowl combine oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt and garlic. Stir in pasta and set aside to cool to room temperature, stirring occassionaly.
Stir in corn, beans, green pepper, red pepper and half of the cilantro leaves. Spoon onto a platter and garnish with tomatoes and remaining cilantro. Serve chilled or at room temperature.