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The Healthy Family

Cooking Whole Foods
Victoria Osborne

Eating is an important part of our lives, yet most of us don't give it much thought. We eat what's readily available in our kitchens or from fast food places. Taking time out of our busy schedules to prepare wholesome and delicious meals may seem like a challenge. With the right system, however, it can be a breeze. Healthy meals become especially important as we get older. As a senior, I have found that eating the right food makes all the difference in my life. I don't have to so heavily rely on supplements to keep my energy levels up. That's because strength and vitality often have more to do with diet than with age.

Over the years, I was faced with quite a challenge. I love to eat, but I didn't want to spend hours in the kitchen and I didn't want to constantly have to watch my weight. I had to find the right system to create delicious and nutritious meals that wouldn't add pounds. To begin with, I decided to stop eating all of the enriched and processed foods that have become a staple of the standard American diet (SAD, appropriately). Our bodies are designed for real food. Having to continually assimilate pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, preservatives, chemical additives and irradiated food eventually takes a toll on our health. Even though today's foods look just like what my mother served me as a child, they cannot be compared. Foods grown organically are the only healthy way to go.

To find real food, I began shopping at organic markets, local farms or even in a neighbor's garden. The premium price I paid was worth every penny, because of what I didn't get: insecticides, pesticides, herbicides and additives with names you can't pronounce. Don't be fooled when you see the beautiful fruits and veggies on supermarket shelves. Most of the sprays used on produce to extend shelf life don't wash off and are toxic to your health. Furthermore, the EPA is letting food growers spray sewer sludge on their fields - which contains toxic chemical waste from industries.

Many people also take supplements as a substitute for real food. In time, though, our bodies protest. Only real food really satisfies and naturally controls the appetite. When we deprive our bodies of real food, we begin to eat more and more, as we crave the nutrition lost.

The next step to easy and enjoyable meal preparation is creating an orderly kitchen environment. I found that as soon as I reorganized my kitchen, making delicious foods became a snap. Rearranging your kitchen in a practical way that meets your needs is essential and can even be fun. You'll find unexpected spaces and counter clutter will disappear into drawers and cabinets. An organized kitchen allows me to work with a clear mind and a sunny disposition, and I can even taste the difference in my food.
I also save time by preparing food several days ahead of time, especially vegetables. I steam several bunches of greens like kale or Swiss chard at one time. I begin by chopping the stems and spines with sliced onions, and then add the chopped leaves, steaming lightly. Broccoli and carrots also do well steamed in advance.

Whole grains are a wonderful alternative to bread, pasta and other staples. Sprouted grains are far more nutritious than flour products. Try a nourishing combination that was first promoted by Ancient China's Yellow Emperor, who is noted by historians for the extraordinary health of his people. (All of these ingredients can be found in a natural food store,) Take equal amounts of lentils, rice, millet, spelt and oats and grind in a coffee mill or blender. After grinding, ferment the grain by adding 2 tablespoons of whey powder and a cup of water to each cup, and letting the mix soak overnight or up to 72 hours in the fridge. Once fermented, the porridge only needs to be stirred into boiling water for a few minutes, to which you might add, salt, sweetener or milk, and is so nourishing that your body is satisfied for hours.

By learning to prepare quick and easy whole foods that are tasty and appealing, you will soon find that you no longer crave calorie-laden and empty foods. With a few easy changes, you can eat your way to optimal health and look forward to meal preparation.

Victoria Osborne is a senior citizen with plenty of vitality to spare. She enjoys right brain learning and cooking for herself and others.

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